Joliet Volume Access 2.1, by Tempelmann
Posted: 25-Jul-2004

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Thomas Tempelmann Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Michael Roberts Class: PRODUCTIVITY
     
$15   Download

Overview
Joliet Volume Access is a File System that allows you to read Windows formatted disks in a certain format. It is functionally a replacement for Apple's ISO 9660 File Access extension, with the following advantages over Apple's extension:

  • Supports Joliet, RockRidge and ISO 9660 Level 3 formats
  • Uses Internet Config's File Mappings
  • Mount previous sessions of a multi-session CD
  • Browses directories faster
  • Supports PBCatSearch, thus making searches using Sherlock (aka Find File) on ISO or Joliet formatted disks much faster
  • If a file name is longer than 31 characters, you can still see the full name in the comments field of the Finder's Information window
  • Folder view is "as List" instead of "as Icons", which makes ISO CDs more pleasant to browse
  • Access the ISO representation of a hybrid CD instead of just the HFS side
  • Make hidden files visible
  • Choose the default view for the Finder (as List, as Icons, large or small, etc.)
  • Play Video CDs without the need to switch to Apple's ISO File Access
  • Choose the default File Type for files without a specific name extension
  • Improved naming options for long file names, especially for MP3 CDs

Review System

I installed Joliet on an iMac 17" Flat-Panel 800MHz system using OS 9.2.2 in a dominantly Windows XP/NT Network environment (government).

Setup
Joliet installation was simple - just drop the extension and control panel onto the system folder and let the OS put them away properly. There have been no apparent conflicts with other application extensions, and I have a significant number of applications installed (over 40).

Joliet is a shareware product, so you'll need to register the product using the Joliet preferences. Until you register, Joliet will disable the saving of settings and show a shareware reminder message each time a CD is inserted.

NOTE: At the time of this review, version 2.1 was still in beta. This review was actually for version 2.1b5, but I found it completely stable and reliable, not like typical beta software.

In Use
Joliet runs only on OS 9 systems, making it an attractive choice for me since I often get CD's that are purely Windows formatted files. I usually fire up Virtual PC in order to read these files and copy them to the Windows Desktop, then drag them out to the Mac environment to use them, because of the Mac OS tendency to mangle the long filenames.

The Control Panel included with this extension seems pretty complete, and initially contains a window to enable the extension, display the volumes accessible with their format and location, select whether to show all disks (including hard drives, floppies, Zip, or Jaz) or only DVD's, and open the preferences for setting features.

The Preferences panel in Joliet has convenient tabs for setting various features:

  • General - name handling and display options
  • View - typical Finder view options, with an extra "Window Bounds" set of parameters
  • Advanced - Joliet and RockRidge format selection when mounting a disk, Compatibility for Iomega FindIt, pre-5.0.1 QuickTime, limited Apple behavior support, and an option to set default type and creator codes for unspecified extensions
  • Register - registering the product to enable the saving of settings and disable the shareware reminder when inserting a CD

Joliet uses the Internet Config preferences for file mappings, so there is no preference option in Joliet for viewing or editing these mappings. The ability to configure the settings from Joliet is preferable so that I don't have to find and open a separate application. File mappings is an integral part of how Joliet works, so editing the file mappings really should be accessible through Joliet (even if it is just launching the preference panel for you).

Inserting a Windows - created CD-ROM into my SuperDrive brings up the usual CD icon with a new twist - it has the word "Joliet" on it telling me that the extension is now active. As I open the CD and browse the contents, I can see that it is working as advertised. All of the filenames are fully listed and not abbreviated as they were on the native Mac OS, up to the 32 character limit. After that, there is a pound sign and a serial number which helps me since I receive many files with nearly identical filenames. This is especially useful for me as I use the phone to frequently discuss the differences between versions with colleagues on Windows platforms, and we use the filename extensively to identify various versions of a document under revision.

I also now get appropriate icons when viewing lists containing folders and files with the following extensions: .pdf, .html, .mpg, .mpeg, .exe, .gif, .jpg, and .psd, although files with the following extensions appear as blank document icons: .inf, .pl, .dll, .ppt, .pps, avi, .wav, .rm, and .jbf, and documents with the .olb and .lst extensions appear with TeachText icons. Joliet uses the Internet Config preferences for file mappings, so it is likely that my desktop database is the cause of some of these icons not showing up correctly.

Summary
Joliet Volume Access is a powerful little tool for Mac OS 9.2.2 and earlier, providing a simple solution for viewing files and folders on Windows formatted disks (or ISO 9660 disks in general). In my environment, having the same name available to me as the Windows users not only helps my productivity, but it also lessens the perception among the Windows users that the Mac just cannot see the things the Windows system can. Joliet is easy to setup and use, and is a very useful tool that I will continue to use. I highly recommend it to all Mac OS 9 users working in a Windows network.

Pros

  • Installs effortlessly with no conflicts
  • Helps the Mac user integrate into a Windows network
  • Wide variety of name handling options for the advanced user


Cons

  • File mappings cannot be viewed or edited within Joliet


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice