Thursday, August 11, 2016

GIF Files: Standing the Test of Time...

Animated GIF files are fascinating for oh so many reasons! Don't take my word for it; in the event this would be news to you, search online and see what you can find. Though many reasons for this could be stated here, to me, one of the most impressive aspects of GIF files is their longevity.
     Who would have thought many decades ago, prior to the Internet, in the dark-ages of computers where the idea of dealing with images as a file was in its infancy, that this file type would still be around today. The reasons then for creating this type of file were drastically different than its appeal now in our modern (a relative term) times.

     Some may find the popularity of these annoying, and maybe especially so for the ones that go on forever, and ever, and ever - distracting your eye from your reading (such as the ones provided here). Though to me - be it for adding life with motion to old photos, or for providing instructional visuals, or for whatever reason - the usefulness for these file types seems endless.

     All this being said, what I find maybe most impressive is the longevity of the file type itself. This is no small achievement. Over the years there have been so many file types, programs, ideas, notions, etc, that have gone by the wayside to oblivion and archives of the obsolete - lost in the dungeons of the abyss.
     I know this is to be expected though in many ways this can be a real problem. For example let's consider layout programs such as InDesign and Quark, or maybe Microsoft Publisher, and let's also consider the one that may be underappreciated but deserves much credit for getting "desktop publishing," and layout of text and images within a computer, started in the first place - way back when - PageMaker.
     When these programs, and their file types, become obsolete what is one to do? I have around fifteen years of work that was done with PageMaker, and thanks to Adobe who took ownership of the program to then abandoned it without a workable means of effectively converting the files forward - what is one to do? Files becoming obsolete can be a real problem.
     What of Office type files, such as Word, for something as basic as data or "word-processing"? When considering the different versions of the programs, the added "x" to the extensions, the "it may work or may not work features" (which depend on having the newest and latest version of the program), etc. (the list goes on) - again, what is one to do? Years ago, from Microsoft, I used their Works collection of programs. I now have files - you know - basic text and data - from the early 1990s that are no longer usable (at least that was my experience the last time I looked for a means for accessing them).
     For text, with some basic formatting, let's consider the file type RTF (Rich Text File). It has proven itself, to me, as a very stable file type which offers longevity. My hope is that generations from now these RTF files will still work for whomever would want to access them. This kind of longevity for a file type seems the exception rather than the rule.
     For another example, lets consider Flash. It was not that many years ago when it was the "way to go" for making websites inviting and visually more interesting. I now have content on sites (as I am sure many others do to) that is now obsolete and no longer working for many visitors and devices.
     I am sure there are many other examples that could be mentioned, though my thoughts for what could be considered the most impressive feature of GIF files is that - wow - they really have survived the test of time where so many others have failed. For this I consider GIFs "most worthy" of my praise - and besides - in addition to being still very useful, they too can be fun.
     (While looking for another example for showing - and with a homemade pizza just placed in the oven while drafting out my thoughts here - I found this GIF from earlier. I guess I will close with this one then - while wondering - maybe I eat too many pizzas! Enjoy; I know I will once the oven buzzer goes off.)