I’m not keen on applications that leave cruft or secret files on my system when there’s no need to do so.
I ran into a file on my laptop called ~/Library/Preferences/.bridge01.dat as well as .bridge3_01.dat — why a preference file is hidden, I don’t know.
Suspecting the file might be part of Adobe Bridge (it wasn’t), I copied it to the desktop, and looked at the file with less from the command console. It was clearly a binary preference file.
I renamed the file to bridge01.plist and started to open it with Xcode, although seeing BBEdit could open it, thought I’d give that a shot and was nightly impressed it detected the file type and presented it as a regular XML file.
Inside was slightly cryptic, but I recognized a sequence of text starting with ESC- and it looked like a serial number. Using Spotlight I was able to find another file that had a matching string, my purchase notes for Flux 3, by The Escapers.
Again, I’m not thrilled about hidden .dat files that ought to be public .plist files in my user’s preferences directory. But at least it was a mystery solved.