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PhiNotPi's avatar

Are there any tools to compress images into "tweetable" (≤140 characters) text?

Asked by PhiNotPi (11630 points ) September 19th, 2012

A couple months ago I came across this contest over at Stack Overflow. The concept of encoding an image into 140 characters seems really interesting to me. The entries for this contest were pretty good, although direct links to the source code are not very useful for me (or anyone who would like to decode the images from my tweets).

If someone has created an application that can compress images into tweets, and which is designed for somewhat widespread use by a typical Twitter user, then I think it would be a pretty fun novelty item to try out. My Google voyages have proven fruitless. Does such software exist?

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dabbler's avatar

Holy Cow that’s ambitious. There is so little room in 140 characters (x 8 bits per character, that’s 1120 bits of data).
The image would have to be tiny and/or lack color/grey-scale variation. Something like a two-tone (black and white) document would be most suitable for extreme compression.

Even with Lempel-Ziv compression maybe reducing the original data to 5% of its original size( best case), that would allow for an image with 22,400 bits of information. That’s 933 pixels (roughly 30×30) of normal color image information, If the image were two-tone it could be about 150×150 pixels. This still assumes the image pattern lends itself to that much compression, a lot of images would be a few times these sizes at best, if you are not going to lose information.

The receiving party would have to have a de-compressing app to reconstruct the image, and some way to get the twitter text into that app.

Kind of a fun geeky exercise though….

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