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Author Topic: File Sorting Problem in OS X  (Read 2262 times)
Mahombi
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« on: October 05, 2011, 05:03:24 AM »

I am shortly going to start renaming several thousand image files. After running into a few sorting hiccups with my renaming strategy, I decided to perform some simple re-naming tests, so as to see how they would sort in the Finder. The results were somewhat baffling to me, to say the least.

I started by making three duplicates of a three digit numbered file. I renamed each by adding a series of zeros at the beginning consecutively, from one to three. These sorted as expected (or at least, in a uniform order). See below.

000123.tif
00123.tif
0123.tif
123.tif

I repeated this using 234.tif, with the same results. However when I tried again with a randomly chosen number of 392.tif, they were sorted like this:

00392.tif
0392.tif
000392.tif
392.tif

Two further repeats using 427.tif followed by 850.tif resulted in different, yet incorrect (to my mind) sorting arrangements to both those as well.

As if that wasn't confusing enough, I copied and pasted all sixteen files to a new folder. With the exception of the 123.tif and 234.tif series of files, all of them displayed in a completely different sorting arrangement to the originals. Repeating that, resulted in yet another configuration where even the 123.tif and 234.tif files were disordered .

I've tried selecting different sorting arrangements in View, quit the Finder and even restarted my Mac in the hope of refreshing the sorting, with no success.

If someone can tell me why this is happening, I would be eternally grateful.

Terry
 
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BobSmith
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 10:19:59 AM »

Your first example is as expected when sorting by file name.  Think of it as alphabetizing rather than sorting by number.  It sorts by the first character in the name, then moves to the second, then the third and so on.  If you want numbers to sort correctly then each filename must have the same number of characters in the name.

I'm guessing that in your other examples you possibly had mistakenly set to sort by some field other than file name?

Bob Smith
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Mahombi
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 12:07:04 AM »

Well Bob, I thought the same thing at first. Which is why I checked and double checked. And that is also why I repeated the whole thing by duplicating the entire folder of images.

I'm no expert when it comes to the understanding of file sorting, or indeed computing matters in general, but from the little I do know, reciprocity and continuity are key words in this subject. None of which are evident in the examples I experienced. For the record, I got my wife, who is far more proficient on the subject, albeit with Windows, to check my findings. She was stumped too.

Perhaps if you, or someone else would care to run the same experiment, it may prove me right or wrong.

Thanks for you input.

Terry
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Mahombi
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 04:39:06 AM »

Additional to my sorting anomaly, I have discovered that when I shut down my Mac and re-start, on opening the files in Finder, they have re-sorted into a different sequencing arrangement. Re-starting once again, yet another sorting sequence. In each case, most files are in the WRONG order. But more importantly, they vary from one set to another. Even the files in the duplicate sets of folders are different from one another.

I know that strictly speaking, this is less a DAM problem, more a computer/os one (or operator error). But since knowing where to find ones files is a DAM priority, I'm convinced this throws a large spanner in the works. 

I'd be grateful for additional assistance, if only to show that I'm the one at fault.

Terry 
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