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MacBytes
Nov 16, 2004, 02:48 PM
Category: Tips and How To\'s
Link: File Problems On The Mac: It\'s A Mess In There (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20041116154821)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

dashiel
Nov 16, 2004, 03:49 PM
i thought spotlight would have helped out with this problem, but i was apparently wrong (http://www.mac360.com/index.php/mac360/more/search_the_next_mac_and_windows_battleground/)

kiwi-in-uk
Nov 16, 2004, 04:07 PM
... erm ... use Finder.

If the writer's office is as junky as she says her disk is ... then I'm surprised she can find her keyboard.

Organise from the outset, or be prepared to do a lot of work later.

stoid
Nov 16, 2004, 04:25 PM
I agree that files can often be very spread out and not centralized and organized enough, but that's mostly a result of my own laziness over any deficiency in computer software. Complaining about GB loops not being in the music folder? I don't want them there. I don't NEED a back-up of the loops, if something goes wrong, I'll re-install off of the disc!

mainstreetmark
Nov 16, 2004, 04:33 PM
What's with this guy? He's blaming Apple for not cleaning up his own mess. Jeez, man, make folders if you want folders and save the docs where you want them. A drag and drop utility to magically move your document somewhere else on your harddrive sounds WORSE. Finder's great at allowing you to organize files, but it'll never know how to do it for you, I doubt. Hell, use quicksilver, then it doesn't even matter.

And, a couple of clicks should be all thatís required to generate a report about which file is where
What a dumb idea. How about "$ find ~"

Why can't an application's support files go in Application Support? Does he prefer one large folder?

Thereís Fonts for everyone, and Fonts for just me.

Yep! That's right! And isn't it amazing that it requires two folders to do so? That's not a mess.

- Garageband loops are not music.
- There is no "everyone" thing for Mail, because the system doesn't recieve e-mail, only users do
- Who even goes into the Preferences folder other than the system. Who cares if the filenames are in Braille.

This guy needs to use a Windows machine for like a week or two. Then, ask him where, for example, internet explorer is installed, or where it's bookmarks are. Or ask him to complain about the strange naming convention of .DLL's in Windows.

What a tard.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2004, 04:42 PM
What's with this guy? He's blaming Apple for not cleaning up his own mess. Jeez, man, make folders if you want folders and save the docs where you want them. A drag and drop utility to magically move your document somewhere else on your harddrive sounds WORSE. Finder's great at allowing you to organize files, but it'll never know how to do it for you, I doubt. Hell, use quicksilver, then it doesn't even matter.


What a dumb idea. How about "$ find ~"

Why can't an application's support files go in Application Support? Does he prefer one large folder?



Yep! That's right! And isn't it amazing that it requires two folders to do so? That's not a mess.

- Garageband loops are not music.
- There is no "everyone" thing for Mail, because the system doesn't recieve e-mail, only users do
- Who even goes into the Preferences folder other than the system. Who cares if the filenames are in Braille.

This guy needs to use a Windows machine for like a week or two. Then, ask him where, for example, internet explorer is installed, or where it's bookmarks are. Or ask him to complain about the strange naming convention of .DLL's in Windows.

What a tard.
Sometimes I need to go in the Preferences folder to trash one or more corrupt .plist files because one of my applications is misbehaving. I'm sure that's what "Tera Patricks" is referring to.

daveL
Nov 16, 2004, 04:53 PM
Is it me or is the gal making a mountain out of a mole hill? In general, I don't find articles on her site to be very informed.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2004, 04:58 PM
Is it me or is the gal making a mountain out of a mole hill? In general, I don't find articles on her site to be very informed.
In general, I agree with you on both points. However, I still read the articles because I find them interesting.

redAPPLE
Nov 16, 2004, 05:08 PM
during the days (damn if i am wrong) of os9, if you delete a folder (say IE) the whole program is deleted.

now, one has to delete the program in the applications folder. then do a search for "explorer" and delete the other IE files which are somewhere in your system.

i wish really deleting a program would be as simple as that again.

Sharewaredemon
Nov 16, 2004, 05:10 PM
In general, I agree with you on both points. However,
I still read the articles because I find them interesting.

I too read her articles most times, but this article was silly enough, that i chose not to advance to the next page. It seems to me she was complaining about nothing, you computer is only as organized as you want to keep it. Case and Point.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2004, 05:12 PM
during the days (damn if i am wrong) of os9, if you delete a folder (say IE) the whole program is deleted.

now, one has to delete the program in the applications folder. then do a search for "explorer" and delete the other IE files which are somewhere in your system.

i wish really deleting a program would be as simple as that again.
Actually, neither point is strictly true.

In Mac OS 9, programs sometimes installed extensions and created other files outside of their program folder. The extensions definitely need to be removed, but the preference files are harmless.

In Mac OS X, programs often create stuff in Application Support as well as preference files, but it won't do any harm to leave it there and just delete the program file in Applications, just like in Mac OS 9. If a program has an uninstaller, using the uninstaller is strongly encouraged - the same holds true in Mac OS 9.

macnulty
Nov 16, 2004, 05:39 PM
I too read her articles most times, but this article was silly enough, that i chose not to advance to the next page. It seems to me she was complaining about nothing, you computer is only as organized as you want to keep it. Case and Point.

Totally agree, it seems she wants no effort in keeping organized. She probably has a maid for her house and needs one for her computer files.

mfeldman
Nov 16, 2004, 06:37 PM
Totally agree, it seems she wants no effort in keeping organized. She probably has a maid for her house and needs one for her computer files.

Hmmm. I'd like a maid for my house. That'd be great. Come to think of it, getting a maid for my Mac's files would be nifty. Hey, the hiring process alone would kill me.

All seriousness aside, there's a very good point in there. If the computer is here to make our lives a bit more productive and organized and efficient, then there should be a way that it helps organize files. While I agree that a good folder structure in the Documents folder is an excellent start, it's still extra effort on the user's part to 1) organize appropriately, 2) maintain organization as new files are added.

Those of you who simply toss out cute and sassy criticism of anyone with a problem, and sense enough to articulate it, are forgetting something valuable. Necessity is the mother of invention. It seems to me that someone in the Mac developer community might consider developing a simple "file organization" application that does what the author** suggests-- make it easy to set up a file organization in the Documents folder, and make it easier to maintain over time.

As it is now, mine usually has a couple dozen folders, each loaded with files and other folders. After awhile, I forget where things are and need to clean up the mess. Kayhill's suggestion is a good one and would improve the Mac's experience and usefulness.

In particular, I like the "drag and drop" idea. Think about it. That's sweet. I do something similar to that now by putting select folders in the left column of the Finder, then simply dragging and dropping files where they should go. But that could be developed to be MUCH easier.

** author-- this just shows how much attention some MB readers pay to articles on Mac and news sites. The "she" some of you refer to has a name-- "Alex" Kayhill.

:rolleyes:

macridah
Nov 16, 2004, 07:08 PM
This is a personal problem, not an apple one.

jchen
Nov 16, 2004, 07:35 PM
This is a personal problem, not an apple one.

Not so... I got the same problem and I'm not blaming Apple or the writer, but want a solution nonetheless. There are too many files scattered all over, even in the Documents folder. I don't think anyone is blaming Apple for organizational issues but its a legitimate problem with suggested solutions. How does it get to be a "personal problem?" Apple provides software to entertain, inform, improve efficiency and productivity on the computer, and to sell more Macs. While new search technology might help out finding files on the hard drive, it won't do much for the organization of files. It isn't just a user issue, either. If that were the case there'd be no need for a spell checker, right? "Hey, get a dictionary and learn to spell, fool!" I'd go for something intuitive that stores and organizes other files and presents them in an iTunes/iPhoto-like manner. And, no, it ain't the Finder. :D I keep recent files on the Desktop and then, when it gets messy, move them to the Documents folder, sometimes not in the correct folder. Most real desktops are about the same. We keep papers, files, and stuff there, then when the pain hits a certain threshhold, move them, file them, stack them, put them away. A solution to helping out with the organization and handling of Desktop and Document files would be worthwhile. Set up a file organization, then drag and drop, and give me a record of what went where and when.

2GMario
Nov 16, 2004, 08:00 PM
this is definately a user issue

the sole purpose of the operating system is to provide the user with the tools required to get a given job acomplished.

which, has been done. theres the application folder for programs
the system folder for system files
a search feature to find things out of imediate site (improved in tiger)

and the ability to create folders where ever youd like, link them to the dock, or the side bar in finder

anything more than that is up to the discretion of the user and should not be addressed by the OS.

its out of luck and flashyness that we have a music, movies and documents folder

my solution to to many folders is simple
i create a folder on the hard drive
drag it to the side bar in finder
and work out of that

i have folders for websites, business docs, web site images, etc... works nicely

only thing i do have a problem with, which is not the fault of the OS, but myself or adobe is, anything i do in photoshop will allways go into my business images folder, and the file save as or save to web folder does not remember that folder is there when i launch the program fresh everyday.

once i've saved a file to it, it remembers, but after closing and re-opening it does - as said, im sure its a preference somewhere i have just over looked

but, these are personal organazational issues, not things the OS should be responsible for.

just a view
-Mario

broken_keyboard
Nov 16, 2004, 08:03 PM
When Tiger comes out, I'm going to dump all my files in one single directory, and then use smart folders to access them.

I agree with the comments about /System/Library by the way. I am totally against shared libraries, I think all .apps should be fully self-contained. There is the .app and there is it's settings file in your home dir, and that's it.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2004, 08:10 PM
When Tiger comes out, I'm going to dump all my files in one single directory, and then use smart folders to access them.

I agree with the comments about /System/Library by the way. I am totally against shared libraries, I think all .apps should be fully self-contained. There is the .app and there is it's settings file in your home dir, and that's it.
Well, when Tiger comes out, I'm going to leave my directory structure as it is now, and use smart folders where it makes sense to use them.

Regarding /System/Library...
That directory shouldn't be modified by user applications anyway. In fact, rumor has it that Tiger will include a utility to help keep your /System/Library pristine.

As far as shared libraries go...
I support the shared library concept - I use it in my own programs (on all platforms). I just think that .apps need to be better behaved when it comes to dumping .bundles and .frameworks all over the place.

dashiel
Nov 16, 2004, 08:21 PM
for the most part spotlight and smart folder searches (which can be saved) will alleviate, if not eliminate this problem. depending on your level of organizational obsession, it will be possible to throw most all your documents in the documents folder and either create on the fly searches for those times when you have a one off request, or save a smart folder for permanent organization. spotlight is far from a panacea, you won't be able to eliminate regular folders any time soon, but it goes a long way towards simplifying the process of storing, sorting, filing and finding your files.

broken_keyboard
Nov 16, 2004, 08:21 PM
As far as shared libraries go...
I support the shared library concept - I use it in my own programs (on all platforms). I just think that .apps need to be better behaved when it comes to dumping .bundles and .frameworks all over the place.

When I say I'm against shared libs, I am simply talking about from a deployment perspective. One copy in mem doesn't mean you have to have only one copy on disk. All .apps should be self-contained, with no central Frameworks dir.

daveL
Nov 16, 2004, 09:01 PM
When I say I'm against shared libs, I am simply talking about from a deployment perspective. One copy in mem doesn't mean you have to have only one copy on disk. All .apps should be self-contained, with no central Frameworks dir.
OK, so lets talk about the version issue?!?! Give me a break. So now, ever time a shared library gets updated, you have to search the entire disk subsystem to find ever reference? Hmmm ... maybe app A has a private copy because it relies on certain api details of an older version, but all the other apps should be updated? You just created a monster. Why would you do this? What are you accomplishing?

There's nothing wrong with the current implementation. Any other approach is going to be much more complicated, i.e. Tiger, smart folders, spotlight. All of this because you can't keep yourself organized enough to know where your files are? This isn't a new problem. It has existed as long as information has. Next thing you know someone will complain because their computer doesn't keep track of which clothes as clean in their wardrobe and supply a suitable attire for the next day's itinerary. Sorry, I have a brain, and I don't mind using it. If you don't use it, you lose it. Who wants to become a slave to their computer. Think, damn it!

broken_keyboard
Nov 16, 2004, 09:25 PM
OK, so lets talk about the version issue?!?! Give me a break. So now, ever time a shared library gets updated, you have to search the entire disk subsystem to find ever reference? Hmmm ... maybe app A has a private copy because it relies on certain api details of an older version, but all the other apps should be updated? You just created a monster. Why would you do this? What are you accomplishing?

It's up to individual app vendors to upgrade their apps to new versions of shared libs when and if they see fit, and with proper testing.

What you accomplish is:
- upgrading OS no longer breaks your app
- installing a new app can not break existing
- since .app bundle is completely self-contained, so installer/deinstaller prog required

wrldwzrd89
Nov 17, 2004, 04:28 AM
It's up to individual app vendors to upgrade their apps to new versions of shared libs when and if they see fit, and with proper testing.

What you accomplish is:
- upgrading OS no longer breaks your app
- installing a new app can not break existing
- since .app bundle is completely self-contained, so installer/deinstaller prog required

Uhh... did you mean (emphasis mine):

What you accomplish is:
- upgrading OS no longer breaks your app
- installing a new app can not break existing apps
- since .app bundle is completely self-contained, so no installer/deinstaller prog required

coldspot
Nov 17, 2004, 04:59 AM
He's only telling the truth, can't you accept that?

You think the Mac is the perfect platform. I think Apple should improve the ease-of-use, because it always was one of the Mac's best. And we can't say the Mac OS X is good on that way.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 17, 2004, 05:05 AM
He's only telling the truth, can't you accept that?

You think the Mac is the perfect platform. I think Apple should improve the ease-of-use, because it always was one of the Mac's best. And we can't say the Mac OS X is good on that way.
Who are you referring to? If your floating "he" reference is supposed to point at "Tera Patricks", then I understand where you're coming from. What I don't understand is how the role of search tools could be downplayed so much. I search for things frequently, and I'd always appreciate a better search tool. Oh, and BTW - I don't think the Mac is perfect by any means. I just find it to be better than the alternatives.

Santaduck
Nov 17, 2004, 05:29 AM
sometimes this writer is on target, and at other times... well, she's just not.

I suppose if you apply the arguments to a 'noobie' user and wish for an OS that does it all for you by default, she may have a point. This describes a significant portion of the user base...

jchen
Nov 17, 2004, 11:16 AM
sometimes this writer is on target, and at other times... well, she's just not.

I suppose if you apply the arguments to a 'noobie' user and wish for an OS that does it all for you by default, she may have a point. This describes a significant portion of the user base...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I want an application or feature that does exactly that-- organize, catalog, sort-- my other files.

Why not? iTunes organizes music files in one place, catalogs them for easy retrieval, right? iPhoto does the same, right?

Why not all the other files we stick into Documents? I'd love that. If the Mac is here to make live easier, this is an area that's not always so easy; painful at times (cleaning up).

And don't tell me I should simply organize my folders better. That's like the guy who says "Get a dictionary. Who needs a spell checker?"

See the point? For all those naysayers who don't think beyond their sassy comments and curt remarks, there's an issue there, me thinks.

It's all about filling a need and file organization is a problem that needs a solution (better than just "Hey, clean up your files, dufus!").

aarond12
Nov 17, 2004, 11:19 AM
Hey Tera!

Why not use Folder Actions to move files of specific types (extensions?) to subfolders in your My Documents folder?

-Aaron-

tpatricks
Nov 17, 2004, 01:02 PM
Hey Tera!
Why not use Folder Actions to move files of specific types (extensions?) to subfolders in your My Documents folder?
-Aaron-

Hey Aaron, why don't you read more carefully? It's a weblog entry by Alex Kayhill, not Tera. Yeeesh.

Regardless, I agree with the need for a feature/utility/application that helps out with file organization, particularly in the Documents directory.

Folder Actions is NOT the answer for the average Mac user who dumps everything but music and photos into Documents. Spotlight is bound to help find items but doesn't eliminate the organization issue and doesn't provide a status report. I don't know whose idea that was, but it's a good one.

I'm working on a review of FootTrack 2.0 now. Think of it as an iTunes/iPhoto application for video clips from iMovie and FinalCut Pro/Express. We do a lot of video production on FCP and this version is the best (affordable) utility I've run into so far.

File organization is NOT just a matter of Folder Actions or creating a bunch of sub-Folders, though that helps. The kind of organizational skill and discipline necessary is missing with many computer users, myself included, though I'm probably better than most. I dump everything into a folder on the Desktop, then clean it up later and move files into Documents or wherever. Still, it's messy.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of an app that sorts, files, gathers information, and provides a status report on files in Documents. If it worked like FootTrack or iView Media (would need to be more stable, though) or Qpict (love the interface), I'd buy it.

:)

shamino
Nov 17, 2004, 03:22 PM
When Tiger comes out, I'm going to dump all my files in one single directory, and then use smart folders to access them.
Please don't complain to the rest of us when this plan doesn't work out exactly as expected.
I agree with the comments about /System/Library by the way. I am totally against shared libraries, I think all .apps should be fully self-contained. There is the .app and there is it's settings file in your home dir, and that's it.
It's not that simple.

For instance, web-browser plugins. I happen to love the fact that all plugins go into a common location (/Library/Internet Plugins) and all web browsers look there. This is far better than each browser having its own separate plugins directory, requiring its own separate copy of the plugin, and forcing re-installation of the plugins whenever you upgrade the browser.

shamino
Nov 17, 2004, 03:26 PM
When I say I'm against shared libs, I am simply talking about from a deployment perspective. One copy in mem doesn't mean you have to have only one copy on disk. All .apps should be self-contained, with no central Frameworks dir.
So you want multiple copies of all the system libraries installed in each application? What kind of magic do you think there is that can tell the system that all these different library files are all copies of the same thing? What makes you think you won't get multiple copies in memory?

And are you aware of how many shared libraries and system frameworks are used by a typical app? Are you aware of how large even trivial applications would bloat to if you forced every one to have a full copy of ever system library it uses?

And once you do this, it is no longer possible to upgrade the system software without upgrading all your apps - because each one will have its own copy of the libraries.

I don't think you understand the ramifications of what you're asking for.

broken_keyboard
Nov 17, 2004, 08:21 PM
So you want multiple copies of all the system libraries installed in each application? What kind of magic do you think there is that can tell the system that all these different library files are all copies of the same thing? What makes you think you won't get multiple copies in memory?


Because a library in Mac OS X is not a standalone binary file, it is a directory with a .framework extention and an XML file inside describing it. The OS can use the XML file to see if it has already loaded it.


And are you aware of how many shared libraries and system frameworks are used by a typical app? Are you aware of how large even trivial applications would bloat to if you forced every one to have a full copy of ever system library it uses?


Disk is cheap. The main thing that is limiting us in software development today is complexity, any time you can reduce complexity for the price of a few GB of disk, I say go for it.


And once you do this, it is no longer possible to upgrade the system software without upgrading all your apps - because each one will have its own copy of the libraries.

I don't think you understand the ramifications of what you're asking for.

It's up to individual vendors to test and upgrade their apps. The idea that the user should be able to upgrade a library your app uses is an idea from server space, where you have a professional admin managing things. In the home user space, the user should not be exposed to such things. They should not have to know that installing something from Software Update might break their favorite app. By putting the resposibility of upgrading shared libs back in the hands of the individual vendor, you put it back in the hands of the pros where it should have stayed all along.

daveL
Nov 17, 2004, 08:56 PM
Because a library in Mac OS X is not a standalone binary file, it is a directory with a .framework extention and an XML file inside describing it. The OS can use the XML file to see if it has already loaded it.



Disk is cheap. The main thing that is limiting us in software development today is complexity, any time you can reduce complexity for the price of a few GB of disk, I say go for it.



It's up to individual vendors to test and upgrade their apps. The idea that the user should be able to upgrade a library your app uses is an idea from server space, where you have a professional admin managing things. In the home user space, the user should not be exposed to such things. They should not have to know that installing something from Software Update might break their favorite app. By putting the resposibility of upgrading shared libs back in the hands of the individual vendor, you put it back in the hands of the pros where it should have stayed all along.
Your talking frameworks, which are a superset of shared libraries. There are plenty of shared libraries in OS X which are NOT frameworks, which is an Apple thing, they are BSD shared libraries that have no concept of frameworks. At the end of the day, Mach and FreeBSD are the underpinnings of OS X. Frameworks and such represent the NextStep port that implements the GUI and other core services in a way that Objective C understands. In short, there are two levels of structure here and you're ignoring one of them.

daveL
Nov 17, 2004, 08:58 PM
It's up to individual vendors to test and upgrade their apps. The idea that the user should be able to upgrade a library your app uses is an idea from server space, where you have a professional admin managing things. In the home user space, the user should not be exposed to such things. They should not have to know that installing something from Software Update might break their favorite app. By putting the resposibility of upgrading shared libs back in the hands of the individual vendor, you put it back in the hands of the pros where it should have stayed all along.
OK, so let us consider a new security patch ...

'Nuf said.

broken_keyboard
Nov 17, 2004, 10:18 PM
OK, so let us consider a new security patch ...

'Nuf said.

The reason there are so many security patches all the time is because people make such complicated designs that things slip through the cracks. The way to reduce security problems is to make simpler designs, and that is what I am advocating in this case. The solution to complexity is not more complexity.

daveL
Nov 18, 2004, 11:18 AM
The reason there are so many security patches all the time is because people make such complicated designs that things slip through the cracks. The way to reduce security problems is to make simpler designs, and that is what I am advocating in this case. The solution to complexity is not more complexity.
Ok, you win. We'll reduce complexity by having hundreds of copies of all the frameworks and shared libraries in the system, which are not necessarily the same version. Some of these can be updated with the latest security fix, while others can't, because they are outdated versions that don't have a patch. Instead of knowing where all these libraries and frameworks are located, we have to do a complete search of every system, because we don't know and don't control where the are installed.

Of course, we also have the problem that the app owner is now responsible for setting the ownerships and permissions on all the frameworks and shared libraries that go with his app. If it's not done correctly, we now open the door to trojan horse file substitution. The process of verifying or repairing permissions just got a lot more intense, as well.

I sure am glad you've made things so simple for us.

sjk
Nov 18, 2004, 01:27 PM
I sure am glad you've made things so simple for us.Really. ;)

Another thing seemingly overlooked was possible interoperability conflicts between certain applications that use private copies of libraries/frameworks with differing versions. Or maybe that was already implied...

broken_keyboard
Nov 19, 2004, 05:58 AM
Ok, you win. We'll reduce complexity by having hundreds of copies of all the frameworks and shared libraries in the system, which are not necessarily the same version.


Which is more complex: one game of chess or 100 games of Tic Tac Toe?


Some of these can be updated with the latest security fix, while others can't, because they are outdated versions that don't have a patch. Instead of knowing where all these libraries and frameworks are located, we have to do a complete search of every system, because we don't know and don't control where the are installed.


But you don't try to update them or find them. Stop trying to be a sysadmin, you are a home user. Updating apps is the vendor's responsibility, and they know where and what to update better than you do.

Of course, we also have the problem that the app owner is now responsible for setting the ownerships and permissions on all the frameworks and shared libraries that go with his app. If it's not done correctly, we now open the door to trojan horse file substitution. The process of verifying or repairing permissions just got a lot more intense, as well.


You say it would be less secure? I would argue the opposite. In the self-contained app model, the app knows exactly what version of a library it is going to get, so it can perform a checksum before executing it. In the central frameworks model, the app has no way of knowing what version it will get, therefore it can perform no check, and thus you open the door for trojans. Note it is the more complex design that has created the security hole in the first place.

I sure am glad you've made things so simple for us.

Don't mention it.

daveL
Nov 19, 2004, 12:10 PM
At this point, I think it's safe to say that I'll agree to disagree with you. You need not spend any more effort trying to convince me of your point of view.

billyboy
Nov 19, 2004, 01:08 PM
Finder sidebar isnt too bad for organising work to often used folders, but I dont really use it to its full capacity. The contextual menu Quickaccess works quite well for me too, especially sorting out downloaded app images from the desktop, ie highlight icon, right click and Move to..downloads folder. It would be even better generally if I sat down and linked the contextual menu to all the folders I use.

Both the above instances are a prime example that good tools are out there to be used, but at the end of the day, the user has to get their act together to implement a good organisation.