Somewhere there’s a guy with a Betamax videocassette recorder in his basement.
During the early 1980s, when the emerging video industry sparred over which videotape format — Betamax or VHS — would dominate the home market, consumers had to make a choice.
The industry shook itself out — VHS, introduced by JVC, prevailed over Betamax, built by Sony Corp. — but it did so largely on the customers’ dime.
“It was a platform war,” said Fred Vogelstein, contributing editor at Wired magazine.
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It serves as a rough analogy to what the author of “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution” is following now.
That’s the battle between Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, and Google, which developed Android, a competing operating system for smartphones.
The Apple-Google fight has its obvious differences from the VHS/Betamax battle.
“There’s a lot more money at stake,” he said. “Plus, the smartphone is cutting across a bunch of different industries — not only the personal computer and telecom businesses but the media business as well.”
Vogelstein speaks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Library, at 14 W. 10th St.
A stroll through our parks
At first glance the story of Kansas City’s sprawling parks and boulevards systems would not be an ideal candidate for the Images of America books published by Arcadia Publishing.
Some of the panoramic archival photographs of the early parks system overwhelm the confines of the 6- by 9-inch Arcadia format.
But any buyer of “Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards” will own a concise history of the urban planning effort that rendered Kansas City one of the most beautiful cities in America by the late 1920s from what, decades before, had been described by some East Coast newspapers as the “filthiest” community in the country.
And like all Images of America editions, it has plenty of images, some familiar, many others revelatory. One of them depicts 10th Street and Broadway in 1871. Visible is the Coates Opera House, the Coates House Hotel and a standing pool of “agricultural and street runoff,” according to the authors.
“We take the park and boulevard system for granted today,” said Dona Boley, who wrote the book with Patrick Alley. “And people sometimes forget it is a system and how it completely ties the city together.”
Boley and Alley will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, at the Central Library.
For information about both events, go to KCLibrary.org.