Monday, June 6, 2011

Search is not Cool

It’s funny how different things matter to different people.  When I was giving serious thought to abandoning Windows and moving over to Macintosh equipment, I was treated to a lot of enthusiastic sales talk over how good Spotlight was as a search tool.  I certainly liked the way it was embedded in the Finder;  but, as a result of my purchases of Brilliant Classics boxes, I had a vested interested in searching the PDF files that came with each box.  Much to my amazement, while Spotlight performed awesomely on all of the Office-generated files that I had saved on backup CDs, the contents of the PDF files on those CDs was invisible.  PDF search only seemed to work when the file was on my hard drive.

It did not take me long to discover that Mac OS was just not a particularly conducive environment for much of what tends to be called “document management” in enterprise settings.  Ultimately, I had to bite the bullet and pay the price for Adobe Acrobat Pro, whose Advanced Search facility takes care of my needs very well.  Nevertheless, I was a bit curious to see if this particular shortcoming would be mentioned in today’s press release for Lion.

It wasn’t.  Apparently, cool is all about multi-touch gestures;  and anything else is hardly worth mentioning.  Yes, you can now refine your Spotlight results;  and I look forward to that.  (In other words, you no longer need to save a search result in order to perform another search on it.)  It will be nice to do unto my other files what Acrobat allows me to do unto PDF files.  Nevertheless, I am left with the feeling that there will still be many nuts and bolts that have not received any serious attention because they are just not cool enough.  This will probably mean that I should not have any high (pun intended) hopes of doing document management in iCloud.

By the same count, it appears that Safari still cannot do a text-only save of a Web page the way Firefox can.  There does not appear to be any sign of this changing.  However, since Firefox continues to at least give the appearance of being more secure from malware attacks, I tend not to give Safari much thought!

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