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Review by  Travis Evans
Reviewed on 2007-10-05
Evaluation time: 12 days (Feb. 10, 2007 to Feb. 22, 2007)

Tested on: HW2 TI-89 with AMS 2.09

Pros: Very useful; fairly reliable; achieves decent compression

Cons: Has very severe RAM leaks; no TI-BASIC-accessible interface for automating tasks; very heavy free RAM requirements and corrupts the group file being operated on when RAM is insufficient.

* Stability/Reliability: 4/10

* Features: 7/10

* Size/Efficiency: 8/10

* Ease of use/Usability: 7/10

* Documentation: 9/10

* Overall: 6/10

Recommended: Not until the memory leaks are fixed

PowerComPress is an extremely useful tool for saving space on your calculator without deleting files you don't use often. It can compress any set of files (even if they're from different folders) into a few PCP files, keeping them out of the way. You could also use PowerComPress to back up data to the Flash Archive while saving space.

The user interface isn't bad, although I find the splash screen on first run annoying since it can't be skipped, and the “drop-down” menu animation slows things down unnecessarily. The important menu items have shortcut keys, though, so that makes up for this. Other minor annoyances are that some special characters (e.g., Greek letters) show up as black boxes instead of the correct symbol, and when PowerComPress is run from a BASIC program, it doesn't hide the temporary folders used by AMS to hold local variables, which clutters the folder list.

The progress bars when compressing and decompressing files are very neat and are one of my favorite features. They also visually depict the compression ratio during compression. Compression is very good and fast for a calculator.

Feature-wise, my biggest disappointment is that PCP doesn't provide any means of performing operations via command arguments. This would have made it possible to write TI-BASIC programs that could automatically compress or extract a set of variables with little or no user interaction, such as for backup purposes or for programs that extract other compressed programs on-the-fly and run them. A couple of other features would have been nice: the ability to remove files from PCP archives and a “freshen” feature to update the files in a PCP archive. And since PCP seems to need a lot of free RAM for compression, an option to just store the files without compressing them would have been nice for low-RAM situations.

I have not had PCP crash yet, but it still has very severe problems. For one, when compression fails (apparently due to low RAM; PCP often seems to need over 100,000 bytes free), the PCP file being operated on is corrupted and rendered unusable. So if you had added any valuable files to the PCP file before, you have just lost them. But worst of all, the PCP version I used seems to have a major memory leak. I discovered with Command Post Plus and SuperStart that when compressing and extracting files, I permanently lose enormous amounts of free RAM that isn't taken up by the newly extracted files. RAM gets lower and lower each time I use PCP. A normal RAM reset from the MEM screen /does not/ free it; the only solution is to use [2nd]+[Left]+[Right]+[ON]. This bug, sadly, greatly limits PCP's practicality at present. If the author corrects these issues, Stability/Reliability could score a perfect 10/10, and I will recommend PCP.

Review by  Steven Ford
Reviewed on 2006-02-10
“PowerComPress” is a very effective compression tool; I use it to save tons of memory on my calc, and would recommend this program to anyone who has lots of games or programs on their calc. Some things I would like to see in the future would be regrouping, so a file doesn't take up room as a compressed file when you decompress it. If you have a 68k calc, download this very useful program.

Graphics: 10/10 very nice GUI
Effectiveness: 10/10 it can compress most basic programs and text files to less than 1/2 of the original size
Reusability: 6/10 it would be nice if I could delete compressed programs from group files after I decompress them
Overall: 8/10 a great tool that everyone should use.

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