Default Folder X adds OpenMeta support

Default Folder XDefault Folder X, the “can’t live without” enhancement for open and save dialogs, has added support for OpenMeta tagging in version 4.2. This means that you can now tag a file when you save it, which is by far the best time to do so since it obviates the need to process files multiple times in order to tag them (needing to go back over files to organize them after the fact may be the biggest barrier to tagging). Version 4.2 also includes a new Applescript command, allows you to see invisible folders in save dialogs by holding down option when selecting “Save As”, and includes several bug fixes.

I highly recommend Default Folder X even if you have no interest in OpenMeta (it’s a fantastic utility), but this release is basically a must-have for anyone trying to setup an OpenMeta-driven tagging system. For more details about the release, see the Default Folder X release notes.

Recent updates for March 2009

Numerous tagging applications received interesting updates in March (lack of timely coverage thanks to real-life distractions). Tag Folders was bumped to 2.0 (current version: 2.0.2) and now includes OpenMeta tagging support with two-way conversion of tags and numerous bug fixes. MarsEdit 2.3 was released and added Tumblr support. EagleFiler 1.4.5 includes OpenMeta tags import, improved ways to access tags via Applescript, and numerous bug fixes. Tags 1.2 is now available and includes improved Quick Look support, a new AppleScript interface, reduced conflicts with MailTags, and several other fixes and improvements. Evernote 1.3 was released (current version 1.3.1), including a new Safari clipper toolbar button, Safari 4 support, Growl notifications, and (in not so happy news) advertisements for non-premium users.

For more information, see the Tag Folders release notes, MarsEdit 2.3 blog announcement, EagleFiler 1.4.5 blog announcement, and the Evernote 1.3 Mac blog announcement. Tags does not currently have up-to-date release notes online.

VoodooPad update: 4.1

VoodooPadVoodooPad was recently updated to version 4.1, an update mainly focused on significant bug fixes. However, it also introduces several new features, the most interesting to me being that tags are now synched via VoodooPad’s excellent WebDAV synching, and tags are also written out to the VoodooPad Spotlight index for searching. This is pretty exciting to me, because it means that I can at long last make my VoodooPad scratchpad work the way I want.

For more information about the update, see the release notes.

Punakea update: 0.4.1

PunakeaPunakea, one of the original file system tagging solutions, yesterday showed some signs of life with a minor bug fix update. Version 0.4.1 adds case sensitivity to tag autocompletion and stops deleting additional content in Punakea’s tags folder. Although the update itself is not terribly impressive, it’s nice to know that Punakea is still under development and not abandonware like TagBot. It will be interesting to see how the Punakea developers, who helped blaze the way with Spotlight comment tagging, react to the release of OpenMeta and Tags.

For more information, see the Punakea release notes or the “Hey! We’re not dead” blog post.

Ironic Software releases Fresh

FreshIronic Software yesterday released Fresh, a small utility for helping you to locate and act on the most recently added or modified files on your computer. When invoked, Fresh shows you two lists: on the top are your most recently added or modified files and on the bottom is the “cooler” where you can store files that you need to repeatedly access. Fresh also has an embedded version of Ironic Software’s free Tagit application, allowing you to tag and rate your files using OpenMeta without needing to run both programs (or even have Tagit installed).

Fresh is one of those fantastic pieces of software that targets a common problem (“where the heck is that file I was just working on?”) and provides a simple, elegant solution that you can start using within seconds of downloading the program. Even if you’re uninterested in the tagging features (which I admit I’m personally unlikely to use; I prefer Tags), Fresh is an application that will slip easily into your workflow, likely making you wonder after a day or two how you ever lived without. Fresh offers a 21 day free trial, and costs $9 to register.

Together and EagleFiler updated

EagleFilerBoth Together and EagleFiler received minor updates recently. Together has been bumped to 2.2.6, an update which includes some minor bug fixes for Applescript behavior, syncing encrypted files, and Quick Notes with invisible characters. EagleFiler is now at 1.4.4, an update which includes numerous fixes such as a more streamlined capture workflow from Apple Mail, improved error messages when running into problems importing from various programs, and many other minor improvements.

For more information, see the Together release notes or EagleFiler 1.4.4 blog announcement.

Using OpenMeta with eyes open

When Tags and OpenMeta were released within a day of one another a few weeks ago, I was ecstatic. Using Tags felt like magic (assign a tag, and it’s instantly shows up in Spotlight! Wow!), and OpenMeta’s open source release promised to lower the threshold for other developers to implement this fantastic tagging solution in their own apps. I wondered what the catch was, but Ironic Software advertises that OpenMeta uses no secret APIs, and Gravity Apps when I asked merely said that they were using extended attributes.

This turns out to be only half the story, however, and should you be a developer or user considering OpenMeta (or Tags) as a solution for your tagging needs you need to use it with eyes open. Although the technology OpenMeta uses is completely on the level, the way in which it achieves instant Spotlight availability is based on exploiting Spotlight’s preferential treatment of metadata that is identified as coming from Apple. This doesn’t mean that you should swear off OpenMeta and Tags (I’m still using them), but before you go tag-crazy you definitely need to consider the risks. [read more...]

Tags update: 1.1

TagsTags, my current favorite file system tagging solution, today was updated to version 1.1. This update includes drag-and-drop support for files and so forth onto the tag mode window (just invoke the window and drag away), a new tag manager with a number of useful options (including the ability to select which tags are your favorites), support for TaskPaper and NetNewsWire, an option to live without the flipping animation, an option to launch Tags at startup, and numerous bug fixes.

Unfortunately, the release notes don’t appear to be published anywhere online, but you can find them if you run the auto-update for the software (assuming you have it installed). If it’s not already on your computer, then now is as good a time as any to try it out.

HoudahSpot adds OpenMeta support

HoudahSpotEvery so often I get emails asking why the heck I’ve never mentioned HoudahSpot on Tagamac, and the answer has always been the same: it doesn’t offer any easy way to work with tags. Fortunately, those days are at an end. HoudahSpot, one of the few Spotlight enhancements that is still actively developed, was recently updated with support for OpenMeta tags such as those used by Tags and Deep, allowing you to build complex search queries involving tags easily and quickly.

HoudahSpot 2 requires Leopard, and is available for $25 with a 14 day free trial. Like other Spotlight enhancers, HoudahSpot gives you an easy way to construct and save complex searches without needing to rely on Apple’s less-than-ideal tools. If you’ve been as miffed at FileSpot’s apparent abandonment, then HoudahSpot definitely deserves your attention.

Fontcase released

FontcaseBohemian Software yesterday released Fontcase, a font manager for OS X that features a beautiful interface, tagging, and most other standard font manager features (previewing, examining all the characters for a given font, comparing fonts, etc.). I’m pretty excited about Fontcase. A month or two ago I was looking for a font manager (as a frontend web developer I find myself accruing more and more fonts), but none of the offerings on the market were as simple and elegant as I was hoping. I ended up just sticking with Font Book and wishing that there were a font manager that supported tagging and smart groups. Lo and behold, my wish is granted in Fontcase.

Aside from its extremely pleasant interface, Fontcase offers a surprisingly wide spread of features for a 1.0 release, including importing smart groups and so forth from Linotype’s FontExplorer X, local network sharing of fonts, the ability to print font previews, and more. Although the lack of any sort of Adobe plugins for auto font activation may make the program less appealing for true power users, Fontcase is a very appealing option to those like myself who need a better tool than Font Book but aren’t interested in spending an arm and a leg. Fontcase is available for a 14 day trial, and costs €35 / $46, with family and business packs available as well.