graphics interchange format
The inventor of the Gif file has revealed that the world has been mispronouncing his creation.
Steve Wilhite, who invented the Gif file in 1987, told the New York Times that the word is pronounced “jif” not “giff”.
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story,” he said.
The internet has reacted strongly to Wilhite’s claim, pointing to a range of evidence from the White House announcing their allegiance via a note on their Tumblr: “Animated GIFs (Hard ‘G’)”, to simple common consensus.
Others have suggested that the hard ‘G’ relates to the acronym that the word springs from, which stands for Graphical Interface Format.
The Gif has enjoyed a surge of success in the last five years thanks to Buzzfeed-style listings of puppies and kittens and ‘live-giffing’, a form of on-the-spot reporting that had its first major outing during the 2012 presidential debates.
Wilhite may be the parent of the Gif, but most agree that the creation has outgrown its creator.
When even the White House is on the other side of the debate, it seems it might be best if Wilhite concedes defeat with grace.
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Dancing Baby, also known as “Baby Cha-Cha,” is a viral video of a 3D-rendered baby dancing to the intro of “Hooked on a Feeling” by the Swedish rock band Blue Swede. Widely cited as one of the earliest examples of an Internet phenomenon, the Dancing Baby became globally popular via e-mail chains in 1996.
The original “cha-cha” dance file was developed by Michael Girard and Robert Lurye. The source file (sk_baby.max) was released in Autumn 1996 as part of product sample source files included in Character Studio, a 3D character animation software. Ron Lussier, who was working for LucasArts at the time, tweaked the original file and shared it with coworkers via email, sparking the baby’s internet travels:
I showed it to a few people and one of them asked me to forward it to them in e-mail. A week or so later I heard from fellow employees that the animation was traveling through the company via e-mail… then a bit later, I heard people say they had received it back again from people outside the company, across the country. From that it quickly traveled to the internet and became the strange phenomenon that it was.
In late 1996, web developer John Woodell created a highly compressed animated GIF from the source movie, as part of a demo of the movie-to-GIF process, which further enabled the spread of the “Dancing Baby” across the Internet. Between 1996 and 1998, a slew of modified editions were made by fans across the world, including “Kung Fu baby”, “Rasta baby” and “Samurai baby” among others, though none became nearly as popular as the original GIF animation. The famous baby has made several TV commercial and media appearances as well, most notably as a recurring hallucination on the TV comedy-drama series Ally McBeal.
CREATOR OF THE GIF Steve Wilhite ruined lives on Tuesday with the revelation that “GIF” is actually pronounced “Jif”.
Wilhite made the shocking revelation during an interview with the New York Times, saying that while he is proud of his invention, he is annoyed that people get the pronunciation wrong.
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” he said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G’, pronounced ‘jif’. End of story.”
The news has caused uproar on Twitter, and rightfully so. One outraged GIF fan wrote that their entire life “had been a lie”, while another tweeter said, “Outrageous. I suggest We all start using PNG format INSTEAD in protest.”
We’re refusing to believe the news too, seeing as how “GIF” is the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format.
Wilhite’s comments came as he was awarded a lifetime achievement gong at The Webby Awards for his role in shaping the internet as we know it today. Believe it or not, the GIF was invented in 1987, and Wilhite’s most popular example is the dancing baby animation – although this remains our personal favourite.
“It’s been an incredibly enduring piece of technology,” said David-Michel Davies, the executive director of The Webby Awards. “Even as bandwidth has expanded, it has been very exciting to see how much cultural cachet the format has gotten.”
在数千种文件格式里，GIF（全称：Graphics Interchange Format）独树一帜，同类的格式如 BMPs、RIPs、FIGs 和 MIFFs 已经没多人知道了……
GIF 被牛津词典评为“2012最佳词汇”，同时这一个格式的发明人 Steve Wilhite 荣获由威比奖颁发的“终身成就奖”。
现在几乎每一种网络流行文化中都能看到 GIF 的身影。GIF几乎涵盖一切内容：从政治讽刺、数码艺术、直到名人的一些瞬间镜头。
试问，有哪一个文件格式能比 GIF 吸引更多的关注、荣获更多的称赞、给大家带来更多的欢乐？
甚至，雅虎发布收购 Tumblr 的公告的时候，还不忘弄一张 GIF 图片：
威比奖执行董事 David-Michel Davies 高度评价 GIF “它是科技领域生命力最强的部分”。“宽带普及更是激发了人们制作 GIF 的热情”。
回想1987年，GIF 的流行简直是不可想象。当时的网络还是拨号，慢得令人发指。下载图片是一种难以忍受的折磨（中文网络世界里还流行着“多图杀猫”的老梗，译注）“Online Today”当时曾这样报道：
GIF发明人GIF 发明人 1987年的照片
Wilhite 先生当时在 ComputerServer 工作（美国第一家大型网络服务商）了解公司希望能展示彩色的天气地图。因为懂一些压缩技术，他决定出马解决这个需求。
他在 Email 里回答记者：“等构思完成之后，我就立刻开发编程”（由于2000年不幸患了中风，他一般喜欢通过 Email 和外界交流）。Wilhite 制作的第一张 GIF 是一架飞机的图片。
“我还记得其他人第一次看到 GIF 的样子”，同事们立刻放弃了原本的黑白格式，图片方面的专家开始在网上扩散 GIF。得益于速度和压缩，GIF 伴随着互联网的成长一路飙升，成为今日互联网最流行的趣图标准。
过去十年，GIF 几乎统治了互联网的每个角落。但 Wilhite 却没有再制作一个动态图片。他说自己最喜欢的还是1996年的那张经典 GIF：
Wilhite 先生2001年退休，过着与 GIF 的喧嚣热闹相反的低调生活。他喜欢开房车旅行，建了一座有大片草坪的宅子，忙着割草。他开始涉足彩色图片和 JAVA 编程，靠 Email 以及 Facebook 和家人沟通。
他一直为 GIF 自豪。并且对现在很多人争论“GIF”如何发音很恼火。