For years, I was serious about my compression software. (Anyone else remember a wonderful utility from the 1990s called ZipMagic?) In recent years, however, I’ve pretty much slipped into using the rudimentary compression and decompression features built into both Windows and OS X.
But I like Smith Micro’s StuffIt Deluxe 2011, the latest version of one of the most venerable Mac compression utilities. The new version includes a toolbar called StuffIt Destinations that automates the normally two-step process of compressing a file and then doing something useful with it–such as e-mailing it, uploading it to an FTP server, burning it to DVD, or using Smith Micro’s SendStuffNow (a YouSendIt competitor) to let other folks download large files which would choke their e-mail.
Dragging a file from the OS X finder onto a Destinations tile starts the specified process; you can choose to get an on-screen or e-mailed alert when it’s finished. The program supports both its own StuffIt X compression format and the much more universal Zip, and includes various other compression- and decompression-related features such as the ability to create DMG virtual disks and to decompress files in a bevy of formats. (I just used it with a file compressed with RAR, a format which OS X can’t handle by itself.)
You can also create your own Destinations tiles with different combinations of compression format, destination, and settings, or tweak the built-in ones.
StuffIt Deluxe 2011 is $49.99, which gets you a nicely flexible three-computer license (you listening, Microsoft?) which covers both Macs and Windows PCs. (The Windows version of the program, however, is the 2010 edition, without Destinations–Smith Micro hasn’t updated it yet.) The price also includes three months of SendStuffNow Pro, which permits transfer of files up to 2GB.