If you are browsing through AOL's "internal" web browser, you are most likely missing out the artwork that is available from this site. Of course, the artwork will download in your browser, but it is not the same image that I created. AOL has compressed it for your viewing pleasure, and in doing so has turned it into a blurry, garbled mess. Witness the difference. . .

Solitude defiled. . .

The Original AOL's Version
Solitude, the original Solitude, after AOL

In addition to compressing the graphics (which I have already done for you), AOL shrinks each one to 640 x 480 (due, it says, to limitations in their compression software). My wallpapers are much larger than 640 x 480, so this resizing further degrades the image quality.

If you want to read AOL's explanation of why and how they do it, here it is.

The best way to view this site is with an "external browser", such as Netscape Communicator or Internet Explorer. Each of these is freely available for downloading (check out http://www.browsers.com/). Once you have downloaded your browser of choice and installed it, you can connect to AOL as usual, minimize AOL, and open your Netscape and IE. Only then will you be seeing the web as it was designed, a lot faster and much better looking.

Trust me.

If you must use AOL's internal browser, here is how you can disable AOL's image compression and view my graphics as designed. The internet will still be kind of slow, but at least my art won't look like it was fingerpainted. These instructions are for AOL 4.0 Win95:

Start AOL and connect as usual. Once connected, click on the button that says "My AOL", and select "Preferences" from the list provided. You will be presented with a window containing buttons for all of your AOL settings. The one we are interested in is "WWW" Select 'Preferences' from the My AOL Menu, then WWW
Click the WWW button. This will bring up another window with little tabs across the top.

Select the tab marked "Web Graphics", and uncheck the box which reads "Use Compressed Graphics".

Click the "General" tab and delete all offline content (this clears the compressed graphics from your cache).

Close down AOL. When you reopen it and surf the web, you will see the graphics as they were intended.

The AOL Internet Settings Dialog is where you can turn off image compression

Personal note:
I'm proud of my graphics, and I put a lot of work into compressing them for the web in a way which retains as much of their original quality as possible. I do not appreciate America Online altering my artistic vision to suit their network, and I appreciate it even less when they do not inform their users of what they have done.

I shudder to imagine the thousands of AOL users who have visited my site for the first time only to be greeted by muddy graphics and slow downloads. Even worse, AOL's image compression blurs the "copyright" URL on my images to the point where it is unreadable.

This is why AOL's image compression and Digital Blasphemy are not compatible.


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