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ATPM 16.06
June 2010





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by Mark Tennent,

Stuffed, Compacted, and Doubled

Who’d have thought it? Most of the time it just sits there doing very little. Type top into Terminal to see it, feet up and half asleep, waiting for us to titillate its silicone synapses. Even doing heavy Photoshopping or similar graphics stuff, the CPU uses less than 1%.

Currently, all eight cores are running at 110% but still leaving room to scribble blogs, check e-mails, surf the Web, and so on. They are compressing video as fast as files are fed into iTunes and Elgato’s Turbo.264, as well as exporting directly from EyeTV. Now all we need are the hours to watch the weeks of films and TV shows we have in iTunes to play on our Apple TV.

Which is, we think, a box of silicone chippery that has been much maligned and hope Apple extends its operating system before we take things into our own hands with aTVFlash. In our experience, the Apple TV does exactly what we wanted: stream digital media wirelessly from our huge storage disks in one room to our TV in another. Plus, it can also download rental movies or play slide shows of our digital images.

That’s the problem with compression. You have files in one format and then need them in another. While our major Mac had been burning the candle at both ends to convert films from AVI to M4V H.264, my partner recently found that she needs older files uncompressed. She needs to open some QuarkXPress files, circa 1993.

In those days, we had a first-generation CD reader/writer. It took an hour to burn each disc, so you made sure the blank CDs were top quality or be prepared to face another hour of not touching your computer just in case it upset the disc-burning. The majority of our CDs from this era hold files archived to save space with utilities such as Compactor and DiskDoubler; all of the files are now useless because we cannot decompress them.

We would never have thought that nearly two decades later optical media have become disposable, use-once-then-throw-away coasters. After years of trying to scare the birds off our veggies with long lines of silver spinners, we’ve accepted that they have no conceivable use other than data storage.

Nevertheless, on one CD she had stashed the file she needed. The file opened immediately in QuarkXPress 8, even though it was probably made with version 3.2, plus all the ancillary files from Freehand and the like.

It’s funny to think that in 1998 Quark offered to buy the then-struggling Adobe, which was laying off staff. The offer alone bucked Adobe’s share price enough to help it survive. Quark took some stick for version 5, which I always liked because it ran flawlessly in Classic under Mac OS X. But Adobe overtook with InDesign 2 and even now draws more suckers into paying the Adobe annual upgrade tax (ourselves included).

At least Quark’s upgrades are free, or cost about a hundred quid ($145) if you buy early.

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Reader Comments (1)

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · June 2, 2010 - 13:41 EST #1
Unarchiver supposedly can decompress DD files without requiring a Classic environment.

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