TascalSoft's TascalSearch

One of the abilities that Handheld PCs have lacked compared to their grown-up desktop siblings is the ability to search for files on them. While it may be true that searching through My Documents is easy, the more that one uses their HPC, the more places other than this default folder files are stored.

Using myself as an example, I have owned my Jornada 720 for over 1 ½ years and use it daily for everything for meeting notes to video presentations via my VGA output card. When I'm away from work, I use my 720 to edit pictures (If you've seen my screenshots, you know I have a passion for Formula One), play games, listen to music and work on HPC:Factor articles. What all of this means is simple: I have nearly 1800 files of some type on my HPC (including my two Storage Cards). If I have to find a file from 3 or 4 months ago that has been moved to one of my archive folders, it may take me several minutes to locate that file. This is not only a time waste for me but for the person needing that file as well.

Enter TascalSoft's TascalSearch, a free application that gives users the ability to search their HPC by name, file type, date, and size or when it was last edited. TascalSearch cuts down on the time it takes to search for a file by allowing users to enter specific information such as a file name or more broad searches using wildcards. Regardless of which way it is used, TascalSearch eliminates the need to tab through Explorer looking for a particular directory or file.

The TascalSearch interface is strikingly similar in appearance of its desktop companions in Windows 9x and NT. The GUI has three tabs available for searching: Name, Date and Etc. Each of these tabs allows users to search for files on different criteria and should be used based on the information you know or remember about the file.

The Name tab is perhaps the most commonly used in TascalSearch as it allows users to search with as much granularity as needed. This feature allows for searches to be done with a specific file name, a file type or a combination of the two. All that needs to be done is inputting the search criteria in the Name box, the location to search in for that file and if Subfolders need to be searched as well. I highly recommend that you check the Include Subfolders as unless you know the specific directory of a file, the results will be limited once you perform the search. You also have the option of entering information that could be contained in the file itself via the Contain String box. This feature I will discuss in more detail in a few moments.

By example, I have a file on my Jornada 720 named "Kimi testing the MP4-16B at Valencia.bmp"; referring to a photo I have of Kimi Raikkonen test driving the McLaren MP4-16 earlier this year at Valencia, Spain. If I needed to find this file, here are just a few of the ways that I could search for it (not using the Contain String option)

*.* (will find all files no matter their extension or file name)
k*.* (will find all files that begin with K regardless of their extension)
k*.bmp (will find all files that begin with K and have the .BMP extension)
*k*.bmp (will find all files that have a K in the file name and the .BMP extension)
Kimi*.* (will find all files that have Kimi at the beginning of the file name)

As you can see, the searches performed can be as general or specific as needed.

TascalSearch Name searching allows for a wide range of granularity in file information to find

Further detailed searching can be done using the Contain String option on the Name Search page. By entering specific characters in this box, TascalSearch will look for those characters in the files as it is searching, including them in the results displayed.

For example, if you have a Pocket Word document that was notes from a team meeting but do not remember what you saved it as or which directory, you could put the words Team in the Contain String box and it will find every file that has the word Team in it. When you do this type of search, be sure to change to Name dialog box to *.* or to *.extension if you know the type of file you are look for specifically.

TascalSearch also allows for searches of your HPC to be done based on the date of the file. This type of searching, like Name searching, is highly customizable and is one of the quickest ways to search for files that have been created recently.

Once the file you are searching for is found, you can open that file with a double-tap of the file name or can review the properties of the file by single-tapping to highlight it, then tapping the Properties icon on the menu bar. This is a fast, simple way to see the attributes of a file.

TascalSearch's File Properties Display

There are three built-in ways to search by Date in TascalSearch. The first is All Files which will display all the files that are on your HPC (Remember it bases this though on the Location box on the Name page). Secondly is a Between range which allows users to enter specific beginning and end dates and TascalSearch will produces a list of all the files created or modified between those dates. Thirdly is to search for file modified in user specified number of months or days. This type of search is very handy when looking for file created just days before but the user is unsure where they are stored or what their file name is exactly.

Searching by Date is especially helpful on file that have been recently created

Finally, TascalSearch allows users to search for files based on size on their Handheld PC. Using this type of search is helpful when users have a limited amount of memory left on their HPCs and wish to find large file that are taking the most space. The size of the file searched for is customizable can be set to look for a minimum or maximum file size. For example, if a user wanted to find all of the files on their HPC that were larger than 1 megabyte, he or she would set the File Size Minimum to 1000 KB.

Finding big files on your HPC is easier when using TascalSearch's Etc. Menu

TascalSearch is a free application that is downloadable from TascalSoft's website. While it may not seem useful for new HPC owners, it is an application that will increasingly become more helpful as their experience grows. The application is currently in version 0.90. TascalSoft has indicated that because the HPC version of the application shares the kernel of its Pocket PC version, the revision numbers will be small and incremental until a full, truly HPC version is developed. New, more advanced searching options are planned for future releases.

System Requirements:

Windows CE 2.11 and above
SH3, SH4, StrongARM, MIPS

Cost: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Usability: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Built-In helps: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Customer Service: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Overall: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

TascalSearch can be found at the following URL.

Clinton Fitch
Chief Reviews Editor