[LINK] Re: Limit Email Size to Reduce Carbon Emissions?
Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Fri Nov 30 08:37:23 AEDT 2007
At 03:23 PM 11/10/2007, I wrote:
>... to combat the greenhouse effect, I propose the "One Gram
>Initiative", which aims to limit the average email message to 20
>kbytes and the average electronic document to 20 kbytes per A4 page
National Archives of Australia sent me an invitation to "Speaker's
Corner - In Peace and War: The Japanese role in the defence and
security of Australia to 1943 ... Dr Pam Oliver from Monash
University ... 30 October ..."
This looked an interesting event, but they sent the invitation in the
form of a 3.6 Mbyte PDF attachment to an email message. The PDF file
is only one A4 page long, making the document about 180 times larger
than it need be.
The document contains 841 characters of text, about twice that with
formatting. Most of the rest of the space is taken up with one high
resolution photograph (1100 x 1997 pixels). This is a reproduction of
a grainy monochrome photograph, which appears to have been digitized
in color at such a high resolution that the original grains are
visible. While that level of detail might be needed for archival
purposes, it isn't needed in an invitation sent by email. Lowering
the resolution of the image and storing it in monochrome, will reduce
it from several megabytes to tens of kilobytes, while improving its appearance.
After I queried this with NAA they produced a version on the web with
the photograph reduced to 275 x 500 pixels
This reduces the file to 154 Kbytes. That is a big improvement on 3.6
Mbytes, but could be reduced further by optimizing the photo and the
fonts used in the document.
Better still would be better to omit the PDF attachment from the mail
message, instead using similar text format to that on the web site
and provide a link to the web site. That would reduce the invitation
to under 20 kbytes.
Ideally the tools used to create documents and messages should
produce appropriately formatted and sized content for the intended
use. But this does not appear to be something marketing people are
able or willing to do, so perhaps there is scope for more add-on
tools. As an example one could offer optimization to the user when
they email a document or save it to a web site.
My mail client warns me when I try to send a large message. But if
this was to count the page equivalent of the document it could give
better feedback. The tool could then offer to adjust the size of
images in the document and remove unnecessary embedded fonts and formatting.
When receiving documents, an intelligent storage system could
disassemble them and remove redundant components. As an example, it
could identify when the same image is used in multiple documents and
just store one copy. The system could reassemble the original
document on request, inserting the redundant information back into
the document. This should work well for common office document
formats, and be particularly easy to implement for those using an XML
format, such as ODF and OOXML (and just about as well for PDF).
Eventually, many electronic documents send to organisations will end
up in electronic archives. In the case of commonwealth agencies,
these documents will end up in the national archives electronic
archive. On present trends it is likely that almost all the storage
space of the NAA will be taken up with duplicate copies of
promotional images, like the ones Archives is sending out. As an
example much of the archive will be taken up storing millions of
copies of the Commonwealth Arms, on the font of official documents
<http://www.tomw.net.au/2003/epolicy.html#edocs>. In the absence of
intelligent marketing people who can produce efficient electronic
documents, we will need intelligent software to identify and remove
the redundant data.
Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617 http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU
More information about the Link