Organizing My Computer

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Organizing My Computer

Postby JoshRu » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:16 am

Dear All,

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but for years and years I haven't come up with a solid naming convention and creation scheme for subfolders in my computer. The problem is, I keep changing my schemes when I get (what I THINK) is a better idea, and that is leading to a mishmash of competing ideas. Sometimes I think certain documents are better named with the date info embedded into the beginning of the file name; other times not. In many cases I catch myself making copies of files in more than one location or drive in case I forget a keyword for the filename for future searches. Other times I get stumped how to be logical about naming and locating certain files on WHICH drive when I don't want to clutter my main HD.

There are many sites which give tips on such things but they almost never give enough concrete real-life examples of subfolder name suggestions. I would love to see real examples of various people's computer subfolder hierarchies and their naming conventions that effectively work for them (using altered file names obviously). Examples from a few different workflows would be nice, but especially ones that are graphics and/or video weighted using multiple drives with a relatively straightforward backup strategy. My current workflow is increasingly old photos and home movie videos in addition to the usual email and bill paying documents, by the way (OS10.5.8/+soon-to-be-iMac/3-external drives).

I know this is a lot to ask for, but when something works for somebody -- and works really well -- I wouldn't mind paying a few bucks to cut through the chaff and use what's already out there. There'll be differences for my own setup for sure, but that's OK, I need to adapt to a better plan. It's hard to gauge what information like this is worth ahead of time so I'll play that by ear. But if I'm going to be buying a new computer in the near future, I would love to get it set up right this time and avoid the inconsistencies and false maze routes that my retired mid-sixties brain loves to throw at me. Suggestions welcome, with or without fee.

-- Josh
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Re: Organizing My Computer

Postby Dan_Kelleher » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:14 am

Hi Josh,
I hear you and you are not alone.
I often make duplicates of files (if they are not too large) because I want them in two different places. I often even give them different names because I consider them important for two different purposes. If I feel the file's Size is too large, I would use an alias but that I consider less robust (less safe - often fails in the long run) and clearly does not provide the added benefit of a 'backUp' file.

I burn data DVDs (about 4.25GB of data each) backUps of data I can live with NOT being on my active hard drives, OR for protection of important data. I then delete many of these files from my active hard drives in order to keep the drives with as much free space as possible.

To keep track of these DVDs (or any DVDs/CDs) I strongly recommend, "CD Finder" 1995-2011 by Norbert Doerner which has been solid as a rock for me and allows me find files fast in my DVD Archive on the shelf. The DVD naming system I use is for example, "DVD759". I also, from the beginning, exported the "Catalogue" information of each DVD (that CD Finder keeps for each DVD/CD in a folder at the root of the hard drive) to a BBEdit text file just in case Norbert screws up which he has done yet, unlike me. <http://www.cdfinder.de/>
Every once in a while I also burn the CD Finder application itself together with it's archive and my exported BBEdit Text files to one of my backUp DVDs. The idea was that if CD Finder ever did become useless for some reason I would be able to search the content with the powerful text-search tools of BBEdit or role my own custom ones in SuperCard.

Regarding File/Folder organization and naming, I probably I have "a System" but I'm not sure I could describe it or even want to try ! Ha! For one thing, there is a lot of flux of files and folders on my computer; one meaning of "work Flow" for me means new files new folders flowing in and out either to trash or to DVDs. Keeping active this way beats jogging.

But one organizational tool I have found useful is to have more that one hard drive and leave one un-Partitioned for the OS but then partition the other(s) into a few useful sizes. For example, The attached image shows 2 internal 120GB drives, one for the OS and for working and the other as four 29GB partitions which mount as separate volumes. The user quickly learns to associate the now-five volumes with particular Data Types. My volume "4_29" is all SuperCard-related Files and there is no SuperCard stuff anywhere else on my computer! Ha!

I use subFolders but rarely more than two levels.
I frequently preface a FEW Select folders with spaces or "z"s to place them at the top or bottom.

Regarding workFlow on any project, be it SuperCard or not, I always create a subFolder named "zBackUp and Prelim" and I stop very often, (while I'm just thinking and not doing) to go to the hard drive, select and duplicate the file I'm working on, select the 'copy' part of the name and change it to "bu24" then drag the file, "MyProjectNamebu24" to the open folder, "zBackUp and Prelim". I don't find this process to be a problem but it does protect my efforts, my investment, and preserves my peace of old mind.

I also keep a Folder named, for example, "Next DVD_10_1_11->" on one of the volumes on the OTHER hard drive and I often drag and drop important stuff to it for additional backUp and this is an easy way to duplicate files/folders since it is a different VOLUME. Note that dragging/dropping from one partition (Volume) of a hard drive to another partition (Volume) of the same hard drive duplicates the file and does not (just) move it. However, If a hard drive fails all it's partitions fail so, to effectively backUp, the duplication should be onto a different hard drive.

Colored (Labels of) files and folders, I use a LOT.
Dates in names of time sensitive files, I use a LOT but it's only informational and NOT for searching purposes and not in any particular location in the name.
As for Media files, I used to use, "iView Multimedia", but microsoft bought them in 2006 and now I use iPhoto and iTunes and Burn DVDs catalogued primarily by enclosing folder name.
-Dan
2 internal 120GB hard drives.png
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Daniel.Kelleher@umassmed.edu
SC4.7.3 OSX 10.7.2 Mac Pro
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Re: Organizing My Computer

Postby JoshRu » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:40 am

Thanks so much Dan. Will give this much thought before the BIG transition (to another computer, that is).

-- Josh
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