Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Rechnungs Checker 1.0.7

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After quite a while since the previous update, there’s another new version of Rechnungs Checker now. Rechnungs Checker icon. Changes are minor, though, consisting of a few little tweaks and the introduction of Spotlight support.

The first change, which I had actually implemented months ago, is that Rechnungs Checker’s feature to add the name it finds in the address book to phone numbers wherever possible has been improved to use company names if those are available but a person’s name is not. Not a big deal but potentially useful.

The next improvement is as scary as it is useful. So far, Rechnungs Checker offered to do a Google search for any phone number that it couldn’t assign to a person automatically. Last week I stumbled across the Nofelet (which is the German ‘Telefon’ spelled backwards, a ‘word’ that I first saw in my ‘Fu-Fibel’ text book in first grade) Dashboard widget, which offers to do reverse lookups for phone numbers. It’s rather neat and really quick. I thought reverse lookups were forbidden in Germany, but apparently they aren’t anymore and the phone book people are offering them their website – so the contextual menu now includes an item to do a reverse lookup which can come very handy.

A slightly more technical improvement is that Rechnungs Checker now defines its own UTI which are the new way to identify data types and may overcome the whole mess with file name extensions or HFS specific attributes we have today. Rechnungs Checker has used HFS Type information so far but now also provides UTI types – which incidentally is a prerequisite for having a Spotlight importer.

And the Spotlight importer is the next feature I included. While many developers seem to be offering importers as separate downloads, Apple also allows you to bundle it with your application in the bundle’s Library/Spotlight folder (now take a guess where Automator stuff will go…) which is the only reasonably usable way to add Spotlight support, in my opinion. The Spotlight plugin I did will grab all the numbers, city and phone company names from the saved phone bills and dump them into the index. The phone numbers are even marked as such so you can search for them specifically.

I’d rate this feature ‘experimental’ at this time as it isn’t really clear how useful Spotlight will be in day to day usage and how much data to reasonably supply to the index. One thing I would’ve liked to do is to automatically jump to a phone number when I open a file from a Spotlight search – just as Apple’s Preview does – but I haven’t yet found the documentation for how to achieve that (any hints?).

What remains problematic (and underdocumented IMO) is what happens to Rechnungs Checker files that existed prior to the plugin being available. In all but one of the tests I made those weren’t automatically indexed. And it’s not quite clear to me what exactly I’ll have to do to make sure that my UTIs and indexing plugin are properly registered with the system and will index the existing files automatically. As I couldn’t find documentation on that either, I offer a script in Rechnungs Checker’s ‘Help’ menu that first runs lsregister -f to ensure the application is properly registered and its UTIs and importer are discovered and then mdimport -r to re-index all appropriate files.

May 13, 2005, 9:57

Tagged as earthlingsoft, Rechnungs Checker.

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