HoudahGeo 6: A New Way of Lining Up Photos with a GPS Track

Automatic geocoding in HoudahGeo matches photos to a GPS track log. A track log is a record of where you have been. A GPS app or track logger records your current position and the current time. It does so every few seconds and thus creates a breadcrumb trail of your travels.

HoudahGeo figures out where you took a photo by matching the timestamp on the photo with the times in the GPS track log. While the GPS device gets accurate time information from satellites, your camera clock is probably not accurate. Most cameras also do not record time zone information: the photo coming out of the camera may say it was taken at 12 PM, but there is no telling if that is to be understood as 12 PM east coast or west coast – a 3-hour difference.

Timestamps in HoudahGeo

HoudahGeo needs to know the exact time a photo was taken. That is why HoudahGeo asks about camera clock settings when you import images.

There are 4 ways you can tell HoudahGeo about your camera clock settings. The first 3 are found in the Load > Camera Setup… panel. This panel pops up automatically when you import photos that lack time zone information.

You can skip Camera Setup… – accept the current settings – and proceed to import more images and GPS track logs. We will correct the camera clock settings later by matching a key photo to a spot on the track log. Continue reading HoudahGeo 6: A New Way of Lining Up Photos with a GPS Track

macOS Monterey Compatibility

This year’s macOS upgrade focusses on improvements to Apple’s own applications. macOS Monterey does not bring major design or technical changes likely to cause problems for existing applications.

It should nonetheless be wise to hold off upgrading for at least a couple of weeks and give Apple a chance to fix remaining bugs.


HoudahSpot icon
HoudahSpot: Powerful File Search for Mac

HoudahSpot 6 was updated last year to adopt the new design introduced in macOS 11 Big Sur.

HoudahSpot 6.1.7 has been updated to look and work great on macOS 12 Monterey.


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Photo Geocoding and Geotagging for Mac

HoudahGeo 6.1.1 has been tested to work with macOS 12.

An upcoming update will address a few minor bugs discovered during testing.



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Tembo: Easy and Efficient File Search for Mac

Tembo 2.6 has been verified to work with macOS 12.

Tembo relies on the Spotlight index to find files. On macOS Catalina or later, Apple Mail messages are no longer accessible through the Spotlight index.



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Easy user-defined keyboard shortcuts

CustomShortcuts 1.1 has been updated to look and work great on macOS 12 Monterey.

CustomShortcuts is a free download from our web site.


Use your Mac as a keyboard for your iPhone

Type2Phone 3.1.2 has been tested to work with macOS 12 to connect to devices running iOS 15.


Efficient File Searches using Filters

HoudahSpot uses the Spotlight index maintained by macOS. This allows for lightning-fast file searches and enables HoudahSpot to find all kinds of files by name, text content, and metadata.

Spotlight does have its limitations. Some of these affect HoudahSpot. While HoudahSpot lets you combine any number of search criteria to hone in on specific files, you however cannot find or exclude files by their path.

You can, of course, use HoudahSpot to search in multiple folders at once. HoudahSpot also allows you to exclude folders from your search.

Screenshot: Smart Folder Exclusion
Multiple search locations. Smart exclusion

You do, however, need to list the folders you want to search or exclude. Since the Spotlight index does not know about file paths, you cannot set up a criterion on file paths.

For example, you cannot configure a search to ignore all files where some parent folder is named Temporary. You’d need to explicitly list all such Temporary folders.

Fortunately, HoudahSpot can filter search results to hide unwanted results. A single filter can prevent all Temporary files from cluttering up your file search.

Continue reading Efficient File Searches using Filters

Working with Apple’s Aperture on macOS Catalina and Big Sur

In June 2014, Apple announced that the development of Aperture had been discontinued. Though the Aperture application would continue to work for years to come, it was time to plan to move on to a different photo management tool.

HoudahGeo can help with the migration process. Before moving away from Aperture you will want to safeguard geotags and other metadata currently stored with Aperture. HoudahGeo can copy these to industry-standard EXIF / XMP tags embedded within your JPEG or RAW image files. These geotags will be available for other photo management and editing tools to pick up.

Starting with macOS 10.15 Catalina, Aperture is no longer compatible with macOS. For many, this was a major reason not to upgrade their systems past macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Sticking with a dated version of macOS however, is not always practicable. Fortunately, there is another solution. The open-source Retroactive tool allows you to run Aperture and other discontinued applications on macOS Catalina and Big Sur. Thanks to Retroactive you can continue to use your favorite photo organizer. You can also use Retroactive Aperture to check your Aperture library after having migrated to a different tool. There may be an edit you would like to refine rather than start over elsewhere.

Retroactive: Aperture on Big Sur
Retroactive: Run Aperture and iPhoto on Big Sur

Continue reading Working with Apple’s Aperture on macOS Catalina and Big Sur

Hook-ed on Files

Hook by CogSci Apps lets you create links between your documents, emails, web pages, and notes. On the Internet, links between web pages allow you to discover related content and navigate a vast sea of documents. Likewise, Hook puts files into order on your Mac.

Much like HoudahSpot, Hook is a productivity tool in the guise of a utility. Rather than solve problems you wouldn’t have without a computer, these tools empower your Mac to help you get your work done.

Of course, HoudahSpot and Hook work great together.

Continue reading Hook-ed on Files

HoudahSpot: The First 15 Years

Fifteen years ago, we released the first version of what came to be one of the most popular search tools on the Mac: HoudahSpot.

🎂 Happy Birthday, HoudahSpot!

When Apple introduced Spotlight search with Mac OS 10.4 Tiger in 2005, we felt that the Spotlight technology held a lot of promise. It allowed for blindingly fast file searches by relying on an index. We soon realized that the Spotlight interface left much of that promise unfulfilled. It lacked the finesse needed to hone in on the files we were looking for.

Thus was born the idea for HoudahSpot: “unleash Spotlight”. HoudahSpot should combine the speed of the Spotlight index with the flexibility and precision of standard file search. The idea came to life on May 8th, 2006, with the release of HoudahSpot 1.0.

Continue reading HoudahSpot: The First 15 Years

Finding Files with Long File Names

The native macOS file systems impose remarkably few restrictions on file names and path lengths. Mac users can name files with long names and descriptive names. Useful as these are, such file names can prove a burden when files need to be shared, copied to other file systems, or uploaded to certain cloud services.

Indeed many other systems limit the length of file names. Before attempting to move files to such systems it is useful to check names for compliance with restrictions. Hence the need to search file files with names longer than the imposed limit.

In this post, we are going to check a folder structure for files with names more than 140 characters long.

Acme Painted Tunnel Project Long File Names Continue reading Finding Files with Long File Names