Comments on next week's product announcement, Stuffit

Monday, 2003-04-21; 20:53:00

One week to (probably) the launch of the Apple music service, and some comments on Stuffit compression

Well, there's only one week left! Apple's officially announced the announcement: this MacCentral article says that Apple is holding a special event next Monday that will include "announcements that will be music to your ears." Kind of corny, yes, but it basically assures that it's probably going to be about new iPods, a new version of iTunes, and the launch of the Apple music service.

Rumors say that all 5 major music labels have signed on. Two things that I can't wait to find out, though, are 1) what the price is, and 2) if there will be any DRM involved. If the price is around $1/song, that would probably be decent, given that CD prices nowadays are around $15-$18 for less than 15 songs. I also hope that Apple and Steve Jobs have been able to convince the record labels that a service model without DRM (digital rights management) would work, because that will severely diminish the value of the service.

I guess we just have to wait 'til next Monday.

The other thing that I was thinking about the other day is the semi-uselessness of the Stuffit compression format: I think that the Stuffit compression technology is pretty much old news. Why? Because Disk Copy takes over compression, and adds a benefit to the mix -- you don't need to wait for uncompression (or at least you have to wait for much less time) in order to use the data on a disk image -- it simply mounts, and then you can use the data and modify it however you want (just like Stuffit files, though, if you don't have Stuffit Deluxe, you need to recompress the entire folder if you want to make changes to the archive). Stuffit files, on the other hand, require you to wait for the uncompression of the data, which makes it much less attractive. I also find that Disk Copy compression is much faster, and I don't notice a big difference in size.

It always kind of annoys me when Mac OS X programs are provided in Stuffit format, because of this wait period -- I much prefer disk images. The only thing, though, is that Mac OS X disk images (.dmg files) aren't compatible with Windows, as far as I know (even though they don't actively use resource forks), and so they are not cross-platform compatible. A good cross-platform disk image format would be a great thing -- but so far has yet to come into reality. Of course, since most people on Windows use the zip format, Stuffit compression technology still has no use anymore, IMHO.

Disk images also allow you to put spiffy background images in folders. But that's not the real point. As more users migrate to Mac OS X, I think we'll see Stuffit drop out of the picture.

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