Avatars are traditionally a picture of your favorite celebrity, athlete, comic strip character, and so on. Basically anything that represents you, within the boundaries of common decency. Well, there seems to be a facet of "decency" that has been overlooked: the file size of avatars. It's becoming increasingly common for folks to turn their avatars into "movies" of Survivors or Big Brotherers or what-have-you. These animated .gifs contain dozens of frames and can be upwards of two megabytes in size. What that means is that everyone who opens a page containing your avatar has to download two megabytes of data just so they can see that little square identifying you. And since lots of posters are doing this, each post on a page is potentially half a meg, a meg, two megs, and all of that unnecessary data is adding up.
There are several reasons why this is bad.
- Pages take a really long time to load. It's not just for people with "dialup" (for you kids, "dialup" is an archaic way of connecting to the "World Wide Web", which is what we used to call the internets). Just because you have a speedy cable connection doesn't mean pages won't "hang" when they're overloaded with giant oversized avatars.
- Flashy .gifs need flashy graphics accelerators to run. The more complex a video file is, the more it taxes your machine, even if you have the hax0rzest graphics card on the market. When someone's computer starts to whine just because they opened a thread at Sucks, then the avatars are too big.
- Every byte downloaded from an avatar gets put into a person's internet cache, which is a part of your hard drive set aside for saving internet files so they don't have to re-download every time you see them. The bigger a file is, the more data it pushes out of the cache to make room. The cache is supposed to be used to save useful data.
- Yuku is not run on futuristic quantum supercomputers. In fact all indications are that our servers still rely on vacuum tubes. When you load a yuku page with a lot of data on it, yuku starts to cry. When you load a lot of images hosted by the yuku image servers, as many of these avatars are, yuku really starts to cry.
- Something about net neutrality, I dunno.
So what we're saying is, the giant avatars need to go away. And this is a warning that we are going to start making them go away, by removing avatar privileges for anyone seen with an avatar over about 100 kilobytes.
To check your avatar's file size, well, it's kind of a pain. According to a wise Yuku help person, in Chrome on a PC, you can right click the avi and choose Inspect element, then Elements and click the image. The image info will display in the box then. In Firefox, it's right click the av and select "copy image location;" paste the link in a new browser window and right click on the image, selecting "View image info." If it's over 100 KB, you're part of the problem. Change it. If it's over 150 KB, we're gonna be coming around with the yardstick, so save everyone some time and change it now. To something less than 100 KB. Do this even if you have a still picture; you never know where those extra kilobytes are hiding. If you have to change it, remember that it's not kosher to take a picture from somewhere else on the net without hosting it yourself.
If your avatar has been blocked and you've changed it to a proper one, go ahead and post in this thread and eventually we'll come along and turn it back on for you.
Thankie. Sugar cookies and orange drink will be available in the foyer.