Thursday, January 31, 2019

finding files on a mac

I find it ironic that the MacOS file management program is called "The Finder" because finding files (like, with a search) is not really one of its strengths.

Here I am trying to find files with "tuba" in the filename:

Besides the clunkiness of having to use an autocomplete-like function to do a filename search rather than also searching file contents, this view is inadequate if you think it would be useful to know WHERE the result was at a glance. (For a while I was thinking you couldn't get the information at all, but if you select the file the path shows up on the bottom.)

Anyway, I prefer the clunky layout of the free app EasyFind:
It's easy to sort by location, which I find useful in many cases.

If you don't mind paying $8 or so some people prefer Find Any File, which offers a hierarchical view.

Heh - one of my first big tech rants was in 2004 when Windows switched to a sidebar integrated search vs the previously perfectly serviceable standalone mini-program. For Mac too, I find the habit of having just the same kind of display for search results as for folder contents as being a bit of a misthink.

Some people (not me in particular, but I was stuck on Windows til 2013) long for the old old days of Mac, where there was only ever one window for a folder, and it would remember its location etc. It added a certain realness and physicality to the file system, I think.

But then again, from Windows "My Documents" to iOS's too little too late "files" app, OSes kind of don't want regular users thinking in terms of filesystems. And to be fair, it probably is simpler for many folks, but as soon as the folks want to level up and, say, back up their files on their own, or in general not be so beholden to a particular cloud service, it's annoying. (In the windows days C:\DATA was always "my stuff", and transferring to a new PC was pretty easy. These days I stuff everything into Dropbox, which is nicely multiplatform and straightforward in its folder->server mapping.)

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