I’m not exactly the patient type, so after last week’s rant I decided to do something about my cloud storage/filing conundrum. First, I needed to brainstorm, and lucky for me Ryan Brazell came over for dinner and very graciously let me bore him to death. Then, I looked at many, many reviews and finally pulled the trigger. This is what I settled on:
Keeping google drive for docs that need to be actively edited by multiple people online. I also added the free google drive app to my mac to make this easier to use at the office. I already had the ipad one.
Keeping evernote for my random notes. Still love that app.
This is where things change…
In the past, I’ve used sugarsync to back up all my docs online. This allowed me to keep my original silo organization but as I mentioned sugarsync was meh, and pricey to boot. So instead I’ve re-organized my files.
Anything that isn’t in current use is filed in my usual topic-centric silos. I’m replacing sugarsync with backblaze, however. Why backblaze? Well, I wanted a simple all-in-one, preferably cheap solution. This fit the bill. It automatically just backs up EVERYTHING on my computer, all the time. No thinking about it. It’s $50 a year, which is half the price of sugarsync for unlimited storage vs. 100 gigs. Plus, this solves the issue of backing up my photos, which used to be either very expensive or patchy.* Only one downside: the mobile interface isn’t wonderful. So this means I don’t want to dig around those files on my phone unless I unexpectedly need a doc. I’ll take it.
To round out the system, active docs will be kept in two other “clouds”:
iCloud – I use keynote/pages/numbers for all docs that I don’t share. I have spent the last couple of days reorganizing the docs. All active ones are now saved to icloud. All the ones I’m not currently using I moved to my computer filing system. To make all this easier, I added mobile docs to my finder sidebar. I have no idea why this isn’t a default in Mavericks. Hopefully Yosemite will fix it. In the meantime, this workaround is great.
Dropbox – I’ve been using this for all shared PDFs for a long time anyway. Now I’ve added a “current” folder for classes I’m teaching right now, current research projects, etc. I added that folder to my finder sidebar too. I use the free version of dropbox and have about 6 gigs on it, but so far that leaves plenty of room for everything.
To sum up:
I switched from sugarsync to backblaze and then reorganized a few folders. I’ll be saving $50 a year and will have ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING backed up all the time. It will require some periodic tending to make sure files are moved around as they become needed, but I can live with that. It will still require a little bit of thought to figure out where a particular file is located but I think the more I use this system the more automatic this will become. So… I wouldn’t say the problem is solved, exactly, but I think I’ve McGuyvered a solution I can live with for a while. Software developers, if you’re reading, please design a more elegant solution. Thanks in advance.
* photo-wise, I loved picturelife but couldn’t rationalize $7 a month. iPhoto only backed up the last thousand photos on iCloud. So for a long time I only had a physical backup on a secondary hard drive. iCloud might be better when the update happens in the fall, but for now backblaze seems like a decent solution.