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Review: Slide Scanner

Digitize your high-quality photo slides with the Plustek 8200i Ai

5 min read
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai
Photo: Plustek

04toolsslidescannerPhoto: Plustek

I got my first real camera, a Minolta SRT-201, as a high school student in 1977. It was a basic 35-mm single-lens reflex, and as a college student and later as a journalist, I toted it around the world—literally. In Mumbai and Delhi and Chennai, I shot street scenes and research centers for IEEE Spectrum. In Panama City, Fla., I took pictures of U.S. Navy research divers for Scientific American. On Kwajalein Atoll, I photographed U.S. Army missile-test facilities for the Los Angeles Times. And there were many more places. I broke the camera; I had it fixed; I broke it again, I had it fixed again. I loved that camera.

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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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