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More on Spotlight…

Macworld logoI know that not everyone that visits here reads my stuff over on Macworld’s site, so I thought I’d put a quick note here, too. Over on Macworld today, you can read my latest opinion piece, A Dim View of Spotlight.

This piece is a follow-up to my original Shining the spotlight on Spotlight article, which (confusingly enough) appeared here on robservatory in May (I wrote it prior to the Macworld changeover). If you read the original, you can skip the whole “what I said back then” section in the new article, and just read through my latest thoughts on why Spotlight still isn’t quite everything it could be.

Executive Summary: I don’t like the way Spotlight works at all, but I still think it has great potential. Read the story for the specifics on why I feel that way!

6 Comments

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  1. I agree with everything you wrote and I’d like to add one more thing.

    Seems like there is no adequate third party developer support for Spotlight plugins. How else can one explain the extremely limited number of applications that create Spotlight indexable documents?

    Why Apple’s Mail is the only searchable e-mail app?
    How come nobody has written applications for adding metadata in an “orderly” manner from pop up lists with menus and sub menus ?
    Why there are no applications for custom specific industry metadata?

    There are some applications for adding metadata to EXIF and IPTC fields to images but they existed before Spotlight and they’ve hardly improved since.

    There is still no way to add metadata to a folder or a group. One has to tag individual documents which is not always desireable. It’s like searching for certain kind of cities but in the results you get millions of houses that belong to these cities.

    Although I haven’t used it very much, Google Desktop seems to be able to search a wider scope of documents with faster search results.

  2. Spotlight is very beta, IMO. I find it very powerful in select instances and extremely lacking in the rest. I won’t get into details because there are too many things that distress me about it’s implementation and I’d be here all night.

    Nice article, though.

  3. Have you tried the latest beta of Launchbar? They’ve integrated Spotlight into Launchbar and fixed almost every problem you mention.

    The Spotlight/Launchbar combo, even in beta, is absolutely marvelous.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Spotlight has much room for improvement before it can be considered roadworthy. I will say that problems with lag during “find as you type” are much improved in 10.4.3, and that is good. But still, problems remain.

    Awhile ago, I posted a script to MacOSXHints that will disable Spotlight on all volumes and return “find-by-name-only” functionality to the Finder using the mdutil command. The hint was never published for some reason, and I’ve often wondered if it got lost in the shuffle. In any case, I posted it on my own blog, the details of which are here, if anyone is still interested:

    http://systemsboy.blogspot.com/2005/05/getting-back-to-search-basics.html

    I believe it is still my most popular post to date.

    If anyone decides to use this script, please note the disclaimers at the top. Also, right now the script completely disables Spotlight on all mounted drives, though it can easily be modified to work on selected drives only.

    Cheers!

    -systemsboy

  5. Have you tried the latest beta of Launchbar? They’ve integrated Spotlight into Launchbar and fixed almost every problem you mention.

    The Spotlight/Launchbar combo, even in beta, is absolutely marvelous.

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