Help me with search in Tiger
December 19, 2006 8:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm having some trouble constructing a search in the latest iteration of my favorite operating system. I love the idea of Smart Folders, and I keep coming up with cool ways to implement them. But I keep running into problems of two main kinds - not being able to use NOT logic and it not finding things.

The first type - the conspicuous lack of NOT logic in search criteria - is the one I'm just disappointed about. I really don't know if there's anything to do about it, but any advice would be awesome. An illustration, you say? Sure thing! I really want to have a "Graveyard" folder where all the applications I download just to try out can go after I don't use them for a while. Now, I know there are ways to do this that I've seen on sites like Lifehacker and such, but I decided to try to do this using Smart Folders. It should be simple enough, right? Two criteria: 1.) File is in folder "Applications" and 2.) Last Opened is not within the past 3 months. Try doing the second one. I'll wait...... Impossible, huh? Why would Apple leave out so basic a feature? Have Steve & Co. forsaken me? Is there any way to incorporate NOT logic into search criteria?

Second question: I'm trying to make a folder that contains all the photos from my latest iPhoto library. Don't ask questions. Anyway, I specified "Kind = Images." No problem there; it found several thousand. Then I tried to specify that the images be inside my iPhoto library. So I specified "File Pathname: Contains: 'iPhoto Library_3'" (which is, I've checked, the name of my library's root folder). 0 images found! Why?

[No Mac-bashing, please...... That's for a different thread. Just helpful comments. Thanks!]
posted by dondiego87 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
For the second question, above the search criteria there's the bar with "Servers....Computer....Home.....Others....". Click "others,"click +, then navigate over to your iPhoto library. This will add a new choice of location in which to search. Make sure it's checked and then you should only need the "images" criterion below.

(The lack of "not" does indeed suck. You also can't sarch for all items with blank Spotlight comments, also. In iTunes, you can easily search for all songs with a particular field blank but not in Spotlight.)
posted by yesno at 8:29 PM on December 19, 2006

"Spotlight queries can be arbitrarily complex. Sadly, the default Spotlight UI does not expose these abilities, but instead falls back on the much more limited iTunes/Mail style of query building." -- John Siracusa, Ars Technica

Try share/freeware. NotLight provides access to complex logical operators and is free. You should be able to find others here.
posted by ardgedee at 6:17 AM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: @yesno: Thanks! Why didn't I think of that?

@ardgedee: That article is amazingly comprehensive. I'm speechless. As is Notlight. Despite how "simple" it claims to be, there's sort of a learning curve, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. If only it had a way of saving searches as Smart Folders instead of XML files. And for some weird reason, when I open the search I saved as my App Graveyard, it opens the first unused app. But it's better than no search at all. Thanks for your help!

(Any Apple workers reading this thread -- I will be SEVERELY disappointed if these Spotlight issues aren't addressed in Leopard.)
posted by dondiego87 at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2006

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