Posts Tagged ‘GdPicture.NET’

Happy Holidays!

It’s been a busy year at ORPALIS!
Many of you have noticed that along new major versions of all our products, we have released brand new websites:

PaperScan  PDF Reducer  PDF OCR

 

And a brand new software, PDF OCR!

PDF OCR recognizes more than 60 languages and can be included in production lines. If the Free Edition turns PDF into searchable file (very useful for students who need to copy or scan many documents), the Pro Edition (for desktop and server) convert more than 100 file formats.

Plans for 2017 include a brand new ORPALIS website, new major versions, and much more. We’re also working on expanding our productivity tools offer, so stay tuned!

But before that, we’re happy to run special offers on all our products:

Productivity tools:

PaperScan now 25% off            PDF Reducer now 25% off            PDF OCR now 50% off

 

Developer tools:

GdPicture.NET now 15% off                    DocuVieware now 15% off

These offers are valid for a limited time only! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, Coralie, Dmitry and Elodie will be happy to help!

Cheers!

The ORPALIS Team

The ORPALIS Team wishes you a great holiday!

The ORPALIS Team wishes you a great holiday!

Briefly about PNG

Hi folks!

As promised last time, today we are going to give you a very quick overview on PNG format.

In a previous article we’ve told you that  PNG format resulted from the effort of making a better and royalty-free successor for GIF, which at that time was confronted with a patent issue due to the LZW compression.
After the LZW patent expired, GIF got back to “freedom” but PNG was already there as the world’s most used lossless compression raster image format for WWW sharing, standing as a living example of how great things people can achieve when outrage unifies them against what they consider to be unfair.
As Wikipedia’s dedicated article puts it, “the original PNG specification was authored by an ad-hoc group of computer graphics experts and enthusiasts. Discussions and decisions about the format were done exclusively via email.”

But that’s about all when it comes to poetic aspects in the history of  PNG; all the rest is a remarkable lesson of practical efficiency.
The first  PNG draft was issued on 04 January 1995 and within just one week,  most of the major PNG  features were proposed if not even already accepted.
In the upcoming 3 weeks, 7 important drafts were produced.
Such amazing efficiency is explained by the above cited source as being the result of the high level of expertise of the team members combined with the “benevolent dictatorship” role assumed by Thomas Boutell.
Looks like this collaboration model (a small team of skilled members led by a respected and even beloved “dictator” , having an undisputed final word whenever consensus isn’t reached) worked very well for Linux kernel development , too (in that case the “dictator” being Linus Torvalds, of course), which is quite an interesting detail to mention as our own team works exactly the same way.
But back to PNG, by the begining of March 1995 (just 2 months after creation of the very first draft!) all specifications were in place (as of draft # 9)  and they were so good they were officialy frozen.
In October 1996 version 1 of the PNG specifications was publicly released, at the same time becoming a W3C recomendation.

In short, the PNG format, (Portable Network Graphics, file extension .png) is a network-friendly, patent-free lossless raster graphics file format supporting grayscale images (with or without alpha channel) as well as both palette-based images (with palettes of 24-bit RGB or 32-bit RGBA colors) and full-color non-palette-based RGBA images (with or without alpha channel).
It also notoriously provides a transparency channel, allowing the colors in the image to fade from opaque to transparent.
And as its primary purpose was quality-image sharing over the internet, PNG optionally allows 2D interlacing , we’ve told you about that in our previous articles on JPEG and GIF formats.

But let’s add just 2 quick side-notes.
First, PNG not being meant for professional-quality printing purposes, it doesn’t support CMYK  or other non-RGB color spaces .
The other one is about animations support : as a “successor” to GIF, PNG provides animation feature but not within the PNG format itself.
Instead, a variant (or extension) of PNG exists, named MNG (“Multiple-image Network Graphics”), which was still designed by the PNG Group, but it never reached popularity.

All that being said, PNG is an universal (cross-platform and cross-browser) format with a well-deserved place among digital image formats standards.

Of course, all our products, such as GdPicture.NET SDK toolkits for developers or PaperScan for the general public, fully supports PNG as well as its conversion to- and from-  some other 90 image file formats.

In our next article we are going to make a synthesis to find out -by weighing the pros and cons- which image format would be a best fit for which purpose.

So see you next week!

Bogdan

Big Browser on August 9

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Briefly About TIFF

Hi folks,

Let’s resume the short descriptions on most popular raster image file formats and today take a short overview of the “senior” TIFF bitmap format, which will soon be 30 years old, quite an admirable age when it comes to computing.

TIFF (“Tagged Information File Format”, file extensions .tif or .tiff) format was officially released back in 1986 by Aldus Corporation (now Adobe) with the intention of providing a standardized format for files resulted from scanning process, as at that time the many existing proprietary formats were creating serious compatibility issues.

Aldus did a great job as TIFF quickly became widely adopted, being a platform-independent and very flexible format.
In fact it is so flexible that its most recent specifications are dated 21 years ago (in 1992) as a result of the fact that no important improvements were requested by users.
Such flexibility (which actually also translates into complexity) makes us tell you but few words about TIFF, to draw a quick portrait sketch by using just few lines.

To put it in a nutshell, TIFF allows to store single/multiple pages at any required quality and to add any imaginable tags from the most basic to private ones. It supports all kinds of color encoding (ranging from B/W, through greyscale and up to color schemes) and many compression algorithms, such as LZW we’ve told you about not so long ago, CCITT or JPEG-based.
By offering such a luxuriant palette of options, TIFF is the best container to store highly detailed image information and it keeps on being the number one option for digital image preservation.
So no wonder why TIFF format is chosen whenever serious storage is required, albeit scaning important documents, desktop publishing or even storing master-versions of photos.
Of course this clean and open format has its drawbacks too, the biggest one being about size.
But keeping in mind the various lossy and losless compression options TIFF has to offer as well as the fact that digital storage space is already cheap and gets cheaper and cheaper every day, the size aspect is not a really bothering one at least not for professionals.
And its 4 GB maximum size limitation didn’t prove to be a main reason of frustration among users (but should it become one, it can be enhanced by Adobe, which currently holds all rights on TIFF specifications).

All in all, TIFF is not the format one would prefer for sharing images over the web, but its baseline specifications along with the wide range of subformats which extends up to exotic boundaries such as the GeoTIFF developed by NASA makes it perfect to store master copies for long-lasting purposes.
But being highly successfull, TIFF is also highly convertible so anyone can create more web-suited versions of his treasured images, by converting to formats such as PNG or JPEG.

Needless to say we support TIFF format and conversions in all our products, offering complex handling options for developers that use our GdPicture.NET SDK within their projects, as well as offering total simplicity for our general public users of PaperScan to annotate or convert TIFFs to or from other 90 file formats including PDF.

Next week we are going to tell you some practical basics on PNG.

See you then!

Bogdan

Big Browser on July 26

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The Positive of the Negative

Hi folks,

Today we are going to tell you about how bad things can paradoxically have some positive consequences, too.
The two stories and facts below are from IT domain, of course, but wise men say the pattern is universal.

Have you ever heard about the dot-com bubble?
It happened not so long ago, just some 15 years now and it was a financial crash with global efffects that followed after about 4 years of investment frenzy, generated (as always) by people’s mirage to get rich fast.
Financial bubbles aren’t new, they appeared centuries ago eversince the organized public financing was first invented.
This particular bubble originated in the rising of the internet, the most promising future to invest in: by the mid-90’s many internet-centered Companies such as Netscape, Yahoo  or Amazon.com became tremendously successful very fast thus starting the general appetite for investments in internet.
But soon appetite turned to greed, investments turned to speculations and reason turned to madness so huge flows of money got to flood this particular business in such a way that its values and figures became bogus, allowing ridiculous and unprecedented transactions to happen to such extend that simply creating a new Company having “.Com” within its name was enough to attract interest and funds, even if having no profit or revenues at all.
Sadly in March 2000 everything came to a predictable end, the bubble bursting-out and starting a financial earthquake that profoundly affected not only the US economy but other economies as well, most notably Asian and European.
For USA only the losses in the market value of companies exceeded 5 trillion dollars (2000 to 2002) causing drama almost everywhere, either directly or indirectly.

And yet, besides the “shock and awe” effects, the .com rush have generated some positive effects too.
An easy to grasp one is that the crisis operated a selection within internet Companies, causing the false-value ones to disappear.
Another logical effect is, once lucidity got back in place, most of the further investments were more rationally made into Companies with proven value such as Google.
But the most important (and also the less known) positive effect was that, in its growth years, the “.com” rush pushed and forced the global internet infrastructure to develop at tremendous rates in amazingly short amount of time.
Some say that without the .com bubble it would have taken 15 years for the internet infrastructure to reach the same technological parameters it reached in only 5 years during the bubble growth.
Thus, the .com bubble allowed one fast big leap forward instead of many small, slow steps (that might have lead to apathy and delay alongside with their consequences) allowing the internet to gain the speed for takeoff.

The other story is about ummm … porn.
No secret for anyone, the human race have always had a special taste for depicting sex since its very beginings.
Starting with drawings on caves’ walls and up to nowadays, sex was illustrated on all possible supports throughout the entire human civilisation: stone carvings, paintings, texts, photography, films, video-tapes, digital supports, you name it.
This unquestionably biggest interest of the overall human society led to the formation of a specialized industry by the end of the XX-th century.
And with huge powers over visual-related technologies, too.
Quick example: during the 80’s, there were 2 standards on the market for home videocassette recorders: VHS (released by JVC) and Betamax (released by Sony), their competition leading to what was later called “the videotape format war”.
Well, the simple fact that the “adult entertainment industry” opted for the VHS format sealed the fate of Betamax, which soon dissapeared while VHS became global standard.
Later on and for exactly the same reason, the Blu-ray disc format was worldwide adopted while its competitor the HD DVD became extinct.
With these kind of powers, when it comes to the internet, the porn industry got notorious for being a massive spammer, for being the biggest vehicle for malware dissemination or for using other dirty tricks such as pop-ups, pop-unders or mousetrapping.

However, believe it or not, this military invention named ‘internet’ was in many respects grown and partially shaped by the porn industry.
And not by making investments in technology researches.
Instead, its huge influence resulting from people’s eagerness for newer sex-related experiences forced broadband development, stimulated creation and development of video streaming, pioneered video-chat technologies, traffic optimization, wireless content delivery and even geo-location software.
And the name of the game being “money”, in order to cash-in revenues from the internet area, the adult industry inevitably also pioneered electronic billing and online payment systems, digital rights management, marketing affiliation and website memberships and subscriptions.
So even if it didn’t invent anything at all, the adult industry forced some inventions to get better, faster and bigger.
Size seems to sometimes matter after all!

By telling the stories above we, of course, didn’t imply that bad things are required to happen in order to generate good consequences or that dark sides of the human nature such as greed or obscenity are a ‘must’ in order to push things forwards.
But it’s just so common that good things produce good output.
And among millions of examples, here we are, making good products for developers and for the general public, for free or for the best price on the market and having happy users makes us continue improving further.
But if you disagree on that one, just let us know, we’re interested in the negative of the positive too !

See you next week!

Bogdan

Big Browser on July 19

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Casual Friday on July 19

Fog of San Francisco shown in stunning time-lapse

How much a word can cost

In the previous article we’ve promised to tell you a few things about Apple, words and names.
Steve Jobs, as brilliant and genious he was, seemed to have a problem with names.
The first story to be told is the one about the very name of the Company he’ve founded: Apple.
A declared fan of the Beatles (the British group that turned the world apart during the 60’s) it is highly improbable that Steve Jobs wasn’t aware of the fact that Beatles’ Record Label company was named “Apple”.
The Beatles founded it in 1968 and their vinyl records depicted apples under various forms.
But probably young Jobs thought that “Apple Records” in UK should be a totally different thing from “Apple Computer” in USA and saw no serious risks in using such a common word for a name.
And probably, if “Apple Computer” company wouldn’t have been so successful, it wouldn’t have been remarked by the British in 1978, just 2 years after having been founded.
A long series of law suites started then, opening and then settling various subjects since 1978 until 5 February 2007 when a final agreement was announced by the Companies.
“So what”, you might say, “disputes over trademarks are just so common, why is this one so special to even mention it?”
Well, there are 2 reasons why it’s worth mentioning.
The first reason is the unbelievable price Apple Computers had to pay for its name: the 2007 settlement alone involved 500 millions USD according to the mass-media of the time. And this outside-the-court arrangement was the last but not the only.

The other reason is a rather funny one: Apple Computer seemed to have learned its lesson from the “Apple vs. Apple” case.
So they did their best to avoid any possibile trademarks infringements in the future.
For example, when releasing the “Macintosh” not only they’ve changed the spelling of Jef Raskin’s favourite type of apple from McIntosh to Macintosh, but they also paid to McIntosh Lab , a Company producing Hi-Fi equipment, a certain amount to license the name ( early Mac literature says “Licensed from McIntosh Laboratories, Inc.” ) and later bought all rights to the name outright.
Such exceedingly prudent approach paid off and no trademark issue ever happened to Apple regarding the name “Macintosh”.

But hey, you can never be too prudent: in 2005 Apple released a multi-button USB mouse device named “Mighty Mouse” and again made researches before the release and purchased the license to use the Mighty Mouse name from VIACOM, owner of CBS, owner of the Mighty Mouse notorious cartoon series.
Unfortunately, the CBS cartoon series trademark was covering all kind of merchandise like T-shirts or even multi-vitamins but not computer peripherals, such as mouse device.
Instead, that name for computer devices was actually registered by Man & Machine Inc, a supplier of water- and chemicals-resistant keyboard and mice devices, who sued Apple over the use of name.
A series of disputes started between CBS and Man & Machine, but Apple was already so sick and tired of all that, it stopped using the Mighty Mouse name, replacing it with Apple Mouse in 2009 and, at least until today, never used names from others for their products.

Because in 1994, when they’ve internally code-named the Macintosh 7100 “Carl Sagan”, they got a cease-and-desist letter from Carl Sagan himself, even for as little as an internal, non-public code-name, not a comercial name following a public release.
Carl Sagan was a famous scientist who gained notoriety after publishing popular science books and most of all after co-writing and narrating the TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
Following his letter, Apple stopped using his name again, the engineers replacing it by “BHA” (standing for “Butt-Head Astronomer”).
Strange enough, although this was still an internal codename and also an abbreviation who could mean anything, Sagan learned about it and sued Apple for defamation.
He lost, then sued Apple again (this time for the initial use of his name), he lost again and finally, an out-of-court agreement was reached, Apple issuing an official statement it never intended to cause the scientist embarrassment or concern.

So, you see, that’s why ORPALIS is not a fruit, not a character’s name and not even an acronym: it’s just a small mystery instead!

See you next week !

Bogdan

Big Browser on June 21

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