A potential customer sent me an e-mail recently asking if I could possibly convert some twelve-year-old image files that they were unable to open on an Apple Mac or a Windows laptop. I agreed to try, and the potential customer then sent me a small test file to see if I could convert it into some format that was easy to view. The test file was in ‘.ithmb’ format, which was a so-called thumbnail image from an iPod, and as it was only 1.4 MB in size I didn’t think the result would be particularly good quality.
I converted the test image into a ‘.png’ (Portable Network Graphics) file, which almost any image viewer program could display. The resulting image was 2,048 pixels wide by 1,536 pixels high, which was pretty detailed for a thumbnail image, and the quality was better than I expected. I had to point out to the potential customer that the very noticeable vertical green stripe in the image was in the original, and nothing to do with the conversion process, and that although I could always retouch a few flawed images, this was a long, relatively expensive, manual process that would not be practical to do for a large number of images. However, he seemed very pleased with the test image conversion and asked me to go ahead and convert all the images that he had.
The customer had all the available images stored in a ‘.zip’ archive file, so he uploaded it to Google Drive then sent me an e-mail containing a link that I could use to download it. I reckoned the file would be pretty large and take a long time to download, so instead of downloading it using the Google Chrome web browser I used a download manager called ‘uGet’ instead. Download managers are handy programs because they use clever methods to speed up downloads, can pause a download if required then resume it some time later, and can carry on where they left off if a download is interrupted because of an Internet connection problem.
When I unpacked the downloaded ‘.zip’ archive file, which was 436 MB in size (so it was just as well I used the ‘uGet’ download manager to fetch it), I found 338 ‘.ithmb’ image files in numerous folders. After collecting all the images in a single folder, I went through the batch conversion process three times to produce PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) files, and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files. The ‘.png’ files were compressed in a way that involved no loss of quality, the ‘.jpg’ files were compressed in a way that did involve some loss of quality, but made them comparatively small, and the ‘.tif’ files were compressed in a way that involved no loss of quality, but were considerably larger than the ‘.png’ files (TIFF being an older format).
I didn’t relish the idea of uploading over 4 GB of images, so I burned them onto a DVD and sent the disc to the customer in the post, after checking, of course, that he had the facility to read DVDs. Sometimes the old-fashioned way of doing things is the easiest.