Monthly Archives: October 2009

So is anyone reading this?

Since I moved over from Blogspot, I’ve received 11 comments, or rather WordPress has marked 11 comments as spam and deleted them, usually before I could look at them. Other than a couple of pieces of email, I’ve been getting no feedback. The readership graph shows blips when I post something new, but I don’t know whether that’s actual people or not.

So I’d really like to hear from anyone who’s still reading this. Did I lose everyone with the host switch? is occasional news on file formats and JHOVE just too boring to read? Are legitimate comments disappearing down the maw of the antispambot? Or is everything I say so self-evidently true and complete that nothing more needs to be said? I rather doubt the last.

Microsoft to open up Outlook format

A report on CNET says that Microsoft will be publicly documenting the formats of .pst files used by Outlook. Microsoft’s Paul Lorimer is quoted as saying the format specification will be available “under our Open Specification Promise, which will allow anyone to implement the .pst file format on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way.” No timetable is given.

What ever happened to .SIT?

With the increasing use of ZIP compression on the Macintosh, the Stuffit or .SIT format has fallen into relative obscurity. But not only is it still around, its publishers claim it’s “the ultimate in compression.” Five to ten years ago, lots of computer products were promoted as “the ultimate.” But when the next revision is the new “ultimate,” and so is the one after that, the claim starts to look ridiculous, and most advertisers have dropped it.

Stuffit’s compression is, according to most studies, about as good as competing technologies. It has no claim on being “the ultimate.” Its ad in the MacConnection catalogue says that “Stuffit Deluxe(R) 2009 can compress files up to 98% of their original size.” This is a nicely ambiguous claim; does that mean that the compressed file is reduced by 98%, or that it’s 98% of its original size? The latter isn’t hard to achieve at all, and hardly worth bragging about. But it’s extremely rare that Stuffit, or any other compression, can reduce a file to 2% of its original size. Perhaps a file of all 1’s would get 98% reduction, but that’s seldom useful.

Stuffit once had the advantage of recognizing the two-fork file format of the Macintosh Classic OS. But now that virtually everyone has gone to OS X, which doesn’t use dual file forks, it’s just one more compression format.

Unicode 5.2.0

Unicode 5.2.0 is now out. It adds 6,648 new characters but still doesn’t officially include Klingon.

JHOVE2 at iPres

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in California for the post-iPres workshop on JHOVE2, but there is some information online. The JHOVE2 project presentations page includes a short and a long version of the slides. An early version of the code has been made available for testing and progress continues.

P2 registry

I’ve just come across yet another file format registry: the P2 Registry at the University of Southampton in the UK. It’s identified as a beta and was pretty slow when I tried it, but it has some interesting features, including risk assessments of formats. PRONOM and other data sources are used. There is a short PDF article on the aims of P2, which tells us that “the key feature of the registry is the ability to import arbitrary ontologies that can be used both to infer new facts from existing information as well as to align (in the case where two concepts are similar or the same in nature) information already in the registry.”

Its web user interface is minimal at the moment, but it’s worth keeping an eye on this.