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AutoDoubler News

Although it seems as though AutoDoubler has just come out, we’ve heard some hints about what Salient is planning for the next version of the utility, but in the meantime, we also have some news about a conflict with Apple’s PC Exchange and an unexpectedly useful side effect of the way AutoDoubler works.

New in 2.0 — In many ways, AutoDoubler is too transparent. This results in files being expanded when you might hope they would not be expanded. For example, they are expanded when you copy them in the Finder and when you back them up using certain backup programs. Salient tried to provide for this by making AutoDoubler aware of programs that it should avoid fooling so that these applications see the files as compressed. Unfortunately, this has not been completely successful due to a large number of possible programs and situations where files should not ideally be expanded. As a result, a major enhancement that will probably show up in 2.0 is a user-editable list of "literals," or programs that AutoDoubler feeds compressed files rather than expanded files. That will make it easy for users to add Norton Backup, for instance, which shipped after AutoDoubler and is thus not included in AutoDoubler’s list of literals.

Similar to that will be the ability to copy files in the Finder without expanding them since such a process takes less time and disk space. Currently, you can only do this if you use the Copy To… command in Salient’s other product, DiskDoubler. I’ll be curious to see how Salient implements this, perhaps by having the user hold down a modifier key when dragging the icon.

Finally, one thing that Salient has always been good about is enhancing performance and I expect that version 2.0 will be even faster yet. AutoDoubler is pretty quick on its feet, but on slower machines every second counts and even AutoDoubler will slow the user down a bit. I’m sure 68000 users will appreciate any performance gains Salient can squeeze out.

A bug and a feature — AutoDoubler has been extremely stable in my testing, but conflicts do happen, and one has appeared with Apple’s newly-released PC Exchange software. Apparently there’s a bug that can cause the Mac to crash when the two programs are used together, but the workaround is simple, just turn off the "Show DD on Compressed Files" option in AutoDoubler’s Control Panel. A fix will certainly be in version 2.0, and Salient is considering releasing another 1.0.x version in the meantime.

Back in the feature department, we’ve heard reports of AutoDoubler actually providing more protection than users had before installing it. Consider this scenario. If you open a FileMaker Pro database, make a few changes, and then experience a crash, it’s possible that the file will be corrupted when you restart. Most applications are good about not corrupting files, but it does happen. If, however, that file was compressed by AutoDoubler, then you’ll find the file as it existed originally in an AutoDoubler Rescued Items folder on the root level of your hard disk. Your changes aren’t present, of course, since this was a temporary backup file, but if the file you were working on was corrupted, the rescued file is a lot easier to get at than the potentially older version on your backup disks. This is a side effect of the way Salient ensures data integrity with AutoDoubler, but it’s an especially pleasant one.

Information from:
Terry Morse, Salient — [email protected]

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