1st Notes on Google Desktop

December 8, 2005 at 1:53 am | Posted in Computing Tips, search, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So here’s the report on the 1st day of the 30 days. Here’s what it looks like on my system:

GDS Main Screen

And here are some details:

  • I moved it from the far right hand edge of the screen to the far left. That feels more right for what its worth.
  • I’ve seen a few window redraw issues and my windows programming experience says that that’s tied to applications grabbing the wrong screen contexts / sizes and making assumptions that they had the whole display area. Given that I didn’t see any of that before I moved it, there must be some bad fu associated with left hand side of the screen (and that’s likly why Google put it on the right). Still I read from left to right so having it on the left feels right.
  • The internal notepad, “Scratch Pad”, is brilliant. All of my machines since 1995 have had a single file, todo.txt, launched at startup into notepad.exe or another editor. Why? Well its my equivalent of a sticky pad / writing on the screen. This is better since its moderately visual and I can always see it.
  • So that’s great BUT their own search engine can’t find text you type into it. I started by entering “where doth these notes go” into the Scratch Pad but now 12 hours after I typed it in, its still not indexed. Consistency thy name is engineer!
  • Not knowing where the data is stored for Scratch Pad bothers me a lot but that’s just me.
  • The little todo list widget is nice. Very nice. I’m the classically disorganized guy who focuses hugely on what’s in front of him so having this is cool.
  • The email widget is really, really nice but I don’t understand the filters UI at all. Here’s what it looks like:

    GDS Filters

  • I know that’s hard to see but the idea is that you put in terms of what you don’t want to see in your list of emails.  I like that because I don’t want a list of 10,000 messages in here.  But what I don’t understand is how to use this dialog.  Subject is a text field as is From and To.  So do I put the words in the subject field or the Has the Words field.  I suspect that what they wanted was a checkbox or radio button here.  Recommendation: See Thunderbird’s filters dialog box.  While I have many, many issues with Thunderbird, they really did get filters right.
  • It seems hard to do filename searches or perhaps it was still indexing my disc.  I wanted to hack the iPodder / Juice code a wee bit to help my snaky goodness (Python) and was looking for xrced and all it found was a mail message containing a reference to xrced but not the xrced script.
  • I’m hugely biased towards currency in search results.  Hey I founded Feedster right?  For me currency is often all that matters.  If I’m searching for *.doc what I want are the latest *.doc files NOT everything on my blasted hard disc.  I’d strongly recommend to whoever writes this absolute gem of a piece of software that they read Gelertner’s papers on the Timestream / Lifestream approach to organizing data.  Gelertner rocks.

But overall I still love this little beast.  Its actually gotten me to respond to emails which any long time reader knows I generally don’t do.

New Google Deskbar Rocks

December 7, 2005 at 8:52 am | Posted in Computing Tips, search, Uncategorized, windows | Leave a comment

My oh my. I’m just plain astonished at the rich, frothy goodness that is Google Sidebar / Google Desktop 2.0 / whatever the heck they call it. This thing is bloody well rocking my world. Yes I know that I’m the last person on the planet to try this new thing from Google which came out more than 6 months ago. And I agree, like Inluminent says so well, that there need to be Mac versions of Google stuff. That said, given that I’m a professional search guy, I’ve seen this type of thing before. Verity did it. Fulcrum did it. DTSearch did it. Others have done it. None of them seem to have done the overall issues of local search as well (note — I haven’t looked at Yahoo’s stuff or MSN’s stuff yet; when I have time). Google really nailed this one well.

So here’s my committment. I’m notorious for NOT using new technology. I still copy files with a DOS shell. I use notepad even tho I’ve gotten 25 other tools, etc. I’m going to give Google Desktop 30 days and not turn it off, not minimize it and see how it shakes out. If I have to give it screen real estate for 30 days then I’ll definitely use it.
The clock starts … now!

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