DEVONtechnologies has updated EasyFind, an important free utility that should be in the arsenal of any power user or would-be power user.
EasyFind is an alternative to Spotlight: it's a utility for finding text on your computer. That text could be the name of a file or folder, or part of a file's contents. Unlike Spotlight, EasyFind doesn't use an index, but finds things the old-fashioned way: it hunts through your hard disk, directly, file by file and, if you're looking for file contents, byte by byte. Unlike Spotlight, EasyFind knows nothing of interpreting file types, such as Word documents, to strip them of their formatting and examine only the text: it looks at the raw data and that's all. Unlike Spotlight, EasyFind knows no limits: there's no place on your hard disk that it won't search.
Of course, that means EasyFind is rather slow; and while it's working, it may dominate your CPU and make it nearly impossible to do any other kind of work. No matter. Sometimes, you just want to search, and Spotlight is no help. Recently, for example, I wanted to look for a certain term used in Ruby files in my /usr directory. I'm not even sure where all the Ruby files in my /usr directory are. Spotlight won't look there at all. EasyFind found all files containing that term in a couple of minutes.
EasyFind is free; download it and use it. (It's an 820K download; the application requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.) The new update, to version 4.0, contains some interface revisions making it easier to specify a folder you want to search in; creation date has been added to the columns of information about found files; and multi-word searches are said to be handled more accurately.
While you're at the download page, don't neglect to examine some of DEVONtechnologies' other freeware offerings; they've got several free applications and Services that I use occasionally. I've also reviewed DEVONtechnologies' flagship applications DEVONthink (see "DEVONthink Thinks, So You Don't Have To," 2004-03-08) and DEVONagent ("DEVONagent Rushes In Where Google Fears to Tread," 2005-02-07), which might be of interest.