Most people use computers mostly for information storage. Which means that most people do a lot of searching. My most common search is the Web as a whole, via either Google or Yahoo!, I try to switch back & forth from time to time. Next most common would be email via GMail, my own slow mailgrep, and maybe some year Spotlight. After that would be the Web Event Stream via Technorati (for me, text all the time, tags almost never). Bringing up the rear would be a certain amount of filesystem searching (Spotlight sort of works, except for my email) and grepping source code. I wonder if I’m typical?


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From: Gabe Wachob (Dec 18 2006, at 13:45)

I wasn't sure what you meant by "search". I think you are meaning only meaning "goal-driven" search, as opposed to "canned searches" (a la bloglines search, or google alerts, etc).

FWIW, my search is basically exactly like yours (only I use outlook on a PC), and I would only add some google alerts and bloglines canned searches to that list.


From: Danny (Dec 18 2006, at 14:01)

[My first comment - I'd better say bravo! for adding the facility]

How often do you "search" for things when you effectively know where they are? e.g. I'd use Google to get to the XML spec rather than navigating through or guessing the URI. Sometimes in Eclipse I'll search for a class/method rather than thinking through where I left it.

I'm wondering how much some of these things act a user interface convenience rather than having a real dependency on the index. (Which might suggest there could be better UIs for smarter organisation than string-based indexing).

Do you ever Google for things on your own blog?


From: James Brunskill (Dec 18 2006, at 14:58)

> I wonder if I’m typical?

I can't say for sure, but I suspect you aren't too far from the norm. At least for a search geek :)

I certainly switch search engines from time to time, but do tend to gravitate towards google.

From what I can tell, most people around here use google exclusively...

I use yahoo desktop search for my mail + sometimes for files. It works great for outlook at least. Sorry I don't think they have a mac version.

I will be interesting to hear what others say. It certainly won't be a representative sample of society in general though. That would be even more interesting...


From: Avinash Meetoo (Dec 18 2006, at 21:04)

> I wonder if I’m typical?

Yes Tim. You are. In fact, most of us do exactly as you do (except that Spotlight works well with my emails ;-)

I guess many of us have made Google the default page in their respective browsers. I have.


From: Lars Marius Garshol (Dec 19 2006, at 00:22)

> I wonder if I'm typical?

I don't think you're typical of Mac power users. I think most of them use QuickSilver searches a lot. I've certainly found that a habit impossible to give up.

I also don't think you're fully typical of Unix-based developers, as I would imagine most of them use grep and rgrep a lot. Probably also locate, even on the Mac, since it's so fast.

With these two exceptions my list looks much like yours, except I never bother with Yahoo, and I use instead of Technorati. And I use a bit when I want to look up recentish news stories about something specific.


From: Craig (Dec 19 2006, at 03:15)

My list is similar. I'd add my portable media player(people need to learn to design better UIs and tag media better for small screens), then print and objects. Last but not least - where I last left my head. :)


From: Andrew Phoenix (Dec 19 2006, at 08:19)

First off, I'm going to guess that you're atypical. If you were typical, I'd answer a lot less support calls... ;)

Amongst the Techgnostic crowd, though, I would guess you are fairly typical, though for non-web search I think there are two main camps: those who rely on search and those who rely on organization. I know my partner has a specific place for everything on her computer, and just seems to know where everything is. To a certain degree I'm the same way, except that I can find stuff on her (dewy-decimalesque) machine and she cannot find things on mine, though everything is filed appropriately, leading to lines like:

This for example is filed under "H" for "Toy".


From: Doug Kretzmann (Dec 19 2006, at 14:03)

similar but not quite -

Desktop search: My own filing strategy (folders, naming conventions etc), which gets about 80% of what I need, search for the rest. Used to have Google Desktop, didn't care for sharing my desktop information, so now have Copernic Desktop which is OK with some irritations.

Web: google always, used to have Copernic Agent (combines results from all the search engines), but google still is overwhelmingly superior.

Email search: with Lookout in Outlook (company standard), it gets results from 3G+ of emails in seconds, slick. Outlook's built-in search is unusable beyond a smallish folder or two. Similarly to desktop, have my own filing strategy which works for most things, but Lookout is so fast I'm starting to try it first.

I use Google instead of bookmarks too..


From: Ryan Speed (Dec 20 2006, at 00:03)

you really need to give quicksilver a few hours of your time, your life on a mac will never be the same ;)


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