originated on a Texas Instruments calculator way back in
1979. At a time when calculators were calculators and
memory were no memory:
The superior positive
color printing paper, Cibachrome (today Ilfochrome) was
Expensive (it still is). The Color Reciprocity Factors
were prohibitive (they still are). Every film had their
own peculiar characteristics when printed (they still
have). The Color Filter Factors of any enlarger were
mostly unpublished - if they were, they were wildly out
of range. Within short I was ruined: Every new print
seemed to demand an unlimited number of test prints....
The solution was close:
Get hold of the paper reciprocity factors (the hard
part). This way I could at least compute (the easy part)
the more than proportional increase in exposure time when
going from a small test print to a normal enlargement.
150 lines of primitive calculator code solved it:
Reciprocity conquered! An additional 50 lines did even
more: Color filter factors controlled! All done in two
I was happy with
AnotherLAB v.1.0: My lab productivity doubled overnight,
my expenses fell to a fraction. I stayed with this
solution for 8 years. Only trouble was that I had to
reprogram the calculator each time I turned it on...
And it would have been
nice to be able to repeat an earlier print without
starting at point Zero or search through an enormous
number of yellow notes...
My first PC arrived in
-87: The possibilities seemed endless. I could have a
print database, I could register any film and paper with
their own characteristics. All thought - All done. This
time in 3 months... With AnotherLAB v.2.0 I was now able
to set up a professional color printing service. The time
spent developing the program was paid back several times.
But clients and
colleagues kept asking: Why not distribute such a superb
tool to other labs/photographers? Make some real money!
My answer: I'm busy
making pictures. And besides, the program is constructed
in an obscure language (remember FRED anyone?), I will
have to spend at least a year reprogramming...
In 1990 Windows at last
seemed to catch on (remember 3.0?) At last even no-nerds
(read Photographers) might be able to use a computer.
They might even earn some money on it... I started it all
once again: Spend one year I thought. It was to take me
three years filled with 16 hour workdays....
Finished - and broke:
In 1993 I was finished
- and broke. No money was left for the marketing.
Responses were good across Europe: From Italy to Norway.
Some very influential photo companies (Kodak, Jobo)
almost took on the product. There was a very good review
in the German "Photo und Hobby Labor". But no
I ended up with:
- A superb product
- A very good
knowledge of Windows programming and User
Interface design (a new career)
Classical marketing theory
speaks about the "Three P's":
Looking back, it's easy
to see that I had the Product and the Place right. Only
the Price was wrong: The price was set at $1590 (remember
that software prices has fallen dramatically since then)
- a price I felt fully justified, it was just below the
price of Photoshop. Photographers were used to spending
far larger amounts on equipment that gave far less. Even
at the original price, AnotherLAB was a Money maker! Only
one catch: The Market did not understand....
Now, four years later:
I have made another
career (sic) as an interface and program and
WEB-designer. With the WEB coming on, I thought I might
make my human fellow colleagues a favor.