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Author Topic: Versions??  (Read 8994 times)
MohKraats
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« on: April 19, 2010, 02:17:43 PM »

Nice test,

However, what were the versions of the apps, used in this test??
And how long ago was the latest update? (is the app still maintained?)
Without that info, the test doesn't tell me to much.

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 02:33:51 PM »

These points are well taken.. keeping the reviews updated and making version information clearer is one of those things we didn't grasp the importance of when we started doing these big reviews.  It might seem obvious in retrospect but at the time we started doing them we didn't anticipate what would happen after a few years passed and features change, etc.

It's been a long time in the planning but our goal is still to have a completely re-vamped review system eventually, which directly addresses the issues of keeping reviews current, etc.  so stay tuned for that.

Until then, the best option is to check out the date of the review in the upper left of the page, and use that as a guide to how out of date some of the discussion may be.
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MohKraats
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 02:44:47 PM »

Well, if the Archiver review dates back to 2005,

It might be an idea to re-do the test, and see what the situation is by now.
For example, I have been using Izarc for a while now, and this program has come a long way in the last years. (as many others will have too.)
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MohKraats
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 02:45:53 PM »

Must still be said that the review does offer a good example of usefull detail level for a review.
It will be a tough job matching that.
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IainB
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 06:00:23 AM »

@MohKraats: The review was of what is now probably a decidedly out-of-date version of WinRAR, but it would probably be more relevant if the date and version were referenced in the write-up.
Though competitive products are always leap-frogging each other, a current review might still place WinRAR in or near pole position. It has always been pretty good.

One of the first things I would usually do on getting  a new Windows-based PC is uninstall WinZIP (where installed) and use the "native" ZIP functionality that was built into the OS. Then, for non-zip, I would install WinRAR, because it handles such a wide range of compression formats, and because I prefer RAR for my archives (better compression).

However, I don't think I had never heard of IZARC until I read your post.
Since the version of WinRAR I have been using since 2003 is v2.30 (!) I shall try IZARC out - and it's a good price too (FREE) - so thanks for the reference.

Update: Just downloaded IZARC now. There's quite a good write-up on it (Editor's Review) at Softpedia, and a short one (Editor's Pick) at Brothersoft.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 06:12:30 AM by IainB » Logged
MohKraats
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 02:18:34 PM »

Hello IanB,

My biggest motivations for using Izarc were:
- Free, also for commercial use, since I use it on company PC's (WinRAR is ShareWare)
- "look and feel" simular to Winzip (which most users are familiar with)

I started to look for an alternative to Winzip because of the lack of LZH format in Winzip, (which is our company standard product, so our IT department doesn't want to invest in an additional archiver.....)
Our headoffice is located in Japan, where LZH is much used.
So I needed a free product that handles all.
That's how I ended up using IZarc. And was happy as well. smiley
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IainB
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 11:20:36 PM »

@MohKraats: Thanks for the info. Interesting that WinZIP, whilst being ubiquitous seems to be maybe not so hot at what it does. (?)

After using IZarc for a day (!), I find it works as promised, and very well too. However, it seems to be not so well-integrated with the shell as my old version of WinRAR.
For example, with WinRAR, I can:
  • open a file in the WinRAR browser
  • browse the file, dig down into its nested folders, documents and nested compressed files, using the WinRAR browser
  • view, add, delete files in the compressed file
  • backspace out of the file and navigate in and out of the folder/directory that the file is in (like using Windows Explorer)
  • browse into other compressed and non-compressed folders (like using Windows Explorer
  • perform operations on the files/folders I find
  • (interestingly) look into a word doc as though it were an XML archive or something, and inspect its structure and contents
- all this without having to invoke WinRAR repeatedly (i.e., just the once).

This is really more about ergonomics and user requirements than functionality or features. That's why I liked WinRAR in the first pace. Not only does it have the same/similar or better functionality to other compression proggies, but also it seems decidedly better-integrated into the file system, designed for people who require to browse files and operate on them "seamlessly" and without being kludgy.

IZarc:
  • Can't seem to do a lot of that with IZarc though - which is quite some constraint as far as I am concerned.
  • With nested compressed files, IZarc keeps handing over to Windows Explorer (WinRAR just opens them in the WinRAR browser)
  • IZarc and its file-handling thus seems constrained and a bit kludgy to me, by comparison with my old version of WinRAR, though I think it is otherwise probably very good when regarded as a compression utility alternative.
  • Maybe I don't have IZarc configured correctly, but, if that's the case, then I don't see how to configure it any better than I have done - it has the same file associations as I had previously set for WinRAR, with ZIP NOT associated.
  • The left-hand pane on the IZarc browser seems pretty pointless if all it contains is the name of one single file,
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 11:45:10 PM by IainB » Logged
MohKraats
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 12:58:29 PM »

Hello IanB

You're right.
Izarc is an Archiver. It will allow you to browse in an archive.
The left pane here will show the tree with the archive itself as root directory.

If you want to browse outside the archive as well, you should look for a file manager.
Or for a combi of the both, then you should start looking at apps like:
- A43  Freeware  (can also be used portable)
- Explorer++  OpenSource  (portable app)
- Total Commander   Commercial product

Regarding comparing Izarc to Winrar, Winrar should better be better, since it is not free.
When making comparissons to other programms, one should compare with other freeware programs.
Under the freeware programs, I found it difficult to find a realy free program, which is also free for commercial use, like Izarc.
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MohKraats
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 01:01:28 PM »

Just forgot to include one link:

File managers overview:
Filemanagers on Wiki
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MohKraats
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2010, 01:03:04 PM »

And ofcourse, more important,

An overview on Archivers as well:
Archivers overview on Wiki
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IainB
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2010, 07:34:08 PM »

@@MohKraats: Bit of a long discussion here, with a new conclusion for me. (You could just jump to that, rather than read the whole thing - the "thing" being my thinking.)

First of all, thanks for the Wikipedia links to:
Comparison of file managers
Comparison of file archivers
These made for some interesting study.     thumbs up

Thanks also because you have got me thinking about changing the way I do things. (Always nice when that happens.)      thumbs up
Quote
"When given the choice between changing one's mind or proving one's point of view, most people get busy on the proof." (JK Galbraith)
When you say:
Quote
"...Winrar should better be better, since it is not free."
- I am not necessarily sure that is a true statement, nor am I sure that RAR is "better" than IZarc anyway. If it were a true statement, then (say) FARR would be inferior to some alternative and paid-for product, and I can't see that that is currently proven to be the case. Whether a tool is "better" really all depends on what you want the tool for in the first place - what are the requirements? I realise now that my requirements for archiving are changing, or have been changed, due primarily to changes in disk technologies. This is why I am becoming interested in comparing alternative archiving proggies.

This is how I use archiving:
I have a directory called "Clients", where I build, keep and later archive all my client project/assignment-related folders. A project folder can have 'n' sub-folders, some of which may already have been ZIPped or RAR'd. As a project finishes, I tidy up the project folder - e.g., weeding out any junk or duplication - and then copy the whole thing - i.e., including any already compressed sub-folders - into a compressed archive file (ZIP or RAR).

The reasons I archive in this way are:
(a) to "freeze" the folder and protect it from easy change.
(b) to conserve disk space.
(c) to speed up the disk backup process (reduced discrete file-handling).

My requirements are:
(a) to ensure that I can continue to access and browse archived material immediately and with ease (WinRAR does this.)
(b) to ensure that the archive contents can be searched and indexed by Google Desktop. (GD can search ZIP and RAR archives.)
(c) to use the systems/technology as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Discussion:
After testing the archive, I delete the original source (uncompressed) folder.
I was biased towards RAR as it generally has a greater overall compression ratio (conserves more disk space) and it seems to have less (no) errors compared to ZIP, but a major disadvantage of RAR is that the native ZIP functionality of the OS cannot of course handle RAR format files in the generic file manager, so a RAR archiving and (preferably) browsing tool is a necessary prerequisite once you have created a RAR archive.
I was biased towards WinRAR because it meets the preference for a tool with directory browsing capability and RAR compression and minimal errors rather well.
The weight of my bias towards RAR has diminished now though, as disks have become much larger and cheaper ($ per GB), and ZIP seems no longer error-prone, so I tend to use ZIP now, when creating a new archive, in preference to RAR. ZIP is thus becoming more the standard for me.

In the "Clients" directory, there are currently 48 project folders:
  • 3 uncompressed (open) project folders.
  • 15 RAR archives
  • 30 ZIP archives
In working on current projects, I may need to refer to similar work done for the same or a different client, and that is when I browse through the compressed archives. Though WinRAR can be a bit confusing in the way it does this, it is nevertheless where WinRAR can come in very handy. There is certainly no file manager that can do quite the same job quite so easily. I say this from the experience of having tried several file managers out, over the years, settling for what is arguably the "best" (certainly functionally it is the most powerful) Windows file manager on the planet - xplorer².

The largest compressed archive is a ZIP file of 180Mb, containing many documents, the majority of which are compressed between approx. 60% to 80%.
My old version of WinRAR is able to browse the whole "Clients" directory, whereas IZarc cannot (QED), but my old WinRAR's technology and features are probably not as up-to-date, nor as many, nor as efficient as the current IZarc's.

Conclusion:
If I now did away with RAR altogether, converting all RAR files to ZIP, then I could consider ditching WinRAR and moving to using (say) IZarc - which, as I said earlier:
Quote
"...works as promised, and very well too."
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 07:35:53 PM by IainB » Logged
MohKraats
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2010, 02:18:26 PM »

Hello Ianb,

Sound to me that you'd rather be looking for a proper backup solution, rather than an Archiver.
Have you ever tried Areca? Thmbsup
This app does about what you describe here. It allows proper browsing of your backup archives, and also allows easy retreiving single files from an Archive, allows also retreiving older versions of a file.
Allows stacking of several jobs, allows picking single files or directories and adding those to a joblist.
Allows choise of total, incremental, or differential archiving.
Doesn't allow nested archives as far as I recall so quickly, needs confirming however. undecided
Although I must say that there is no need for nested archives when using this app.

I'd say, give it a try, allow it some getting used to as well (actually reading some manual material embarassed), since to have to figure out the user interface, which is only a bit strange first time use huh. After that it's as easy as can be. Cool

Greez,

Mohammed
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 02:31:18 PM by MohKraats » Logged
MohKraats
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2010, 02:26:19 PM »

And ofcourse on Wiki:

Backup apps on Wikipedia

Greez,

Mohammed
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IainB
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2010, 09:17:50 PM »

@MohKraats: Many thanks for the suggestions/pointers. Some new to me there, so I shall look them up.
In response, these are My backup requrements: (sorry if this is off-topic)
I started to ensure that I understood my backup requirements and that I had some sort of relatively foolproof backup system in place since 1990. The backup methods and processes have changed over the interim, such that today I perform backup to portable hard drives using HandyBackup.

I originally started to use ZIP archives to save disk space, but now that disk space is so cheap, space is no longer an issue. I use archives now mainly to make lots of old files (that I am unlikely to want to change) into one big one, thus making for faster transfer time on full backups. I use Google Desktop, and that has a plugin that enables it to search in ZIP archives, but it cannot yet search in other archive types (as far as I know). I am gradually converting any RAR archives that I still have, to ZIP. I only used RAR archives because their compression efficiency was roughly 10% better than ZIP, but, as I said above, "space is no longer an issue".

Any backup or archiving systems which use a proprietary compression method or which necessitate being around if you want to inspect or edit the backups are not of much use to me, which is why I like HandyBackup for regular full/incremental backups and for occasional syncing backups. I can't test them for the recovery of backed-up data all that easily if they are locked up in some proprietary format, so I aim for the lowest common denominator (the prevailing standard Windows system file structures and formats). I "manage" my backups using xplorer², which has some superb locking, viewing, mirroring and syncing features available in the two browser windows it gives you. What used to be an arduous, complicated, error-prone and tedious task is now something that I can do standing on one hand and in little time. I can compare directories and backups in a trice, visually. I tend to weed out obsolete stuff from the backup drives and on my hard drive, mostly using these features.

By the way, in case you haven't gathered this, I should mention that I am a bit paranoid about backups and data quality. (Comes from mainframe computer systems training.) I also run S.M.A.R.T. checks on my hard drives, replacing them before their performance/quality falls too far and before they become unreliable. So far I haven't had any accidental data losses, though I have had to recover from mistakenly deleting some stuff that I should not have deleted in the first place - though it was not "mission-critical". I tend to regard my data as being variously:
  • Worth backing up. (all data, and some source programmes).
  • Not worth backing up (e.g., system files, programme directory - I can always reinstall those).
  • Online and instantly available (on the hard drive).
  • Online and available after a delay (on the Internet, in the "Cloud").
  • Offline and available online after some delay (on a backup hard drive).
  • Sometimes available from duplicate backup sources (hard drives, thumb drives, in the Cloud).
Being somewhat paranoid (and very thrifty) I am having some difficulty entrusting my "mission-critical" backup solely to the Cloud.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 09:21:19 PM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2010, 04:55:40 PM »

So I downloaded and installed IZArc and I right clicked on a picture from my desktop and selected add to image.zip. I checked on the desktop and the zip file wasn't there... is it saved in a default archiving folder? If I move the file in a folder and right click on it for add to a zip file... the zip file will be placed in that folder... this is weird.

Another thing... if I have a png image in an archive and double click on it to edit with the default picture editing software... then make some corrections and try to save... it won't save it in the archive... it will save it in a temporary folder. Is there any option to save in archive directly?

And the third question : If I have an zip file created with IZArc in a folder containing 10 archived pictures and if I want to select some more files and directly drag them to the zip file... they won't add in the archive. Is this normal?
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2010, 09:41:36 PM »

@adi_barb: iZArc puts the compressed files in whatever location is specified in the settings (Check Options|Folders tab). It sounds as though you had the same experience I had when first using iZArc - "Huh? Where'd my file go?"

Compressing image files:
  • If you are putting image files into ZIP or any other compressed file and think this is compressing them, then you might be surprised to know that no significant compression takes place. This is because there is no "air space" to compress in image files. The only compression system I know of that achieved significant compression on image files was fractal compression, which seems to be no longer commercially available. Though it was a "lossy" compression system, fractal compression could compress individual image files by astonishing amounts - e.g., 60% of a colour .JPG image (and JPG is a a compressed format in the first place), and with no visible loss of picture quality. Fractal compression worked best on colour images, with a reduced level of compression for B&W images.
  • The only time when putting images into a ZIP file might be useful is when you want to move or copy them all as a cohesive collection. Just one file move as opposed to many file moves. It's a bit faster to move one file than many.

On document files though, for example, you could typically achieve 60% to 80% compression using common compression methods.

If you want to work on (e.g., edit) any file (image or document) that is in a .ZIP file, this is extremely tedious. I think the operating system has to copy ALL files in the compressed file out to a Temp area, edit the ONE you want, and then save them ALL back to a new compressed file. Lots of unproductive I/O and disk thrashing there. A few years ago I trialled some systems out that promised to enable you to do this on .ZIP files containing many files, just as if they were an ordinary sysem folder, but they proved to be slow and highly unreliabe. They crashed, and lost or corrupted your data. My recommendation would be to steer clear of them.

Hope this helps of is of use.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 09:47:58 PM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2010, 09:57:57 PM »

If you are putting image files into ZIP or any other compressed file and think this is compressing them, then you might be surprised to know that no significant compression takes place. This is because there is no "air space" to compress in image files. The only compression system I know of that achieved significant compression on image files was fractal compression

not strictly true, some image formats are already compressed (eg JPG, GIF, PNG) and as such you will not gain much by ZIPping them.  Others (eg BMP) are not and significant (disk space) gains can be had by archiving
 
FYI, some of the file managers (total commander is my choice, but there are others) will allow you to work directly with archives as if they were folders - this includes opening/editing a file from within an archive (and updating the archive when you're finished), and modifying the content of the archive by adding/deleting/extracting files by drag and drop
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2010, 09:09:37 AM »

@Target: Thanks for the heads up on the .bmp compression benefit. I had forgotten that some image files will compress better than others. It might be worthwhile testing all the common image file formats to see a comparative scale of compression (using the same image saved into different formats.

Out of interest I just compressed:
  • a 3.4MB .bmp file into ZIP format, and it became 2.5MB. That's a 0.9MB saving, or 26.5% compression, which is significant - though not huge (like in a document file) and might not be worth the effort.
  • a 1.2MB .jpg file into ZIP format, and it became 1.2MB. (So no saving there.)
  • a 1.9MB .png file into ZIP format, and it became 1.9MB. (So no saving there.)
  • a 3.7MB .tif file into ZIP format, and it became 2.2MB. That's a 1.5MB saving, or 40.5% compression, which is significant - and well worth the effort.

adi_barb was using .png files, according to his post. If he has a lot of TIF files, ZIP compression might well be worth looking at.

As for Total Commander, I had trialled that extensively - a few years back now, I guess. I recall it was very good - one of the best - but, if the version I trialled was able to manipulate/edit compressed files as though they were folders, then I guess it did not come up to spec., otherwise I would have stuck with it. It sounds as though it would meet spec. now though. What is TC like when manipulating files in a ZIP archive? Is it slow and disk-intensive - like I recalled these sorts of proggies were?

Meanwhile I am stuck with a HUGE (and growing) collection of mostly .jpg files, and I would love to find something to compress them to 40% or more. It's a pity that the fractal compression technology seemed to have been withdrawn from the market several years ago.
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2010, 01:28:25 PM »

"Fractal compression" was withdrawn from the market because it actually didn't provide as significant a benefit over modern JPG compression as was hoped. If it were significant enough, it would have caught on, especially in the bandwidth starved earlier days of the Internet when it was first being discussed. It is also highly demanding to compress, especially for video. See this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_compression

Quote
At common compression ratios, up to about 50:1, Fractal compression provides similar results to DCT-based algorithms such as JPEG. [4]  At high compression ratios fractal compression may offer superior quality. For satellite imagery, ratios of over 170:1[5]  have been achieved with acceptable results. Fractal video compression ratios of 25:1-244:1 have been achieved in reasonable compression times (2.4 to 66 sec/frame).[6]

One cool thing about it though is that images become "resolution independent" once compressed. Of course they are not actually creating any "real" new data when scaled, but the results can look decent (see Genuine Fractals software). But it's still potentially useful.

Anyway the takeaway point is if you want maximum (lossy) image compression use a *good* JPG encoder, and be aware that not every JPG encoder is very good. I find XnView's to actually be surprisingly competitive with Photoshop's Save for Web and other such high-end dedicated professional-level solutions, so that's a good free option to consider. XnView offers batch output too, if you want to convert a group of photos. Keep in mind however that recompressing an image that is already in a lossy (e.g. JPG) format is a *bad* idea, as it will just exacerbate any already existing artifacts and lose more image data. If you want a good lossless format, PNG is pretty much your best bet. If you're really looking for a "next generation" format to look into, try JPEG2000.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2010, 05:13:29 PM »

@JavaJones:
Thanks for the Wikipedia link. I had not seen that before.
Quote
"Fractal compression" was withdrawn from the market because it actually didn't provide as significant a benefit over modern JPG compression as was hoped.
Where did you get that from? I'm not sure that it was "withdrawn", or at least, not for the reason given.

Digression re FC (Fractal Compression):
In the early '90s I was a product manager at a company that had bought into a dealership agreement with Iterated Systems for their fractal compression technology, the latter which consisted of (from memory):
  • A circuit board which you plugged into your PC bus - this had the necessary and patented compression algorithms in firmware and/or in the drivers and associated software for using the hardware. This was a "black box" and the only means of compressing the images.
  • Software to enable viewing of the compressed images - this had the necessary and patented decompression algorithms in the software, to enable on-screen viewing of compressed images. This was the only means of viewing the images.
Because the technology was thus constrained, and because both the compression hardware and the viewing software were relatively very expensive, this tended to limit the use of the technology as a solution to only large organisations with relevant application areas and which could cough up for the relatively steep prices. That meant, in this case, police (who have a huge database of mugshots) and newspapers (reduced transmission and storage resources required for moving news photos around). However, the police database at the time was mostly B&W, and FC offered minimal compression of those, so no takers, and the news organisations couldn't really cost-justify it, so no takers there either.

If you look at the Wikipedia article, it says "Patent restrictions have hindered widespread adoption of fractal compression.". That would probably be a gross understatement - it more likely died because of a bad marketing model. The technology seemed to be locked up with patents, constipated proprietary technology, exhorbitantly priced dealer licences and high product prices - all of which probably explains why we never sold any of that technology (as far as I can recall) and why I recommended we did not renew the costly dealership agreement we held with Iterated Systems. I was sorry about that though, because the technology seemed very good - it did offer significant compression of .JPG (i.e., already compressed) images. If things had been done differently, I often wonder whether FC might not have become as ubiquitous as, and possibly superseded, JPEG.
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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2010, 02:33:57 AM »

You're right, "withdrawn" was probably the wrong word. In fact I believe some products that support FC still exist. I know patent and proprietary technology issues had something to do with its lack of success, but I'm fairly confident it also had a lot to do with 2 issues, both mentioned in the Wikipedia article.

1: FC did not have markedly better compression than JPEG in many situations, and only at higher compression ratios did it start to show real advantages.

2: FC was more computationally expensive to perform than JPEG. In the late 80s and early 90s this mattered a lot more than it does now. It could take several minutes to fractally compress a large-ish image, whereas a JPEG could be done (even then) in at most a few 10s of seconds.

So if you have a technology that is A: Not much better than its major competitors for general use, B: computationally more expensive than generally available competitors, and C: developed, patented, and controlled by few entities who seem to license it much more strictly than competing technologies, I think it's almost a given it's going to fail.

Here's the app I was thinking of that still uses FC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_Fractals

- Oshyan
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Slartibartfarst

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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2010, 03:17:24 AM »

I've just been trying out PeaZip (Sourceforge.net).
It's rather good at what it does. It seems a little less clunky than iZarc, and looks as though it is designed for browsing directories and archiving on the spot as you browse. PeaZip looks/feels more like what I wanted.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2010, 06:11:30 PM »

IanB,

Have you tried 7-Zip?

I find it can handle many different formats (including RAR) but actually gets better compression than even RAR using the 7z format.

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IainB
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« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2010, 07:15:32 PM »

@Deozaan
Quote
Have you tried 7-Zip?
No, I have only tried a couple of archiving proggies - as a result of learning from taking part in this discussion. I had not planned on evaluating them all!
I have been using WinRAR for years, and just recently tried iZarc, and now PeaZip (out of curiosity).
I found the Wikipedia article on archiving proggies provides an interesting summary and some basis for comparison.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2010, 08:06:24 PM »

I had not planned on evaluating them all!
Grin

I'm not suggesting you try every archive utility out there but I thought you might be interested in 7-Zip since AFAIK (from my personal observations of what sort of zip formats I frequently find online) there are three "major players" (for Windows) in the archive utility field: WinZip, WinRAR and 7-Zip.

Again, AFAIK (and I could be very, very wrong) all the others are more esoteric.

Of those three, I found I like 7-Zip the best. Thmbsup
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