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10.4: Completely disable Spotlight
Authored by: anoved on Jul 11, '05 12:17:59AM

I really miss the Panther Finder search interface. I don't mind Spotlight, per se, but I never need to search for applications or frequently-accessed documents - I keep my machine nice and organized anyway, so it's not a challenge to find these things. When I do need to search for something, it is typically a very old file or an obscure one hidden among many similar ones in a known directory tree. I have found myself frustrated on more than one such occasion since *grading to Tiger, because the dynamic search interface starts processing my query before I've even finished composing it. And as I said, typically when I search it is for one of many similar files; this means that once I configure my search options and start typing in the actual search text, I get intermittent beach-ball and lots of wasted processor time as the Finder's results list eagerly starts suggesting hundreds - often thousands - of unwanted files. If the interface would simply wait until I had finished typing (just a few letters), all that churning and rearranging of results could be skipped and a concise list of 6 to 12 matches could be displayed directly. I know this because I have performed the same kind of task many times in Panther, with the traditional search interface, and it worked great.

My point is that sometimes, waiting to see what the user has to say is a Good Thing; ever meet someone who was so eager to please or prove themselves that they incessantly interrupt you with their attempts to anticipate and finish your sentences for you? They are not helpful, bless their souls, and neither is auto-searching, sometimes (I recognize the cool-factor and real utility of dynamic interfaces and examples like Google Suggest, but I simply assert that there are some cases in which it is faster, simpler, and simply more accurate to begin with the complete query).

Apple seems to have a thing with fiddling with searching. System 7.5 had a nice search utility; then they introduced Sherlock, which was fine, but no one I knew was really begging for it, nor did they come to depend on it. Likewise, I thought previous iterations of OS X had a fine search capability, and then Spotlight was introduced. Is it the case that many people do not use folders to organize their files? I'd never really thought of that, but I suppose it could explain the perpetual promise of better searching.



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