Mike Brittain’s post here about image-grinding reminds me of last year’s project my colleagues and I worked on to handle mass quantities of fax images. His problem was making new sizes of JPEG images to sell handcrafts on Etsy.com.
Ours is making spindly-fonted, half-toned, and blurry medical record printouts easier to read when they’re faxed to somebody. For some reason, critical information like Coumadin dosages are printed in half-toned gray boxes on some care plan summary documents. If you just fax them, you can’t really tell the difference between 20 mg and 200 mg. Fail. Fail-to-morgue. No good. So we scrub out the the halftones, thicken up the spindly letters, and sharpen up the images people get in their fax machines.
Brittain did his work in the Amazon EC2 cloud using GraphicsMagick. We built ours and still run it, not in the cloud (duh! protected health information in those faxes) using the multiprocessor version of ImageMagick. Both are terrific open source projects.