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Disk Art visualizes hard drive space usage

When an email from the Clean Cut Code, the makers of Disk Art, showed up in our inbox yesterday, I jumped at the chance to take a peek. I'm a huge fan of Grand Perspective's space visualization software and am always happy to try out another app to see how it compares.

Disk Art, which is launching at US$0.99 (regular retail $4.99), aims to provide a "colorful and interactive map" of your drive, help you find "large unwanted files."

On the positive side, Disk Art is quite pretty to look at. Its drive/folder selection screen (following image) is especially eye-catching. And while I wouldn't quite call the disk presentation "art" (see the screen capture at the top of this post), it's pretty enough with block patterned layouts.

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The problem with Disk Art is that it's not terribly good at performing the task its meant to complete: detecting disk use so you can identify and remove unneeded files, especially big ones.

That's because Disk Art uses a hierarchical presentation. You have to navigate up and down the file system to find those large files. Compare and contrast with Grand Perspective which shows all the files at once, regardless of where they are in the file hierarchy. With Grand Perspective, you see what's big and unwieldy because the larger items immediately catch your eye. Everything is out there, so you get that sense of, forgive me, perspective.

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With Disk Art, you're looking at Folders much more often than you're looking at files. You can see which folders are taking up more space, but it's hard to detect the outlier files -- the ones most ripe for deletion.

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Admittedly, Disk Art does make it easy to collect files for deletion. It provides a handy drag and drop area, so you can add files that you want to mark as ready-for-trash. Grand Perspective's take on this is to reveal items in Finder, letting you drag them directly to the trash, plus a handy Rescan option lets you take a second look after you've deleted an item so you can pick the next most-ready target in your clean-up.

Both apps let you scan either folders or entire disks. And here is where Disk Art does succeed better. Its scanning progress window (towards the top of this post) is much prettier and glossier. It's a pity then that the rest of the app just doesn't feel as functional to me.

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