WTF, I never knew that.

Started Nov 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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WTF, I never knew that.
Nov 26, 2012

Deciding not to migrate my old system to my new rMBP13" is proving to be an interesting (and educational) experience. It's amazing how many apps and utilities get loaded over the years, or settings that got changed from defaults and forgotten about.

On a previous post, I mentioned that Apple pulled the 10.8.2 update for this new 13", leaving it stuck on 10.8.1, so I couldn't run the latest versions of the Apps and therefore couldn't access my data (iPhoto, Aperture, iMovie, etc). Well I found a work around for that (a cached copy of the pulled update on softpedia), which did the trick and then allow software update to download the 10.8.2 supplemental fix, as well as all the the latest Apps. So now I'm sorted for stage 1.

Now today's little surprise is probably known by many, and thinking about it, it perhaps isn't surprising, but it was to me at first.

I used the excellent CarbonCopyCloner to clone the internal drive from my previous Mac, a 2010 MBA running 10.8.2, to an external drive.

I then plugged in this drive to my new computer to copy some data over (my Aperture library).

Later, I receive a photoshop file and wanted to look at it, but of course I haven't loaded Photoshop or any of it's substitutes (Gimp, Photoline, Pixelmator, Acorn, etc). The whole point of not migrating was to allow me to rethink my App choices as and when I needed them, so I don't automatically reload all the junk I'm not using (same goes for much of my old data and email too).

So I decide to use Preview to browse the PSD file, control click the file and choose 'Open With'. To my surprise all my PSD aware apps showed in the 'Open With' menu, Gimp, Photoline, Pixelmator, Graphics Converter, and about 10 others.

WTF, I thought, how does it even know about those? Intrigued, I chose Gimp, and sure enough the Gimp loaded and showed me the PSD. So next I try Photoline, and yep that fires up too, only this time it's in 30 day demo mode.

These Apps are not installed on my computer, but they are on the cloned system partition of the external drive that I plugged in to copy my Aperture Library. I'm guessing Spotlight must have scanned the disk and detected the Apps and then brought them into scope for use with the 'Open With' option. And when I launched the App, I guess it simply loaded it from the external drive.

They didn't have have ~/Library/Application Support/ folders in place on my new system, so they created new ones, which I guess is why Photoline started in Demo mode, and, it just so happened I had already installed XQuartz to allow a wine app to run (without which I doubt the Gimp would have loaded).

Security issues aside, I was just a little surprised that an App that hasn't technically been 'installed' can offer it's services to finder for opening my files.

On the plus side it's got me thinking about where I store stuff, and that SDXC card slot is now looking tailor made for a Lexar Class 10 UHS-I 128GB SDXC as home for my video and synthesiser software, and the huge templates and samples that come with them, along with perhaps a healthy selection from my iTunes library and a portfolio of my better images.


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