Working from home gives me a lot of time in front of my computer. Being who I am – an itjerk – I’ve decided to streamline all my cloud services, and clean up my data wherever and everywhere it may be.
First, let’s talk a little about data. Data is ubiquitous. Folders, files, drives, cloud, it just piles up. Keeping it organized though is the key to keeping it safe. Specific categories of data require specific solutions. Here’s mine:
- Documents. These are almost exclusively on my PC’s home folder, or in Google Drive. I’ll use OneDrive to keep them backed up, until they are archived (see below).
- Photos. Camera photos are in Google Photos (Android Phone user) and then eventually backed up to my RAID1 and external drives, while other photos are in Pictures folders, or shared with Cloud services.
- Music. This resides on a RAID1 on my Linux computer, and is backed up to an external drive.
- Archived Data. IMPORTANT! Every year I create a folder on my Desktop for all the digital ephemera I collect. It gets backed up to my RAID1 and external drives. I also clean/clear out my home folders, or at least I endeavor to.
- Backups. Yep, that’s a class of data. I have a backup of my home folders on my RAID1 and external drives.
- The zillion other random photos and files. They are everywhere! In the cloud, in my Downloads folder, on flash drives and backup disks; this is the thing to organize and clean up!
Cloud services are great, but it’s pretty easy for things to get out of hand if you have too many. Here’s a quick overview of my Cloud Services:
Google Backup & Sync. Google let me down when they removed Google Photos from their sync services. I had my photos syncing down to a D: drive on my PC, which was easy enough to backup to external drives. Maybe too easy? No more – it’s a manual download process. Fuckers. Anyway it can do exactly what it says – backup your computer to the cloud, and the cloud down to your computer – but I’m moving on. Google knows enough about me.
Google Drive. This does have exceptional value to me, especially when I was writing my book, as a “work-in-progress” repository for documents. However, like all cloud services, it’s also a wasteland for random bits of data – photos, saved files, wip documents that never finish, transfers – all of which needs cleaning up much more so than backing up. I’ll use it for working in the cloud, but not as a repository for data.
Mega. Anyone remember Kim Dotcom? Whatever happened to him? Anyway, I use Mega to backup my book files. It’s a task-specific solution that serves my need, and is free.
OneDrive. I’m a newly converted fan. Why? Well, I use it extensively at work, but also because of my Surface Go: I used my Microsoft account (Live? 365?) to initially create my user account, and since the Go has only a 64GB hard drive, OneDrive’s is a must (but to be honest, I don’t store any data on the Go). But here’s another essential feature of OneDrive – it can automatically backup your Desktop, Documents and/or Pictures folder. The free plan comes with 5GB of storage, which is good for two of those folders, and 100GB plan only costs $2/month. It does have a Personal Vault (password protected folder), but it only holds three (3) files! LOL! Well integrated into File Explorer, and works with a Mac.
Dropbox. The original cloud, I think, it just ended up being a whole lot of meaningless files for me. I’ll keep the account but only for sharing with others.
Adobe Creative Cloud. I used CC apps for my book, but as this is provided by my work, it’s not a personal solution for me.
iCloud. I’m not an Apple user, but if I were, I would probably use this instead of OneDrive.
Box. Another service I use at work, but redundant with OneDrive.
Amazon Drive. If you have a Prime account, it offers unlimited photo storage. That’s tempting, but Amazon knows enough about me already. Plus, I want my precious digital photos in my physical possession.
So what’s the plan? Use Google Drive as a work space, and OneDrive as my primary cloud. As for the rest of my data, I’ve got a spare D: drive on my PC that I’m using as a staging point as I clean out my various folders and drives. Time I have, OCD I’m great at, so let’s execute the plan!