Monday, May 12, 2008

Digital File Triage

So, every so often the computers at work get system updates. I love updates, especially Mac updates. This means I have to organize and back up files, which usually spill across the desktop and fill various folders with nondescript names like “stuff”. At home there are so many instances of “Misc.” and “Stuff” folders that I found myself creating “More Stuff” folders. I’ll eventually deal with all those too, as I’m getting a new laptop soon and will want it thoroughly organized (at least in the beginning, but hopefully it’ll become a systematic habit). So in less than three minutes I moved all the random files into two folders, one named “Work” and one named “Home”. Now my desktop is organized, I know the folders are a mess inside them but the desktop is sparkling clean. I’ll move into the work folder now and take the home folder home with me on my 60 GB WD Passport Portable Hard Drive (which I’ve probably had for a couple years and still love).
Alright switching into high gear, I'm streaming a station I created on Pandora that I call "Techie" - got out pencil and paper and decided on the next internal levels of my two folders.
First I moved all the files from the home folder to my external hard drive. On the hard drive I created four folders: _Audio, _Images, _Other, and _Work - I never really wanted to admit to taking work home with me, but realize there are certain files that fit best into a work category. Everything on the hard drive was moved into one of those folders pretty easily. Using the underscore before the folder name moves it to the top (when in list view), which I find to be extremely useful.
The work folder was similar but instead of folders by file type they were created more by what type of work related items they were, still using only four folders (one named _Other). Turns out I didn't have anything to move into _Other (yet).
Onto the next and probably most difficult challenge: network storage folders. I love these folders because they're accessible from any computer, but that also means that more uncategorized items find their way into them. Not to mention I have two of these folders and never really distinguished between the two very clearly, and they already had a lot of files in them from before my time. Back to pencil and paper. No, no...wait. I just realized that only one of the computers in my office (of three) has had all the files organized from the desktop, so now I'll move onto the other two - which should be easier as they're more of the workhorses around here and I don't think there'll be as many random files floating around. (Time passes) OK, all three computers have been organized, except for application specific aliases and files relating to the work being done on them. The network folders, however, will have to wait for another day.

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