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For a JPG, try saving it as a 'progressive' file, so a super-low res version will display first, and slowly resolve to the full res image, and make sure you enter height/width attributes in your HTML, so the rest of the page loading doesn't 'hang' while waiting to figure out the image info.
Also, if you are on Windows, I've heard great things about the ability of Pegasus JPEG Wizard to compress photos much smaller than either PSP or Photoshop, while still keeping them looking good... It's available as a photoshop plug-in, which I believe will work with PSP as well.
It's not that much more code to place a picture in two td's than it is to put it into one (like about 2-4 extra lines of code?).
Of course, it's always a good idea to first optimize an image to whatever format (gif or jpeg) is suitable.
In photoshop (and I assume in Paintshop Pro), you select one half of the picture. Then edit-copy. Then file-new-paste-then save for the web. Return to the original picture. Go to your selection menu and select Inverse (Voila!), you have the other half perfectly selected. Now edit-copy etc.
Boom! You're done. The inverse selection is your friend.
Actually, breaking up the pieces, if only in two, helps to speed the download because a 12k piece of data will slide through the data pipe easier than a 24k chunk.
But that assumes that chopping a 24k image into two bits results in two 12k images. It doesn't -- try it. Even if the data representing the image data itself was exactly half that of the original (which it seldom is), each image file has its own header, thus increasing the total number of bytes to download. Added to that is the fact that the client has to send a separate request to the server for each image, further adding to traffic and slowing the whole process down.