Saturday, February 27, 2010

How the Internet unnecessarily sucks up bandwidth and wastes energy as a result.

The drive to offer more and more advertising products and services via the internet is incessant. However, the drive to increase bandwidth requirements quicky becomes a burden as page loading times increase for the average computer user.

I find it unfortunate that the basics from the 80's and 90's seem forgotten by so called I.T. experts. Internet ads are causing the world wide web to grind to a halt. This is to some degree avoidable.

One way to reduce internet bandwidth waste is to evaluate a web page's loading time on a computer that is a few years old. This concept has been around for a long time but seems forgotten nowadays. In other words, the very fast computer a web designer uses to create a page or an ad should not then become the computer that evaluates how the computer actually plays the ad on the internet!

Years ago cheap mono audio speakers were a part of many sound studios. The idea was to compare how well a mixed soundtrack could be heard onvery expensive sound studio speakers, and on a cheap cheap mono speaker as well.

If a sound mix could clearly be heard on both sets of speakers, the mix could be considered a technical success. I wonder if this tried and true analog way of trouble shooting is a forgotten art nowadays in the internet world.

I'm not just suggesting that audio be evaluated the old fashioned way, I am also referring to how many different computers does a web designer actually check their work on before they consider the work completed?

While it makes sense to create internet advertisements on the fastest computer available, it is nothing more than a slash and burn mindset if the end product is then not evaluated on an "average" computer that could be anywhere from two to five years in age.
I recently troubleshooted a problem I encountered on a well known website and then contacted the news station who put me in touch with their MT programmers, who agreed with my assessment. I noticed that an autoload feature which was loading photos onto a very small window within the web page itself (represented by the two windows on the right side of the image above), was causing the video I was trying to view on the bottom of that same page to freeze up. (the image of the gentleman, which is possibly off center because of the SD / HD aspect ratio differences.)

I correctly deduced that even though the photos were maybe double the size of a small thumbnail, hi resolution files with a memory killing appetite were being used to fill the thumbnail spaces. The obvious solution would be to create memory efficient JPG's instead of hi resolution files, especially if the image of the photos remains small. I relayed this information to the MT department and the tech department agreed with me. (I guess we can call that a free consultation on my part).

I credit the site with having the class to let me to speak to someone who in turn actually put me in touch with a human being, that in and of itself is a miracle these days and in my opinion is the most important aspect of this story.

I am being detailed in my explaination because if I don't point out my contributions towards solving problems, nobody else will.

Now, the million dollar question becomes, who pays whom to reduce each and every photo to a more efficient jpg size? No matter how streamlined the conversion from a high resolution file to a jpg is, it still takes time and labor to do the conversions. Jpg's are generally the last step in the digital still image editing process otherwise designers would have even more work to do trying to photoshop or color correct an overly compressed jpg file. Plus, anytime labor added value is applied to imagery, it is logical to do it to the biggest file version, then jpg afterwards.

Instead, it may be deemed an extra step in the budget chain to create jpg's because that effort will most likely go unnoticed and unappreciated. Unfortunately, each and every visitor to that website has to consume needless additional ram to view tiny thumbnail pictures, which just ties up internet bandwidth and can even interfere with the playing of video on the same site. All because high rez still image files needed to be converted to more efficient jpg's.

Since my call in middle of January, changes have been made. The boxes on the right no longer have the ram wasting hi rez photos automatically loading, and for the first time, I was able to play the video at the bottom of the image with no problems, which is why you can now see it in the image provided above!

If you are planning on creating or broadcasting a commercial and want an objective, outsiders point of view about your commercial, contact Alessandro Machi about his consulting services at...

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