A very fast file location Desk Accessroy; index drives and find file quickly and easily.
Q: What are the three must important things to consider when you buy real estate? A: Location, location, and location. This truism can apply to the real estate on hard disks too. If you spend more time searching for files than actually using them, look into On Location, a utility from ON Technology that helps the Finder find files fast.
ON'S PURPOSE As with a real desktop, the desktop interface doesn't cut it when the desktop gets too cluttered — whether it's because you have too many folders or because your folders have too many documents or because your folders have too many folders. On Location lets you search directly for any filename or — more significantly — for any text string inside a file.
If you're looking for a particular memo, for example, you can search for any piece of the filename you remember (memo, say), the recipient's name, or the date (more on dates in a moment). As soon as On Location finds the file — which is usually very, very quickly — you can view the contents (for most common document formats); open it in its native application; or copy, delete, rename, or move it. You don’t have to wait for On Location to search the whole volume — it starts searching for target text strings as soon you launch it, modifying the result of the search with each character you type. It displays the results, sorted by filename, size, kind, or date of the last modification.
On Location is hardly the first utility to do any of this — Eureka and Find File can locate files, GOfer and CanOpener can search for text inside files, and programs such as DiskTop give you file-manipulation capabilities from a DA — so what's all the fuss about?
ON TIME Let's start with speed: On Location finds files nearly as quickly as you can type the filename on a small hard disk and in only a few seconds with larger volumes, including everything from CD-ROMs to file servers. The magic behind the blitz is its index. When you install On Location, you also have to index your hard disk (or whatever volume you want to be able to search). Building the index takes a while — anywhere from a coffee break for a small hard disk, to a long lunch hour for a full CD-ROM, to overnight for a monster hard disk or file server. The good news is that the indexes occupy much less hard-disk space than you might expect — only about 2 percent of the amount of data they're indexing, or about 20K per megabyte (obviously this can add up if you're indexing CD-ROMs on a hard disk). You can create separate indexes for separate volumes, and the indexes are separate from the volume they're indexing. So, for example, you can copy your file server's index to your Mac Portable and know exactly how to tell colleagues back at the office where to find all your files.
Most impressive of all, the indexes are automatically updated in the background, whenever you create or change a file's name or contents. (Although ON Technology has resolved many known prerelease conflicts among the updater INIT and other INITs, the manual warns of possible future conflicts; you can update manually if you experience any problems. If you have a noisy hard disk, you may find the automatic updating a little creepy as your unattended hard disk chugs away all by it self.)
ON THE EDGE On Location’s interface is functional and intuitive, although it deviates in some ways from the standard Mac interface: It sports NeXT-like buttons with depth, has scroll bars in surprising places, and lacks some standard keyboard command equivalents and menu choices (such as Quit or Command-Q — you have to click on the close box to exit).
All text strings must begin with a letter; leading numbers and punctuation are ignored — which means, for example, you can’t find dates in the format 1/1/90. The manual explains these limitations — On Location doesn't search for text strings shorter than three characters, for example — but the program does nothing to warn you that you’re doing anything illegal or that the results of illegal searches are meaningless.
There's another problem with On Location. With a list price of $129.95, On Location is pricey for a one-trick pony. DiskTop, for example, does a lot more, for $99. The price includes a one-year money-back guarantee directly from the publisher, however, so you can decide for yourself if this one trick is worth that much to you.
THE BOTTOM LINE If you can't find things on your hard disk, On Location can make your life a lot easier — if you have a little extra RAM and hard-disk space. Although its quirks may slow you down every now and then, On Location can save you time and aggravation.
Zilber, Jon. (August 1990). On Location. MacUser. (pgs. 57, 59).