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The Problem with Using .png's

The IE people seem to be a bit strange in the .png image area. They're one of the most popular image formats and yet IE seems to be playing games with having them display right on their Windows PC browser. Rumor has it that there's some proprietary Microsoft software, e-ware, or underwear that one needs to get to have .png's work right. For developers this seems to involve rewriting web pages to force people to use an alternate, DirectX-based rendering engine to make .png work right. Once again Bill's trying to coax us to give him more power to run the world his way, even though the specs on .png's and the W3C standards about them inform us that browsers should just support .png's without any tricks and without making users or developers jump through any hoops. Sometimes it feels like we're all members of 3B (Bill's Blood Bank) and he always seems to find another reason-often not a reasonable one-to be jamming that needle in once again: the needle that takes power and control from us and gives it to Bill. If any of you get nightmares of an asteroid-sized bloated woodtick with Gates' head after reading this, we reserve the right to blame Bill, not ourselves.

Anyway, the best advice we can find is that if you keep the .png's small enough and keep them at 8-bit (256 colors), and don't try for a bunch of fancy transparency tricks, you should be all right.

But why would you want to use this format anyway? In our experience, you can save disk space and do text in images better with .png. Do this: copy a .jpg photo from some site and put it in some graphics program like the ImageForge freebie and add small orange text. Make sure it's easy to read it, then save it and load it either into the freebie IrfanView or onto the Net. Or even reload it into ImageForge. It will get blurry and it's because of how .jpg files save. But save it as a .png and it looks great on the Net. Creating buttons with text on them works good with .gif or .png.

So use .jpg's for images and photos. Use .png's for text, screenshots of Windows, general few-color web graphics, comic strip art, images with added small text, and line art. Use .gif's for animated sequences, but save disk space and load times by using .png's rather than .gif's for all other applications where .gif's are normally used.