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Tiger Spotlight Less Then Optimal

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the slower-then-molasses dept.

OS X 126

Anonymous Coward writes "Spotlight turns out to be a major pain for many users because it can't be turned off and insists on indexing volumes each time they are mounted. Additionally, Spotlight doesn't come with a manual to teach you how to create complex queries. Most simple available queries --style popup menu selection-- are not powerful enough to be really useful. A tutorial on http://www.scribent.com/ will explain how you can optimize Spotlight's behaviour and get the most of it, but all in all it seems like Apple has been overhyping in the extremes."

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126 comments

Not That Bad (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610800)

I find it to be very fast, and haven't encountered some of the problems that others claim is crippling them.

Of course, I wouldn't mind that manual on creating advanced queries...

Re:Not That Bad (5, Interesting)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610824)

After posting that, it might be nice to elaborate.

I've heard others say that it cripples their machines, even the new iMacs. I've got a iBook that's just had its first year, and I don't see the problems. I don't get any slowdowns or have to wait ages for results from my 60GB drive (of which around 55GB is used). I've got around 300,000 files at the moment.

Apparently someone chained 23 Firewire drives together, and then complained about the performance of Spotlight. Not the most realistic example (who would need that set-up but wouldn't have invested in either fewer, larger drives or a server?).

How does Spotlight go on OS X Server, running on a real server box? I don't know that one, but I'd be curious to find out.

I've heard about problems in searching for word fragments inside other words.

If I type "ding" (knowing full well I have a Word document titled 'building my PC.doc'), Spotlight fails to find it. If I type "buil" it comes up straight away. Could that be a problem? Well, in this example no - but that's mainly because I'd never search for the second syllable like that.

Does a search for "PC" turn the file up? Yes it does. So... this seems to indicate that I can't search for the middle of words, just the beginning of them. Not really an issue for me, but I can see that someone with filenames like "BuildingPC" might have trouble.

Actually... not at all!

I just made a duplicate of the file "Building My PC.doc" and renamed the copy to "BuildingMyPC.doc". When I went to Spotlight to search for it, my last search for "PC" turned this file up without me having to type anything in at all!

What about the file search box (Command-F in the Finder)? Acts just the same. No lock-ups on my machine, no problems outside of those reported in the Ars Technica review last month.

I see a lot more happiness with Spotlight users than unhappiness. I guess that's what they mean when they say "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'."

Re:Not That Bad (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610848)

I agree with you, I have not at all found a lot of the problems people complain about and those I know who do seem to have strange setups that I personally would find less than optimal a setup for their systems.

ANSWER: (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612133)

Get a real Mac.

That beige G3 233 MHz is now ready for YellowDog, forwarding mail.

Re:ANSWER: (1)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613848)

Get a real Mac.

Spotlight is SLOOWWW (1)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613952)

Ouch... but my keyboard isn't (sorry for the aborted post, here's what I meant to write:)

Get a real Mac.

I have a real Mac (dual 2 Ghz G5 with 2 GB RAM), and Spotlight still is slow!

I used to use the old search in finder and it was much faster (after you indexed your directories).

I'll type in what I'm looking for and it will beach-ball in the middle of my typing and not let me type the whole thing in. And I always get tons of false positives for stuff that should be unique (e.g. man_cims).

Spotlight is really starting to get on my nerves...

Re:Spotlight is SLOOWWW (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12619611)

I see this sort of thing on forums, but I just don't know how your machine performs less well with Spotlight, than my machine.

I've only got an iBook. Your dual 2GHz G5 should wipe the floor with it.

I get results as I type, instantly, and have yet to see the beachball either in the little Spotlight menu bar thingy (command-space) or the search window.

Maybe there's some sort of weird optimisation going on that hurts G5 performance, or maybe there's something unique to your machine. I don't see this from a lot of people.

So.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610871)

So W-H-to-tha-izzen is it aight ta use GPL code? I mizzle it seems alot of companies use it n beta "to tizzy shiznit" or "to use untill we code our own fo` tha fizzy version" . Im crazy, you can't phase me. When does this start becom'n "well, it's poser?

I mizzle unless you read every single bit of OSS code n every single bit of closed source code you'd neva going ta catch all these steppin' motha fucka.

How long is it untill thugz S-T-to-tha-izzart ta use GPL code in closed source software n sue anyone who reversse bitch it?

Let me guess (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611143)

I just made a duplicate of the file "Building My PC.doc" and renamed the copy to "BuildingMyPC.doc". When I went to Spotlight to search for it, my last search for "PC" turned this file up without me having to type anything in at all!

I bet you have the word "PC" somewhere in the text of that file.

Re:Let me guess (1)

gabe824 (772563) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611434)

That was my thought as well, but I just tried making a new empty word document and saving it as "BuildingMyPC.doc". Searching with Spotlight for PC found it no problem, as did searches for Build, My, and pc. But not ding, so it seems that Spotlight is camel case aware.

Re:Not That Bad (2, Interesting)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612385)

Apparently someone chained 23 Firewire drives together, and then complained about the performance of Spotlight. Not the most realistic example

Video editors tend to use firewire drives like people used to use floppy or Zip disks -- they've stacks of them and are plugging them in or moving them around to grab stuff. I agree that's a "ghetto" way of doing things, but one of the selling points of the Mac is that it's a cheap video platform, so not everyone's buying big storage RAIDs.

I haven't noticed any particular problems with spotlight, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have a global option to disable indexing.

Re:Not That Bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12612660)

There is a global option to disable indexing. Like all low-level configuration settings that the user never needs to touch, it's in /etc/hostconfig.

This whole mess started because somebody didn't understand how Spotlight works. When you add a volume to the Spotlight privacy list, Spotlight creates a property list file in a hidden Spotlight metadata folder on the volume. When you then go back and ERASE the volume, you delete the exclusions file and Spotlight begins indexing the volume again.

The solution is to simply add the volume to the privacy list after erasing it. But some people don't get this, and they're making a big stink. It's much ado about nothing.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12621405)

Mod parent up, he's Steve Jobs.

Re:Not That Bad (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612704)

I've got 8 firewire drives plugged in now. No major spotlight issues. I'm a bit more likely going to run into bus speed issues.

VX30 Ad-Stats Code Online (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610861)

Drunkenblog has done it again. Pimp cruisin' Maui X-Stream has GPL Violations wit reproducable proof , he put a copy of tha VX30 Ad-Stats source online now pass the glock Anotha dogg house production.. There is also a copy of tha phpAdsNew source ta compare . Aint no killin' everybodys chillin'. Drunkenbizzles sez ' This is a community problem , n it's pretty much up ta you.'

Re:Not That Bad (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611058)

I have got to agree. i just downloaded the www.neooffice.org spotlight plugin. It indexs all of my Open Office files.

I can type in a sentence from one of those files and it pops right up. I often find myself knowing part of a quote but not the filename where the rest of the quote is located. I type it in. and there it is.

Indexing took literally minutes on my powerbook, and just a few hundred open Office files.

My biggest compaliant is that it looks like Apple took MSFT fisher price colour scheme for it.

It's great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611219)

There have been numerous discussions on slashdot on crafting complex queries. The syntax is descibed in the command line too. I find spolight works great. think the story belongs on winsupersite as it's just some idiot spin.

Re:Not That Bad (1)

gullevek (174152) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611881)

Spotlight made my hair go grey. I just wanted to know where one file is, I knew the filename was something like "The List" or "TheList". So i type cmd+space and "List", and spotlight searched
searched ....
and after 5 minutes nothing.

So I opened a finder, and searched there, but also nothing, so I clicked on the red close finder window button and ... finder crashed.

So I opend a shell and typed find . -name *List* and ~1min later I found the file.

Seriously.

Then I tried it again in the finder window, and suddenly it found it, but in the cmd+space spotlight window, still nada.

So from my point of view, when I really needed it, it totaly failed me. There is still a hard road ahead for spotlight.

Re:Not That Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12612721)

Yeah, there's no reason not to believe some made-up, vague story from some random Internet moron. I'm sure Apple will get right on this!

Re:Not That Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12621478)

It would never happed to granny.

--------------------
iPod is UNIX

Re:Not That Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12618232)

Yea, its all a lie. Spotlight and the Finder search do not work at all! And this is just further proof. Thank God you had the courage to ascended above the evil Apple Gestapo, who hunt down any one who reveals the truth about Apple products. Rejoice, for tomorrow you will be hunted down, and beaten with original iMac hockey puck mice.

No Silver Search Bullet? (5, Interesting)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610810)

So all the article says is that the Silver Bullet or Holy Grail of Searching didn't turn out to be something one could create simply by telling the programmers to do it?

Apple (and MS for that matter) try to create a system where you don't have to keep any order on your computer and find anything you want instantly. I am sure I am not the only one with a gut-feeling that this is closer to the area of unsolvable problems, right with "Making Software Idiotproof" and "Creating the perfect user-interface everyone can use without any prior computer experience" and "Creating a 100% secure computer on the internet",...

So.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610882)

Thanks ta tha DMCA, how will we (those of us in tha US, or countries will'n ta extradite) even knizzay if GPL code is in closed source software? We ciznan't reverse shot calla ta find out!

"then" != "than" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611754)

"then" != "than"

I think what the submitter means is "less THAN optimal."

Turn Spotlight off, then (5, Informative)

Silas (35023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610815)

There are numerous hints floating around [macosxhints.com] on how to disable Spotlight. I did this on a slower Powerbook, and it worked, actually making Tiger feel as fast as I would have expected with a major OS upgrade. I *really* like Spotlight, but that hardware was suffering at its hands.

Silas

Tizzy `bout mak'n Open-Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610893)

...out of tha normally unsourcable. Bravo!

Yeah, but it also kills searching inside Mail.app (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611498)

According to the very page you linked [macosxhints.com] , this hint "does kill searching in Mail.app", so you fix A and break B, so it's kinda, you know, like, a no-hint. :-(

Re:Yeah, but it also kills searching inside Mail.a (1)

Silas (35023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611931)

Caveat emptor. I don't use Mail.app, so I'm not affected by that; I'm sorry to hear that there's not a good solution for you.

gui app for disabling spotlight (1)

bach37 (602070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611856)

Here [macupdate.com] . Though it looks like it justs modifies the /etc/hostconfig file, if that's all it takes(?)

Re:Turn Spotlight off, then (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611975)

I did this on a slower Powerbook, and it worked, actually making Tiger feel as fast as I would have expected with a major OS upgrade.

I haven't noticed it on my wife's G3/500 iBook which is pretty close to the bottom of supported machines. I did replace the hard drive at one point (2-year olds...) so perhaps it's an I/O bound operation.

Tiga Spotlight Less Tizzle Optimal (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610837)

"Spotlight turns out ta be a major pain fo` many usa coz it cizzan't be turned off n insists on ridin' volumes each tizzy they is mounted. Additionally, Spotlight doesn't come wit a manual ta teach you how ta create complex queries. Mizzle simple available queries --style popup menu selection-- is not powerful enough ta be really useful . It's your homie snoop dogg from the dpg. A tutorial on http://www.scribent.com/ [scribent.com] will explain how you can optimize Spotlight's behaviour n git tha most of it, but all in all it seems like Apple has been overhyp'n in tha extremes."

Gotta trackback... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610902)

For those who D-to-tha-izzon't RTFA, you should . Keep'n it gangsta dogg. The second trackback frizzay tha pizzle on tha 18th points ta a pizzle on Rakaz's bizzle (he's tha author of phpAdsNew) from tha 19th. They admit guilt n dig they hole deepa . Keep'n it gangsta dogg. Damn. They're SCO'n themselves in tha fizzle wit da big Bo$$ Dogg.
MXS responds... round 2 F-R-to-tha-izzom rakaz Totally out of tha blue I received an e-mail fizzy Jonathan Milla at Maui X-Stream . Chill as I take you on a trip. Okay, not totally out of tha blue, but still a bit unexpected to increase tha peace. In this email Jonathan concedes that VX30 Ad-Stats......
Get this quote: "As I believe you is aware we do have a product called VX30 Ad-Stats tizzle is based upon phpAdsNew." - Jonathan Milla of Mizzy X-Stream
Dizzle mizzy be chillin' n hand'n out cigars by now...

The Only Thing Extremely Overhyped Is The /. Piece (3, Informative)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610840)

For what it is worth I haven't had most of the problems being described. I use spotlight every day and while advanced queries are nice (and a manual would be even nicer) simple queries are *far* from "not powerful enough to be really useful."

Sure, it has some issues (report them to apple as bugs when you find them, it is the only way they know about them), but it is fast and it Works For Me(TM).

Now if only someone would create a LaTeX mdimporter...

Innovation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610910)

Maui does seem ta have a new mizzy of operation hizzle. Playa somone proves tizzy they stole some source code, they say 'Oh, that... Yeah tizzy was jiznust a bit of tizzle code we borrowed doggystyle. The new releaze is clean.' Tizzle tizzle releaze a new version which is identical ta tha old version, except maybe they altered some tizzle saggin' ta makes tha releaze appear ta be different if you gots a paper stack.

Re:The Only Thing Extremely Overhyped Is The /. Pi (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611076)

Simple queries can be very powerful.

I can type Truth is a three edge sword

and all my Bablyon 5 quote files are brought up.

Use Spotlight like you use google. The advance searches help, but not always needed.

Re:The Only Thing Extremely Overhyped Is The /. Pi (1)

Bequita (813032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12614893)

It's actually "Understanding is a three edged sword".

Just FYI. I wouldn't want you to not be able to find your B5 quote files, after all.

Use TextEdit to create LaTex files (1)

ezdude (885983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613558)

If you use TextEdit to create your LaTex files, then you could use Spotlight to search them.

Re:Use TextEdit to create LaTex files (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12618719)

I can already search inside them and I produce them in TeXShop--TextEdit would be an unnecessary step if all I wanted was to search inside the files. What I want is for them to index keys such as "author," "date," and "documenttype" so that I that (ideally) I could search for "that report I am writing for next June using the web package."

Re:Use TextEdit to create LaTex files (1)

ezdude (885983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12618880)

Thanks, for the tip about TeXShop. That's what I use, and I didn't realize it is "Spotlightable". However, can't you just create queries to do what you want? For example "author and smith"?

Definitely not great here (2, Insightful)

amake (673443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610841)

I've had a lot of problems with Spotlight. When I have a large external hard drive (160GB divided into 3 partitions) attached, I will find at random times that the processes mds and LAServer will start eating all of my CPU. This occurs despite the fact that all of my drives, including the external, have already been completely indexed. I've tried re-indexing (sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/volname), I've tried disabling indexing alltogether ( sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/volname). None of these solutions worked. The only thing that has kept my CPU usage normal is leaving my external drive disconnected, although I've found that that only decreases the frequency of these mds attacks, not prevents them entirely.

I've also been experiencing frustrations with slow file copying (especially with rsync) that I suspect to be Spotlight- or metadata-related.

All in all it's been a pretty frustrating upgrade (actually, clean install to be exact) for me. I hope these issues are addressed in 10.4.2 (yes, I've submitted bug reports).

"SPOTLIGHT=-NO-" in /etc/hostconfig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610870)

If you make /etc/hostconfig contain

SPOTLIGHT=-NO-

you won't see spotlight again the next time you boot your workstation.

Yeah, but it also kills the search inside Mail.app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611027)

So your hint is kinda useless, sorry. I want to turn off 1 feature, not stuff that still worked in OS X 10.3 :-(

Re:Definitely not great here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610950)

Attacks?

What process priority is mds running at? It's probable that it is running at a low priority and just using otherwise idle cycles.

So unless you're really concerned with power consumption, or something, let it go.

Re:Definitely not great here (5, Funny)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611054)

I have three 300GB FW800 drives running at RAID 5 via software and I never ever have had a problem. I rarely see the drives access unless I actually use them.

Granted, a disable feature seems like a no-brainer. I have no idea why Apple is forcing people to use Spotlight. That's kinda shady if you like ze porn and want to show someone something and accidentally end up exposing that you watched "All Anal Babes 4.mpg".

Er, Uh, not like that's ever happened to me.

Re:Definitely not great here (3, Informative)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611463)

Err... you know you can disable Spotlight in specific folders, right?

Under the Spotlight System Preference pane, click on the privacy pane and add your pr0n folder.

Re:Definitely not great here (3, Interesting)

holt (86624) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611752)

Yeah, but if I'm snooping through someone's system, the first place I look for things that might be interesting is going to be the Spotlight preferences. So I have mixed feelings about "hiding" anything with that preference...

Besides, if you're not putting your pr0n on encrypted disk images, you're not trying hard enough.

Re:Definitely not great here (2, Funny)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12615377)

Yes, my pr0n is only accessible in a PGP Disk file with a 45 character password and using an old beta copy of PGP that means you need to set the PC clock back by three years to avoid the "Trial period has expired" message. The key is also only held on a USB drive. The disk file is also in a hidden folder called "__temp" within my Photoshop testing folder and is named "scratchdisk".

Of course, now everyone on /. knows where to find my pr0n...

Stuart

Re:Definitely not great here (1)

Yer Mom (78107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611487)

Well, that's what the Privacy tab of Spotlight's Preferences is for - just list the folders you don't want indexed, and your pr0n is safe.

Uh, so I'm told, anyway.

Re:Definitely not great here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12612795)

I will find at random times that the processes mds and LAServer will start eating all of my CPU.

No, mds runs at a low priority. It will never "eat all of your CPU." And I've never even heard of something called "LAServer." You obviously have unsupported third-party software installed on your computer which totally abolishes your right to bitch.

I've also been experiencing frustrations with slow file copying (especially with rsync) that I suspect to be Spotlight- or metadata-related.

Nope, not related. Filesystem notifications are asynchronous.

All in all it's been a pretty frustrating upgrade

Two hints: Don't install unsupported third-party shit, and don't be as much of an idiot. These two things will make your problems disappear.

I really haven't used it yet ... (2, Interesting)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610853)

Never found that I needed it on Panther, and haven't used it since I upgraded.

That being said, I'm not saying *someone* will find it useful, but really, it just looks like an attempt to move Firefox's "Find in page" functionality to the OS level.

I haven't noted any major performance hits either, and my current use of Tiger has been limited to a 1GHz Powerbooks, which usually gets a LaCie FireWire drive hooked up to it.

In fact, the only problem I've had with Tiger is that the UT2004 demo doesn't run under it (it's a work machine and I don't have an Apple at home, so I can't justify running out and buying the actual game, which has an update out [macsoftgames.com] that supposedly resolves the issue).

New Usage Pattern for Directories (1)

Lexicon (21437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610857)

I think it will take time before users really get effective use out of spotlight. It takes time to get used to the concept of using the search box in the upper right in file dialogs, the file manager, etc. instead of drilling down through directories manually. Spotlight also doesn't remove the need to have things reasonably categorized in directories, but it makes things far easier to find in such well patterned layouts.

It doesn't replace directories, it just makes things easier to find in them. Once people get used to finding files in subdirectories via spotlight searches instead of drilling down, spotlight is vastly more useful.

Sounds like an opportunity... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610858)

This sounds like an opportunity for someone to fill in the gaps that Apple left, the way Codetek Virtual Desktop or Unsanity Shapeshifter have. The Spotlight configuration files are relatively simple, so it doesn't sound like it would be difficult to produce a "Spotlight Enhancer".

Re:Sounds like an opportunity... (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610996)

" This sounds like an opportunity for someone to fill in the gaps that Apple left, the way Codetek Virtual Desktop or Unsanity Shapeshifter have. The Spotlight configuration files are relatively simple, so it doesn't sound like it would be difficult to produce a "Spotlight Enhancer"."

You mean a new "HID Spotlight"? Or, perhaps, "Xenon Spotlight"?

Re:Sounds like an opportunity... (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611080)

Call it "floodlight"?

Links please? (4, Insightful)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610864)

Here's a link for anyone wondering what the Tiger Spotlight [apple.com] is. (In short: With Spotlight, you can find anything on your computer as quickly as you type. Search your entire system from one place: Files, emails, contacts, images, calendars and applications appear instantly.)

(By the way, here's a direct link to the article [scribent.com] in question.)

Anyway, call me oldfashioned but an Anonymous Coward writing "Spotlight turns out to be a major pain for many users" is hardly the end of the world. Innovative interfaces may be "major pain" for an AC on Slashdot but meanwhile a lot of people in the Real World find it very useful (pun not intended), all the "overhyping in the extremes" (or even overhyping to the max) notwithstanding. Don't like it? Don't use it! Simple as that. Fortunately, as always with Apple, there's more than one way to do it. Do you think that Microsoft's SQL filesystem works better? Use Longhorn then.

Re:Links please? (5, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611198)

In short: With Spotlight, you can find anything on your computer as quickly as you type.

Well, I was about to reply to this saying it's bullshit, that spotlight is much slower than that. And of course I wanted some actual numbers to back me up. So I did a search. And I have to admit it really did find things as quickly as I could type it.

This is a big change from when I first installed 10.4. I don't know if the indexing wasn't complete, or if they made a big improvement in 10.4.1, but now it's really, really useful. I tried several more searches and each was as fast.

Re:Links please? (1, Insightful)

taskforce (866056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12614283)

I think the idea was that people are having trouble with it because it can't be turned off. I'm sure that even the most hating AC on Slashdot would like to have Spotlight sitting next to his menus if there was no performance hit, but there is a point where the performance hit caused by having an indexing service constantly running unnessecarily in the background and eating your res makes it a bad thing.

Re:Links please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12615222)

1. There is no performance hit, because all Spotlight-related tasks run with a maximum "nice" value, meaning all user operations get precedence over them.

2. The Spotlight-related tasks do not run constantly. mdimport only runs when files are written, and mds only runs when queries are executed (or when mdimport runs).

3. The problem with Spotlight is that people don't understand it. Like way too many Mac users, they think that Spotlight must be some kind of performance suck. They also think that repairing permissions makes your Mac faster and that rebuilding the desktop is the height of cool.

4. Unfortunately, most Mac users are idiots. That's okay. They can be. Their Macs do not require them to be smart.

Can't turn it off? (4, Informative)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610883)

System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy > + > (Choose your hard drives)

Not exactly 'turning it off' but it does stop it indexing and therefore chewing system performance.

can't if you don't have write permission (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12616499)

Not exactly 'turning it off' but it does stop it indexing and therefore chewing system performance. You can't do this on folders you don't have write permission to- and on your main system drive, -you- shouldn't.

Re:can't if you don't have write permission (1)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12616842)

and on your main system drive, -you- shouldn't

Then -it- shouldn't let you.

It was fun while it lasted.. not really (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610898)

Have tested the mac mini, but the machine is severely underpowered and Mac OS X sucks... AMD 64 here I come!! It is going to be a relief to play them good ole windows games again. I will not touch Apple with a 10 foot pole for the rest of my life.

Re:It was fun while it lasted.. not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610905)

Yeah, the AMD64 vs the G4, that's a remotely close comparison. Stupid penquin fucking idiot.

Like Google isn't powerful enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610912)

Not difficult to use, unless you're a retard.

"...not powerful enough to be really useful."

If you've got a brain in your head, this isn't the case.

Overhyping? I agree (1)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610919)

I updated to Tiger and Spotlight didn't stop indexing. I mean, after an hour, it said "ok I'm done now", but then one started typing in a query and it restarted with indexing, forgetting your query.

Then after a few more hours, it sometimes didn't immediately started re-indexing, so results apeared. But they took 30 seconds to appear :-( And if you clicked on "results in a separate window", it started to search again, taking another 20-30 seconds. The separate window allowed to limit results, like "only from last week". I clicked it - and lo and behold, it took another 30 seconds to just limit the result. Of course I downgraded to 10.3 again.

Just my 2 cents :-(

Re:Overhyping? I agree (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610998)

Did you do an upgrade install? A bad idea normally, and especially bad in this case considering the radical changes to the way the file system works.

I have Tiger successfully running on 800Mhz and 900Mhz G3 iBooks, as well as a dual 1.8Ghz powermac. While Spotlight (and Tiger) fly on the powermac, they are pretty snappy on the iBooks too. My wife even commented on how much faster her iBook was with Tiger.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611104)

I did an upgrade install and I haven't had any problems, other than isync 2.0, and Dictionary weren't installed. A second upgrade did install them though.

Spotlight works beautifully. I had to swap a few icons(the old system preference panel kept coming up) but no real problems.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (1)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611471)

Yeah I did an "upgrade" install. Maybe I'll try again with "Archive & Install" to get better results. It's pretty bad that this upgrade business is not absolutely foolproof, imho.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (2, Interesting)

mean pun (717227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611155)

I updated to Tiger and Spotlight didn't stop indexing. I mean, after an hour, it said "ok I'm done now", but then one started typing in a query and it restarted with indexing, forgetting your query.

Then after a few more hours, it sometimes didn't immediately started re-indexing, so results apeared. [snip]

I have seen the same behaviour, but only immediately after I installed Tiger. The problem is, indexing harddisks takes LOTS of time. Twelve hours of work for a 60 GB disk is perfectly reasonable, and for older systems it may well take longer.

The problem is that during that time Spotlight sometimes thinks it has indexed enough to be helpful, and allows user queries. It then has problems coping with the queries. It should be more strict.

In short: give Spotlight time to do its job and these problems will go away.

...updated to Tiger... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611159)

Possibly the results depend on how people upgrade? What upgrade options did you use?

Re:...updated to Tiger... (1)

chromaphobic (764362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612329)

I don't think updating vs. clean install has any bearing. I did a clean install (I never use the upgrade option with major Mac OS updates, re-format and clean install every time!) and had the same problem he had, more or less. It indexed for about 6 hours, and then said it was done. I tried to use it, it searched for a second and went back into indexing mode and threw out my search. It did this for most of two days until it finally settled down, and it's been okay since.

I think it's a case of the indexing taking much longer than Spotlight is telling people it takes, as well as prematurely exiting it's indexing mode and letting people start using it before it's really ready. I have my original 160GB internal drive, a second 250GB internal drive, and a third 120GB external firewire drive, so it's not unreasonable to expect it to take a really long time to index 530GB of hard drive storage, probably close to half of which is used.

I will say, I've found Spotlight fairly useful so far. Due to the clean install, I've had to go through and re-install and re-register a lot of my shareware and Spotlight made it easy to find the relevant registration info. Cmd-Space, type "windowshade", a second later the e-mail with my serial number pops up, and so on. It's a little slow sometimes, but it works for very basic searching most of the time.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12612842)

It's the 2005 version of the 17-seconds-to-copy-a-file troll. Looks like it works about as well, too.

Mod parent down, rape his kids, strangle him with his own bowels.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (1)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613169)

Nah, sorry buddy, I'm for real. Nothing made up, all true.

Re:Overhyping? I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12615378)

Well, you sure showed me. A troll would never claim to be speaking the truth.

Fuckin troll.

exceptions (2, Interesting)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610929)

cant you just drag the hard drive into the exceptions list and it will permanently stop the indexing ?

I'm sure the folks over at O'Reilly will help out (2, Interesting)

mjpaci (33725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610945)

I've had no problems with Spotlight so far. However, I have a 2x 1.8 GHz G5 with 3.5 GBs RAM and one HD and rarely attach external FW drives.


I've used Spotlight to help me organize my GROWING documents folder. Each and every document I've created since owning my first Macintosh SE in 1989 is in there. It's a mess. I started pulling the low-hanging fruit out first: Invoices and Taxes. Spotlight has been a GREAT help.


Once O'Reily [oreilly.com] comes out with Spotlight:The Definitive Guide, Spotlight:The Missing Manual, or Spotlight in a Nutshell I will make more effective use of it.


--Mike


Shouldn't the "then" in the title be replaced with "than?"

Re:I'm sure the folks over at O'Reilly will help o (2, Interesting)

skahshah (603640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611142)

No problems with it either, until I tried the tips given in this very tutorial. Not only didn't they work, but Spotlight stopped working, and I had to re-index the drive ! I'll continue using it like I always have done, and where it shines : simple searches. And like you I'll wait for some good book about it.

Re:I'm sure the folks over at O'Reilly will help o (1)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612871)

I have to agree: Spotlight is by no means perfect (or mature), but I use it every day with good results. I'm confident enough now to redice my mail archive to a single folder, and I've stopped wasting time arranging my Documents and Pictures directories. Just shove the file in. You'll be able to find it later.

But, like you, I'm on a dual G5. Am running a striped RAID array and an external USB drive.

Beats Find.

Re:I'm sure the folks over at O'Reilly will help o (1)

prichardson (603676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613319)

I have no problems with it either, and this is on a 600mhz G3, a wimpy computer by any of today's standards.

I don't know what's up with these guys... maybe they have a million little files on their computer.

Expectations? (5, Interesting)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610947)

I wonder what the expectations were for anyone that is disappointed by Spotlight.

I started off my Tiger use by messing around with Spotlight. "Wow, all the emails I ever sent to [name]!" "Cool, any word document that has [project] in title!" etc.

Then I thought about some of the complex and hard to maintain folder hierarchies I have. The folder system made it generally easy to find my files, but only if I was using them in a manner that I had expected when I started the organization. Spotlight could be the answer, I thought.

So I took a non-critical directory nest and used my existing folder system and Automator to quickly add spotlight comments to the files. (Select all files in [proj_A directory], add [proj_A] comment to files.)

Now I could hit command-space and type in a key phrase or two and get all the files in a nice menu. Clicking on "show all" brings up a nice, and constantly updated finder window for the search. Ah, now we're getting somewhere.

So I created some smart folders based on current criteria (and a few theoretical cases). Woo! Now I have a dynamic directory structure! Add a few custom Automator plug-ins (so I can right click files and do expected actions like "Move file to [dir] and add comment [helpful metadata]".)

Smart folders (driven by Spotlight) in email is pretty handy also. A couple weeks ago my wife and I were having our yard landscaped. This, naturally, involved a lot of emails back and forth with the landscapers over plant choice, guidelines, schedules, etc. So rather than setup a rule and folder for something temporary; I right clicked on the landscaper's email address and clicked "Create a smart folder". Ta da! Now I don't even have to care where the email goes, any email from the landscapers is all grouped together. When the work was finished, I deleted the smart mailbox and the clutter was gone. I still have their emails in my general sub-inbox should I have to refer to something. All emails and advice are still just a quick spotlight search away. For example: "water magnolia" to find the watering advice for our new tree.

And then there's iPhoto. With the help of the excellent iPhoto Keyword Assistant [mac.com] I have been diligently adding metadata to all of my digital photos. While KA fixes one of iPhoto's big shortcomings (an awful interface to the keywords, especially if you have a lot); using the keywords was still clunky. You have to start iPhoto, open up a special sub-window and then click on the keywords you want. This interface is barely acceptable when you only have a dozen keywords; when you have five dozen it is quickly painful.

Spotlight fixes this. It includes searching by iPhoto keyword!* So I can start up a spotlight seach, type "obx sunset" to see all the sunset pictures I've taken at the Outer Banks. Or "munich" for all the pictures of Munich, or "munich cathedrals" ... you get the idea. Sure if you haven't been using keywords until now you have your work cut out for you (although KA again comes to the rescue with a nice interface for adding new keywords). But if you have, then Spotlight is incredibly and totally awesome! Those searches bring up the standard spotlight results page, I can browse the returned pictures and even run a nice slideshow: all without even launching iPhoto!

* There have been reports of problems with this working for some people, and I was one of them. It seems that when spotlight finishes it major index, it still has some indexing tasks left in the background and iPhoto keywords are one of those. I noticed that a spotlight keyword search only worked partially at first. Any photos I had recently worked on or added were in, and sporadic other photos as well. So I created a keyword called "temp" and added it to every photo, then deleted it. After that all of my photos were indexed.

Spotlight has even changed how I launch applications. I used to have a dock chock full of any applications I might launch. Now if I'm going to run a less used application, I just do a spotlight search for it and hit command-enter to launch the application.

Want to quickly find all the songs I have by Frankenixon? Want to see all the pictures I've taken in the last two weeks? How about all the emails I've sent in the last week? No problem.

Spotlight has completely and utterly changed how I use my computer. Less directories, more comments, and my files are easier to organize than ever. Sure it involves some organizational work upfront, but who isn't all about metadata already?

Re:Expectations? (1)

Van Halen (31671) | more than 9 years ago | (#12614122)

I guess I was one of those people with high expectations. I was really excited about Spotlight from the time it was first publically unveiled last year. But unfortunately the assumptions I made about what its capabilities should have been were a little too optimistic for a first generation release. Mind you, it's a very impressive technology and will certainly only get better, but it missed the mark on many things I looked forward to doing with it.

Below is an excerpt of a long blog post I recently wrote about Tiger, focusing on Spotlight. It turns out that I had other issues with Tiger (kernel panics every other day on a clean install) that forced me back to Panther, so I'm not using it anymore. Spotlight was cool, just not as cool as I'd hoped.

Spotlight: Not So Bright

And then there was Spotlight. A very cool technology, and obviously what computers should do in terms of desktop search. I had high hopes. It basically indexes your entire hard drive like a database, so you can search for files by content in addition to name. This is not necessarily new, but what is new is that the indexing allows search results to come up immediately. Microsoft is planning a similar feature in their next OS, while Google and others already offer their own third-party solutions for the Windows world. It's nice to finally catch up again.

Spotlight is particularly nice in that any time a file is created or modified on disk, it automatically gets reindexed. There's literally no perceptible delay (you can have a search window open with results, create a new file with content that will match the results, and it'll instantly pop into the search window), since there are hooks into the filesystem layer of the kernel. Nice. Read all the gory details at the above linked Ars Technica review.

Spotlight indexed my three hard drives fairly quickly, and soon all my content was available for instant search. Or so I thought. Well, no, maybe not. This new technology is clearly a bit immature and appears to be hit and miss. Many people have reported inconsistencies or flat out limitations. Rather disappointing, but some might argue that it's pretty good for a first release. I guess so - I can search for a keyword and within about 10 seconds, 3,000 documents are listed. Pretty impressive, I guess. I thought this would change the way I looked for files, but so far it hasn't. I haven't performed one Spotlight search in the interest of finding something - everything has just been fiddling with it to see how it works. Maybe that's just me, or maybe it's Spotlight. Maybe it's both.

One significant bug I discovered immediately affects the initial indexing that is done after installing Tiger. When you first install Tiger, of course it has no index with which to perform its blazingly fast searches. So it kicks off a background process that chugs through your local hard drives, indexing the contents of every file it knows about. Simple enough, and needs to be done, right? Well, apparently this process was too stupid to continue where it left off if you rebooted your machine before the initial index was complete. I did exactly this, and when later searching for files I knew were there, Spotlight came up empty. A quick google showed me the joy of mdutil [apple.com] , and I was able to force reindexing to occur. After that, my search was successful.

(Not So) Smart Folders

Apple has touted Smart Folders [apple.com] as a great new feature utilizing Spotlight. You specify a custom set of criteria, and boom, all files matching those criteria show up in your Smart Folder. Indeed, it is quite convenient. Want a collection of images large enough to be desktop wallpaper? Make a Smart Folder, and never worry about where those images are physically stored.

But Smart Folders were unnecessarily restricted to applications that are written to be aware of them - primarily Finder. Rather than implementing Smart Folders at the filesystem level as they should have, Apple chose to do it as a user-space add-on that taps into Spotlight. I'm sure this was easier to implement, but it greatly limits the power of such a promising feature. What good is my desktop wallpaper Smart Folder if the wallpaper switcher is not Smart Folder aware? What if I have a screen saver that shows images from a given folder, and I want to point it to my Smart Folder? Tough. Apple says I can't do it.

I Don't Know You

Spotlight is very flexible in that anyone can write an importer for any data type. If your application uses a custom file format, you can ship it with a Spotlight importer that will allow your data's contents to be included in the index. Great, sounds like Apple really planned ahead with this one.

But the downside is that Spotlight apparently refuses to index files it doesn't think it knows about. On the surface this seems like a good choice - who wants a bunch of (seemingly) random binary data cluttering up the index? It would significantly bloat the database, and potentially produce lots of irrelevant results.

Unfortunately I think they took this too far. Or else maybe I just stumbled upon a bug. Actually, either way I consider it a bug. I wanted to see if I could search for one of my perl scripts (see below) based on its content. I entered a few keywords that exist inside the script and came up with nothing. Boo! I entered the file's name, and sure enough, there it was. So Spotlight knew about it, but simply did not index its contents. It said, "I don't know you, so I'll ignore you."

I would have liked Spotlight to treat this file as plain text. Or at least give me an option to do so. Remember, the best systems are simple to use, but give advanced users the power to tweak their behavior. Sure, I could have written an importer for perl scripts. Or DM source files. Or for that matter, for any freaking text file that doesn't have a .TXT extension! But why do all that work when Spotlight could use a simple heuristic to determine whether a file is text or data, and index everything it thinks is text? Spotlight refused to index any of these files for me, drastically limiting its usefulness.

It's a Small World

My other big concern about Spotlight turned out to be true, and also severely limits its utility. Spotlight is a wonderful tool for finding information on one computer. Sadly, its world view does not extend beyond that one machine. And for me, that's so limiting as to make it practically useless.

I use four computers at home on a regular basis - the iBook laptop, the PowerMac desktop, the Windows XP desktop, and the FreeBSD server. I also have my 8 1/2 year old Mac still humming along for those rare moments when I get a chance to compose and record music. I have files scattered across all machines - in total, about 600 gigs of pure, unadulterated crud. They all talk to each other and share files, so in general I can get to data on any machine from any machine. If I know where it is.

Spotlight is supposed to solve the problem that comes up when I don't know where a particular file or piece of data is. I can type in keywords, whether in the content or name of the file, and it'll pop up in seconds without waiting 30 minutes to crunch through several hard drives worth of information. So what about my networked machines? The files are all available to the Mac, so it should be able to index them, right? My whole household's data at my fingertips.

Wrong. Sure, there are some considerations here. First, the Mac OS X kernel knows nothing about when the Windows machine updates one of its files. Fine. So the index may be a bit out of date. No cool auto-updating of search results. I'm fully aware and willing to live with that fact of life. There's also the practical concern for many institutions with large networks - if Spotlight went out and automatically indexed everything it could find on a network, a batch of new Tiger machines could easily bring a Fortune 500 corporation's network to its knees. Ok, leave network indexing turned off and no way for simpleton users to turn it on in the gui. We still have the command line tools for advanced users like me who know what the heck they're doing and take full responsibility. I should be able to set it up to index my networked drives, say, once a week, right?

No. I tried every possible tool and every possible option, using every possible way of mounting my networked shares. In some cases it flat out refused to enable indexing on the networked volumes. In other cases, it dutifully went through the motions of indexing them without actually doing anything. At no time was I able to type in a search and see results residing on a different machine. Why, Apple, why? Why must you torture me so? Why must you tantalize with the greatness that could be, and then take it away?

Back up a second

Perhaps my most difficult search problem comes up when I need to find something on one of many backup CDs or DVDs. We all make timely backups of our critical data, right? Right?? Anyway, finding an old file that I know I had 7 years ago, but can't remember the name of, is, to say the least, tedious. I know it's on one of these 40 discs here, but which one? The most effective method currently seems to be trying to achieve a zen-like trance in order to push my failing memory to its limits (what the heck did I name that file, and why can't I remember?). It usually has a success rate of about 0%.

I wrote a custom perl script to catalog all of my backup discs. I'm quite proud of it, actually. This script outputs the name, directory path, date, md5 sum, and other information for each file on the backup disc. Everything is saved to text files, one per disc. If I know the name of the file I'm looking for, finding the right disc is a snap: just grep through all the disc catalogs until I get a match. One simple command.

But wait, there's more! I extended my catalog utility -- and this the part of which I'm most proud -- to look inside any kind of archive file and recursively perform the listing on its contents. That means zip files, tar files, compressed files, cd image files, etc, all have their contents indexed. And it's truly recursive - if my target file is inside a zip file, which is inside a tar file inside a cd image inside another zip file, it'll be listed in the catalog. Pure genius, right? Not really. This feature was way too obvious to me, and took about an afternoon to implement. I expected even greater things from the great Apple, company led by visionary Steve Jobs who can do no wrong.

Ahh, who am I kidding? Jobs is an egomaniac and Apple is not a perfect company. Not by a long shot. I had a small hope that these features would be included in Spotlight, but perhaps I was simply deluding myself. I mean, it seemed so obvious to me. Where is searching most difficult? Offline files! How are important archived files often stored? Compressed! It was a no-brainer that Spotlight should handle these situations. When you insert a new disc for the first time, it should ask if you want it to index the disc. Imagine, after intially loading all my backup discs into the index, typing a simple query and seeing that the file I'm looking for resides at /some/path/to/file.txt on backup disc "Backup 019". Pure searching bliss.

Do I need to tell you how this part of the story ends? I didn't think so. Spotlight: the technology that could have, nay, should have been.

Could your expectations be more arbitrary? (1)

Paradox (13555) | more than 9 years ago | (#12617246)

Okay. I understand everyone had high hopes for Spotlight, but where exactly did you get the expectation that the Rev1 of this software would be the ultimate soltuion to all search-related problems?

Really, I want to know, because I know Apple didn't give you this impression. I know that I didn't (and I wrote a ton of rants about how cool Spotlight would be), and I've never seen such an amazingly aggressive outlook on it. So where?

But the downside is that Spotlight apparently refuses to index files it doesn't think it knows about. On the surface this seems like a good choice - who wants a bunch of (seemingly) random binary data cluttering up the index? It would significantly bloat the database, and potentially produce lots of irrelevant results.

Unfortunately I think they took this too far. Or else maybe I just stumbled upon a bug. Actually, either way I consider it a bug. I wanted to see if I could search for one of my perl scripts (see below) based on its content. I entered a few keywords that exist inside the script and came up with nothing. Boo! I entered the file's name, and sure enough, there it was. So Spotlight knew about it, but simply did not index its contents. It said, "I don't know you, so I'll ignore you."

This is not a bug. All you need is an importer. Let me tell you what would happen if Spotlight indexed every file as plain text, or even gave you the option to do so. I can do so with one word:

Chaos.

Without the context of what a file is and what data about is is worthwhile to a content search, it's a madhouse. Imagine if it searched .html files without knowing anything about them. You enter in one > or < and you get the entire set of html files on your disk. This is alsmost assuredly not what you asked for.

Spotlight is not meant to be a replacement to UNIX's grep. Spotlight does content-searching, which is a significantly more difficult beast to slay. So, it ignores things it doesn't understand by design.

And all someone needs to do is write an importer for you, and blam, you're good. But that importer is where the human direction on what "content" is for a shell script, and what kind of type it should be interpreted as.

You may not realize you want it this way, but I assure you that you do, and you'd be far more upset if it was done the way you pine for above.

No. I tried every possible tool and every possible option, using every possible way of mounting my networked shares. In some cases it flat out refused to enable indexing on the networked volumes. In other cases, it dutifully went through the motions of indexing them without actually doing anything. At no time was I able to type in a search and see results residing on a different machine. Why, Apple, why? Why must you torture me so? Why must you tantalize with the greatness that could be, and then take it away?
This complaint is valid, although dripping with melodrama. Please give Apple a revision or two to work this out. It's a much harder problem than you realize, and has some unqiue considerations at the edge cases (what kind of mounted drive is "too small" to index? Should machines share indexes? How do you secure this service?)

Apple wants this to happen, I'm sure of it. It'll be here soon enough. Don't expect it to work with windows drives, though.

Ahh, who am I kidding? Jobs is an egomaniac and Apple is not a perfect company. Not by a long shot. I had a small hope that these features would be included in Spotlight, but perhaps I was simply deluding myself. I mean, it seemed so obvious to me. Where is searching most difficult? Offline files! How are important archived files often stored? Compressed! It was a no-brainer that Spotlight should handle these situations. When you insert a new disc for the first time, it should ask if you want it to index the disc. Imagine, after intially loading all my backup discs into the index, typing a simple query and seeing that the file I'm looking for resides at /some/path/to/file.txt on backup disc "Backup 019". Pure searching bliss.
Again, Apple gave us a core set of importers. More are on their way, and additional sets are available as we speak. But what you're asking for is a hard problem. Just because you wrote a hacking, un-interoperable custom perl job to get it done doesn't mean it's easy.

I'm sure that it's doable, and as Spotlight evolves we'll see these features. But this is the first launch of a new tech that's way ahead of the competition. You're demanding that they run to home plate when they haven't even swung the bat yet!

So please, don't complain that Spotlight isn't enough because you had unreasonable, even outlandish, expectations for it. This is the kind of BS thinking that lead people to be dissapointed when Jobs announced the iPod Mini. You come up with a little cosmos of totally arbitrary expectations in your head, and then when reality doesn't match that you complain bitterly that Apple somehow dropped the ball on it, even if they're still months (or years!) ahead of everyone else.

Spotlight is a huge step in the right direction. Spotlight is allready useful now, today. Spotlight is extensible, and people are taking advantage of it already. Spotlight is not done. Like all Apple technology, it'll grow as time goes on. No one with an informed opinion ever said otherwise.

more info (3, Informative)

rakerman (409507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611153)

Macintouch has a report [macintouch.com] with a lot more info.

The word is "than" not "then" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611352)

Then [reference.com] is not the same word as than [reference.com] .

Of course, what can you expect from people who think "different" instead of "differently".

Re:The word is "than" not "then" (1)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611505)

"Think different" is not grammatically incorrect. "Different" is used as an adjective, not an adverb. It would be like saying "that's different" instead of "that's differently." "Think differently" is instructing you how to think, "think different" is instructing you what to think about.

And last time I checked, /. didn't come up with Apple's slogan.

Re:The word is "than" not "then" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12612783)

But then the slogan is missing quotation marks. When I read it, I think "stupid" and you can find many grammarians [tinyurl.com] who agree [writersblock.ca] , regardless of Apple's protestation so it doesn't convey the message Apple intended.

As to the origin of the slogan, this is apple.slashdot.org, hence my reference was to fans of Apple. I.e., people who think different instead of "different" are also likely to use "then" instead of "than".

Re:The word is "than" not "then" (1)

eluusive (642298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613318)

Perscriptive grammar is for panzies.

There is no error with apples slogan. It is instructing you in what to think about their product. As in, "Think that our product IS different." Not think differently about our product, but that our product is different from the rest of computers.

On a side note though, then and than are completely different words and are misused only due to their phoenetic similarities. Like "you're" and "your." This is not necessarily a good thing. Although, if you can distinguish them in verbal communication, maybe it's not such a big deal when the word is spelled incorrectly?

Re:The word is "than" not "then" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12613821)

If a writer wants a person to think of something (e.g., "Think 'snow'.") the word for the thing to be thought of is put into quotation marks.

Re:The word is "than" not "then" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12614237)

Quotation marks have multiple connotations that your "post" fails to take into account. Especially in the context of advertising copy. I "suspect" you are quite aware of this and just "enjoy" "playing" the roll of "'anal' grammar" troll on slashdot.

Not to be a grammar Nazi, but (0, Offtopic)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611435)

it's "less than," not "less then."

It's covertly versatile (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12611727)

It's poorly documented, but Spotlight is actually more versatile than it looks.

Indexing takes a long time at first of course, but once it has done all files once, further indexing is incremental. When a file is created, written, moved or deleted, it is indexed at that time. So that happens only one or two files at a time and has little impact. When a volume is mounted though, it has to do some looking to see what changed, and it might have to index a lot of files if there have been a lot of changes.

To not index a volume you can list it under the privacy tab in System Preferences. Or if you know you never care what is in a pile of files of a particular kind, such as music files, you can turn off that type of files in the Preferences as well.

In searches, you can use AND, OR, NOT, LITERAL, and parenthesis to make some pretty decent search strings. But you don't use those words, you do it like this: A space means AND. The "|" means OR. A "-" prefix means NOT. And putting a phrase in quotes finds it literally.

So "this that" means find files with both "this" and "that" while "this|that" mean find this _or_ that. Using "-this" finds files that do not have "this" in them. Putting a phrase in quotes means find the exact phrase. And parens are for grouping as usual.

And if you are a geek, congratulations! You can check spotlight programming docs and use a raw query string. For this, you have to use the Finder "Find..." command. In the "Kind" popup menu, choose "Other..." and a list of a whole ton of cool attributes appears. In there is "Raw Query" and you can use the raw search "language". For examples of raw query strings, make a Smart Folder with any query. Then do Get Info on the Smart Folder itself (folders are in ~/Library/Saved Searches) and you'll see the raw query.

Have fun! - Lepton

come on now... (2, Insightful)

ansleybean (618941) | more than 9 years ago | (#12612912)

if apple had been trumpeting "UNIX SYSADMINS: NEVER USE GREP AGAIN!" then they would have been over-hyping in the extreme. as it is, spotlight is the best answer we currently have to "i saved my thingie and now i can't find it!" syndrome. it has its flaws, and some will be ironed out. what's the big deal? besides, it is possible to turn it off - google for turn spotlight off. done.

Desktop search is dead (0)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12613125)

I've always considered desktop search to be dead on arrival. One of the first thing I figured out how to do on XP was to disable the indexing service. I've tried the Google and Copernic desktop searches and ended up removing both. It's fun for about 10 minutes, but you don't want a lot of indexing going on in the background when you already know where everything is.

I recommend File Buddy (1)

gryphokk (648488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12615687)

Disclaimer: I have not tried Spotlight, other than a quick glimpse in the store.
I have always found Mac's searching capabilities a little weak. I'm very sloppy about tracking my time to bill appropriately as a graphic artist. So when monthly report time rolls around, I simply do a time-based search for every Visible Document Not in System Folder or Library, Whose filename Includes neither Cache nor Prefs, which was Modified this(or last) Month.

An earlier version of Sherlock worked for me for that for awhile, but in an upgrade I lost the capability to drag&drop the found file list into Excel.

I now use File Buddy [skytag.com] to do my monthly search, and export the found list as tab-delimited txt to import into Excel, where I can leisurely review how long I spent on each file. Not perfect, but I can generate a reasonably accurate report, after the fact, with documentation to back it up.

Hyped-out (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12617569)

I'll try not to veer off topic too much, but I think this is relevant given the "hype" reference.

We live in a world that is advertised much differently than it really is. We're all familiar with Steve Jobs' "reality distortion field," but I think he's just a player in a bigger game.

Everything in our culture tends to be on maximum "hype" drive. It's gotten to the point where we are suffering from a cynical consumer ennui.

Why?

I think it's because we've been over-loaded with hype and we're not buying the bull anymore and/or we are angry that products don't live up their hype.

Perhaps we're subconsciously searching for something right and perfect in a world that seems to be eroding into chaos and disorder. We are succumbing to a cynical and unfulfilled world of disillusionment as we realize that we're nothing but a market demographic to the shysters that are hyping up the things they want us to buy at inflated prices.

That or the products just suck. You choose.

:-)

Re:Hyped-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12619465)

Stop hyping up the problems with modern culture!

How I use Spotlight (2, Interesting)

200_success (623160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12618705)

I find Spotlight useful as a sort of primitive command line. Use Cmd-Space, then enter the name of an application (e.g. "Firefox"), and the app is right there in the menu for you to click on. This is nice, since the traditional methods for launching apps suck (digging through the Applications folder is slow; putting everything in the dock adds clutter).

Unfortunately, it seems that the search path is limited, and I haven't figured out a way to change it. For example, typing "Kerberos" in the search box fails to locate the ticket manager, which is in /Library/CoreServices. You would think that with all this fancy technology, Spotlight would be able to do everything that the Unix "locate" command can handle, but apparently that is not the case. So, if anyone from Apple is watching this thread, I'd like to offer that as a request for enhancement!

What you want is Quicksilver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12619454)

CTRL-Space, type a few letters of the app name, hit enter. Fastest way to launch apps, access bookmarks, do google and dictionary searches.... it's incredible. Very nearly what you're doing now, but smoothed.

Quicksilver [blacktree.com]

More pseudo-journalism we don't need on /. (2, Insightful)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621430)

Though it is nice to see a discussion of this and the comments are useful, what is really getting to annoy me are the pseudo-journalist editorial lead-ins:

Spotlight turns out to be a major pain for many users because it can't be turned off and insists on indexing volumes each time they are mounted.

Just how did this AC arrive that the "many users" thing? Was there a poll among all Tiger users? How about "some" or "a couple" or "a few" or "one or two guys I just happened to know" instead? Sort of changes the whole story, right? This sort of thing is one of the reasons why people are turning away from the tradition media: They are sick and tired of everything being hyped. Please, just the facts, OK?

For the record: I use Spotlight on my aging iBook G4 800 MHz and don't see any speed problems. If anything, Tiger is a lot faster than Panther was (and my hardware doesn't even support those nifty Core whatever features). If you are that much into speed tuning, I suggest looking into Gentoo [gentoo.org] .

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