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To Zip Or Not To Zip Files

 
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Smallwheels
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:50 pm    Post subject: To Zip Or Not To Zip Files Reply with quote

I recently took an online course. All of the files were streamed and they were also downloadable. Most of the course is in video format with PDF, PPT, and a couple of other document formats added for each video. The total content size is 13.75 GB.

I've saved it to my computer and to an external hard drive. I also want to save the content to CD ROMs. I don't have much experience saving things to disc. The last time I did this was in 2008 when saving files from my XP computer in order to transfer them to the Mac. So I need some advice.

Putting the files directly to disc will make the files readable from the disc. If I zip them does that mean they must be downloaded onto the computer before being readable? By readable I mean being able to watch the videos as well as open the different types of documents.

The video format is .mp4. Having these files readable on the Mac, Linux, and (ugh) Vista is important since I use all of these OSs.

The way I stored the course was done with very nested folders. For instance section one is entitled 1.0 with the section name. Within that one are several on a different level. There are 1.1.0, 1.2.0, 1.3.0, et cetera. Within 1.1.0 there are 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3 et cetera. Most of the top level folders are about one GB in size. Some are much bigger and some much smaller.

Can I compress a folder containing both videos and multiple document file types? I've never saved a file in compressed format. It's time to learn about it.

The amount of data to be saved will probably take twenty something 700 MB discs without compressing it. How much disc space will be saved by compressing the files?

Thank you for teaching me something new.

Smallwheels
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can put what ever you want in a folder and compress it.

Complex information like audio and video files tend to not compress very well, so you won't gain much by compressing them. However it is a convenient way to organize files.

I think Windows can see what is in a ZIP archive and you can access it directly, but I don't think any other OS can.

Compression efficiency is based on the compressible nature of the files. Text files tend to compress very well, but complex stuff like video does not.

SC
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mooblie
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed: files that are already compressed, like any sort of MPG video, or JPG stills, or MP3 audio, already have most of the "air" taken out of them, and so further compression does very little to make them even smaller.

However, compression does mean a ".zip" file is more likely to survive:
- cross-platform movement (MAC<>PC), or
- storage on optical disks,
- and/or downloading, or
- movement as an email attachment
- transfer through FTP or a service like YouSendIt,
- NAS storage, archive, backup etc.

Mac and PCs can both make and open .zip files easily.
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