Smith Micro's collection of archive creation and management tools, including DropStuff and StuffIt Expander, has had another update. There are some great new features, but some great old ones are missing.

Not only have Secure Delete, Archive Search, DropConvert and StuffIt Express PR disappeared, so have all the documentation, examples, plug-ins for other applications and StuffIt Deluxe itself. In their place is StuffIt Archive Manager (SAM), a new program that provides a variety of useful functions, although not all the functions of those programs that have disappeared.

As well as the archive inspection capabilities of StuffIt Deluxe, SAM automatically locates standard archives on mounted disks using Spotlight. It can also use Spotlight to create Collections (groups of files that fit rules you set up).

SAM is a Universal application and, like the rest of the suite, has a new Tiger-like but rather basic interface (there's no Get Info or any useful information in the main window, such as archive location, except via tooltips). While SAM isn't especially fast, the rest of the suite, including Magic Menu, nip along on Mactels.

While we found the ability to find and search our archives almost instantly useful, there aren't enough improvements to make this feature worthwhile. For example, you still can't modify most archives using SAM, but typically only those created by StuffIt and not by OS X's archiving function. Since SAM relies on Spotlight, much is achievable through Finder, making Collections redundant for most people.

More importantly, the loss of features like DropConvert and the lack of documentation are detrimental to the product. Rob Buckley