Wednesday, May 6, 2020

My Computer File Storage System

I was texting with a friend about cloud storage earlier today and thought that writing out my system would be good to get down on paper. Then I decided to turn it into a blog post. Because why not?

Local Storage

Computer – I keep a lot of files on my computer’s hard drive, mostly files that I am currently
working on or want quick access to. 

External Hard Drives – I have two external hard drives which have larger files such as my
iTunes music backup, former photography business files, videos, and other photo files (from
my big camera).

Automatic Backup

Backblaze – This is the automatic backup service I use to back up my computer’s hard drive
and the two external hard drives.  As long as the external hard drives are hooked up to the
computer, they are backed up.  I can disconnect them but in order for them to continue to be
backed up, I have to reconnect them every 30 days or so.  Since I have a desktop iMac, I just
leave them plugged in.  The reason I chose Backblaze is that at the time the other company I
was considering did not offer full functionality to Apple computers.  The service costs about
$100 for two years for one computer.  I’m not sure what the pricing is for multiple computers.
If something goes bad on your computer (hard drive failure or computer is stolen), they will mail
you an external hard drive with all your data on it.  You can also go in and recover single files if
you accidentally delete them.

Cloud (Internet Website Services) Storage
Recommended for Most Users

Dropbox – My primary use for Dropbox is for sharing files with other people and for them to
share with me.  For example, our missionary friends in Ghana, West Africa, put their photos for
the missionary magazine that our church produces into Dropbox so that I can access them.  It’s
much better logistically than having them email them to me especially since I prefer to have the
full-sized photos to edit. GEMS

I access Dropbox only via the website or on my phone or iPad.  I have a Dropbox folder in
Finder, but I noticed today that it is not synced with the website.  However, I also noticed the
Dropbox app (which, when opened, is located in the upper right menu bar) will sync files to the
Finder’s Dropbox folder.  I actually prefer not to have a copy of Dropbox on my computer hard drive, for space’s sake.  With that in mind, I went to Settings/Security in the Dropbox website
and I unlinked my computer’s hard drive from Dropbox after copying the Finder’s Dropbox
Folder to another folder on my hard drive.  I will make sure that these files are only located in
one final place whether it be on my computer hard drive or in Dropbox.

Google Drive – I use Google Drive for some sharing (when I create Google Docs or Google
Sheets to share with others), but I use it mostly for personal storage especially for files I
create in Drive as well as some PDF files.

I am currently testing out the benefits of storing MSWord files in Drive (so far, I’m neutral in
my assessment.  Use it if you want, or don’t use it if you don’t want to.)

I love Google Drive because the Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides (Google’s
version of PowerPoint) are easy to use and do what I want them to.

I have a Google Drive folder in my Finder, but I don’t use it at all.  In fact, I have copied those
files into another folder on my computer hard drive so I can organize them later.  I only use
Google Drive by accessing it on a web browser or on my phone.

I use Google Docs a lot more than MSWord now because 1) it’s a lot easier to use and access 
2) MSWord is a pain on my old computer and 3) I’m boycotting MS products ever since Bill
Gates has announced his support for a vaccine with embedded chip (and actually has a patent
for it).  My other alternative to MSWord – for graphic documents such as GEMS magazine and
other little graphics – is

Cloud (Internet Website Services) Storage
Not Recommended for Most Users, But Only for Specific Purposes

B2 – B2 is a cloud service offered by Backblaze.  I put a ton of photo, music, and movie files
on B2 (much of which are already on my external hard drives which is probably a bit of overkill,
but I would be inconsolably heartbroken if I lost my photos).  This is for long-term, don’t-have-
time-to-do-anything-with-it-yet storage because I was running out of room on my computer hard
drive.  It made sense at the time to get it.  And it’s cheap.  I think I’ve been paying just a couple
of dollars a month.  This is strictly put-it-somewhere-safe storage, not work-with-it storage.
Someday I will redownload these files back to the computer to do projects (photo books, prints,
whatever) with the files.  (I recommend B2 for anyone who has a lot of photo files that they
want to put somewhere safe while freeing up hard drive space. Not for general use.)

ShootProof -- I used to use ShootProof as an online photo gallery for my photography clients.
I still use them as an online archive of those photos.  I also currently use them to share photos
for our church's special events.  When I get around to it, I will probably notify my former clients
that their photos will be permanently deleted from ShootProof Archives by such-and-such a
date.  Some archived storage is free, but I’ve gone over that.

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