What new utilities are out for Windows and Mac to help me organize the mess of files I have on my computer?

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If you're a Macintosh user, you are familiar with iPhoto, an application that gives you a thumbnail view of all the photos on your hard drive and enables easy management and locating. But, what if you are looking to organize not just photos but other types of files, such as the plethora of Adobe PDF files that find their way onto your computer?

If you're a Macintosh user, you can use an iPhoto-type application for managing Adobe PDF files in an easy, graphical interface that sports thumbnails of PDF content. The program is known as YEP and it allows you to centralize your PDF files for simplified management, and enables you to add tags (one word descriptors) to each PDF file. YEP also generates tags for your PDF file thumbnails based on the actual title and contents of the file, which is handy since you do not have to create any yourself if you so choose.

While YEP is Macintosh only, though, and while the 1.1 version is free in perpetuity (so it says), the 1.2 version will cost money. So, be warned that if you want to take advantage of this tool, you'll probably get addicted and have to pay down the road. Some people assert that this PDF magic can be done in iTunes, an assertion supported by this tutorial available from Apple, a how to on adding PDFs to playlists.

Managing multiple files on your computer can be tough, especially now that we all have increasing access to 120gig USB External drives. On the Windows XP side, some folks have given into using Google Desktop, which worries me due to Google's proclivity for sharing information. Privacy should be a concern for an 21st Century Learners, even if they are, as Wes Fryer describes them, “digital refugees” (as opposed to natives or immigrants).

However, there are other programs that aren't as invasive of one's privacy. One option is Copernic Desktop Search and a list of all the file types it indexes on Windows is available online. I like Copernic's privacy statement, which reads:

We understand your concerns and CDS was designed with your privacy in mind. Rest assured that the data indexed by CDS stays on your PC and on no account will it be transferred to us or any of our partners. Furthermore, computer activity is never logged. It is solely monitored to enable or disable the indexing process.

Of course, Windows Vista users will also have this functionality built-in... but who's planning to upgrade to Vista and can Microsoft be trusted in light of its collaboration with the Chinese government regarding dissidents?

Linux users have access to two utilities, one of which is Beagle and available for installation via the usual means on Debian distributions of Linux (sudo apt-get install beagle).

You can find these two free utilities online at: