Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Trouble of Managing Our Media

One of our big problems lately has been managing our media. Between our four personal computers (not including our two work laptops), we had thousands of digital photos of holidays, vacations and other events sequestered into different silos.

Farewell jewel cases! (06/05)

And then there was our music. Since we made the album-to-CD conversion in the late '80s, we amassed more than a thousand CDs. For a while they were alphabetized, but over time became a big mish-mash of CDs in the wrong places — and wrong cases. Several months ago we started to rip a bunch of them into MP3 format, but we never finished, leaving the project stuck in limbo.

This is about two-thirds of our total CDs, believe it or not. (06/05)

Then there were our downloads. With Tim's use of his iPod and iTunes, and me using my Archos Jukebox and MusicMatch, we were using two formats. And we were both buying music downloads separately, which surely would have created the situation where both of us might be paying for the same songs or albums.

Well for the last two months, we've been tackling this issue.

For one, we bought a 200GB hard drive that we established as our primary shared media database. It now stores all our music and all our photos. Along with that, we also needed to create a back-up drive in case the primary ever crashed. The solution: A 250GB backup drive that we update weekly.

The other major part of this project has been our CDs. We've ripped several hundred onto our shared music drive, but didn't do a very good job of keeping track of which ones we ripped and which ones we haven't.

We finally came to the hard realization that it was time to say goodbye to jewel cases. So we bought eight Case Logic CD cases that hold 132 CDs a piece (or 264 CDs if you don't store booklets). We broke them up into categories (bands & artists, soundtracks, various artist compilations, Christmas, etc.) and then alphebetized them and then began filling the cases.

The jewel cases alone filled about nine trash bags. (06/05)

As for which ones we've ripped and which ones we haven't, the solution was a sharpie marker. If Tim or I have ripped a CD to the shared music drive, we mark the CD with a star, which saves us from ripping a CD more than once.

In the meantime, I've converted to iTunes and we now both run it off the shared drive, giving us full access to the entire James and Tim music library.

Our new CD filing system: neat and organized. (06/05)

We invested a lot of time and expense into this project, but now finding the music you're looking for is SO much easier.

The photo project is still underway. My job is to standardize the folder naming convention. We're also going to use Picasa, which is Google's free photo finding software that allows you to do searches by keywords. So if we want to see pictures from our cruise to Alaska last year, we can just type in Alaska 2004 and all the photos will pop up. I'm looking forward to the day when that project is done.


Laura Gonzalez said...

Wow. I'm impressed; that's a lot of work. I'd think it would be hard to say goodby to the cases though. I know I have to back up, but I'm not good about it.

The funny thing though, is I was going to ask you to burn some Indigo Girls for me. I know you're a big fan, and I'd like an intro CD compilation. Whaddaya say?

Laura Gonzalez said...

The problem here is that we have one PC and are also using some apple laptops. I have to standardize all the music formats too, I think I'll go with itunes also.

Hey, what back up hard drives did you get? Show a pic.

Butterfly Queen said...

So when you coming down to file mine? :-)

Loren Javier said...

CDs? What are those? I'm totally an MP3 based individual! :o)