Spotlight: "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

Discussion in 'Apple' started by AES, May 20, 2005.

  1. AES

    AES Guest

    The following is from a San Francisco MACWORLD Expo 1990 review and
    commentary written by Bill Petro of Sun:


    The first eagerly awaited product from On Technology, a company started
    by Mitch Kapor, is On Location. It is a very powerful search and
    retrieval program for the Mac Plus and above. It can search for either
    filenames or text in files, and does so as you type, matching as much as
    you have typed. It is similar to the isearch function in emacs. On
    Location can search several volumes, including network servers,
    diskettes, and CD-ROMs. Once it has found what was requested, it can
    display it in a viewer, often with the correct font, style, and format
    of the original application. It can display all the files by name,
    size, kind and last modified date. From this list you can move, copy,
    rename, and delete files. It does all this blindingly fast by creating
    an index of all the filenames and text on a volume at a time when the
    computer is idle. This index takes about 2% of the volume.

    While this is an impressive tool, with a NeXT-esque look to it, it
    doesn't really do much more than the venerable DiskTop 4.0 bundled with
    GOfer. It does have a whizzier interface, and is quite fast using new
    technologies, but is probably best used by someone who generates or uses
    a great deal of text.

    Note that this was an *indexed*, all files, *string* searcher "for The
    Mac Plus and above . . . ". I used it intensively for years; it was in
    fact insanely great. And now, On Technology no longer exists (bought
    and absorbed by Symantec last year), and On Location isn't even listed
    in VersionTracker.
    AES, May 20, 2005
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  2. AES

    Zaphod B Guest

    A real deja vu there. I used GOfer a lot back in those days, and that
    was also a great tool. Spotlight's greates strength, I guess, is being
    implemented on a system level, part of the OS - even the FS, actually.

    I used to work in a small sw company in the mid-nineties where we
    experimented with transferring database files onto an analog (!) pattern
    recognition chip with a large ram buffer. It worked "insanely great" -
    instant search in virtually unlimited amounts of data, once you cracked
    how to put relational data onto an essentially "flat" medium. Another
    great use was to screen incoming news according to set criteria in an
    editorial system in real time and filter them to the right destination -
    essentially with no delay; basically a network-wide "smart folder"
    function. (But of course the company went bust in a minor
    shortly afer this.) The point is only that fast searches have really
    been essential since we started storing more than a few dozen documents
    on our computers.

    But it's nice that it's getting into the system itself. A few revisions,
    and it'll actually be smooth and well-functioning, too. :)
    Zaphod B, May 20, 2005
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  3. AES

    matt neuburg Guest

    Man, do I miss this! m.
    matt neuburg, May 20, 2005
  4. AES

    Davoud Guest

    For the young 'uns who have never heard of Mitch Kapor, he is the
    genius behind Lotus 123 (1983), which was the best spreadsheet of its
    time. I loved 123, and I was considered a whiz at using it by my peers
    and superiors.

    In the mid 80's I moved on to the Mac and MS Excel at home, while
    continuing to use 123 at work. Even in its early versions, Excel made
    123 seem dated. Then in the early 90's Lotus ported 123 to the Mac. I
    bought a copy for myself, possibly for nostalgic reasons as much as any
    other reason. It wasn't very good -- buggy, and with too much of
    Windows in its interface, as I recall. So it was back to Excel, and
    that's where I remain. I'm looking forward to seeing what Apple does
    with a spreadsheet to complement Pages.

    Davoud, May 21, 2005
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