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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...

Hi everyone.

Yes, I'm back after taking a break from blogging. I plan to blog regularly from now on.

Today I have two products to talk about. One is free software (until January 1st) and the other is a wireless, solar powered full-width keyboard with numeric keypad.

First, I want to talk about Toucan, a new search tool available from the Mac App Store. It's free until January 1st.

Toucan's icon is that big-billed Brazilian bird. If you ate Kellogg's Fruit-Loops in the past, you'll recognize the icon.

This search utility is fast. It gets its speed from 3 things:

1. It indexes the file names in your User/Your Name/ folders for fast, fast access.
2. It doesn't index the contents of the files, just the file names
3. As I said in #1, your search is limited to just your User/Your Name Folders and sub-folders.

That being said, I've never seen a search go so fast.

I'll cover search options in depth in forthcoming articles and blog posts. You have 3 kinds of search utilities.

1. Searchlight-which indexes a wide range of folders for their (1) file names (2) file contents (3) metadata associated with the file, such as the make of camera for a photo. It's built into OS X and works relatively fast. But it doesn't search every corner of your Mac.

2. Easyfind from Devon Technologies. This is freeware that does a brute-force search, checking every file that matches the search criteria. It searches folders that Searchlight doesn't touch in the system folder. Since it's free, I recommend you add it to your bag of tools.

3. Toucan and locate. Toucan does a indexed search of your file names, which gives it incredible speed. Pick it up at the Mac App Store.

If you don't run 10.6.6 or better or use PowerPC Macs, you can use the Mac's built-in command line utility locate. I would recommend you also download the free utility LocaterX to give it a graphic front end. You'll probably have to run an update of the database initially.

Now for the fun stuff. How about a full-sized wireless keyboard powered by the ambient light in your office or home? Apple doesn't make one, but Logitech does.

I suggest you read this review in 9to5Mac about it. It has two drawbacks. One, it uses a proprietary USB dongle instead of Bluetooth. So it takes up a USB port. Two, it's made of plastic, not aluminum, so it feels flimsier than Apple's wireless keyboard. So don't drop it on the floor or drop anything on it.

That being said, the review gives it high marks. Consider it if you want a wireless keyboard with a numeric keypad.

That's all for now.

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