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Published in TidBITS 89.
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Transparent DiskDoubler

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I tell you, our timing is just wonderful! ;-). As I'm sure most of you know, we just released an overdue comparison of two of the coolest utilities on the market today, SuperDisk and DiskDoubler (and a comparison of two more great ones will be coming soon - Super Boomerang vs. ShortCut). I hinted at the fact that Aladdin is working on a competitor called SpaceMaker, which will work much like SuperDisk in that it will compress files with certain names, although SpaceMaker will also boast a number of useful abilities in relation to creating and extracting true StuffIt Deluxe archives.

But that's not the problem. The problem is that Salient, the wizards of DiskDoubler, have announced a new product, tentatively named AutoDoubler, that may just make all the other transparent utilities a lot more opaque. The basic premise behind AutoDoubler is that you just want to save space on your hard disk and not sweat the details. This could be the utility of the year. Previously Salient had avoided this philosophy because earlier software technology wasn't fast enough be even pretend to transparency. That's why DiskDoubler has always been easy to use but has always required the user to invoke the compression.

Now however, Salient says that they have come up with a way to compress files up to twice as fast as SuperDisk, the current speed champ, and compress files tighter than SuperDisk does as well. Add to that the ability to have a DiskDoubler App-like program expand compressed files even if the AutoDoubler extension isn't loaded and the reliability techniques built into DiskDoubler and you have a winning concept. Essentially then, you get more disk space without ever having to worry about it, since AutoDoubler will work when you're not, and once it's gone through and compressed most of the files on your disk, the idea is that you'll barely notice that it's there. AutoDoubler will only step in to recompress files you've expanded in the process of opening and check to see if other files have aged sufficiently to require compression when you've stopped using the computer for a set period of time. AutoDoubler will work with the Sigma Designs DoubleUp board if you have the board installed (but AutoDoubler's magic requires no special hardware) and will be 100% transparent to all applications, include the Finder and text searching programs like ON Location. We'll probably do an article or review AutoDoubler after it's been out for a bit, but benchmarks don't really make sense for a program of this sort, assuming it is as fast as Salient claims.

We don't know precisely when Salient will release AutoDoubler, and the pricing details and all that are equally up in the air, but Salient is hard at work as we write this. We're sure that there will be some sort of sidegrade program for existing DiskDoubler users, and sidegrades from competing products may appear as well, though that's up to Salient's marketing folks. Keep an eye out though - if you're the sort who is always low on hard disk space AutoDoubler might be just what you need.

Salient -- 415/321-5375

Information from:
Salient propaganda -- salient@applelink.apple.com
Pythaeus

 

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