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Comic Books Go Digital

Can Your Paper Version Do This?

3 min read
Comic Books Go Digital
Image: Marvel

For years, fans like myself have been flocking to local comic-book stores every Wednesday to pick up newly arrived issues of The Avengers, Batman, and X-Men. And lately, we’ve had the option to power up our tablets or computers and purchase a digital copy, including back issues of 30 000 older DC, Marvel, and other comics.

While these electronic editions are a boon for readers who can’t get to the store, they’re little more than straightforward replicas of made-for-print content in screen-viewable form, rather than content created with the screen in mind. Mercifully, there are some signs of progress, with smaller publishers leading the way.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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