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dfj225
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Join Date: Jul 2004
 
2005-05-02, 16:39

I'm wondering what everyone here who has Tiger installed thinks about Spotlight. To get things started I'll post my impressions.

I can't help but be a tad disappointed with Spotlight. Don't get me wrong, it does a great job at finding what is there quickly, but I feel like it should be so much more. A great article to read that says much of what I would like to say can be found here: Ars. I would really love a way to add metadata to a file like the author suggests. For instance, I write a fair amount of code and it would be nice to be able to attach metadata to each file to associate it with a project. I tried things out and by placing a line containing the project name in the file, Spotlight did a fairly good job of indexing that. However, if I have generic code that could belong to multiple projects, I think it would be nice to be able to just add a note that says this project uses this code as metadata somewhere and Spotlight should index that.

Also, it seems that Spotlight doesn't associate the name of folders with the files in them. For instance, if I have pictures in a folder called Maine but the files themselves have cryptic names, a search for Maine will return the folder but not the images in it.

I won't be able to stop using the filesystem to organize my work until I can attribute metadata to files. Spotlight indexes based on this metadata, but the actual metadata is largely unknown to the user. After reading the Ars article, it is obvious that the framework is there, it just needs to be implemented.

Otherwise, I am pleased with Spotlight. It does work well, I just don't think it will be revolutionary for me like everyone says it is. Although, more time with the system may prove me wrong, so I will have to make an effort to incorporate Spotlight into my daily computing to see if it makes a difference.

~Doug

Last edited by dfj225 : 2005-05-02 at 16:56.
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eleazar
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2005-05-02, 17:25

I agree, but more than that.. I don't like that it doesn't even index files that are on a network drive. I keep most of my data on network drives to save room on my laptop and to be able to access the data from different computers around that house. having spotlight work on that would be a life saver.
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torifile
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2005-05-02, 17:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleazar
I agree, but more than that.. I don't like that it doesn't even index files that are on a network drive. I keep most of my data on network drives to save room on my laptop and to be able to access the data from different computers around that house. having spotlight work on that would be a life saver.
It doesn't index network drives? That really blows. Really. Between iPhoto 4's lack of spotlight and this, could it be anymore disappointing?
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Jason
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2005-05-02, 18:25

Isn't it possible to add metadata in the Spotlight Comments section and then Spotlight will index this data also?

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong?
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torifile
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2005-05-02, 19:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason
Isn't it possible to add metadata in the Spotlight Comments section and then Spotlight will index this data also?

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong?
Yes, it's possible. But 1) I don't know that this is doable on networked drives and 2) spotlight isn't supposed to be more work. I'm disappointed, Apple.
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Kickaha
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Join Date: May 2004
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2005-05-02, 20:13

It's been said for *months* that Spotlight would only index and search locally mounted drives. Sorry you guys missed that. Maybe you were getting it confused with Longhorn's search which *was* supposed to go networked... but got yanked. Spotlight was never advertised as networkable, nor has it even been talked about in those terms that I've ever heard. Quite the opposite, actually.

The comments field is programmatically accessible, I believe. Here's one for Automator: drop a folder on it. For every file in the folder, add the folder name to the Spotlight Comments. Now do the same recursively on down. Voila. Simple, easy, and done. (If not Automator, then AppleScript.) Do it once on your drive to capture your current organization as metadata, then move forward. Heck, have a Finder hook that adds the metadata of the folder structure back up to Documents anytime you move a file. Woot!

Yes, that's what we're getting towards.

Look at it this way: Spotlight/Finder *could* index the folder structure, but folders are static. Spotlight is supposed to get past that into a dynamic environment. Go read the excellent review at Ars Technica, and realize that the UI issues between Spotlight and the Finder are still in flux... I expect that with 10.5 the Finder will be radically changed to incorporate Spotlight as a core, nay, *primary* way of working with your files. *Every* folder will be a smart folder, with 'path' metadata as the first indexed info. We'll get there. In the meantime, Apple has provided solid hooks for the metadata to third parties, and I'm kind of surprised no one has produced a Keywords Manager app yet. Post-defense, I might have to take a day and make one.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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Paul
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2005-05-02, 20:16

It is possible on networked drives... you just have to explicitly index the volume. A few Tiger reviews covered this.
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dfj225
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2005-05-02, 20:18

Having read the Ars Technica article is what made me realize that Spotlight could be so much more...the framework is there it just needs to be tapped into. There is really nothing today stopping someone from building the type of environment you described. I just wish there was a better way to set metadata for files. Yes, I did notice the Spotlight Comments. But to me this seems backwards. If I have to go and manually set the metadata for just about every file I work with, this seems just as time consuming as organizing things into files. Which is what Spotlight is trying to avoid. If I create a project in Xcode and link some files into that, Spotlight should take note that these files are associated with a certain project. Similar ideas could be used for photos or documents or whatever.
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dfj225
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2005-05-02, 20:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul
It is possible on networked drives... you just have to explicitly index the volume. A few Tiger reviews covered this.
Do you have any links? I haven't seen that mentioned.

The Ars Technica article did talk about this a little. The problem with networked volumes seems to be that files created on that volume might not necessarily have been created by your computer. After the initial scan, Spotlight data is updated by the kernel when a file is written, but if that file gets written by another Mac or a Windows PC then there will be no data. In essence the volume will have to be reindexed each time it is attached.
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torifile
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2005-05-02, 20:24

Someone what to tell me YTF I can't get my Omnioutliner documents indexed? I've upgraded to 3.0.2, which is supposed to be spotlight aware, but I can't get it to work. It's quite maddening.
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dfj225
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2005-05-02, 20:29

I'm guessing there is no Omnioutliner plugin for Spotlight yet. Proprietary file types will need to have a Spotlight plugin written for them.
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agent302
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2005-05-02, 20:40

OmniOutliner Spotlight Plugin
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chucker
 
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2005-05-02, 20:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfj225
I'm guessing there is no Omnioutliner plugin for Spotlight yet. Proprietary file types will need to have a Spotlight plugin written for them.
http://www.apple.com/downloads/macos...ghtplugin.html

It's even in the featured downloads.
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dfj225
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2005-05-02, 20:42

Oh, well then I have no idea what the problem could be. Maybe the indexer has bugs?
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torifile
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2005-05-02, 20:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker
http://www.apple.com/downloads/macos...ghtplugin.html

It's even in the featured downloads.
I'm not braindead.

I saw that. Downloaded it. It's just the same version I have. It's not a "plugin" per se, it just the newest version of OO. Like I said, I've already got it.

Some poking around revealed that there's a known bug in Spotlight that prevents indexing of certain docs. I've done the workaround and now I'm set. I just hope it's easier than this from now on. (For those keeping count, I've already been frustrated that iPhoto 4 didn't work with spotlight, iPhoto 5 requires a little "kick" in the files to get spotlight to index, and now this with my OO docs. :/ )
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dfj225
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2005-05-02, 20:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile
I'm not braindead.
Sorry, guess I'm too used to having to help out Windows users with their computer problems
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Kickaha
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2005-05-02, 21:42

Spotlight indexes on *save* of a file, not before. Open each OO file, and then close it. That alone may do it. If not, alter (nominally), then save each file. That should trigger it.

The app makers should offer a tool that you can use to find all files of their filetype and touch with just enough to cause Spotlight to perk up and take notice.

There's also this.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.

Last edited by Kickaha : 2005-05-02 at 21:48.
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Late Payment Charge
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2005-05-02, 22:03

You can use automator to make a plugin which adds metadata to files you select.
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Kickaha
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2005-05-02, 22:05

And, the mdutil at the command line looks like it's going to be a huge boon for those with a bit o' scripting fu.
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Moogs
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2005-05-02, 22:23

I am really psyched about Automator, actually. I think it's going to end up being my favorite feature and one I am willing to learn some new tricks for, so I can write my own bundles / plugins for stuff like this and for other apps like Photoshop.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Late Payment Charge
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2005-05-02, 22:27

Well, I *was psyched about automator, but because I need it to work with programs like photoshop, it looks like I'm gonna have to wait for people like moogs to come up with some stuff. There are already a few Photoshop Automator plugins on Apples site, but they look kinda pissy - " WOW CROP AND RESIZE YOUR PHOTOS!!!"
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Kickaha
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2005-05-02, 22:29

You can use Automator to fire off AppleScripts to control apps like PhotoShop. Or shell scripts to control command line tools.
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Late Payment Charge
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2005-05-02, 22:34

Thats the thing though, I kinda got the impression that automator was for people who didn't know a lot about scripting and such. I hope that future versions of Automator will feature more commands for 3rd party apps. There are still some pretty neat things you can do, but I won't be going as crazy as I imagined.
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Kickaha
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2005-05-02, 22:49

As with AppleScript, it's up to the developer to provide Automator support.
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LudwigVan
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2005-05-02, 23:28

I've noticed quite a bit of talk -- mostly in the MacNN forums -- about Tiger not cataloging the filenames of un-indexed volumes. In other words, if you had a drive that you did not index via Spotlight, you can't do a ye olde simple Find File (Command + F) search on that drive just to find a particular file. Anybody here run into this yet?
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eleazar
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2005-05-03, 01:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul
It is possible on networked drives... you just have to explicitly index the volume. A few Tiger reviews covered this.
I'd be interested in some links pointing to these as most of my data is on network drives.
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eleazar
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2005-05-03, 02:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleazar
I'd be interested in some links pointing to these as most of my data is on network drives.
Actually, I found it on my own. If you pull up a terminal and type out:
sudo mdutil -i on /Volumes/network-drive-name

this points spotlight to those drives as if they are removable drives. I am not sure if when you disconnect those drives, and then reconnect if you run through the index process again, but I'll find out soon enough after some use.
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digitaldave
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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2005-05-03, 03:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile
...iPhoto 4's lack of spotlight...
torifile,

I posted a link in the thread about the little annoying things in Tiger - it worked for me in iPhoto 5, might be worth giving it a try in iPhoto 4, as it only takes a minute or so to do.

Here's the link.
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Bryson
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2005-05-03, 03:18

I tried it in iPhoto 4, and no dice for me.

Upgrading to 5 now, actually.
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digitaldave
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2005-05-03, 03:46

Just did a quick check:

Finds:
  • Keywords
  • File names

Doesn't Find:
  • Album names
  • Image titles (i.e. iPhoto titles, not filenames)

I'm surprised that the iPhoto image title isn't found, as that is clearly specific to the image. I'm not as surprised about the album names though, but why can't it search AlbumData.xml, as I guess that's where all the info is sotred???
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