Spotlight is the Apple / OSX search engine and I find it absolutely, blindingly maddening. The way Spotlight seems to work, when you use it from the OSX search icon, is that it tells you what it found but not where it found it. And I get that filesystems are passe and we are supposed to be in a post file world, blah, blah, blah. And I call bullshite on that. I’m a professional software developer and knowing where things actually exist is actually fricking important.

And here’s how to do that with Spotlight – use mdfind directly. mdfind is the underlying command line executable that also executes spotlight searches. Earlier today I was struggling to remember the name of a Ruby gem and all I knew was that it had “icon” in its name. So here’s what I did:

mdfind icon -onlyin /Users/sjohnson/Dropbox/fuzzygroup/ | grep Gemfile

And this command looked for the string of characters “icon” but only in the directory where I keep all of my many, many Rails projects. And then I fed it thru a grep command to find only the references to Gemfile. And this very quickly led me to identicon which is a gem which builds Stack Overflow like abstract user avatars.