OK, I wanted to name this piece "Microsoft's new image format plays cowboy with endians," but without Apple in the title who'd click it?
I'm not a programmer, much less a Mac programmer, but something caught my eye as I was trying to find any real details about the compression algorithms used by the Windows Media Photo format. I really hate repeating the same drivel that's permeating the blogosphere, most of which seems to be based on the CNET News.com piece that posted at midnight ET and which kept me up surfing till 3 a.m. in search of info. (I know, that kind of statement makes "get a life" seem redundant.)
As I was reading the spec, these two sentences popped out at me:
"Windows Media Photo does not support 'big-endian' encoding. By supporting only one endian encoding, it limits the additional work of dealing with the two different formats to only those systems or devices that are natively big-endian, rather than requiring every decoder implementation, regardless of the native format, to accommodate both possible encodings."
Now, the one piece of trivia that lingers in my fading memory is that the PowerPC processor is natively big-endian. So at the very least, using WMP files on non-Intel Macs imposes some overhead, which could translate into a performance hit.
Am I missing something? Is this a nonissue? Rather than spend the rest of my day researching the answer, I'm hoping someone out there can fill me in. And if you know anything about the compression algorithms, that'd keep me from another sleepless night.