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Popular Science honors Spotlight search

updated 09:15 am EST, Thu November 17, 2005

Spotlight award

Popular Science has honored Apple's Mac OS X Spotlight search technology in its '' roundup for 2005. "Most desktop search tools are perpetually a step behind, periodically snooping your machine to find new and changed files. But Spotlight, the search function in Apple's new Tiger operating system, updates the instant anything changes because it's built into the core of the OS. That integration also means that the search function is available in the Save and Open dialog boxes of other applications. And Spotlight searches more metadata--the information about a file, such as who created it or what camera it was taken with--than ever before, so as long as you sort of know what you're looking for, you'll probably find it."




by MacNN Staff

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  1. villalobos

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    SPotlight rocks!!!

    I am reminded of it each and every time I have to look for a file on my work PC. These two searches are even in the same league.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Great, but...

    it could be better. It gets lost too often, sometimes doesn't index directories even though you want it to, too hard to turn off for external drives (there should be a way to say "Don't index external drives unless I say to index them" rather then the "anytime I plug something in, just index, index, index!", esp since, sometimes, the stupid thing tries to index the drive the next time you turn it on, regardless of the previous settings. Plus, what of all the complaints about turning off indexing on certain directories, then not even being able to do a simple 'find file' in those directories (I'm not talking about content searching, just finding a file by name). And then there's been complaints that it sometimes doesn't find files (by name or content) when certain strings are known to exist. On top of that, there should be an easy way to just turn the stupid thing off if you don't want it.

    But most of all, the biggest shortcoming in my view is that it has absolutely no ability to work on a large database-type file. Apple basically rewrote the way address book and mail store their contents (now as individual files for everything - gee, there's efficiency for you, huh!), just so Spotlight could go to a particular message or user. There should be a way to set up the indexing and events such that you could have the thing say "Open this file, go to this record". People stopped saving data stores as separate files like 10 years ago, to the betterment of computer users everywhere. Now we've transgressed, because apple couldn't figure out any other way to perform searching.

  1. phillyjoe

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Doesn't Work on Network

    Another shortcoming is that it won't work on networked volumes. You have to do a regular command+F, and then that defaults to searching your home folder by "kind." Who does that? Lots of clicks, later you can search the networked volume by name.

  1. johhhn

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    database search?

    i'll take my individual files the way Mail handles it-- go ahead and use Lookout Express or Entourage if you want a crappy database that is prone to corruption all the time

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whaaaaaaat!?!

    Did they actually use Spotlight, or did they just read Apple's website on it? Cause Spotlight suuuuuuuuuucks. Its slow as h***, and the interface is a usability nightmare.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: database search

    Yeah, because nothing is more efficient then a directory structure with 200,000 files in it. You know, there's a ton of mail programs out there, and I can't think of another one that writes out files for each message. Most are one file, or one file per folder.

    And databases are no more prone to corruption then any other method. I can't remember the last time my PowerMail database corrupted, if it ever has.

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