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What Loss? 11 April 2010

Posted by schmeslie in Design, Reflection.

In last week’s class we discussed the different types of imagery files commonly used in digital media – specifically lossy versus lossless. Lossless is a term I’ve heard thrown around before, mostly by music aficionados, but I never bothered to find out what that meant. To music lovers I just knew that lossless is better. And now I know why.

As digital file technology developed compression was a necessary evil because smaller files are easier and cheaper to share and transport. This fact put us in the predicament of becoming used to lower quality visuals (and music). At the time, it seemed throwing out some of the little bits, or subtleties, was a fair trade for the monetary savings and significant increase in information sharing. However, today with associated costs reducing every few months we may be moving toward a point where high quality digital renderings are no longer cost prohibitive.

Similarly, advances in digital communications improve the frequency at which people communicate and result in more and tighter relationships. But it is also a fact that communication tools like email are unable to replicate the subtleties of face to face or voice to voice communications. Like with art and music, it is the little details of conversation (tone and inflection) that make the biggest difference in what is being said. So that makes me wonder if there will be a way for digital communications to economically become “lossless” too.



1. kegill - 12 April 2010

Nice us of lossless as a metaphor. :-)

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