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Mac Corner: Stuffit Deluxe 2010 — a product review  

By Larry Grinnell, Palm Beach Phoenix Apple Users Group

larry grinnellA couple of products came across my desk recently from the nice folks at Smith Micro Software, which are the subject of today’s Mac Corner.

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 for Macintosh: StuffIt Deluxe is one of the oldest Macintosh products out there. It was originally developed by a 16-year-old, Raymond Lau, who needed an easy-to-use file compression program for himself at a time when none existed that fully met his needs. From its earliest days, it was extremely successful.

The .sit file format became the dominant standard for Macs, mainly it seems because StuffIt was there first, and no one ever seemed to be able to come up with a decent competitor. Lau became a wealthy man when he sold the product in the late 80s. Initially, it was a shareware product, but made the transition to a full commercial product a few years later.

It was marketed in two parts: the full StuffIt Deluxe product which included the basic file compression program, decompression program, and another utility that was used to make a completely self-contained “self-extracting archive” of the files you were compressing. This format added a very small unstuffing program that was built into the archive. The other component was a separate freeware “UnstuffIt” application so that folks who needed to uncompress files given to them by others, or downloaded from the then-popular bulletin board systems and the earliest proprietary online systems like CompuServe, Genie, and America On Line could do so without having to purchase the product.

By the 1990s, there was a Windows version of the product, which also worked quite well. The office of my former employer had transitioned from Macs to PCs, but thanks to a robust file format, we were able to uncompress files originally archived on our Macs, on our new and hated PCs.

After changing hands several times, and suffering the blow of Apple including free file compression in MacOS X, and going through some poorly executed upgrades early in the days of MacOS X, StuffIt Deluxe wound up with Smith Micro, who has done a stellar job of marketing and supporting the product.

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 for Macintosh continues the tradition of providing an easy to use program with a huge feature set. First, it still maintains full compatibility with the Windows version of the product. It has improved compatibility with all of the varied file compression standards including Zip, 7Zip, GZip, TAR, RAR, and more. Single files can easily be removed from archives. They have optimized compression of WAV, PNG, BMP, TIF, and JPEG file formats, often able to further compress files whose basic file format, such as JPEG, is already compressed. StuffIt Deluxe claims to be able to compress JPEG files up to an additional 30%.

Other features include the ability to split archives into multiple small parts to overcome problems on some email systems that might not allow large attachments. Here, you can send a number of emails with smaller attachments. At the other end, use StuffIt Deluxe once again to reassemble these pieces into the original archive.

Data protection is a matter of great importance to the folks at Smith Micro. StuffIt Deluxe for Macintosh 2010 supports strong 512-bit and AES 256-bit encryption with built-in protection against data corruption.

There are so many more features available with this versatile product, but there isn’t enough space in this column. StuffIt Deluxe for Macintosh 2010 is the gold standard for Mac file compression, it’s really easy to use, and well worth the $79.95 price tag if you need more capability than you can get with Apple’s archiving program.

AquaZone: Smith Micro’s Aqua Zone Seven Seas Deluxe is a fun screensaver that simulates an acquarium. The fish (and other things) and backgrounds are very high quality, and really entertaining, if not mesmerizing, to view.

It’s amazing to view it on a big-screen high-definition TV (I have a Mac mini connected to my TV, that I use as a media server). I highly recommend this program, as well as some of the extensions including Desktop Garden, Jellies, and Seven Seas. Lotsa fun, and only $24.95, available for Mac or Windows computers.

Get on Smith Micro’s mailing list, so you can be notified about sales for this and other Smith Micro products. They sell a number of Mac-based products and periodically offer substantial discounts through their mailing list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Readers are welcome to comment on this or any Mac Corner columns by visiting the Palm Beach Phoenix blog as well as by writing the editor of Palm Beach

Mac Corner runs every Wednesday only in Palm Beach Click to read the previous column.

About Larry Grinnell: Larry has been working with Macintosh and Windows PCs for over 25 years and worked as a senior technical writer and IT support professional for a major midwest-based consumer electronics and telecommunications equipment manufacturer here in South Florida. His musings on a wide variety of topics from computers to jazz guitar to strange foreign cars from the 1950s can be viewed at the website. Click here to reach him by email.

palm beach phoenix logoWriters of this column are members of the Palm Beach Phoenix Apple User Group, a nonprofit organization for Apple Computing Device Users, recognized by Apple Inc., with the purpose of providing educational training and coaching to its members (students, professionals and seniors alike) in a cordial social environment. The club meets the second Saturday (1-4 p.m.) and fourth Wednesday (6-8 p.m.) of each month at the Fire Station #2, 4301 Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach (just two block south of Southern Boulevard). Click here to visit their website. Click here to reach them by email.

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