Monthly Archives: April 2014

Why Animated GIFs Suck

Not only does the ever-popular animated GIF have an extremely limited color palette (256 colors), due to its roots in the 1980s, but its primitive compression is a colossal waste of bandwidth. A modern video format produces files a fraction of the size, and with far superior image quality.

Take this clip as an example:

WebM (94KB) & H.264 (141KB) Video

Animated GIF (1741KB)

The fancy HTML video loads in a fraction of the time, and plays more smoothly. Note that, in this example, there’s no quality difference because I converted an existing GIF into a video. (This is the same process GfyCat uses.)

This is a pretty big deal in a world with slow connection speeds and puny cellular data caps. Watching about a thousand GIFs the size of this one (which is fairly modest as far as GIF file sizes ago) would easily put you over a 2GB data cap.

If you’re interested in converting GIFs to a proper image format, I made a fun command-line tool called GIFnuke. You can run it on a file, or a URL, and it will use ffmpeg to produce a tiny WebM file automatically. (No MP4 version yet, you’ll have to do that manually if you need it.)

What You Need to Know About the Heartbleed Bug

If you haven’t already heard, a major exploit in OpenSSL was discovered recently. The Heartbleed Bug, which is as scary as it sounds, allows an attacker to capture potentially sensitive information from a server’s memory by exploiting a flaw in the implementation of the…