Monday, 27 December 2010

New Year organization: dropbox, scanning

I've got plans...plans!

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. My last New Year's resolution involved attempting to smoke more. That was about 10 years ago, and I failed miserably.

But the sad reality is that my plans to get myself well organized for 2011 happen to largely coincide with the approach of New Year's day, which is annoying but not sufficient to stop me resolving to make it happen anyway. Does that count as a resolution, or can I claim exemption because I've been working on this project since April? Which, by freaky coincidence, is when New Year's Day used to be (9 months before Christmas—get it?)

Anyway the first part of the plan involves getting you, dear reader, to click through on this link and installing a most excellent back-up system called Dropbox, which allows you to sync your computers (eg home and work, desktop and laptop) and back up all your important files to the internet for free. It's brilliant and has saved me an enormous amount of time and stress since I've used it.

If you use that link I get an extra bit of free storage (thank you!). They are counting on it being so useful that eventually the people who use the free stuff will want to buy extra storage, which in my case may actually happen when I bite the bullet and scan a couple of decades worth of old photos onto one of my computers. But this system is so easy that it actually answers the question 'Yes, but what if I scan all my old photos and my hard drive crashes?'The beauty of this solution is that even if the Dropbox system goes out of business, the scanned photos don't disappear from any of my dropbox-linked computers.

Which brings me to the other thing I've been plotting for a while. I bought a cheap flat-bed scanner which has come in quite useful in getting some paperwork a bit more organized, and in dealing with bureaucracies where, on occasion, they lose the copy of the paperwork you sent them and need it in a hurry. Also, for scanning occasional artworks from my children, and for scanning photos that are precious but needed for school projects and news. Also, for copying music I don't want to lose and occasionally need copies of to give to other musicians (eg Christmas carols at Christmas time).

I've decided to bite the bullet and get rid of a ton of paper in the next month, something I've had in mind to do for decades but had to wait for the technology to catch up. Well, I think it has. You need to be able to scan things cheaply and easily, and you need to be sure that once scanned, you won't lose the thing scanned through a hard drive crash, or because you can't find what folder you put them in within the computer (Apple's Spotlight function helps here). Check, check and check. So, inspired by having a bit of time in the next month, and sparked by this article, I'm going to have a go.

Here's the Dropbox link again if you're feeling similarly motivated.


Emma said...

I am deeply amused by the idea of you waiting for technology to catch up with you, Mr Cheng.

Gordon Cheng said...

You may scoff, but I have invented so many devices of the future that it's not funny!!

I give as examples:

1. The fridge with the freezer at the bottom

2. The implanted microchip that stores your location and other useful information, and carries $100 of credit.

3. The portable scanner with OCR

4. The laser keyboard

5. The retinal screen

6. The handheld internet device that makes phone calls and takes video

7. The automatic car—no, *completely* automatic!

8. The wireless house.

The list simply goes on. That some of them have now hit the market I simply take as proof of my genius! ;-)

Emma said...

Alright then, what's the next one?

Joshua Maule said...

Good timing with this post. I was looking for a free backup just yesterday and gave up. So thanks.

Gordon Cheng said...

Good stuff Josh, I hope it's a help to you. I've found the dropbox system incredibly useful.