The Cloud

I’ve got a bit of a storage problem. Both in the physical and the digital worlds but we won’t go into the physical world right now. Unlike the problems I had for most of my computer lifetime, the storage problem has nothing to do with hard drive space. I have a terabyte drive that is only a third full, much of that being taken up by Windows and other software. My personal files probably only account for 100 or so gigabytes.

But 100 gigabytes of music, pictures and documents is a lot of files. And I’ve managed to completely lose track of everything. My personal files are spread across dozens of different and unorganized folders. I’ve got Dropbox as a back up for my writing and a few other things, but haven’t been regularly backing up the rest of it. There is an old portable HD that I haven’t updated in at least a year.

My pictures are an ugly mess. I’ve downloaded stuff from my camera sporadically. Some stuff is on my wife’s computer, some on mine, none of it organized beyond the folder it was copied over from the camera. Hundreds of unnamed files. And I also have hundreds of pictures my family and friends have sent me sitting in emails on my gmail account.

My music is the most organized, but it is also an ugly mess. I have dozens of files from my days of illegal music downloading. And then dozens more from CD’s I’ve copied to my computer. But iTunes has an annoying way of organizing files. I have one Santana CD that has been split into a dozen different files. I can’t play the album together because of the stupid way iTunes labels it.

How to organize and back up all of this? I recently renewed my anti-virus and went with Norton’s 360 suite. It allowed for 25Gb of online backup. That sounded good. But the way you have to choose what to back up is annoying. It selects everything, and since everything is way more than 25Gb, you need to select things not to backup. It breaks things down by file or folder. But you can’t select a single top level folder, you have to choose every sub folder. Which, due to my crazy organizational system, is damn annoying and time consuming.

Amazon has just informed me that I have unlimited music storage on their cloud player. This is a good thing because my music takes up far to much space to put on the Norton backup. It will also allow me to play my songs from any computer. But with things like Pandora and Spotify, do I really need to set this up? Do I need to bother buying new songs and saving them to Amazon? 50Gb of music takes a long time to upload.

As for my pictures, how to organize them and store them? There is the back up hard drive and Norton as a storage back up, but what about things like Picasa Web Album, Shutterfly and Flickr? I’ve given Picasa a try and it might be the best way to get the files on my computer organized, but I’ve never used the web album feature (mainly because I’ve not yet organized the files). It seems you get 1Gb free and the costs for more seem reasonable. But I don’t know anything about Flickr but see people using it all the time.

And then all of this comes down to the upload limitations. 100Gb to upload will take a long time. To get just the music to Amazon will take 10hrs. I tried to run the Norton back up over night twice now, only 14Gb, and it has run into problems.

I’m already at a point, that should my HD fail, I will not really lose anything. I’ve got back ups of my files (mostly) and most of my games are downloadable, so the only thing that requires set up is Windows and then copying my favorites back into the web browser (which was saved by Google since I was using Chrome, but then two step sign in broke it).

The Cloud has made losing a hard drive an inconvenience, rather than a killer event. But the vast amounts of storage and files, has made organizing and keeping track of stuff almost impossible. Dropbox, Amazon Cloud, Picasa, Flickr, Norton, etc etc etc.

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3 Responses to The Cloud

  1. Sienn'lyn says:

    Music has always been the big problem for me when it comes to digital storage. Not because of the space it takes, but the fact that I use several different computers. Spotify has helped to some degree, but there are artists and albums you just can’t find there.

    I’ve considered buying a few huge hard drives for my old computer and installing a free and relatively safe operating system (like Linux) to use it as a file server that’s always online. Been putting that off because I just don’t know anything about Linux. :/

  2. Maarkean says:

    I considered setting up a server at one point as well. I may at some point, as it turns out the Amazon free storage kind of sucks. Half my songs lost their metadata and are now just labeled as Unknown Artist and Unknown Album.

  3. Tamarynn says:

    Linux is the way to go, you should all use Linux 😛

    Mediamonkey is a program similar to itunes, which allows/helps you to organize your music. It was recommended to me, but since I don’t use Windows for music, I’ve never really used it.

    There is also a nice sync program, which can help you sync your files to a backup drive. The name escapes me now, but I can look it up and send it to you.

    You may have to just suck it up and organize it. I’d suggest starting simple at first by organizing all Music in one place, Pictures in one place, Documents in one place, etc. From there you can start breaking them down into further categories. It might be a pain and time consuming at first, but as you acquire new files and use that system, you’ll thank yourself.

    Amazon’s cloud service is “neat”. The problem is there are two services. One is a file storage, one is music. If you upload music to the file service, you can’t play it on the music side, but if you upload to the music side, you see it in the file side. It is weird. You get 10 GB free, I think, unless you purchase an album, then you get unlimited storage for a year. There are also other plans as well, I believe. Not bad, but they do warn not to upload illegal music, as they may scan the servers and flag it.