I always have problems searching - took me ages trying to discover the proper format to do a date search one day. (forgotten it now)
I would like to suggest there is a key modifier added that would automatically put the correct string into the search bar, ready for you to search...
Ctr+"Author column" (Left click in Column heading)
Would place authors:"="
Ah, wait a mo, I bet thats not possible, and it would leave the curser outside of the " so people would have to remember to type in the right place.
Still there should be a more simple one click way of searching within a particular column without having to remember these search strings with : and "" and = etc., as most users are not going to type that, they are just going to free text search
PS (C2D 3Ghz 4GBRam, Win7,64bit
Calibre starts in:
5 seconds - if the library only contains one book.
with 9000 books
60 seconds to open
14 seconds if its previously been opened, ie still in cache
I know some programs open, while loading required data in the background, to speed up load times.