Tuesday Talk – Nov. 15, 2022 Edition: File & Space Management

It is never ending. File management has been the bane of my existence since the day I got my first computer back in 1988.

I’m great at creating files, downloading files, storing files…not so great at organizing them! And the space they take up – OY!

I have many many CDs of old files (and floppy disks from before that!) that have, over time, degraded to the point that they are now unreadable. So many pictures of Casey’s childhood, recordings of my music, and momentous moments from my life – gone. I can’t do anything about those, but I no longer trust any media with my precious files. I have a couple of external drives onto which I dumped EVERYTHING. But even those – well, the first one – lost files. They’re simply not there. (Or may be there but unfindable or unreadable.)

So earlier this year I got a Nextcloud account. (If you don’t already know, I have almost completely moved away from google and anything related.) Though I’ve had a server with plenty of space since 2002, organizing anything over my slow usually slow internet connections has been torture. With the Nextcloud I can move files around when I can, and let it sync to the cloud when IT can.

But I know that my server space isn’t unlimited – at least, unless I want to pay 10x as much as I am now. Hosting my Nextcloud and my self-hosted WordPress there is taking a good chunk of it. I’m down to my last 70GB free. And I know how quickly that can get eaten up when it comes to all of my photos and videos, especially – my personal ones, the ones on chia.owly.net, and all of my Nexcloud backups.

While I finally have a great organizational plan in place, I have chosen to resize, crop, edit, and otherwise optimize all of my media. Both the new stuff I’m taking and using now, and what was already there. By the time I go through 50MB of photos on my phone they only take up 5MB of space. Keeper photos are reduced, one way or another, to a max of 800 megapixels across the largest side. Photos to be used on chia.owly.net are 600 for photo-sharing posts (like memes), and 400 for the ones I add to various pages. This all works together to save a lot of space.

And it takes time. HOURS every day to go through every single photo I take. I delete all duplicates (after taking several shots of a subject to make sure I get a good one as my hands shake a lot more these days) and save only the best one. Anything that is blurry – gone! I crop and enhance photos that are worth the time, then size them down. My videos may take a quality hit, but they go through an optimizer after I’ve saved them at only 720p. And then I put them into my meticulously organized folders on the cloud. Every so often I copy the cloud files back to my latest external drive.

(BTW if you are saving your files to a drive, or the cloud, or whatever and then deleting them from your drive, you’re not “backing up” your files; you’re just moving them.)

Of course all the while I’m working on files on my laptop I’m also moderating on my phone or tablet, answering texts, and so forth.

My next folder that will gets the treatment has over 800 files in it. Two hours today I did about 150.

Oh well, it’s only time…right?


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