How I stay digitally organized: media files

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Dec 03 2008

As a follow up to my “How I stay organized post” here is how I keep my music, pictures, and videos organized.
First I need to talk about where/how to store important files like media files. All of my media files are stored in one place as a master and multiple other places as copies. I keep my master copy on my home NAS and then I have secondary copies on my laptop, desktop, and MythTV. I also keep a backup of the master on one of my USB hard drives and a second backup on my webhost (no you can’t have access). This is the ideal way to keep this information backed up for me. If I ever find a file that is labeled wrong I change it on the master copy and eventually it will filter down to the copies. Storing everything in one place has helped my organization habits more than anything.
My music folder is organized with the following folder structure.

In order to keep all of that organized I had to make a standard naming scheme for all my files too. Here is what I chose. My album folders are named %Artist% – %Year% – %Album% and my songs are named %Artist% – %Album% – %Track% – %Title%. I chose this naming scheme so that if a file gets lost somewhere where it does not belong, which they often do with this many computers, I can easily find where it goes. Two extra things that I make sure all my music folders have is every album folder has a folder.jpg file of the album cover art and every artist folder has a copy of the folder.jpg named after each album I have. For example I have the artist Bush. Inside of that folder I have two folders for the two albums I have and two pictures for those albums. This way when I view the artist folder I can see what albums I have without even opening the folder. This doesn’t work so well in OSX or Linux but works great on my Windows machines and Xbox Media Center.
I have used TagScanner to edit all of my songs by hand. Yes it has been very tedious but I have yet to find a automatic tagging system that did well for me. I also use TagScanner and Album Art Downloader to embed album pictures into all of my songs. This took a while but is worth it when you see the album art in XBMC, on an mp3 player, or any other player that supports viewing album art from within the ID3 tags.
My pictures are stored in folders with the “Date (Event)” so Halloween is “2008-10-31 (Halloween)” This sorts my pictures by date taken, and then with a description of what the event was. If the event is multiple days I use the first day for the date and then I have sub folders for day 1, day 2, etc. I keep a few category folders for folders I don’t want to have to sort through every time I view my pictures. Some of the main folders I have are Automotive, Desktops, Misc, Downloaded, and folders for Beth and I. Desktops and Automotive are pretty obvious but Misc is for 1-2 pictures for a event, screenshots, icons, and drawings. Downloaded is for fun pictures online that I have found. :) The user folders are for project pictures and other misc stuff that Beth and I want to keep.
Finally, videos are stored by type. Not filetype but more source type. Movie, TV, Web, Shot are the main categories I have. Most of my shot video is actually in my pictures folder with the event it is tied to.
Once all my media is organized on one source it is fairly easy keeping it maintained (so long as I am the only one writing to the NAS). Got any tips or questions just let me know in the comments.

How I stay digitally organized: downloads and files

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Nov 21 2008

I was inspired by download squads post on getting a hard drive organized and I thought I would post how I keep all my many computers organized. I hope to follow this up with a couple other posts about how I keep my cloud life organized and how I keep my media files organized but, first lets tackle local files.
To explain how out of hand my files can get, here are the computers and storage devices I use regularly: work laptop (with 2 OS’s), work desktop, home desktop, MythTV computer/NAS, wife’s laptop, wife’s desktop, numerous memory cards, 2 external hard drives, a home NAS, network drives at work (8), backup CD’s, a original xbox (which stores more than you’d think), and obviously this website/server and more email addresses than I want to admit to (or even know exist).
So lets start with how I keep my files organized on the computers I use the most. My work laptop and work desktop.
The first thing I always try to remember on my work computers is anything and everything on my work laptop and work desktop are counted as files I can lose at any time. I do not keep them backed up as often as I should because I use these computers mostly for work purposes. If I lost my job or either of my hard drives failed all of the files would be gone and I am fine with that because all of my important files are backed up somewhere else. Both of my work computers are running Windows Vista and I had to create some extra folders in my user profile to stay organized.
The first folder I make is install. This is where I keep my most used program installers that are not updated too often. Programs like Firefox, Filezilla, and Pidgin are all updated far too often for me to keep installers for them but more random/large installers I want to keep around for future use so they go in this folder. Inside my install folder I have the following subfolders: Backup, Game, Hardware, Operating System, Software, and Windows Mobile. The backup folder is not where I store backups from the local computer but usually backups for other computers/memory cards. This folder structure is almost identical to one of my external hard drives. The external hard drive keeps a much more permanent set of installers and backups but my laptop is just for programs I install often. The other folders in my Install folder are pretty self explanatory.
The second folder I create is a scripts folder inside my user folder. I have debated naming this projects because it is where I keep scripts/programs I am writing and general tools that I make for myself. For now though I just put scripts in that folder.
The last folder I make is my work folder under documents. This folder is simply for work related documents (pdfs, spreadsheets, etc.). I don’t keep a lot of work documents on my laptop because they are generally stored on my network drives at work. This folder is just for documents that relate specifically to me such as expense reimbursements, system logs, and checklists.
The last set of folders I make are in my downloads folder. Inside downloads I create a Firefox, torrent, FTP, and dropbox folder (the desktop and Starcraft folders in the screenshot are only specific to my laptop and are there for quick access). I then tell each appropriate program to put the freshly downloaded files in the correct directory (dropbox is a writable samba share folder). Once I have all the folders created I add a toolbar to the Windows taskbar for easy access because this is probably my most used folder. This is also usually my biggest place of disorganization because I download things frequently. I have found, however, with this organization it is very easy for me to go through old files and delete them with ease. I used to use Belvedere from Lifehacker but I found I did not like my files moving on their own.
My linux computers/partitions have similar folders in the home directory and my wife’s computers she keeps organized as she wishes but usually keeps important files on the NAS at home. I will go over organizing media files next.