Spotlight on System Files

If you’ve been missing system files (e.g. plist files) in your Spotlight results or Finder searches, you need to follow this tip over at TidBits:

When you choose Other, you get a dialog listing all the kinds of metadata the Spotlight index knows about. You can just pick one to use it; you can also select a checkbox to specify that that option should appear in the menu from now on, so you don’t have to pass through the Other dialog to access it. I recommend that you immediately check two items that I think you’ll be using quite a lot:

System files. When set to Include, files are sought even in special locations such as /Library/Caches and ~/Library/Preferences. For example, if you search on “” you won’t find much, but if you include system files, you’ll find hundreds of preference files.
[Emphasis mine]

Spotlight items. When set to Include, searches are expanded beyond files and folders to include other sorts of entities, such as iCal events, Safari history items, and preference panes.

A huge power user tip: When you summon the Finder search window with Command-Option-Space, or from the Spotlight menu, Spotlight items is set to Include. When you summon the Finder search window with Command-F or by typing in a Finder window’s search field, Spotlight items is not set to Include. This is actually quite brilliant. Spotlight is making a very reasonable distinction and assumption here: if you started in the Finder, you probably just want to look for files and folders, but if you summoned the search window in a more global way, you probably want to look at all kinds of entities. Of course you can always summon a Criteria Bar and change the setting if the initial default isn’t what you intended.

Good search means a lean, clean system…

iPhone should learn from iPod Suffle

I posted this shuffle tip ages ago:

This one is straight from Apple’s eNews March 10, 2005 newsletter:

If you’re after the highest quality tunes and regularly import songs at bit rates higher than 128 Kbps, iTunes offers you the best of both worlds, letting you keep your high-quality songs in iTunes while exporting leaner versions of the songs, sized just right for iPod shuffle.

Here’s how: Connect iPod shuffle, open the iPod Preferences dialog, and click the iPod tab. Click the check box next to “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC for this iPod.” Then click OK.

The next time you Autofill iPod shuffle, iTunes will automatically convert songs to 128 Kbps as it exports them to iPod shuffle. The original versions in your iTunes collection, meanwhile, will remain in your library at their higher encoding rate.

With everything the iPhone offers you- video, podcasts, audibooks, etc., WHY didn’t Apple offer this same option for saving space on the iPhone? If I’m out on the town listening to music, I’m probably not really going to notice the difference in quality, and would really like to more space for vodcasts, TV shows, etc… (that or simply more music!).

London iPhone Launch

Opening the Doors
Originally uploaded by Jason Ball

I stopped by the Apple Store on Regent Street last night for the iPhone launch. You can see from the picture that the crowd was spilling over into the street…

I decided not to brave the crowds and went back to the store around 8:45pm to pick up an iPhone- no problems at all getting in, buying my phone, registering it, etc. The guy helping me was absolutely glowing. It was his first day as an employee (after lots of iPhone training).

Also, if you have an American iTunes account, it works fine with the iPhone (even though this is a UK phone with a UK contract). The next task I have is porting my Vodafone number to my O2 account…

The End of Email?

Email looks like it might be enjoying the end of its reign as the de facto killer app.

The post and graph below from Hitwise really brings home where the web is going. For the first time last month, UK Internet visits to social networks (blue line) overtook visits to web-based email services (orange line). As the chart below illustrates, Hitwise’s category of the top 25 social networks, which includes Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, accounted for 5.17% of all UK Internet visits, compared to 4.98% for Computers and Internet – Email Services, which includes Hotmail; Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, amongst others.


Moving to the wireless web, one of the key reasons I’m looking forward to buying an iPhone tomorrow is not just the “appleberry” that will be with me at all times, it’s twitter, facebook, etc at my fingertips. Always on, all the time –