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Tag Archives: organization

I’ve been using this scheme for my iTunes playlist for about 10 years now. It’s a good system – when it worked. Unfortunately, when I went through the process of re-organizing my playlists, the dates got all messed up. I’ve went about two years with my smart playlists pulling songs in a dumb manner (half my songs were “added” in the last 2 years).

I finally spent some time and put together a new system. Instead of basing it on when I added the song, I just based it on the year of the song*. So now, I have the following component playlists:

  • Songs from before 1990
  • Songs from 1990 – 1994
  • Songs from 1995 – 1999
  • Songs from 2000 – 2004
  • Songs from 2005 – 2009
  • Songs from 2010 – 2014
  • Songs from 2015 – 2019
  • Songs that I’ve added in the last year
  • Songs rated 1 or 2 stars (above playlists are only 3 stars or higher)
  • Songs that are not rated (added recently)

I have general rules on all of them where it omits songs played within the last 8-12 weeks (12 weeks for the 00s, shorter for older and newer songs) and limits to 10. From that I build a single smart playlist which should be a mix of all time periods, songs that I enjoy listening to but haven’t listened to recently, and have a stronger weighting towards new songs.

Hopefully this system will provide enough variety for another decade, at which point I think everyone will be streaming.

*I know that this is not always accurate, because greatest hits or compilations will have a year of when that CD was released, rather than each individual song

I have a huge stack of folders in my bookcase filled with bills and print outs (every time I goto the bank, they seem to give me a book of papers) that I suppose I’m meant to keep around. It’s a pain, because I get the papers, and have to file them. There’s no use for them (until you really need them) so they just accumulate. For a long time, I’ve wanted to scan these papers instead of filing them.

Recently, I’ve finally bought an all-in-one printer which lets me do this! The keyword that I was looking for was a printer with ADF (Automatic Document Feeder). You can basically put papers in the sheet feeder at the top, and the printer will take each one, scan it, and output it via PDF to your computer.

It sounds great, but it’s not entirely automatic. I have to set my printer to “Remote scanning” mode, and then configure & start the job on my computer. As long as my computer and printer are side-by-side it’s not too bad. Part of the configuration is to specify whether the document feeder should scan one-sided or two-sided. It’s too bad that the printer can’t sense this! But maybe that’s a function of how much you pay for a printer.

The problem I have been having is that my printer decides to eat some papers when scanning both sides. That’s very annoying as it involves even more manual effort! When I hit a problem like this, I end up using a piece of open source software called PDFSAM (PDF Split and Merge). It’s an amazingly useful tool with advanced features where it can reorder the pages on your PDF (so you can scan all the odd pages, and then just flip your stack over and scan the even pages – this will result in a reverse list of even pages).

Now I just wish there was some ability to one-click scan+email an entire bill to my computer. I suppose this is another feature that they save for more expensive printers, but it’s preventing me from going through my entire backlog of pages because it’s just too much effort! Also now I have to figure out how to shred and dispose all of my old fashion physical papers.

After thinking a bit about how to organize my files, I think I have a system that is more streamlined.

  • Create a partition for media files (Photos, Books, Music, Videos) which may or may not be synced with other computers and backup drives
  • Create an encrypted partition for data (Documents, Records, Mail, source code) which is always synced with other computers and backup drives
  • Create symlinks to the (encrypted) folders that need to be mirrored online
  • Run DropBox manually so that sync only happens when the encrypted folders are readable

Of course I still have separate drives for System/Program Files, Applications that don’t require installation (e.g., Eclipse, puTTy, Android SDK), and scratch. But generally that stuff is different on each computer (or don’t need to be synchronized).

The main issue with having and using multiple computers actively is keeping my files in sync. I’d also like to have my files on the cloud in case I need to refer to them from my phone (but this is really a nice-to-have). Of course there are solutions to this like Dropbox and Google Drive but they don’t offer the right solution for me!

I don’t think they work for me because:

  • I’m not sure I trust having my files on their server, unencrypted
  • I have a backup drive connected to my desktop and want to mirror files there as well (which I use Create Synchronicity for)
  • I’m afraid that if I accidentally delete my files online they will suddenly be gone from my computer
  • I keep my personal files encrypted on my laptop, and don’t always decrypt them – which causes Dropbox to complain because it thinks the directory to synchronize no longer exists
  • I have my own way of hierarchy of organizing files, and I don’t want to put it under a single folder – Dropbox doesn’t support the symbolic links concept (actually it looks like you can create a symlink at the OS level to solve the problem)

Although in writing this post, I came across Microsoft’s SyncToy, maybe that will solve some of my issues.

Now that I have multiple computers that I actively work on, I actually have a problem with keeping them in sync. All my files used to be on my desktop and I had a specific way of organizing them across several drives; but my laptop doesn’t have nearly as much hard drive space (and I even sprang for the upgrade 256GB version). I’m not sure what files I should keep on my laptop, what files to keep on both, and what files to keep only on my desktop – I guess all my media (photos, music, books) would end up being on my desktop only; and everything else would be in both locations.

Another problem I have is that I’m using Firefox as my primary browser on my desktop but decided that I would switch to Chrome as my personal browser on my laptop (I’m using Firefox for work-specific logins). This means I have bookmarks and saved passwords across two different browsers that I can’t synchronize. Seems like the easy way is to switch to Chrome on my desktop, but I guess I have a legacy preference.

I also need to buy a new desktop (no more upgrading) eventually so I figure I should think about this and try and solve my issues so that the coexistence with my next machine will be easier.