Sam Allen

Our Blog.
Sam's two cents.

Our Blog. Sam's two cents.

ScanCafe CEO Sam Allen weighs in on industry events, company news, and more.

Halloween When You Were a Kid

UPDATE: congrats to AnnMarie (comment no. 120 below), who won our grand prize! We’re waiving all scanning charges on her order. And thanks to everbody who participated–there’s some really spooky stuff in here!
 
Halloween, circa 1964

Halloween has changed a lot in the last 30-40 years, and we’re interested in learning what it was like when you were young. So share your thoughts below!

I’ll start, since I’m guest blogging today. I grew up in a town in Mississippi, and every year we’d all go down to some Halloween fair inside a basketball gym. And every year, somebody would have built a “haunted house” exhibit that apparently only the brave would enter. I tried it–once or twice–and the thing is I can’t remember how it was built at all (besides, once you went in, it was plenty dark). But what I will never forget is the smell.

You see, the floor of said haunted house was always covered in straw, which I guess was a little wet, and so it had this powerful odor that was faintly sickening anyway, mixed in with all the other smells in the gym. So creeping into this haunted house, you’re a little sick to your stomach to start with. Then you fumble your way through, in the pitch black darkness, until some high school kid (you presume) screams and grabs your arm and scares the beejeesus out of you, and at that point I was ready to go home, in a hurry! To this day, whenever I smell wet straw (which living in San Francisco is not very often), I take a quick look around, just to make sure nobody’s about to grab me. So far, so good.

What was the spookiest thing about Halloween for you, growing up?

4th of July Winners

Congratulations to our 4th of July contest winners! We received so many that choosing was awfully tough. But we had to pick, and so we think these three images below say Independence Day, and summer in general, the best.

Thank to everybody for making this promotion such a visually stunning success.

July 4th Photo Winner

July 4th Photo Winner

July 4th Photo Winner

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100 million Kodachromes

Kodachrome slide

I love a good coincidence.

Yesterday, Kodak announced its intention to retire Kodachrome – on the exact same day that we completed our 25 millionth scan.

The subtlety of this confluence is not lost on us here at ScanCafe: Kodachrome, long loved by photographers for its vibrant colors, is also pretty much the only Kodak development process that resulted in a relatively stable image, one that could be preserved well over a long period of time. Stored well in the dark, Kodachrome slides tend to keep their density radically better than other Kodak processes; however, it is still important to note that in the absence of archival storage conditions (cold storage, humidity controlled) Kodachrome images will still deteriorate, albeit more slowly. So by retiring their most stable film they have highlighted the need to digitally preserve your analog archive.

At ScanCafe, our interest is in the preservation of the photography of several generations of consumers, and as such we find it pretty sad to see Kodachrome go. Historically, many really wonderful photos were taken with it – check out this book for some examples.

Kodachrome was by no means the most popular Kodak film, but it is without a doubt the one we most love to scan, and we especially love Kodachrome slides. Not only do they give us a chance to show off our terrific manual color correction skills, but the resulting images always have really exciting results. While we don’t keep this stat, I wouldn’t be surprised if a third of all the slides we’ve ever scanned are Kodachrome, and we’re pretty sure there are plenty more still out there, waiting to be preserved. So Kodachrome, you will always have a home here at ScanCafe. And here’s to the day we’ve scanned 100 million of them, coming soon I assure you.

A Post About Our Dads, for Father’s Day

I’m guest blogging for Sam today, and what we wanted to do was start a comment chain about our Dads. The idea came from our Father’s Day Midlife Crisis promotion, in which folks send us pics of their Dad and we use our ScanCafe magic to digitally give their Dads a midlife crisis.

Over a hundred people have already entered, but what really surprised us was how so many people enclosed heartfelt notes about their Dads along with their entry. So we wanted to give folks a public place to talk up their Dads. Just post a comment below with anything you’d like to say about your Father, and we’ll have a nice chain of Father-honoring comments in time for Father’s Day.

I’ll start it off. That’s my Dad, pictured above, just a bit after he’d been diagnosed with cancer. He’s hamming it up for the camera, which was an old Bell & Howell SLR.  He was amazing, but never easy–the kind of guy who would listen to classical music and drink cheap beer, barechested, at the same time. When I graduated from college, he made a big fatherly show of how he was done giving me advice. Now he’s gone, these many years, and I never told him that I needed it.

What’s your father like?

UPDATE: The winners for this contest were Karen Straw, Dr. Felix Subervi, and Paul Brown, with Honorable Mention going to EA Greene.

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Cheers!

We ran a fun little promo in May where we offered to buy our customers a case of beer to enjoy at their Memorial Day BBQ.

It was quite a hit, as you can tell from this customer’s picture.

Our customer enjoying a premium German beer with friends.

 

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