qabiria: @multilingualmag: New vice president of sales at CQ fluency - Mattias Schroeter will lead all new business develop... http://t.co/qg7dJFTyOn
qabiria: @multilingualmag: Transifex part of Coursera Global Translation Partners Program http://t.co/bUrJNpOrBy
qabiria: @multilingualmag: TOIN redesigns website - The first update has been done on the English language version with oth... http://t.co/gPgt5HiScU
Request a quotationIf you would like us to provide a proposal for any project you may have, please use the contact form.
Are you tired of wasting precious time looking for lost files on your hard disk or on old CD-ROMs hidden in your drawers? Desktop search tools and disk cataloguing tools will provide precious help!
Desktop search tools are search engines that instantly retrieve information from your local PC or network. The way they work is simple: these programs create files content index and search this index instead of searching the files themselves. This significantly reduces the search time. There are various types of search engines with different degrees of sophistication. Some are free, some you need to buy. The key advantage for the users is that they don't need to worry about organizing files on their disk. The search engine will find them regardless of their location. A drawback of these programs is that they may use a significant amount of memory, especially on older machines.
Desktop search programs are the equivalent of online search engines, with the difference that they find data stored on your PC. Most of these programs can search by name, date and other file attributes. They are able to filter a search by file type (e-mail, browser history, pictures, audio and video files, etc.) and they can search strings contained in text files and PDF. The best programs allow you to search not only on one computer, but on all the computers connected to your home LAN.
Without going into too much technical detail, the way these programs work is quite simple. Instead of searching the entire hard disk (or all the specified disks) and scrolling all the files one by one like the common operating system search tools, these programs create a content index and save it in their own database. The first indexing occurs when you install the program; updates are usually run when the computer is idle. The operating system file system is NOT a shared file system. The program extracts three types of information from the files: name and location; attributes (metadata) such as title, author, comments; and content (only for file types supporting this kind of indexing, such as text files and PDF). When the program performs a search, it directly searches its database (the index), reducing the search time to fractions of a second. Speed is one of the main advantages compared to traditional tools. Windows' search function, for example, was so slow that Windows Vista now includes a default indexing of local drives, which is the equivalent of a desktop search program.
The function of desktop search engines reminds us that Windows' file system (or that of any other operating system) is not a file sharing system - as many project managers think. No matter how folders and subfolders are organized, they won't meet the requirements of proper file management. Let's take this a step further. Nowadays it is very inefficient to spend time organizing and structuring folders, files and other material on the disk. On the one hand, if the amount of data is so important that it requires a complex organization, you should use a dedicated document management systems (DMS). On the other hand, if the amount of data is not so large, using an internal search engine and following few simple guidelines for saving files will solve 99% of your problems. In short: the important thing is not knowing how to save files, but knowing how to find them.
There are a lot of products available on the market. Some are used by large companies, which confirms how useful they are. The choice of a program over another primarily depends on the specific needs of the user. If you need all the features of an internal search engine, such as file content search, Outlook mail search, or search within zip files, the options available are not that many. We will briefly present four options that meet these needs. Three of them are free, one can be purchased. These programs run in the Windows environment; for Apple users, Spotlight is the best choice. If you just need to search files by name, word contained in the title, date or other simple criteria, a more basic, less intrusive program will be sufficient. We will review some of them later in the article.
Dedicated Desktop Search ProgramsThe program available for purchase we recommend is X1. The version for individual users is now called X1 Professional Client. It is an improved version of the old free software Yahoo! Desktop Search (you can still find this version on the Internet). Besides all the features that are common to this type of programs, X1 Professional Client let you preview over 400 file types, even if you don't have the program they were created with installed on your PC. This is the program we recommend for companies.
The amount of free software available was very limited until recently. Today, however, there are several open-source desktop search software on the market. The best open-source tool is Copernic Desktop Search, thanks to its advanced interface. Today there are many open-source desktop search tools.It is one of the few freeware that supports network shared disks. Some users, however, are disappointed with the .3 upgrade, as it does not include the much appreciated "search as you type" feature. This tool dynamically displays results as you type your search. Apart from that, Copernic is the undisputed winner in several online tests.
Another popular option is Google Desktop. Some users find that using Google even for searching data on their PC may jeopardize their privacy. These concerns are certainly justified, but here we will focus on the software's user-friendliness and functionality. Google Desktop allows you to search e-mails, text files, music files, photos, chats, Gmail, the browser history and more. Its very familiar interface is an advantage for many users. Moreover, a large variety of optional plug-ins allow you to index a larger number of files. One of Google Desktop's disadvantages is that besides installing the search engine, it automatically installs its Side bar, that includes Google Gadgets. If you find this an undesirable extra, this solution is not for you.
The last tool we wish to suggest is an "outsider"; it is called Locate32. Unlike the software previously presented, Locate32 only runs when you need to search. It only takes a few minutes to index files content and it generates a much more compact database than its competitors. Since indexing is not implemented in the background, it is important to frequently update it (for example every time you shut down your PC). Searching text within files is not very intuitive, as the command is somewhat hidden in the Advanced menu. With Locate 32 you can also search regular expressions (for more information on regex, see article ....)
Alternative programsAn alternative to desktop search programs are the disk cataloguing tools. Like Locate 32, these programs only perform content indexing when the user wishes to run a search (or depending on the chosen settings). They are often used to file the contents of optical media such as CD-ROMs and DVDs and they can also be used to file hard drives. They search very fast, operate without installation (even from a memory stick) and they only take little memory. In fact, the simpler programs only take few KB and yet they are incredibly efficient. Without going into detail, I will especially recommend one tool, that is particularly fast: Cathy. Developed by a Slovak programmer, Cathy consists of a single executable file that weighs less than 60 KB. It allows you to file material either on external drives, or on hard drives or shared networks. Cathy creates an index file of limited size for each drive and let you analyze their content, even if they are not physically accessible. Cathy offers all common search capabilities: by file name, date and size. It also offers additional features such as the search for duplicate files and the ability to copy and paste search results into Excel.
The main advantage of these search systems for translators, project managers, or for any user, is that they no longer need to remember how and where they save their files: the program will do it for them. A potential disadvantage with programs running in the background is the consumption of extra memory. This may eventually slow down your PC. In these cases, we recommend using disk cataloguing toolssuch as Cathy, whose performances are less dependent on the hardware type and generation.
Let's conclude with an example that will highlight the power of these systems. A few months ago I was looking for an Excel file with software technical data I was sent from Germany. All I knew was that the file was in a backup copy of my hard drive that I had saved on a CD-ROM. Without a cataloguing software, I would have had to browse through the CD-ROM where I had probably saved that file. However, since I had indexed the contents of all my CD-ROMs, I just started Cathy and I searched files with the extension *. XLS (Excel), with a file name containing typically German text strings such as "sch", "ung," and "heu. At the second attempt I found the file "Komp_Forschung_5458566.xls' with the label of the optical media (CD-ROM00155) it had been saved on. It took me less than three minutes. If I had had to run the search manually, it would have taken at least half an hour. Let's not forget: time is money!
Trackback(0)TrackBack URI for this entry
Comments (1)Subscribe to this comment's feed
Read the latest news on the blog
- Qabiria citata sulla Tool Box Newsletter
- Less is more? OmegaT: vantaggi e svantaggi di un approccio essenziale e open source alla traduzione assistita
- Ci vediamo al prossimo seminario di COM&TEC a Vicenza!
- Coraggio! Sono aperte le iscrizioni al corso online di OmegaT
- Ebook translation: is it worthwhile?
- Perché non ho rinnovato la quota di ProZ