If any of you have been keeping track, I was at the airport for about 10 and a half hours a year ago. Well, I'm back at the airport again today, but this time my flight leaves at 3:50 pm. This time around we will be spending only about 5 hours and 20 minutes. We learned that we didn't need to leave that much leway time since last year. Now that's out of the way, I want to get to what happened last Wednesday.
As you can imagine, this past week was my final week at my internship. I was busy and could not get to tell my interesting story until now. Last Wednesday I had my presentation to show the Coordinator and other interns what I have been working on. You should know from a previous entry that I have been working on websites. I have also been working in labs and taking photos of tests and experiments. I wanted to show these photos at my presentation. I put the website files I worked on and the photos on a CD to bring with me to the conference room and show off.
Being a good computer expert, I decided to test my disk on a Windows machine since I have burned it on a Mac. The websites themselves worked absolutely fine. Then I decided to try the photos. They were saved in the jpeg format. This is a standart format for photos and is widely used on the internet. Now on my computer (remember it's a Mac, mind you), I can double-click the image files and they open up in picture viewer for my perusal. Nothing special about that. On the Windows machine, however, I would double-click the photos and it would give me an error stating "Unknown File Format in the Registry."
I have just told you that jpeg is a standard format and it is widely used. I did notice that when I single-clicked an image file to select it, a preview did apear on the left of the window. I thought this was very strange. I thought that the computer may be having issues since I burned this CD on Mac. I decided to test this theory with another disk I had of photos. This disk was burned on a Windows machine. I tried to open the photos and got the same error.
One of the interns in the office suggested opening a window in Internet Explorer and dragging the file into the window. That works, but only if they are dragged into an Internet Explorer window. I tried to use the file open command in Internet Explorer so I wouldn't have to drag every time, but that method resulted in "Unknown File Format." This is a Web Browser! It's supposed to know jpeg by default!
My presentation went well anyway, I just used the preview I described earlier to show the photos. Later that day, another intern came to me wanting help opening some image files. "Here we go again," I thought. He figured there must have been an issue because the photos he was trying to open were e-mailed from a Mac. I told him about my ordeal earlier that day and explained that I had pictures who spent their entire life on Windows machines and they won't open when double-clicked. I showed him the Internet Explorer trick, and then decided I wanted to try something. We went into Windows Media Player and used the open command to open the photos and it worked! We figured it must be a proprietory issue. We also checked to see if they would insert into Mircosoft Word, and that worked, too. That was good for the intern because his intent was to put them in his paper he was writing.
Some of you out there may be saying what's wrong with just dragging the photos into Internet Explorer. Well, that's all well and good, but double-clicking should have a result,too. It's the natural first move anyone would make. I should mention that the version of Windows used on these computers is Windows 2000 Professional. Other versions may not have this problem, as I have seen jpeg pictures work fine in Windows XP. However, all versions of the Mac OS open these files. I guess you windows users can live with this headache or they can just switch to something better.
Written 7/28/2002 by Chris Taylor