Increasing Filesize & Compression Ratio

Colin Richardson
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 10:49:10 -0700

The trend towards larger Internet application filesizes is being offset 
by the countervailing trend towards higher compression ratios (eg 
Shockwave for Audio claims to have reached 176:1).  The first trend seems 
to be driven by users' desire for richer content and the second by the 
need to economize bandwidth.

I plan to draw up a table of the most common text, graphics, audio, 
animation, video, and virtual reality file formats, showing two things: 
typical filesize (for a standard chunk of content) and month/year of 
introduction to the Internet.

To kick off the project with text formats (standardized to one 
single-spaced A4 page), would someone please let me have these two pieces 
of information on each of the .TXT, .HTM, .RTF, and .PDF file formats?  
Or recommend a specialist Newsgroup/Listserver I might join?

Beyond compression?  Stewart Fist once wrote of "stuffing a wombat down a 
garden hose", so I guess file compression is analogous with transmitting 
a perfect miniature of the animal but receiving it full size.  Why not 
send the wombat's tiny genome instead?  Perhaps DNA is a good analogy for 
today's FIF (for graphics), MIDI (for music) and TVML (for virtual 
reality) file formats.

Colin Richardson
Research Associate
La Trobe University Online Media Program