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The software maker detailed the new image format Wednesday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here. Windows Media Photo will be supported in Windows Vista and also be made available for Windows XP, Bill Crow, program manager for Windows Media Photo said in a presentation.
Stick with jpeg for the forseeable future, even if Microsoft rolls this out, even if Apple/Adobe/... should support it, the first part of the world that is likely to use it (if ever) are the photographers.
If it gets popular there, only then will webmasters need to start to worry about browser support before they can even consider using it.
Personally I'd much rather see an open standard. [Yes, I tried to read some of Microsofts file format "specifications", it's utterly incomprehensible]
JPEG is only valuable as a web image format. It's used by many digital cameras because of its "lossy" compression's ability to compress the image file data and fit more image files on the limited media storage devices current lower-end cameras have available to them.
Professional photographers who care about the quality of their pictures don't use JPEG ... it's too ugly. They use the TIFF (lossless LZW compression) and/or RAW (no compression) formats, and then produce copies for web distribution in JPEG with minimal compression.
MS wants to have the only browser that supports their format, so when Kodak and the other hardware producers start to include it in their products and MS-philes start to include the images on their websites the other browser mfrs will have to pay a license fee to MS or get out of the game. "Licensing issues"? You can bet that there will be only two: Who qualifies for one and how much it will cost.
If it was a question of producing quality compressed images, MS would have gone with a lossless format. They are fully aware that (in no small part through their own re-education of the public through the distribution of their products) the web-surfing public has low expectations for truly quality images.
I remember when personal computors first started sending the output of their amazingly crappy dot-matrix printers in to a printing press shop I worked for, and the owner of the shop refused to duplicate the dot output because of the damage it would do to his business when he became associated with that ugly stuff. Of course, that has changed to the point where most people would say that a photo looked "great", even with substantial compression artifacts because they simply have no recollection of what a truly "great" looking photo looks like ... printed from film onto continuous-tone media.
I dunno about you guys, but anything that starts off "Windows Media something-something" sounds like a great idea to me... I'm sure my Mac will love it.
Screw Microsoft, seriously. How could this possibly benefit anyone but themselves, when we already have formats in the works (or already here, like PNG) that can do great things but get no love (that is, no love from guess who)? And look, the Internet is not some damn pet project. It's the yin to real life's yang... you have no more right to try to copyright digital imagery standards than you have a right to try to copyright the way people see the world with their eyes.
If you want to further the fundemental technologies and capabilities of the web, do it pro bono or don't do it at all.
The only real benefit I can see for webmasters, is that it will make some of us a ton of money going in and "fixing" the images on another raft of sites published by secretaries and newbie webmasters.
Gazing into my crystal ball I see the future of MS's new format.... It's hazy, but it involves me making some large contributions to my RSP.
I just want to take the opportunity now to thank MS for aFrontpage, and so many of their other web initiatives. If it wasn't for MS's ability to screw up the web, I wouldn't have been able to clear my mortgage before I hit 35.
If the clueless mass public start to use this damned format by default (because MS will probably make sure it comes installed as standard with everything on a newbie's Vista machine) then websites will end up full of their damned patented rubbish. And we'll once again see MS crowbar in an uninnovative, unnecessary, expensive piece of their proprietary crap.
If MS can produce an photo with the same quality as a JPEG but half the filesize, that's a major accomplishment that will save us a bundle on bandwidth.
I'm not meaning to be obtuse, but this may well be a solution looking for a problem.
JPEG is standard almost everywhere. Have you experienced end users complaining about it? Do we need a new "standard"?
I don't get it either... PNG is fine.
BMP has no compression though so that is what is wrong with that.
I would bet my first born that IE7 has support for this.
Does anyone think that being able to rotate an image without having to decode and recode it is a rediculous feature to be totting? Who cares what goes on in the backend when I rotate an image, it still rotates.
I am unimpressed and in fact sacred that I may need an M$ operating system to deal with these if they end up in the main stream. I don't see that happening until at least 2008 though.