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RIP, Mr. GIF

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Obits
  • Stephen Wilhite, creator of the GIF, dies at 74

    The death was confirmed in an obituary, which said Wilhite, one the chief architect of America Online, died March 14 — just days after his 74th birthday on March 3. He died of Covid, his wife, Kathaleen, confirmed.

  • It's official. We've all been saying "GIF" wrong

    Stephen Wilhite, the inventor of the GIF, passed away last week from COVID at the age of 74. In his obituary page we learn some previously unknown bits of information about the inventor such as that he liked camping, traveling, and was known to be a humble and kind man. Left out of the obituary, but made abundantly clear in the majority of the write-ups pertaining to his passing, is that we've all been saying GIF wrong.

  • Stephen Wilhite, creator of the GIF, has died

    Although GIFs are synonymous with animated internet memes these days, that wasn’t the reason Wilhite created the format. CompuServe introduced them in the late 1980s as a way to distribute “high-quality, high-resolution graphics” in color at a time when internet speeds were glacial compared to what they are today. “He invented GIF all by himself — he actually did that at home and brought it into work after he perfected it,” Kathaleen said. “He would figure out everything privately in his head and then go to town programming it on the computer.”

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