Stuffit is the Mac utility that refuses to die, the Dr. Who of file and folder archiving that gets a new face every couple of years, a digital repository for features you won’t find anywhere else.
Stuffit Deluxe 2010 is at version 14 and comes with still more ways to compress, archive and stuff files than Julia Child had French recipes. The only real question you need to ask is, ‘Do I really need to stuff what I can already zip?’ Stuffit Deluxe takes a cue from every product whose glory days are gone—add more features.
Have you ever wondered why Apple finally, after eight years without, and despite techno gadget pundits like me demanding they do so, finally added an FM radio to the iPod? The reasons are simple. Add features. Add value. Extend product life cycle.
If you’re new to the Mac and came from the Windows world, the term zip has meaning. Mac OS X has a zip archive utility, more or less similar to those available to Windows PC users.
Mac users with some file and folder archiving history will remember that Macs once used mostly Pack-It to compress files, then switched to the superior Stuffit back in 1987, a reign which continued until Mac OS X came with a zip archive tool built in.
There was a time when Stuffit was pure shareware, then migrated to almost full on commercial ware with Stuffit Deluxe. Stuffit Expander, needed to unarchive or expand files and folders remains free.
Stuffit of Yesterday
I use the term feature creep because, after 20 plus years of various owners selling Stuffit Deluxe to Mac (and Windows PC) users, more than a few features have managed to creep into the product.
There was also a time when Mac hard disk drives were small, and file size was important, hence the need to compress or shrink files so they could be archived. Stuffit excelled at compressing files and the need was obvious.
Shrink filies, save many files in a single archive. Not only would Stuffit files save space on your Mac, they were also easier to transfer across a network or the internet, due to the smaller file size.
Stuffit Deluxe has added some weight along with dubious functionality. Think of it as digital obesity. Included in the package is Stuffit Expander, DropStuff, DropZip, DropTar and so many other features that you might think email is included. It is.
Stuffit of Today
What does Stuffit Deluxe 2010 do? True, it still compresses files, and collects files and folders into a compressed archive, not unlike what Mac OS X does already with the zip archive tool.
Hard drive storage is cheap and plentiful these days, still, Stuffit has improved compression techniques, especially with graphic files. Stuff Deluxe even does disk images using the simple MagicMenu selection. Your Mac’s Disk Utility does pretty much the same thing.
Plugins for iPhoto and Apple’s Aperture make exporting archives just a click away. Ditto for Stuffit’s ability to shrink jpeg images even smaller than normal, without resulting quality loss. The advantage is to save gigabytes of space. But isn’t that really a solution looking for a problem?
The owners of a product in use by many tens of thousands of customers want to find new ways for them to use (upgrade) the product. Smith Micro is Stuffit’s new owner and they’re good at extending a product’s life cycle.
Stuffit Deluxe 2010 version 14 has SmartSend built in. Grab the files you want to email, select Stuff & Mail from the menu and click. Files are compressed, attached to an email message, and larger files are uploaded to a secure website using Stuffit Connect, which holds up to 2GB of files, using built in email, FTP, even MobileMe transfer ability.
Some want to call that cloud computing. There’s not much computing going on. You’re simply storing files online. Sure, Stuffit encrypts files, comes with a Quick Look plug-in, works faster on multi-core or multi-processor Macs, and is optimized for music files and photo files.
Stuffit Deluxe is pretty much full of every compression and archive technique known to humans using computers, including the all important annoying first impression. Annoying?
You want to try out Stuffit Deluxe before you decide to buy? That’s common, right? Get ready to cough up your credit card number for a 30-day free trial at a discount price. You can download and try Stuffit and won’t be charged until the trial period ends, and you can cancel before then for no charge.
Feature creep means adding so many new features to a product over the years until it does email or becomes annoying. Stuffit Deluxe 2010 has managed to do both.