A few things about GIFs

So the creator of the GIF, computer scientist Steve Wilhite, passed away last month, according to an article quoted in American Libraries Direct. GIF (pronounced jif) stands for Graphic Interchange Format, and the first version of one was created by a team from CompuServe, headed by Wilhite, in 1987, predating the Web. Explained in an article in October of that year in Online Today, a GIF is flexible enough to overcome any basic hardware compatibility issues, and stores and transmits graphic data in compressed form. It was initially developed to allow color images to load quickly for stock tickers and other interfaces. According to the Daily Dot, an online newsletter, the GIF enabled “lossless, compressed graphics”, in color. Apparently it was quite a breakthrough back then, since black & white image files were not compressed and thus much slower to load. [I just happened to be scanning articles in Direct for one to blog about, this one caught my eye, and I was sucked into trying to understand just what it meant exactly.] Just some tech history tidbits for today…

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