The great folks at AOL have come up with a way to save
bandwidth and make you think you're surfing faster.
They've introduced a graphics compression scheme
that silently transforms regular graphic images
to crappy little pictures in ART format,
hoping that most of their users won't notice or
In a lot of cases, this can actually be a good thing;
with all the hordes of images (mostly unwanted ads)
flung at the average AOL surfer, anything to speed
up the pain of a dial-up session would be a welcome
The difficulty comes, however, when an AOL user actually
wants to spend the extra connect time and get the real,
unadulterated image file - not some low-quality ART
approximation. Since AOL is not particularly forthcoming
about the image-compression sneakiness, AOL users need
to know how to turn off the image compression 'feature'
on their PCs.
To turn off this behavior, fire up your AOL software and
go to Preferences and then look for WWW.
Click there, and you should see a tab labeled "Web Graphics."
Un-check the "use compressed graphics" option, and you
should be able to fetch actual images in their original
format without all the mucking about with ART files.
The Preferences entry should be located in something
like 'Setup' or 'My AOL' on your AOL top menu bar,
depending on what version of AOL you're running.
AOL is pretty sneaky about this whole thing; when you
upgrade your version of AOL, you'll likely find that
the 'compressed graphics' option is turned on silently
by AOL, and you may find that AOL switches graphics
compression back on at odd intervals without asking
you. Once you've been through this exercise of turning
graphics compression off, though, you can do it whenever
you find yourself trying to download a JPG file and
seeing the system try to save it as ART.
Again, remember that graphics compression is often a
good thing - you'll probably notice quicker page loads
with it turned on. You could leave it turned on almost
all the time and only disable it when you're trying to
download snapshots, and you probably wouldn't care much
about the lower-quality images. When you really do want
the image file to come across with full fidelity,
though, you need to know how to disable the feature.
And.... now you know!