General Questions

How about comparing Lightning Strike against something else besides JPEG and the Iterated Systems fractal compression method (FIF)?

  • We would love to do this. We think that in a side-by-side comparison, using randomly selected images, compressed by an independent third party, Lightning Strike would prove superior in image quality, compression and decompression speed, compression ratios, and price. This would certainly make for good reading in BYTE.

Why do the JPEG images appear so poor? Did you guys purposely try to make these results as poor as possible?

  • At high compression ratios each compression method displays characteristic features. The JPEG program uses the DCT (discrete cosine transform) algorithm which suffers from blockiness at high compression ratios. While this blockiness does tend to preserve the high frequency regions of the image, this fact is outweighed by the disruptive effect imparted to the entire picture.
  • We tried to show the best possible results in JPEG using the optimization feature built into the cjpeg version of JPEG 6.0 distributed by the Independent JPEG group. In addition we have supplied the original, uncompressed bitmap images. Please feel free to download and compress these images.

How much does the Lightning Strike wavelet decompressor plug-in cost?

  • Free.

How much does the Lightning Strike wavelet compressor cost?

  • $49.95 for personal/non-commercial website use of version 2.6. Version 3.0 is slated to cost $149.95; sales of 3.0 prior to 6/1/97 are subject to a $50.00 discount (resulting in a $99.95 price). An SDK and licensing opportunities also exist for other uses. Please contact our marketing department for pricing and additional details.

Does the Lightning Strike file format support a transparent feature or image maps?

  • Not at this time. The forthcoming Version 3.0 incorporates these features.

I have some questions, how do I get answers?

  • First read through this FAQ. If the answer is not there then email us the details and we’ll try to help.

Where can I find more information about wavelets?

  • We have provided a short introduction to this concept. There are also a number of good sites on the Web. Amara’s Wavelet Page is a nice place to start.

What other Lightning Strike resources are available?

  • We have developed a Java applet. Remember that you will need to have a Java-compatible browser such as the latest version of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to see this demonstration. We recommend that you look at the JAVA applet only on a PC running Windows 95/NT. At this point, JAVA is either slow, unstable, or unsupported in the Mac Netscape/IE environment.
  • We have also finished ActiveX components for both compressed image and video. These components can only be seen using the latest version of Internet Explorer using Windows 95/NT. They do not currently work in a Mac environment.
  • If you are wondering how to build Lightning Strike images into your Web page then our tutorial is a good place to start.

What about compatibility with systems not supporting Lightning Strike?

  • We have a JavaScript 1.1 context parser that determines if Lightning Strike is installed on a client. This can be viewed on our embedding tutorial page.
  • Since it is written in JavaScript 1.1, it requires Netscape Navigator 3.0 in order to function. One option to place one of those “Best Experienced with Netscape Navigator 3.0” buttons on your site.

What about compatibility features within the HTML itself to use ActiveX on ActiveX-capable platforms and plugins elsewhere?

  • The following HTML should permit the image to be viewed both with plugins and ActiveX. The <OBJECT> tags are ignored by Netscape, while the <EMBED> tag within the object is ignored by MSIE. Example:
    <OBJECT CLASSID=”clsid:bd11a280-2e73-11cf-b6cf-00aa00a74daf”
    HEIGHT=256 WIDTH=400>
    <PARAM NAME=”Image” VALUE=”bob.cod”>
    <embed type=”image/cis-cod” src=”bob.cod” height=256 width=400 pluginspage=”http://www.infinop.com/html/extvwr_pick.html”>
    This will render the 400×256 image bob.cod for both types of browser.

Mac PPC Questions

I have downloaded the Macintosh plugin but the Lightning Strike images still fail to appear. What’s wrong?

  • Verify that the Lightning Strike plugin is correctly installed by typing about:plugins in the URL box. Remember the plugin should go into the Netscape Plug-ins directory. If everything is all right then Netscape will respond by indicating: image/cis-cod.

  • If the Lightning Strike images are still not visible then try clearing the disk and memory caches in the Netscape preferences and then reload the page.

  • You should also allocate 10 mb of memory to the Netscape application using the Cmd-I command on the Netscape desktop icon.

  • Also remember to set the Cache Size under the Network Preferences option to at least 1 mb.

I have followed the above steps but the Lightning Strike decompressor still won’t display the images with higher compression ratios. What’s wrong?

  • This may be due to the Cache Size being set to 0 mb in the Netscape Network Preferences. Make sure that at least 1 mb is allocated and then reload the images. There also appear to be other sources of conflict on Mac 6100s.

Does the Lightning Strike Plugin work with Internet Explorer on my Mac?

  • The Lightning Strike 2.6 plugin has been tested on a Mac PPC running Internet Explorer 3.0b1 and it runs like a champ. The memory allocation for Internet Explorer was left to the preferred size of 5182 kbytes.

When will a Mac version of the compressor be ready?

  • Now! Lightning Strike 2.6 Compressors are available on the Mac PPC/68k as an Adobe Photoshop Plugin and on the Mac PPC as a Debabelizer Custom Code Module (CCM).

Windows 95 Questions

I have been to a page that has some Lightning Strike images, but all I see are broken icons, what’s wrong?

  • You must first download the Lighting Strike plugin. This software is compatible with either Netscape or the Internet Explorer browsers.

I have downloaded the Lightning Strike plugin and I keep getting an error message that says use PKZIPFIX or zipfix. What is going on?

  • The Lightning Strike Windows 95/NT plugin is a self extracting zip file. Occasionally files get corrupted during transfer; try downloading it again.

I have downloaded the Windows plugin now what do I do to install it?

  • Place ls26.exe in a temporary directory. Go to that directory and execute ls26.exe. This will extract the three files npls26.dll, readme.txt and license.txt. Move the plugin into the current plugins directory for Netscape, which on most Windows 95 systems is
    C:\Program Files\Netscape\Navigator\program\plugins

I have downloaded the plugin and installed it but I still can’t see the Lightning Strike images. What’s up?

  • You must be running Netscape 2.02 or greater. Verify that the Lightning Strike plugin is correctly installed by typing about:plugins in the URL box. If everything is all right then Netscape will respond by indicating that image/cis-cod is enabled. If the Lightning Strike images are still not visible then try clearing the disk and memory caches in the Netscape preferences and then reload the page.

The decompression in Netscape is fast enough but what can I expect for compression times?

  • An uncompressed image file 1.18 mb in size required 20 seconds to compress on a Pentium 90.

Windows 3.1 Questions

What happened to the plugin that was available for Windows 3.1?

  • The Lightning Strike Windows 3.1 plugin was version 2.5. Most of the web content using Lightning Strike that is currently available is version 2.6. People were downloading the 2.5 plugin and attempting to view 2.6 content, then wondering why the Lightning Strike plugin gave the error message “not a valid image file.” Hence, we decided that people would be better off if we simply held back Windows 3.1 downloads until the 2.6 version was ready. Thus, if you were using the old 2.5 version of the plugin, you need to download the new version in order to preserve compatibility.

When will a Lightning Strike 2.6 plugin for Windows 3.1 be available?

  • Now! Check it out.

Are there any new surprises in this version?

  • Check out the new “Save As” feature.