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This Could Be My Favorite Leopard Feature

Okay, I know, Leopard isn’t out yet, and I’m not allowed to talk about it. You know from my earlier blog on this topic that I’m working on a Take Control book about Leopard. But I’m not allowed to say anything beyond what you already know through Apple’s public pages. Pages such as this one.

Yes, I know – it’s Time Machine. Booorinnng, right? We all know what it does. We’ve been drumming our fingers on the table, waiting for it to show up. We’ve all used a backup program before.

But if you look closely at that page, you’ll see that it mentions that Time Machine can work together with a certain other technology, not new in Leopard. That other technology is Spotlight. Spotlight finds stuff. Time Machine lets you go backwards in time. Together, what does that make? Spotlight plus Time Machine lets you find stuff backwards in time!

If you watch the demo video linked from that page, you’ll see it happen. The video moves fast, so don’t blink or you’ll miss it. (Also don’t blink or you’ll miss the wonderful opportunity to choke on your cornflakes, sputtering with laughter over the fact that this demo was created by someone who thinks there’s a specimen of Italian architecture called the “Colloseum.”)

Do you see what the user is doing in that demo? First, he types a search term in the Spotlight search field and it fails. Then, he switches on Time Machine. Then, he presses the “go back in time” arrow, and Time Machine rockets him backwards to exactly a point in some previous backup where the search succeeds!

So, Spotlight by itself answers the question, “Where on earth is that document about so-and-so…?” Spotlight plus Time Machine answers the question, “Where on earth was that document about so-and-so…?” And, you know something? That’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot over the years, and no backup program I’ve ever used has been particularly good at answering it.

If this works as advertised, it’s going to be so cool! Of course, I’m not allowed to tell you whether, in my experience, it does work as advertised. But hey, I’m excited, right? That should count for something.

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