Photo courtesy of Rick Cartwright

Macstock this year was a blast. I came home with a feeling very similar to what I used to get from Macworld. I got to connect with a lot of people I admire, and meet a lot of new people. Plus, I got to speak. It was the most fun I’ve had presenting, and I look forward to speaking at Macstock again in the future.

My talk was about using Spotlight and how to take it further. During the talk I mentioned that I’d be posting a version that got a bit nerdier than the 20-minute talk could. That will be up soon (hopefully this week).

In the meantime, here’s a copy of the slides from the talk. I’ve learned not to put too much info into slides, so without me talking it’s less interesting. If I can find a video of the whole shebang, I’ll link that.

I will mention here, though, that I received a lot of feedback on one particular point that apparently a lot of people don’t know: when building criteria (predicate editor) for a smart folder or search (in any app) holding down the Option key (⌥) turns the + symbols into , and clicking that will create a nested group.

The new group can be set to Any, All, or None (OR, AND, AND NOT booleans). When that’s nested within another boolean group you can do pretty complex things.

For example, say you nest an Any group inside an All group. The nested Any group only has to have one criteria match to evaluate to true, and then it will count as true for the All group. So you could have three nested Any groups inside an All, and if one criteria from each nested group is true, then the All condition passes.

To summarize, the big tip here is holding down Option to create nested boolean groups in predicate editors. Side notes: you can drag and drop criteria between groups, and deleting the top level container item for a group moves the contents up the chain rather than removing them all. That can be a boon or an impediment, depending on your intentions. More to come!

Oh, and some photos!