Image compression shootout.

My site has always been very image heavy, well that is what I do. The downside to that is your site becomes a bit slower, especially when viewing on mobile. So instead of making the images small on the site I started looking into better compression methods or methodologies. What I did was export from Lightroom as a resized jpg, I always resize to 2000px on the long edge, the Lightroom sample was set to 80% quality and 50% quality—trying to match the other compression engines. I then exported a 90% quality for testing (EWWW has file max file size) with the other methods. The other tests were done using ImageOptim and EWWW Image.

Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-no-compression
No Compression — Size, 1.6MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-Lightroom
Lightroom 80% compression — Size, 656KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-Lightroom-50
Lightroom 50% Compression — Size, 306KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-ImageOptim
ImageOptim ‚ Size, 276KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-EWWW
EWWW — Size, 225KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT3540-composite
Composite, No Compression, Lightroom 80%, Lightroom 50%, ImageOptim, EWWW

And a test with a more complex image, what I mean by complex is when you jpg an image like the image above with the smooth blue sky will result in a small file size than the same size image with a busy background and un-uniform patterns in clothing, like below.

Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-no-compression
No Compression — Size, 2.1MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-Lightroom-80
Lightroom 80% Compression — Size, 1.5MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-Lightroom-50
Lightroom 50% Compression — Size, 800KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-imageoptim
ImageOptim ‚ Size, 701KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-EWWW
EWWW — Size, 851KB

I left them in the same order as the first even though ImageOptim and Lightroom 50% files resulted in smaller file sizes.

Bryan-Thatcher_BRT2099-composite
Composite, No Compression, Lightroom 80%, Lightroom 50%, ImageOptim, EWWW

Update, I decided to add a closer crop shot

Bryan-Thatcher_BRT4049-no-compression
No Compression — Size, 1.2MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT4049-Lightroom-80
Lightroom 80% — Size, 491MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT4049-Lightroom-50
Lightroom 50% — Size, 225MB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT4049-ImageOptim
ImageOptim — Size, 199KB
Bryan-Thatcher_BRT4049-EWWW
EWWW — Size, 185KB
bryan-thatcher_brt4049-composite
Composite, No Compression, Lightroom 80%, Lightroom 50%, ImageOptim, EWWW

Interesting that is this sample I see a noticeable color shift in the two right hand images, but the artifacts are not as noticeable as the first sample. Other than the color shifts these images look pretty good.


The composites were combined in Photoshop and saved as jpgs with 0 compression in order not to add any other artifacts to the images.

You can see the full resolution images if you click the images.

Conclusion

ImageOptim and EWWW are an extra step in processing images, The Lightroom 50% compression has slightly more artifacts than ImageOptim, and it seems the EWWW is doing something to blur the artifacts these only become visibly distracting at 200% or above, and barely noticeable at 100% (look at the hair flyaways in the first set of images). In the second image I see artifacts in their skin especially in the Lightroom 50% and her eyelashes begin to wash away. I thought I would see more in the fishnet stocking, but it is pretty clean across all of them

So, I am going to continue with ImageOptim over a 50% Lightroom jpg, the file sizes are similar but the quality is far better. I am happy with the results of having images that are roughly half the size and still good quality.

Thanks to  SuzyMaenyc for letting me use her in the first set and to Daniel Chimowitz and SuzyMaenyc in the second set.

An idea to secure email from getting hacked. Sorta.

So, without having a real deep understanding of if this is possible I have an idea.

Email is ubiquitous, and if you are like me I can never get to inbox ZERO, I have tried. I always looked at in a couple of ways: 1. I might need to reference that email sometime in the future, so I have to keep it. 2. Wow, I was away from email for a week, now I have 3,000 unread emails and I don’t feel like dealing with that. 3. Subscriptions and email lists, yeah throw in some shopping emails and they add up quick.

I have used a single email address (it has changed over the years) for both personal and business, so I get a lot of email from a variety of sources, and for the most part, I ignore the 20,892 unread emails (I also have unread texts, and un-listen to voice mails). I do however try and address important messages in the appropriate/acceptable timelines.

Security, I use Gmail for business, with 2-factor authentication, so I’m pretty confident that I won’t be phished, I also pay attention to emails that look like they should be important, yet suspicious. Always right click a link to see what the full URL looks like!

So my idea!

G Suite has a feature called Vault. Vault archives all the email in and out of an account, even if you delete them. This feature is mainly used for compliance issues, like for example if you are a bank and your employee email is hosted by Gmail, all the communication are stored in this vault, so if there was ever a reason to audit a conversation, the business would have access to the communications. The vault is only accessible by the admins of the main account. How about adding a layer or two.

Personal vaults.

Let’s say I send an email to a coworker, I happen to be working with an environment where sensitive data is often exchanged. As I receive an email, it is archived to my vault, and if deemed necessary by corporate governance, archive to the company vault. The vaults are not associated with my general email login information. The vault does not have the ability to email to or from (maybe some mechanism to forward a conversation but only within the organization’s firewall).

My personal email box is set so that… let’s say in 7 days (or a predetermined time allotment)  those emails are removed from my account and only available by accessing the vault.

So what does this mean? One, if your account is hacked, there is only a certain amount of data that can be breached. Two, it keeps your inbox pretty tidy. Yes, it has some drawbacks that old email is no longer on your device and there is an extra step to find said emails, but it seems a small price to pay for security.

Thoughts?

My East coast travels, tracked by my iPhone!

Interesting and a bit sneaky on Apples part. It doesn’t seem to have data from all days, but it does have a lot.

And my world view, not as exciting, would of been cooler in years past when I was traveling more.

Thanks to of Pete Warden’s iPhone Tracker software

iPad first thoughts

You say you want a revolution? Well it is here and it is in the shape of a giant iPhone, but the comparison ends there. The iPad is a serious computing device, I don’t know where or how exactly this product will effect my life, but in the first three hours of using it I can see a few.

One of the reasons I carry my MacBook with me all the time (I do own a net book but never use it) is because of I shoot a lot of pictures and need to process the raw files, that is not going to change, but I will be leaving that bulky hunk of aluminum in the room. I recently downsized (for traveling) my camera gear from my Nikon D700 to a Panasonic Lumix GF1 because of weight, now with the combination iPad and GF1 my bag is manageable, which means less trips to the chiropractor!

Live blogging events, so you thought news was getting more realtime, just wait, this is going to be the device everyone will be using at conferences and events. There is no reason to bring a laptop.

Commuting, the only commute I do is NYC to Montauk, I could never use my laptop because there just wasn’t enough room, this post is being written on the Hampton Jitney, with easy and comfort.

Hmm didn’t try it in bright sunlight, will do that tomorrow, but taking a break in the park to catch up on some email, way better than sitting at my desk.

Ok my first impressions of functions and apps:

They keyboard is awesome! Well for me, i’m a lousy typist so, it works as fast as my regular keyboard, and it has the same (mostly) awesome (sometime funny) spell checker/fixer as the iPhone. Which is pretty cool, no worrying about having to click the ‘ it just works.

Web browsing, is fast and renders web pages as well as the desktop safari, most and I mean most sites need to adjust their code a bit to accommodate the fact that we are using fingers and not a mouse. The lack of flash is a drag but, yeah just but. It would be nice to have flash elements work. For folks that have flash only websites, you might want/should to rethink that!

Love the pinch zoom and scrolling, yeah it’s much the same as the iPhone but in this format it’s feels totally different and innovative, like I said earlier, it’s not just a big iPhone.

Apps, I haven’t downloaded any paid ones yet but some of the free ones are cool, the Weather channel is cool, they created more of a weather dashboard, it’s good they didn’t just port the iPhone app, but re-thought utilizing the power of the iPad.

iBooks, pretty sweet, I only looked at the Winnie the Pooh book that came free, yes it mimics print, and is pretty sweet, I sorta don’t mind the mimicking. Amazons Kindle app, nice job guys, anyone want to buy my gently used Kindle, I won’t be needing that anymore.

Etrade, while I only clicked around a bit on it, it is a mobile trading platform of pure sweetness, can’t wait to place my first trade via iPad.

Tweetdeck, is good, I was disappointed that the links don’t work, kind of an oversight I think.

I can go on, and will in another post, but my overall thoughts is the iPad is an under hyped fundamental change in the way people will be interacting with content, the web and the social web.

Oh, one last comment, The Wall Street Journal, dude, I don’t want to download the entire “paper” I think that is a fail. Hitting it from a proper wifi connection might be ok, but on my myfi, I didn’t have the patience to wait for the download, the NYTimes has a nice curated best of the paper app that works.
One last note, after 7hours of continuous use battery at 67%, not bad.

My not so smooth move to Google Apps for Business

Last week we finaly decided to make the move to gmail. Our current email server has been humming along for the last 4 years, it was only a matter of time before something was going to go wrong. We have been using a combination of our own IMAP server running on a G4, yes a G4 xServe and Microsoft’s Frontbridge for spam and virus protection. Initially the transition was smooth, a few DNS changes and we were up and running on gmail, sweet. Then came the migration of my 15 years of email, not a problem Google has a tool for that, it did take a while (hours), I had 10gb of mail (I delete a lot, sorta my workflow). Everything looked OK when I logged in from a web browser. Then the fun started, I opened my Mac Mail program, created a new account for my gmail and let the IMPA synch begin.

I left for some dinner, when I arrived back, I had a message that I ran out of disk space, I panicked a bit since some years ago I had a similar experience and my MacBook was never the same. I quickly dumped a bagillion pictures to my backup (I have been meaning to do that anyway) and let the sync finish. But I was curious, I knew I had about 10gb of mail, and when I started the sync, I checked and I had about 25gb available on my drive, hmmm something is not right so I started digging around to locate the culprit.

First I did a i on my old IMAP and the new gmail IMAP directories, wow gmail was 3x larger! (gmail on the left)

Pretty strange! so more exploration, looking around my Mac Mail app I noticed this,

Ah-ah, that makes sense, well sorta, why would Google have 3 copies of the same email, it’s tripling my mail? and upon a little further looking, I found that emails were sometime 4x and 5x repeated (mostly due to some messy old filtering on my part). wow. Not very Googley. I did a little thinking and in a bold move I selected the migrated “Lable” in my browser based email and deleted the reference to that label, re-synced from the Mac client and low and behold my gmail box fell to 20gb.

Why did this happen, well I have no idea why there is a migrated folder for the email, that’s a Google thing (and customer service did inform us to hide the label, 3 days after we filed a ticket). As the years evolved using email, thru many different clients, I created a lot of sub directories on my old IMAP server, this at the time, was a good way of dealing with hundreds of email a day, I had filters that would move junk, 2nd, 3rd and 4th level email messages so the the primary important stuff was findable.

Google while they support IMAP, does not work the old way, the approach to IMAP is by creating lables, and you can use filters to apply lables, but the messages never get moved into subdirectories. The apple mail client is configured to work like the older style IMAP servers and would make a copy of the emails in your gmail Inbox into the subdirectories, leaving a copy in your Inbox and then duplicating the “migrated” and “allmail” labeled emails into those subs, as well as making additional copies into your other IMAP subdirectories.

So when I have some time I am going to remove most of the older IMAP folders and replace them with Mac Mail smart filters, I have used smart filter pretty much exclusivly for the last few years, but still left the old folder structure inplace, just because. Then I plan to create similar filters to match the desktop client.

Yeah some may say why use the desktop client, for me, it is still a lot faster to scan and delete (a workflow I have been using for a long time) in the client than in the browser. maybe over time I will change my workflow to browser only.

Mystery solved.

My Advice, once the migration of your email is complete, clean up any of the IMAP directories using gmail in your browser, remove the migrated label (I haven’t removed the “allmail” label yet) and then sync, it will save you a massive headache and time.

Update, I also made these recommended settings from Google