Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Spotlight for a Simple Finder user: How?

Update 12/12/06: You can't delete a file in Simple Finder.

Think about it.

Simple Finder is proof positive that Apple is quite capable of producing absolute cr*p. I wasted several hours of work experimenting and learning Apple's undocumented Simple Finder, only to realize I could create files in SF, but I couldn't delete them.

Simple Finder in OS 8 was an important addition to the OS. In OS X it's an blight, a festering sore, a sick joke on Apple's customers. (Can you tell I'm annoyed?).


My mother's Mac Mini will run Simple Finder -- at least for a while. I've been experimenting with SF and, if one ignores the official way to configure it and uses the 'Full Finder' configuration method (more on all this is a later post, I'll create a future link) I think it will work. Nisus Writer Express, which can be configured to look and feel like a very simple word processor (it's really quite powerful), will be her writing tool.

The biggestA relatively minor problem is that Simple Finder knocks out Spotlight. That's right, there's no way for an SF user to use Spotlight to find items. Kind of ironic, since Spotlight is in part a response to the complexity of the folder/hiearchy world.

So now I'm looking for a Spotlight front end. I searched on one I've licensed (MoRU), that led me this post where the comments mention a few others [1]: Hawk Wings: Two apps for a smarter Spotlight. I'll also play with Launchbar and see how that will work -- but a simple Spotlight front-end that works with Simple Finder, and that can be constrained to only search Documents, is what I'm looking for. I'll see if I can configure MoRU to do that.

Any suggestions?

[1] My favorite technique for finding good reviews of a class of products is to find two product names, search on the two together, then find three, search on the three together, etc. Chances are a review that discusses 2-3 competing products is a genuine review, not a fake.

Update 12/12/06: I tried creating a smart folder that would emulate a spotlight interface, using the trick of defining the smart folder to show all files created in the past 99 years. Alas, smart folders are inert in Simple Finder. Then I tried MoRU ($10). It works pretty well, and with a bit of tweaking I was able to create a simple interface. It even supports zooming the UI. So far MoRU is looking like a good bet, but I'll try a few others.

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