Month: February 2007

Meet The Weepies

Let’s call this the "FarnoVideo of the Week." It’s a video featuring music by a duo called "The Weepies" that we think rather highly of.  The tune is called "Nobody Knows Me At All."  The video was produced by Ashli Cole and Zac Benjamin, a couple that goes by the combined name of   "Shlizak"  Congratulations, …

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Baird -v- Farnsworth – AGAIN

I used to get an e-mail from somebody like every other week reminding me that John Logie Baird demonstrated a mechanical television system in 1926, and that he should be therefore regarded as the "inventor of television."  But until this morning It had been so long since I’d gotten one, I thought maybe the Baird crowd had finally seen the light (as it were).  So imagine my surprise when this showed up in my e-mail this morning:

– – – – –

From: "Bernard V. de Lara"
just a few questions

Dear Paul :
I’m not American but just someone writing to you from France.  I was wondering : convincing though you are about Philo being the real
inventor of television, I found this British website that seems even
more convincing about Baird being the real inventor of television. I’m really
honest in trying to find the truth, but how do you account for the following
excerpts ?

— The man behind the demonstration was a 37-year-old Scotsman called John
Logie Baird. And what he showed on screen, 19 months before Farnsworth, was far
superior to  Farnsworth’s "blob of light", as it was famously described by
Albert Abramson in The History
of Television.

— When Neil Armstrong set
foot on the moon, the camera used to transmit the live pictures was based on
Baird’s Field Sequential Colour System, because this was the best and most
reliable available.

— Virtually nothing of Farnsworth’s technology is
delivered to our living rooms today.

Those were taken from the following site:
Thanks for any answer you can provide me with.

– – – –

To which I have replied:

Dear Bernard:

As the website you mention points out, Baird’s system was mechanical.  It was obsolete the moment it was demonstrated.  Saying Baird invented television is sorta like saying that the first guy who hooked a horse up to a cart invented the motor car.   Or that the first person who put a match to a candle invented the light-bulb.

Farnsworth’s contribution was seminal:  it removed all the mechanical contrivances, and demonstrated a mastery of quantum physics previously unknown.  I like to call it "the leap from parts to particles."   I find Abramson’s assessment of a "blob of light" particularly laughable.  That "blob of light" proved a principal, and had Abramson’s own patrons — Zworykin, RCA — clamoring for the patent rights to that principal. 

Meet Hugo Gernsback

I am often asked, where did the term "television" actually come from.  There are numerous accounts of the origin of the term.  One of them attributes its first use to the writings of one Hugo Gernsback, who published numerous magazines about science and invention during the early 20th century.  I recall the first time I …

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