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About the Contributing Authors

About the Contributing Authors

Konstantin Balashov wrote Chapter 18, “Compressing the Web,” and co-wrote Chapter 12, “Optimizing Web Graphics.” Jason Wolf wrote Chapter 13, “Minimizing Multimedia,” and Chapter 14, “Case Study: Apple.com.”

Konstantin Balashov was born in 1971 in Minsk, Belarus. In 1988, he completed high school, and in 1993, he received a degree from Belarussian State University in Informatics and Radio Electronics, where he was part of the Computer Science faculty. After graduation, he worked as a software engineer in the state Science and Research Institute AGAT; then in a pharmaceutical company; and then in a banking software company. From the very beginning, Konstantin was fascinated with data compression algorithms. He published his first work about data compression in 1991, when he was a university student.

In 1996, he founded the first Russian Internet data compression resource—cotty.mebius.net (later moved to cotty.16x16.com). In early 1998, Konstantin met several people on the Internet who changed his life—Peter Cranstone, CEO of Remote Communications, Inc., from Denver, Colorado; and Professor David Akopian from Signal Processing Research Center, Tampere University of Technology, Finland. Shortly thereafter, he became Chief Scientific Officer of RCI. At the same time, Konstantin started postgraduate work in the Institute of Scientific Cybernetics, Belarussian Academy of Science in Minsk. In the summer of 1999, he decided to focus on data compression and quit his prestigious full-time job.

At the very beginning, he had just a corner in a friend's office, but in half a year he moved to a two-room office and hired four engineers. They created data compression software for Remote Communications and did some jobs for some other U.S. companies. Currently this group is known as Miraplacid. In August 1999, Konstantin met Robert Caruso on the Internet. Shortly thereafter they founded OnMercial, Inc., a rich-media email advertising company, later renamed to eyeMotiv. Konstantin was the CIO of the company. Also in 1999, Konstantin spent several months working in a university in Tampere, Finland, as an image compression researcher. In January 2001, Konstantin arrived in the United States at Beaverton, Oregon, and started working for OnMercial on a full-time basis. In addition to the other products, he developed a simple and efficient animated image format (AMF) with a compression ratio about 1.5 times higher than GIF. In June 2002, Konstantin left eyeMotiv and currently is working at Shop All America, Inc. Konstantin has 11 publications regarding data compression to his credit. You can contact him at cotty@miraplacid.com.

Jason Wolf is founder and president of Wolf Studios in San Francisco (http://www.jasonwolf.com). Wolf Studios is one of the true remaining traditional multimedia engineering firms. Jason has created landmark Internet and multimedia pieces, ranging from interactive CDs, DVDs, web sites, Shockwave games, TV commercials, films, documentaries, 3D visual effects, 3D animation, and video production, all of which is blended with traditional artistic values.

Jason is a best-selling author who has published many books and articles on the topics of technology and multimedia, including Shockwave 3D (New Riders, 2002). Jason's work over the years has won awards from Communication Arts and has been featured in hundreds of publications and books. Wolf Studios has worked with clients such as Apple, Levi's, VISA, Nike, GM, Macromedia, Sony, Pixar, Williams-Sonoma, TBWA Chiat-Day, Eleven Inc., Virtual City Tours, and many others.

Prior to founding Wolf Studios, Jason was the Executive Director of Research & Development at marchFIRST, the Director of Multimedia at USWeb, and the Manager of Technology for CKS Partners. Jason has also worked for other companies such as LucasFilms (ILM) and Koei Corporation (Japan). He can be contacted through his web site at http://www.jasonwolf.com.

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