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Week 1: Organizing Digital Files

Don't know if you can see this but there is almost 50 GB (or for the non-computer type that is 13,000+ files contained in some 475 folders) of information in my cool random files folder. This folder was originally created so that I would have a temporary place to save pictures as I worked with them and then I would get rid of the ones that were not worthy of editing. The cool random files folder on my computer has become the catch all location for dumping my camera card, Photoshop documents that I am working on and anything and everything else that is in progress.
When Slim Jim and I were in the market for a new computer for me 2 1/2 years ago we talked about getting a computer that would have enough RAM to keep up with my Adobe programs and enough storage to hold my jpgs and psds.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, my computer started doing weird things where it would either shut off or it was just running really loud. Slim Jim took off the cover and looked around. He saw that the fan was broken and realized it would need to be replaced. So he ordered the replacement part off of Amazon and as soon as it came he took apart my computer and tried to replace it. It didn't quite fit right at first so the part had to modified. A few days later my precious computer was lying in pieces on the dinning room table (this was a devastated, no one had told me that the whole computer had to be taken apart piece by piece to replace the fan), then I suddenly thought, "What if the hard drive gets corrupted in the juggle. I don't have a backup of these files beside what is on Facebook and Blogger.....What if I lose all of my files. I won't have any pictures from Rhett's first two years of his life." I turned white as a ghost. Slim Jim asked me what was wrong, I explained the gravity of the situation and his face got really white and I began to see his mind process how many years he would have to sleep on the couch if he had lost all my files (most important the picture of my baby boy). The next day he put it together and hoped that it would work. He plugged it in and started it up, but when Windows was loading it only loaded 75% of the way and then froze.
At this point I said that nothing was allowed to be done on the computer until all the files on my hard drive were recovered/backed up. Slim Jim agreed with me that we should take it to a professional backup the files (at this point he had to because I was using my quiet angry tone regarding this subject). I know it probably seems like I am being a little too tough on Slim Jim, I probably was but Slim Jim knows he is a car guy. It is like this, would you take your car to a computer guy to get it fixed?...No....Well it is an equally bad idea to have your computer worked on by a car guy. Then my brother (computer guy) called to talk to me about the computer he said that he had all the tools to do the backup, a that he could up and running quickly. He started on the backup but he didn't realize the size of the backup and ran out of space while backing up the files, so we went to Best Buy to get 2-2 TB hard drives. Several days later my brother came over and hooked everything back together. He started it up and it worked (apparently Slim Jim had plugged something up wrong). The good new is nothing was wrong! But this served as a real wake up call for me that any file I am not comfortable with loosing should be backup on something beside my computer.

When I realized that I was a big dummy for not backing up my files I began to look for the best alternative for photo storage. These are the options I considered:
1. Portable Hard Drive. Advantages: One time fee. No need to upload files, simply just drag from picture folder to external hard drive. Disadvantages: Expensive and they often fail (we had one fail in the past).
2. Pro Account on Flickr/Photobucket. Advantages: Files are available online so no matter what computer I was on I could access them. They also have a mobile application so I can download photos I have uploaded to my account and send them via text message. Also, I can copy the url from flickr and put the image on my blog without slowing up my blog. Disadvantages: Yearly fee. I have to upload them through the internet.
After deciding that I was going with an online photo hosting service.
I then had to decide between Flickr or Photobucket and here are the reasons I went with Flickr:
1. Flickr never delete your original photos if for some reason you don't have the financial resources when it comes time for you to renew your pro account (Photobucket does after 60 days, which stinks if you are using it for a back-up). Flickr does in fact limits you to your most recent 200 (with a maximium file size that you can access 5 mb) pictures if don't have a free account with Photobucket they won't  you on the total number of files (at 1 mb a piece).
2. There interface seemed much more visually appealing to me (Photobucket kind of reminded me of myspace with the basic theme and then the ability to change it to things like blinking stars).

My organizational goals are to:
1a. Back-up all the worthwhile pictures I have on my computer onto my Flickr account. (Week 1 and 2)
b. Organize the photos that have been uploaded to Flickr into Sets and Collections.
2. Create a system for myself so that when I dump all of my files off of a sd card that I trash the pictures that didn't turn out right and categorize the ones that I want to keep. This system also needs to include a step for uploading pictures to Flickr. (Week 3)
3. Cool Random Files will be much smaller because all the picture files will be put in their proper place (or deleted).  (Week 3)

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