ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Topic 98

File formats, for example, storage requirements, loading time, portability by Xiao Xiao

So you have finally finished editing that vacation movie and turns out that there isn’t enough space on your computer to save it or perhaps a different computer cannot view that movie? There can be many complications when it comes to viewing or accessing a piece of media. Therefore, we have to be careful when dealing with storage and access concepts.

File format, in particular, is the most important. I have had so many problems regarding file formats in the past. For example, I downloaded a movie from the Internet and my Windows Media Player couldn’t play it because the movie had a “.mov” extension and after researching on the net it turned out that I had to download Apple’s Quicktime player to play the movie. Sometimes, I had to use different image viewing software to view an image and not my usual Microsoft Picture Viewer. If you are working on a project or editing an image, then make sure you choose the most popular extension. In case of videos, that extension would be “.avi” and in case of images that would be “.jpeg”. Please choose the right extension otherwise the friend to whom you are sending a (edited) picture of your girlfriend would be disappointed when he is not able to view the photo.

Another consideration should be storage requirement. But what exactly is storage requirement? In this case, it means whether your e-mail provider would allow that presentation or image be attached to the e-mail. Or whether there’s enough space to save that movie on your computer! In either case, make sure that you know how much space your e-mail provider provides in terms of attachments and in terms of email storage size. In today’s world, everyone sends and receives photos using e-mail. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the right e-mail provider. No wonder Google’s Gmail is so popular – currently it is providing 2805 MB of storage! (10 MB or more in attachments) If you already have a Gmail account then you need to be concerned about the space available on your computer. Most computers today come with at least 100 GB of Hard Disk space. If, however, your computer doesn’t have that much space – please go to a nearby vendor and get a bigger hard drive because in today’s world (especially if you are a photoshopper) you need 160 GB of space!

Loading time is basically dependent on the computer’s RAM and the processor and of course the type of the file. For example it would take only a second to open a Word document but it would take 10 seconds to open a photoshop file! Loading time can only be increased if you change your computer’s RAM or increase the processor speed (requires a change in CPU). RAM determines how many programs you can have running at the same time and processor speed is just how the computer would run so in today’s world at least 1 GB of RAM and at least 2 GHz of processor speed!

In today’s fast world like Tokyo, portable devices are the way to go. PDAs, iPods, multi-functional phones have taken a huge rise in sales! This is because people don’t have the time anymore to sit down at home and watch movies. Everything has to portable therefore file sizes are being compressed and being made small. Music is coming in mp3 format so people can carry it in their pockets and movies are also being compressed so people can watch it while traveling on traisn!

So the main point is that you have to know your consumers. You have to set your file format and size according to who will be viewing your data. If it’s someone in a third-world country then you better make everything low quality so he/she can see it on a low-performance computer. But if it’s someone in a hi-tech country (like we are in) then go with high quality stuff!


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