File management with Cover Flow

18Apr08

On its release, Leopard received a bit of ‘flak’ for the inclusion of Cover Flow — the rich album art-based interface of iTunes 7 — in the Mac OS X Finder, which is similar to Windows Explorer on a PC.

I don’t think it was fair to criticise Apple for the option to use Cover Flow, but at first, I didn’t think Cover Flow in a document-keeping area would be that useful.

And really, for the first few months that I used Leopard, the Cover Flow button lay untouched. But my increasing interest in photography, my growing collection of images for this blog, and some personal folders filled mainly with rich media, I have found Cover Flow provides both a scenic — and time-saving — approach to file management.

TB Tech Blog - Cover Flow Images
Cover Flow offers fast — and interesting — navigation in folders with many images.

I say it saves me time, and it does, in certain situations. If I am browsing 500 images on my camera’s media card, and need to see which ones have been imported, which are duplicates, and which are new (Aperture does not allow direct deletion without import), Cover Flow offers a very slick, and quick, way to examine and determine which already-imported shots are headed for the trash.

As stated above, I keep numerous personal folders filled with various types of digital media, usually focussing around one event. For skimming through these folders, searching for the video or shot that I am looking for, Cover Flow is for me the quickest way to get through this browsing. It offers very reliable, high-resolution previews of the media, and when you are looking for that particular file, that’s what you are looking for. In this case, icon, list, and column view don’t suffice.

TB Tech Blog - Cover Flow Apps
Leopard’s support for huge 512×512 icons, plus Cover Flow, makes a boring Applications folder gorgeous.

Of course, when you’re navigating a folder with tens, or hundreds, of spreadsheets or word processing documents, Cover Flow isn’t the fastest. You’re not looking for glamour there. But when poking through media, or areas with gorgeous icons like Applications, Cover Flow offers a truly helpful method of navigation.

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