Monthly Archives: September 2015

Video

Video: A short history of graphic file formats

My video for today briefly covers graphic file formats from the forties to the present. I made some interesting discoveries along the way, especially Laposky’s CRT “Oscillons.”
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“Can I use?”

I just came across caniuse.com, where Alexis Deveria maintains information on browser support for various Web features. This looks like a nice resource on how widely formats are being adopted.

TI(FF)/A

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Adobe objected to the use of the name TIFF in the TIFF/A Initiative and proposed TIFF profile. Since Adobe holds the trademark, their objection has legal force. Accordingly, TIFF/A has become TI/A (Tagged Image for Archival), and the Initiative is now using the domain ti-a.org. The old domain redirects to the new one.

This is bound to cause some confusion, but it looks as if there wasn’t any choice.

Video

New video: Introduction to file format internals

This is my very first YouTube video, intended to give starting-level computer science students an idea of some of the basic issues of file formats. Suggestions on how to make future ones better, in terms of both content and technique, are welcome. If I get serious about these, I’ll invest in something better than the very painful iMovie.
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Video

Understanding JPEG DCT

Some of us know that JPEG uses the Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) to do lossy compression. A few people have more than the vaguest idea of what that means, and I don’t claim to be one of them. Today, though, I found a video on YouTube which gets me closer, even though I’m not very inclined toward advanced mathematics. It’s included in my file formats playlist on YouTube.
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TIFF/A by any other name

TIFF/A is in search of a new name.

Today’s online kickoff discussion for the TIFF/A Initiative was productive in a lot of ways, but the big news for the broader public is that it will have to change its name. Adobe owns the TIFF trademark, and it doesn’t want “TIFF/A” used for the proposed new standard for archival TIFF.
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EpubCheck 4.0

EPUB is the favorite format for e-books (ignoring Amazon, which like to be incompatible so it can lock users in). EpubCheck is the open-source industry standard for validating EPUB files. If you’re an author creating your own e-book files, you should run them against EpubCheck before releasing them. It’ll make hosting sites happier, since they’ll probably run it themselves and will like your book better if it passes. A book that passes EpubCheck will also give you fewer headaches with readers complaining it doesn’t work on their reader.
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Oh, well…

There’s nothing like total failure to give perspective. My request for Patreon supporters got zero response in 32 hours. Zero, to ten decimal places.
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PDF/A as OAIS SIP container?

A proposal to use PDF/A as a Submission Information Package (SIP) under the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model has generated a small stir on Twitter.

The aim of a SIP is to deliver a collection of documents in a form suitable for ingesting into an archive. It needs to have enough metadata to create a proper Archive Information Package (AIP). The model doesn’t specify what SIP format(s) an archive should accept. XML files following well-known archival schemas such as METS for the overall package and PREMIS for preservation information are popular.
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TIFF/A kickoff

TIFF/A logoThe TIFF/A Initiative has announced its kickoff online conference for September 15 at 3 PM CEST. TIFF/A (see my earlier post) is a proposal for a set of rules, not yet defined, for archival-quality TIFF files. It’s still possible to sign up for participation. According to the email, the conference will cover:
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