Monday, May 23, 2011

Confessions of a Data Pack Rat

The nice thing about the digital age is that clutter has become virtual.

I got a deep discount on a case the other week.   It's an external drive box that allowed me to put a hard drive on the network instead of inside of a PC.  My largest drive is around 3 years old, and is a 750GB drive.  All those numbers aside, it's tough to put a desktop drive into a laptop.   The technical word for it is a NAS or SAN drive.

NAS - Network Addressable Storage.
SAN - Storage Area Network.

This way I treat the thing as yet another drive when I'm sitting at home on the network and keep a cache of the most needed files in places like a memory stick or on the hard drive of the laptop so it's available immediately when I need them.

Think of it this way, if I'm at home, I have a new drive that pops up and will be accessible if I need it. 

The case is small, and will be put somewhere better than being hid under clutter, and it's about the size of a small hardback book.  For $12, it's a steal.   One of those external cases without the network "upgrade" would be around $30.  They sold out of the one that I got, especially at $1 plus $11 shipping.  If you are looking for something like it, the place I ordered from has a replacement for $23 with free shipping at this link.

Getting that little case to work on the network with some rather odd software that came with it meant I could look around and put files where the belonged.  There's one thing.  I have a lot of files.  Specifically picture files.  I post a lot of pictures on this blog, and will continue to do so.  On the other hand, I just found out that I have around 3,308 picture files. 

I'm not talking about stuff I "collected" on the web, this is a directory of what I have taken myself over the years.  That translates to 5.08GB according to Windows 7.

I've never found anyone who has a "lot" of pictures that had a good suggestion of how to store them.   I use my own pictures here and try to make sense of how they're stored, but the reality is that it's kind of tough to remember 3300 of anything.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I have three million three hundred eight thousand words.

Give or take a syllable.

A stroll down a memory lane like that will take quite a while, especially since the Achilles Heel of this drive is that it doesn't like to do more than one thing at a time.  In fact what got me started writing about this is that I made the mistake of starting a copy to the drive and hit delete on one of the folders on the drive at the same time.  Now, it's stuck churning its way through all of that.   SLOWLY. 

Ok, but it's cheap right?

At least if it is doing just one thing at a time, it's quick.  It's about as quick as any other networked drive, in fact it's quicker than trying to grab a file from one of the other machines here.

In the drive, just like any other folder is the "Pics" folder.  Inside that they're all labeled in sub folders by date and description.  Hundreds of folders.  Bloody hundreds of them. 

If anybody has a better way to categorize this stuff, I'd entertain your suggestions since its rather a lot. 

On the other hand, a casual stroll down that particular memory lane has some things on its swale that may help with writer's block if I ever get it again.

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