Friday, December 26, 2014

A quick note: Discussion group for "Where is the lake..." and one weird trick (on a Mac)

As promised, I'm not going to post the answer today, but will let everyone work on this over the next week.   But I WILL give you a hint... 

Hint:  Sometimes you end up with a problem where the information doesn't come all mashed up together in one data set.  Sometimes you have to find half of the data in one place, and half of the data in another.  Then you have to figure out some way to merge the two together.

Is that enough of a hint?  

Discussion group:  I've set up another Discussion "SRS Discusses High Altitude Lakes in California with Fish"  You can click on that link to join in the discussion.  The advantage of joining this group (which will be around only until January 10, 2015) is that everyone can post to the group list and don't need to wait around for me to approve their posts.  It's also slightly more flexible for posting, and in general allows for a faster turn-around without having me in the loop.  

The group URL in long form:!forum/srs-discusses-high-altitude-lakes-in-california-with-fish

One weird trick:  Sorry... I couldn't resist using this ridiculous trope that you see all over the net.  

But this one is really good, and it has significantly changed the way I work.  

On a Macintosh computer, if you do a CMD+space (that is, hold down CMD and then press the space-bar) it will automatically open Spotlight, the Macintosh OS tool for searching files on your computer.  

This is now the way I launch nearly all of the apps I use.  This is the way I look for 90% of the files I need to locate on my computer.  

For instance, if I want to open up the SnagIt application, I do CMD+space, which gives me the popup window: 

I just start typing the name of the app ("Snagit") and Spotlight creates this list of hits.  Apps, documents, unfinished projects that have the term "Snagit" in the filename. 

The first one is the app itself, so I just hit ENTER to launch the app.  ENTER will open anything that's listed in the "Top Hit" slot below.    

Now here's the nice thing:  This works for almost everything on the Mac.   Apps, files, and printers!  

Need to open the printer queue?  CMD+space and start typing the name of the printer--when you see it appear in the list, just hit ENTER to open the control panel for the printer.   

Of course, the Spotlight list doesn't show everything when the list gets long, so sometimes you need to click on "Show All in Finder" to see the full list.  At that point, you can use all of the other Finder file-filter operators, and hone in on the target of your search. 

If you're a Mac person, this is a skill you really need.  Check it out!  

Windows folks: Is there an equivalent on the Windows side?  Let us know!  

Search on! 


  1. Just to wish you, Dr. Russell, a nice and safe trip. Hope you find amazing things, new clues for challenges and fantastic experiences.

    About the question you are doing, when clicking the Windows Logo, the option to search appears too. It works just as the spotlight you mention. Never tried with printer queue. It also has a magnify glass icon on it.

  2. On Windows (all versions), Win+F (press and hold the Windows Logo key, then press F) will trigger a search (= Find) box, similar but not as powerful as iOS's Spotlight. This does not search for printers.

    At least on Windows 8, Win+S, Win+Q and Win+W do the same.