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October 22, 2003

Recurring blog entry.

For the sake of a rant on the uk-netmarketing mailing list about someone who wanted to send 100MB email attachments - possibly as spam, I can no longer remember - I had to dig out David Weinberger's World of Ends essay.

And every time I go back to it, I'm reminded just how damn *right* it is, and how damn simple and *obvious*.

Douglas Rushkoff's statement that 'most of the innovation in the internet happened in a gift economy among academics' keeps coming back to me. I'm not sure he was right to say that innovation stopped when 'industry' got involved, but I do feel that 'industry' was a bit too damn lazy to go through the proper hoops.

But going back to the email attachment - I remember zipping email attachments before sending them, as the time it took to do the zip took less time than sending the extra data down my 14.4K modem.

I doubt if anyone does that any more. But simple economies like that *haven't* been automated. And they should have been.

Posted by Tom Dolan at October 22, 2003 02:40 PM

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They have by AOL, would you believe. It automatically zips attachments, and then your poor recipients are too clueless to unzip them on receipt.

Posted by: Kim at October 22, 2003 05:17 PM

I never thought I'd say this, but well done them.

The dezip should probably happen automatically when it arrives in your mail client. For all mail clients.

Mind you, don't C$ (owned by AOL) own the ZIP algorithm? Or is that GIFs. My memory fails me.

Posted by: Tom at October 22, 2003 05:20 PM

Compuserve created the GIF format, but the legal problem that held back its use in many free applications (and which also provided the motivation for the creation of the far superior and totally open PNG) was the patent on LZW compression, which was held by Unisys. (While I'm in pedant mode, though, it's perfectly possible to create valid GIFs that use compression methods other than LZW, but they won't compress as well) The patent expired a few months back, so GIF and other LZW-using applications are in the clear. That said, PNG support is now wide enough that you should use it if you can (though some implementations in browsers aren't good at the more advanced features like the alpha channel).

I really must sub to UKNM one of these days, purely for the comedy value.

Posted by: Yoz at October 24, 2003 03:05 PM

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