Monday, August 30, 2010

This is the end...


Hey all,

I just wanted to let you know that I will soon be closing down the blog. I've been silent here for weeks as I've just found the blog to take up too much of my precious time. I will, however, be incorporating a blog in to a new site design which should be ready in a few weeks. In the meantime if you would like to be added to a contact list for future updates and to subscribe to the blog on my site, feel free to email me at charlie@charliemahoney.net or look for its release.

See you all soon at charliemahoney.net!

best regards,
Charlie

Monday, June 14, 2010

Airsick by Lucas Oleniak

Here is a very well done multimedia piece on climate change. I love the use of time lapse video. Really effective. Really well done. This is where we are going!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

VII & MSF's Starved for Attention



Take a look at this collaborative effort between VII photographers and Doctors Without Borders entitled Starved for Atention. Presently you can see the work of Marcus Bleasdale, but soon you'll be able to see the work of Antonin Kratochvil, Jessica Dimmock, Stephanie Sinclair, John Stanmeyer, Franco Pangetti and Ron Haviv.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

BP and U.S. Authorities Keeping Out the Press: Surprising or Not?



As people have tuned in around the world to watch BP's live video feed of their attempts to stop the oil spilling in to the Gulf of Mexico, does it really come to anyone's surprise that at the same time BP, with the collusion of local authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard are specifically targeting the press and keeping them out of the most damaged areas? My question is under what authority can they keep out the press.

FROM NEWSWEEK:

BP's Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill

Photographers say BP and government officials are preventing them from documenting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials—working with BP—who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible. More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.

Last week, a CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest when attempting to film an oil-covered beach. On Monday, Mother Jones published this firsthand account of one reporter’s repeated attempts to gain access to clean-up operations on oil-soaked beaches, and the telling response of local law enforcement. The latest instance of denied press access comes from Belle Chasse, La.-based Southern Seaplane Inc., which was scheduled to take a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer for a flyover on Tuesday afternoon, and says it was denied permission once BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.

“We are not at liberty to fly media, journalists, photographers, or scientists,” the company said in a letter it sent on Tuesday to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). “We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press.”

The ability to document a disaster, particularly through images, is key to focusing the nation’s attention on it, and the resulting clean-up efforts. Within days of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, pictures of dead otters, fish, and birds, as well as oil-covered shorelines, ignited nationwide outrage and led to a backlash against Exxon. Consumers returned some 10,000 of Exxon’s 7 million credit cards. Forty days after the spill, protestors organized a national boycott of Exxon. So far, no national boycott of BP is in the works, despite growing frustration over the company’s inability to cap the leaking well. Obviously, pictures are emerging from this spill, but much of the images are coming from BP and government sources.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yet Another Firmware Update for the Canon 5D Mark II


Canon announces yet another firware update for the the Canon 5D Mark II (Version 2.0.7), which incorporates the following improvements and fixes.

1) Fixes a phenomenon in which the aperture exhibits abnormal movement when shooting movies in manual exposure mode and Aperture Priority AE (Av mode) using some Canon lenses (such as macro lenses).

2) Fixes a phenomenon in which the exposure level shown in the LCD panel differs from what is shown in the viewfinder when shooting still images in manual exposure mode.

3) Fixes a phenomenon in which the Wireless File Transmitter (WFT-E4 or WFT-E4 II) may not automatically power off when used for FTP transfers.

You can get download the firware update here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

German Newspapers Not Suffering Like American Newspapers

In yesterday's New York Times, Eric Pfanner writes about how a recent study by German newspapers criticizes American Publishers and why. There are some interesting statistics from the piece. One, from 1998-2008, newspaper circulation fell 27 percent in the US vs 19 percent in Germany. Less than half of Americans read newspapers where as more than 70 percent of Germans do. The analysis sheds the blame on a "reckless cuts in editorial and production quality."

You can read the piece here. Oh and it's free;-)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Francesco Zizola Interview



Here is an interesting interview with Francesco Zizola. Granted it's in Italian, but at least for the Spanish speakers out there it should be a cake walk.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Newsweek: Blood on the Streets


Not that this comes as any surprise to anyone, but the Guardian reporated this morning that The Washington Post has hired Alen & Co, a medium tier investment bank which in and of itself speaks volumes, to find a buyer. Newsweek is bleeding red after suffering a 29.3 million dollar operating loss last year. You can read more from the Guardian article here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

KobreGuide Names A Troubled Paradise to the Web's Best Multimedia & Video Journalism



I appreciate the plug from the KobreGuide, which named A Troubled Paradise to their Web's Best Multimedia & Video Journalism. You can find the link here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Difficulties of Shooting Street Photography Today


The Scream by Edvard Munch

Yesterday, I was working on an assignment on a travel related piece in Girona, which is a beautiful city about an hour north of Barcelona. As part of the assignment I had to shoot a bakery and a restaurant. Since these types of stories can bring positive publicity for a business, there are rarely any problems and usually if you explain to the customers as well, they don't mind being in the photo either. That being said, I'm always surprised by the people who get hostile about having their picture taken, especially in this type of situation. I mean I can understand it if you are doing something illegal or cheating on your wife, but buying bread? What would someone fear, exactly?

While shooting in the bakery, an older man started to protest as I took photos of the two women selling bread. He was to my side with his back to me and was out of the frame. I told him that he wasn't in the photo and if he were, it would only have been of his back side. I could have gone on to explain that since I was focusing on the two women, he was extremely dark, out of focus and completely unrecognizable, but then again, how do you explain that to someone who doesn't understand the technicalities of photography. And if you're busy and need to work quickly, do you really want to waste your time and energy with someone who is already angry?

On his way out of the bakery, he turned to me and said "in Spain you have to ask for permission first, before you take someone's photo," and then started to go on about Spanish law and how only he was the owner of the rights to his image and nobody could take his photo without his permission. I politely informed him that he was mistaken, but it was such a surreal moment and immediately I thought of this quote: "If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then extensive-but-incomplete knowledge is a constant torment."

And that is the case today, street photography is a constant torment. Despite living in a world where everyone has some kind of camera phone on them at all times and constant surveillance by CCTV systems, people are more paranoid and afraid of photography than ever before. Why? What is it that they have to fear?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Letter From A Freelancer to the New York Times


To read more on the shameful conduct of the New York Times legal department, read this exchange of letters between George Zimble and the legal counsel of the New York Times, story click here. And thanks to Melanie Burford for sharing this with me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maldives Multimedia Piece Takes 1st Place Honors


I just received news that my multimedia piece on the Maldives received 1st Place honors in the Team Audio Slideshow of the National Press Photographers Association Monthly Multimedia Contest. The entry which, I produced with the help of the outstanding guys at Bombay Flying Club, beat out entries from the New York Times and the Seattle Times, which is not bad for my first piece. The piece can be seen on the Burn website here, which is where it was first featured .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nothing New Here


Today's New York Times features an article entitled Photographers, the Image of Shrinking Pathh. According to author the perfect storm that provoked this mess was "the advertising downturn, the popularity and accessibility of digital photography, and changes in the stock-photo market."

They also take a shot at amateur photographers. “People that don’t have to make a living from photography and do it as a hobby don’t feel the need to charge a reasonable rate,” Mr. Eich said.

My take is that this is an oversimplifcation of the problems within the profession. Especially the casting of blame on amateurs. The truth is that a lot of professionals, especially young professionals are the ones who are typically afraid to negotiate with photo editors and accepting the $200 a day assignments. If they don't value their time, who will?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

They're Here...Well Soon Anyway!



According to today's New York Times, Rupert Murdoch's News International, has devised a pay plan for The Times and The Sunday TImes of London. "From June, the new sites, www.thetimes.co.uk and www.thesundaytimes.co.uk, will be available at £1, or $1.48, for a day’s access or £2 for a week’s subscription."

To read the full story, click here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Advertisers Show Interest in iPad


A good sign of the potential of the iPad became clearer today in an article in the New York Times. It seems that advertisers are showing an interest in buying advertising for the Ipad versions of some magazines. Is this a fad or not is still to be determined, but regardless it's a positive sign.

Advertisers Show Interest in iPad
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Advertisers initially approached new media as if they were going duck hunting, tiptoeing cautiously into the waters of mobile phones and the Internet.

With the iPad, it’s big-game season.

Getting ready for the April 3 iPad introduction, FedEx has bought advertising space on the iPad applications from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Chase Sapphire, a credit card for the high-end market, has bought out The New York Times’s iPad advertising units for 60 days after the introduction.

Advertisers including Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity have booked space on Time’s iPad application. In a draft press release, The Journal said a subscription to its app would cost $17.99 a month, and the first advertisers included Capital One, Buick, Oracle, iShares and FedEx.

At least initially, it should provide a nice boost for publishers. iPad advertisements on print publishers’ applications cost $75,000 to $300,000 for a few months with some exclusivity, said Phuc Truong, managing director of Mobext U.S., a mobile-marketing unit at Havas Digital.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Again: Canon 5D Mark II Firmware Update to Update


It seems Canon needed to correct a problem with the update so here is a second version to the same update I reported last week. This time it is called 2.0.4. You can download it here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canon Canon 5D Mark II Firmware Update Available for Download

The much anticipated firmware update for the Canon 5D Mark II is finally available for download. I updated mine this morning. The five big enhancements are the following:

1. Adds or changes the following movie frame rates
NTSC:
1920x1080:30 fps (changed - actual 29.97fps)
1920x1080:24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640x480:30 fps (changed - actual 29.97fps)
PAL:
1920x1080:25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)
1920x1080:24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640x480:25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)
2. Adds a function for manually adjusting the sound recording level (64 levels).
3. Adds a histogram display (brightness or RGB) for shooting movies in manual exposure.
4. Adds shutter-priority AE mode (Tv) and aperture-priority AE (Av) mode to the exposure
modes for shooting movies.
5. Changes the audio sampling frequency from 44.1 KHz to 48 KHz.
6. Fixes a phenomenon where communication between the camera and the
attached lens is sometimes interrupted after manual sensor cleaning.
(This phenomenon only affects units with Firmware Version 1.2.4.)

>To download, click here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be a part of the Solution



In continuation of the ongoing discussion here of trying to find solutions to today's problems in photojournalism (see prior postings one, two and three), here is a wonderful story of some photojournalists and visual journalists who are getting it right. They have effectively turned the area of working for NGO's on it's head. One group that is featured in the story are my friends at Bombay Flying Club, who helped me produce my multimedia piece, A Trouble Paradise.

You can find the full article here, but here's a teaser.

Turning NGOs Into Paying Clients

Because photographers have lined up for years to donate their services, NGOs have come to expect free photography. But some photographers are trying to change that expectation by giving NGOs reasons to pay them,

Phil Borges has built a career and a decent living—from book sales, exhibitions, print sales, speaking engagements and teaching—trading his services to Non Government Organizations (NGOs) in exchange for access to stories he couldn't otherwise get, for logistical and promotional support, and for the satisfaction of making a difference in peoples' lives. It's the calculus of many photographers working without pay for NGOs.

Recently, though, Borges has found himself wondering whether he's doing a disservice to both his profession and the NGOs when he charges too little or nothing at all. The question weighed heavily on him after one particular job for an NGO that was paying him only for some post-production work. He found himself in the field "working my butt off from dawn until dusk," he recounts, and the NGO staff person he was traveling with made him feel like he was a subordinate, or worse.

"And I thought, here I am doing work supporting that employee's salary," he recalls. "It's only human nature. If you're giving your time away, you're not valued as much." He adds, "From now on when I donate my time I will be including my day rate in the contract so they can at least see the value in the contribution I'm making."

Borges is also charging some NGO clients substantial fees. For two recent multimedia projects, for instance, he billed different NGOs $16,500. One project was about burn victims in Sri Lanka for an NGO based in Palo Alto. The charge included $8,000 for the time spent in country shooting, and $8,500 for post-production. Those fees worked out to about $600 per day, which is far less than an NGO would pay for TV production, and nothing near a commercial day rate. But it's better than free, and it's progress for Borges, who confesses, "I'm a very timid negotiator. My wife is the one who should be doing it. I've never had anybody balk at my fee. All of them have just said thank you."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why Photographers ARE the Problem!!!


Earlier this week I taught a class in the postgraduate program in Photojournalism at the University Autonoma of Barcelona. At the end of the lecture I made a series of recommendations to the students on how to take their careers forward and I closed with the old lesson about the importance of not giving away your work cheaply and especially not for free. The promise of future paying work in these circumstances is a myth, but I wonder how many of them will fall in to the trap anyway. If you don't value your work, how can you expect anyone else to?

I've touched upon this problem before here and will continue to address it in the future, but I wanted to bring it up today because I just came across another example here. Really, can people be so foolish? Thanks to Rob Haggart at A Photo Editor for sharing this with us.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

World Press Photo Disqualified



WPP disqualified this image because Stepan Rudik used the cloning tool to remove a distracting element from the image. In this case, a foot. As small as the distracting element was, in my opinion WPP made the right call. Credibility is the question here and there is just no room for cloning in photojournalism.

You can read more about it at Lens and at Petapixel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FOR SALE: Canon EF 24-105mm LS IS USM f/4

I'm selling a used Canon EF 24-105mm L IS USM f/4 with Image Stabilizer. It's in excellent condition as I have always kept a UV filter on the lens to protect it. I'm selling the lens because I won a similar lens, a 24-70 f/2.8 and don't need both. I will accept the best offer. If interested email me. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another War Documentary by a Photojournalist

Battle for Hearts and Minds Trailer from Danfung Dennis on Vimeo.




Yesterday on Lens there was a very interesting article written by NY Times contributor Michael Kamber. His criticism was aimed at the Oscar nominated movie, The Hurt Locker. Apparently the movie has received other criticism as well for being entirely unrealistic in it's portrayal of the U.S. military in Iraq.

When the truth is stretched too thin, a movie loses credibility it also loses it's ability to influence the viewer. Documentary films, on the other hand, are simply more credible. With recent changes in technology, most notably the ability to shoot video more cheaply with the Canon 5D mark ii and the 7D, it's safe to say that more photojournalists will be going in this direction. I think that most people applaud this.

Two photojournalists, who have recently made war documentaries, are trying to market their documentaries using the film distribution model. This is very interesting because they are bypassing the broken business models of traditional media (magazines, newspapers and TV news). Restrepo, by Tim Heatherington and Sebastian Junger, recently won the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Today, I give you the trailer to Danfung Dennis' Battle for Hearts and Minds. I think this just may be the light at the end of the tunnel for this profession. I wish them both much success.

Thanks to Poul at the Bombay Flying Club for bringing this to my attention. Poul, also was the point man helping me produce my multimedia piece, A Troubled Paradise.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Getting Started with Video Primer

Here's a great little primer on getting started with video use with the Canon 5D Mark II by Andrew Tucciarone. You can find it from our friends at Black Star here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Preview of Wired Magazine's Online Content



This looks very promising and very interesting. Now, the $10,000 question is: Will places like Wired Magazines be able to monitize it's use and thus pay fairly for this content? Let's hope so.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are We Part of the Problem??? (continued)



I came across Allan Mutter's blog recently, called Reflections of a Newsasaur, which is definitely worth adding to your RSS feeder. In my last posting, I brought up the question of whether we (photojournalists) are part of the problem. Although Mutter's blog is more directed towards journalists, I think he would argue that we are a part of the problem, mainly because sometimes we just aren't capable of saying "No"!

If you read this link, just exchange journalist with photojournalist and it pretty much applies perfectly to our struggling profession. Here's the link here. I've attached part of the text below:

Stop the exploitation of journalists

It’s time for journalists to stop participating in their own exploitation by working for a pittance – or, worse, giving away their valuable services for free.

Apart from the sheer righteousness of being paid an honest dollar for an honest day’s work, journalists need to stand together – and stand tall – to reassert the stature of their profession.

The reason is simple: If they don’t put a value on what they do, then no one else will, either.

Last time I checked, the prevailing way to express value in our modern economy is via the transfer of m-o-n-e-y. In a minute, I will share a simple spreadsheet to help you calculate your own worth as a journalist.

But first, I am urging everyone to join in my new year’s resolution to just say no to people who invite you to work for nothing or something awfully close to it.

continue...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Migrant Photo Featured in Time Magazine




You can find the full article in the online version of TIme Magazine here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Blame Game: Are We the Problem?



Over the last few months I've noticed a markedly sharp uptick in open frustration by photojournalists on the photojournalism posting board, Lightstalkers. The commentary has lowered to the level of exchanging insults and threats. This is a real blight on our industry. If you haven't seen them yet, examples can be found here and here and I'm sure there are others. We're all feeling the pressure of the perfect storm that is affecting photojournalism today, and many photographers, including long established leaders in the industry seem to have reached their breaking point.

All this pent up frustration has lead to a round of accusations and many of us are looking to finger the blame, but what about our own responsibility in this economic mess? Aren't we a part of the problem as well. If so, let's look for some solutions already!

I will continue to address this issue as I can in the coming weeks, so if you have any ideas or comments, I invite you to share them here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Deadly Threats Multimedia Piece from Stephen Ferry and HRW



Human Rights Watch has collaborated with photojournalist Stephen Ferry with this very well done and short (and that's a good thing!) multimedia piece on Colombia. You can see it here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II ISO Settings and Noise



The other day photographer and friend, Axel Cipollini, sent me this link. It's an interesting study, but I'm not going to get in to the details of it. In a nutshell this is what you should take from it. You should be shooting at 50, 160, 320, 640, 1250, 2500 ISO, etc. For some reason at 1/3 stop under the full stops of 200, 400, 800, 1600 you get considerably less noise than at any other similar ISO settings. Interesting.

Grazia Axel!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LENS: On Assignment with Michael Kamber



The New York Times blog Lens has a nice piece on some of the realities of working with fixers in "difficult" places where language, logistics and mining the field of burocracy to gain access to your subject matter. Fixers can be expensive and they can dig deep holes in the financing of a project. The best advice I can give to any one who uses a fixer is select them well, because there is a huge range of quality out there and some can become more of a liability than a help. In any event, the Lens piece is a good read and shares some insight on Michael Kamber's (photojournalist, writer and videographer) experience in Yemen.

It’s New Year’s Eve in Dakar when the call comes from the editor in New York. A Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up an airliner headed to Detroit six days earlier. I’m told he’d studied in Yemen. Steven Erlanger, chief of The Times’s Paris bureau, is already there filing stories. I’m to join him immediately. I fly to Paris, pick up money and gear at the bureau, then rush back to the airport to catch a flight to Dubai. Thirty-six hours after leaving Senegal, I’m in Yemen.

Its capital, Sana, is easily the most charming city I’ve seen in the Middle East. After Dubai’s garish chintz, Baghdad’s cinderblock boxes and the boring modernity of Amman, Sana astonishes — with narrow winding streets and rows of ancient mud brick buildings decorated with stained-glass windows.

I set out with Steve to photograph the trail of the bomber, who had frequented a local language school and two or three mosques. There is not much to work with. I’m simultaneously shooting video, which adds to the complexity of the situation. To make matters worse, the government assigns a minder who stays with me every minute of the day. A short, jowly man with a huge mustache, his job is ostensibly to facilitate my work. In practice, he follows me around chewing khat, a leafy narcotic, and occasionally expounding on the works of Hemingway, which he has read in Arabic.

At the school, the students don’t want to be photographed for fear their parents will see them. One mosque allows us inside for a few minutes, but we’re quickly ushered out as prayers begin — just when it gets visually interesting. I work around the edges, trying to find interesting visuals: moments, shapes, contrasts.

To continue, click here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kathryn Cook on Working Abroad



There is a wonderful Q&A interview with Kathryn Cook from the NPPA blog The Visual Student.

VS: Describe your current work situation and how you got there.

Cook: “I have been a freelance photographer for nearly 5 years and am now represented by Agence Vu’ (France) and Prospekt (Italy). I try to focus on long-term stories which I which I balance with assignments.

How it all began - I studied journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder and found photography through 2 elective courses. After a few internships, and a fellowship at the Poynter Institute, I started interning/freelancing at the Miami Herald when Maggie Steber was the DOP. She gave me a chance to continue working there, which I did until I decided to move to Guatemala in 2003 to take some Spanish classes. From there I was hired by the Associated Press to take the post in Panama. I stayed there for almost 2 years and then left my job to pursue a freelance career.”

VS: How important is balancing work and personal life?

Cook: “When I first started my career in Panama I wasn’t interested in balancing a personal life with work because I was too excited to think about it. I was quite ambitious and determined, so I just wanted to focus on work and not much else. But that changed after a couple years. I think I realized that I had nothing to balance my emotions and my energy. I’m inspired by the people in my life, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend… and now my 5-month-old baby. If I don’t have them, I don’t nurture the range of emotions that are normal and natural and it is harder for me to refer to them when I am connecting to people I photograph. So for me, my personal life creates me and molds me as a human being, and then I can carry that into my work.”

To continue reading the interview, click here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Will Apple Save Big Media?

I have my doubts as there is nothing scarier than one company controlling distribution of news, but here's what today's New York TImes has to say about it...

Read it here

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NY Times to Implement Pay System for Heavy Users

I think this is a step in the right direction as I hope the Times can find a business model that works. You can read more here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More on Non-Profit Journalism...

The New York Times published an article today on Non-profits that are trying ot pick up the slack in investigative journalism. You can read it all here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photo Featured in Media Storm Produced Multimedia Piece on Oceans


I'm pleased to share that one of my photos from the series I did on the Maldives has been included in a multimedia piece on Oceans as part of the Global Governance Monitor at the Council on Foreign Relations site. It's a very interesting piece that was produced by Media Storm. You can see it here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Apple's New Entry: Will the iSlate revolutionize media?


All eyes will be on the iSlate when it releases, whenever it releases. Will this bring the holy grace to those who wish for itunes like functionality in the media world? Will this save our profession? What do you think?

To read more on this, check out today's article in the New York Times:

January 4, 2010
DESIGN
Impact of ‘iSlate’ Could Rival iPhone

By ALICE RAWSTHORN
LONDON — You don’t need a crystal ball, seer stone, scrying pool or any other spooky stuff to guess what one of the most talked-about design projects of 2010 will be. The tech blogs have been buzzing about it for months. It’s the iSlate, iTablet, iProd, Magic Slate, or whatever else Apple finally decides to call its new tablet computer.

We’ve been here before: three years ago, to be exact. The drill was the same. Months of frenzied blogging culminated in ecstatic cheers on Jan. 9, 2007, when Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, brandished a prototype iPhone before an adoring audience of Apple nuts at a convention in San Francisco.

What’s happened since? Not only has Apple sold tens of millions of iPhones, it has pulled off a stunningly successful exercise in design democracy whereby thousands of D.I.Y. designers have developed applications, or programs, for them. Some 100,000 “apps” have been invented, and more than two billion downloaded from Apple’s App Store. What’s almost more impressive is that Apple has achieved this despite its own history — and instincts — as the consummate corporate control freak.

Mr. Jobs is expected to show off the iSlate (as we’ll call it, if only because that’s the latest rumor) in San Francisco later this month...

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