Helpful Info

 
NOTE: I refer to “PC” in the true sense of the word, meaning personal computer, and not inferring windows machine as it has come to be used.  The term personal computer could mean a computer running Mac, Windows or Linux, etc.

Image Formats:  what to use and where?

There are many formats available out there for you to use and sometimes it can be a little daunting figuring out which one to use where.  A little background on each may be all you need to make an informed decision and in the end help make your website or blog or even email a little faster, smaller or possibly better.  For the most part these types can be divided into two groups – lossy and lossless.  Lossy compression generally gives smaller file sizes without losing too much of the image quality by taking advantage of our own visual limitations.  Lossless compression will result in larger files, but better image quality with little or no artifacts.  Below is a brief description and a little history of a few of the most common Raster image formats, most of the time the desired end product will determine which format you use to create, edit or save your image in, as some are more suited for larger reproductions, or faster loading, or more vibrant colours.

JPEG

Joint Photographic Experts Group is a digital image file format designed for maximum image compression. It is the best way to format your colourful photos.  Sometimes called a .JPG, or .JPE, the format has not been around as long as GIF, but has become the most commonly used method of compressing photographic images on computers. It can display photos and graphics with millions of colours, compresses well and is easy to download.  It uses a “lossy” compression technique during the compression process so some of the image data is lost but does result in an image that is as small as possible.

GIF

Designed by CompuServe, the GIF is one of the most popular formats on the Internet because it is more widely supported by Web browsers than the JPEG format. It is well suited for compressing areas of images with large areas of the same colour – such as computer-generated art and line drawings. It is also a good option for putting animation online. Images are compressed in to a 256-color or 8 bit image.  It also supports “interlacing“ which creates the illusion of faster-loading graphics on a Website. It does so by showing the image first in a blurry form, and then gradually defining the image as more information is downloaded from the server.

PNG

Portable Network Graphics file format is regarded, and was made, as the free and open-source successor to the GIF file format.  It is a “lossless” compression format, being compressed by a technique in which no data is lost. A PNG image is more vibrant with 48 bit true colour, compared to the older GIF’s only 8 bit colour.  It also allows interlacing, and is better suited for editing than the other formats.

TIFF

Created for simple desktop publishing. A TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is an old but popular format for colour and black-and-white line images.  May not be supported by all programs or browsers.

BMP

Not to be confused with the actual type of raster images, referred to as “bitmaps” which all of the above are types of.  The term bitmap comes from computer programming terminology, meaning a map of bits. This image format stores the image as a pattern of memory bits, each of which specifies the colour of a pixel of the image.  Bitmap refers to the type of image, whereas BMP is the windows bitmap format which is generally used within windows and is non compressed and results in large files.

 

Backing Up, etc.:

I Hate to say it but…

you are going to experience problems, and sometimes they are going to make you long for a simpler time before computers.

What can you do? try to be prepared.  there is a saying “there are those who have had harddrive failures and those who are going to.”  basically every part of your computer has a lifespan.  proper maintenance and use will extend it, but not indefinitely. the best thing to do is to treat all your important data, photos, music, whatever, as gold.  think of what information is important and make sure that is backed up.  if  there is anything that is irreplaceable then it’s a good idea to have multiple backups of it.

“so, how can i do that?” get yourself a backup program – that will make the process easier, which normally means, it’ll be done more often.  if you have no backup program, then you can do it manually, just copy the data onto a external harddrive and also onto CDs or DVDs, or thumbdrive/flashdrive, etc..  Make sure you store this info in a safe place, and try not to overwrite the backed up data the next time you backup just in case there is a problem with the backup you want to have a spare, even if it is a little older its better than no backup at all.

 

 

GEEK STUFF

Definitions: Networking

Wi-Fi

Wireless Fidelity is simply a method of ensuring your equipment can talk to a network without physical cables. When you think of a ‘hot spot’ (like a  local coffee shop, restaurant,etc.), it’s generally a Wi-Fi enabled area, which typically lets you connect to the Internet.

WLAN

Wireless LAN (local area network) is all about linking two or more pieces of equipment without any physical connection via radio waves. This means you can be mobile without losing your connection to your local area network. And it’s ideal for transferring large amounts of data.

WWAN

Wireless Wide Area Network is a wireless network that operates over a wide area. A WWAN differs from a WLAN in that it specifically uses cellular network technologies, such as 3G, to transfer information.

3G (Third Generation)

3G is mostly used in reference to mobile communications. The term 3G refers to a third-generation set of technologies and standards that work specifically for enhanced multimedia, email, phones, videoconferencing and high speed connectivity.


WIRELESS INFO AND TROUBLESHOOTING:

Reception Problems

If you are experiencing an intermittent or slow connection it may be the result of interference from other electronic devices. Some factors that affect the quality of your connection include:
• Distance from your location to the access point
• Number and type of walls and obstructions between you and the access point
• Electronic devices in the area (such as cordless phones)
• Number of users connected to the access point at the same time
• Rogue Access Points
Wireless signals operate in the 2.4 GHz radio band so things like 2.4 GHz phones, microwaves or other devices emitting signals at that frequency may disrupt communication. If you are having difficulty getting a signal, try moving to a different location. Shut off any high frequency electronic devices that you are not using. Another option is to change the channel you are using on your router, that is if you have access to it and are the administrator.

Wireless Connection Available But Cannot Connect

If you have a wireless connection available but cannot access the Wireless Network, you may be connecting to a rogue access point that may even be using the same network name. Rogue wireless devices degrade the quality of the network to a point to make it unusable.
A possible workaround for Windows XP users that do not want to connect to rogue access points, that may be operating in “ad-hoc” or “peer-to-peer” mode, is to restrict their wireless communications to access point (infrastructure) networks only. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Select Start > Connect To > Wireless Network Connection.
2. Click the Propertiesbutton under the General tab.
3. Click on the Wireless Networks tab.
4. click on the Advancedbutton.
5. Select Access point (infrastructure) networks only option.
6. Click Close.
7. Click OK again to close the properties screen.

Configuration

Do you have your SSID set correctly?
You should ensure that you have the SSID (wireless network name) parameter set to the name of the network you want to use. If you are using Windows XP and there is a rogue access point in the vicinity of where you are trying to login, your computer may be automatically connecting to a different SSID.

Turn Off Bridging
If you are using Windows XP, some users will experience problems connecting to the wireless network because Windows XP will automatically “bridge” your network cards. You must turn off bridging.
To turn off bridging, follow these steps:
• Select Start>Connect To>Show All Network Connections or
• Select Start>Control Panel>Network And Internet Connections>Network Connections
For your wireless card, remove it from the bridge as shown below, by right-clicking on it and choosingRemove From Bridge.

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