Searching with DEVONthink (and others)

From Gabe Weatherhead at Macdrifter – a nice roundup-survey of non-Spotlight approaches to search – including an in-depth assessment of using DEVONthink to index and search big chunks of drives.

Gabe should earn some sort of award for largest database – 595+ GB in the example shown in his essay. Empirical evidence for the question that frequently appears here: “how big can my database be?”

Thanks for the link korm. That was a great post.

Gabe is a patient guy. I kind of doubt I’ll ever have the patience for it. I posted somewhere else in these forums about my attempt to index my entire external drive. I still haven’t found it to be worth the time and effort, but eventually I might break down and try it. Interestingly, Gabe and I basically use the same approach to searches: HoudahSpot is used for archived (external drive) and DT for active (local) stuff. If I turn up something (my iPad 3 receipt yesterday) that I am going to be using, I drag it over to DT. Apple likes the flashy, new, and simple stuff in the appstore, but these two apps embody the pleasures of using a Mac for me.

(1) Gabe also mentioned that the DT product lineup is confusing. I agree. It isn’t for a lot of us who are familiar with the products, but to the uninitiated, it can seem quite confusing. For example, an x (X) in many countries (such as Japan) means a feature is not included, while a circle (O) means that it is. I recommend DT makes it more clear what they have, how each product is related, and why one would go through the upgrade path. In particular, the distinction between office and pro is unclear. … rison.html

(2) Gabe also called it expensive. Of course, such things are relative, but the number for office is big. DevonNote is very inexpensive, though, compared to most of the competition. I think DT ought to clearly justify their pricing somewhere. Whatever justifications DT has (I can think of plenty), they don’t appear clearly on the site where users can encounter it and buy into the vision. Users these days are accustomed to freeware and other pricing schemes, and a little more effort to educate folks about artisinal software business models would help. Scrivener and others have clearly articulated their philosophies and I think these explanations are compelling, especially for users who are tired of being jerked around by business models that aggressively target new casual users at the expense of older power users. It also helps to know there is a business with a plan. People are wary of investing their time and money in stuff that has an uncertain future (Springpad, for example).