Monthly Archives: October 2006

Still Digitizing

We’re now the proud owners of a 1TB Raid 1 array — which in reality means that we have 460GB of usable space. Ugh, that was really expensive. Now that I’ve been able to do some number crunching based on reality, we’re gonna need 3TBs to start. (BTW, these drives are running hot as they are fanless and near silent.) Until prices come down on hard drives we’ll have to keep the DVDs nearby instead of putting them in storage. That will allow us to put DVDs on the server but not have to worry about mirroring the drive. The only items that go on the RAID drives will be vital files for which we don’t have a physical copy.

Paperless Home
Meanwhile, I ordered this scanner/printer all-in-one. Why this one? Unlike most home scanners, this baby will scan the front AND back of the item automatically. And I got it for a heck of a lot less than what it says on Amazon. After going through our collection of papers, there’s probably about 120 pounds of materials. We estimate that about 80% of that can be kept digitally (some will have to be kept in physical form). There’s going to be a lot of time spent feeding sheets through the scanner initially, but once the main bulk of work is done, just a few minutes of routine maintenance per week should take care of all the mail. Once we have the scanning down pat, we’ll invest in some OCR software to convert the images to searchable PDFs and script an overnight automation so the OCR does not hog the iMac during the day.

If you’re wondering as to how we’ll dispose of all those scanned documents, we’ll take it to Kinkos, then handle the future items at home. A bonfire is still an option if Em and I really really want to save the $10.

Digitizing the family

Em and I are deep in the process of digitizing our life. Well, I am, and Emily is graciously helping out. I think geotagging thousands of Flickr photos is time well spent. Nemo is not very entertained by this. Emily, well, she plays with Nemo so he doesn’t whine so much.

So what is it that I am doing exactly? I want all household information and media available anywhere, anyplace, securely. It’s quite a daunting task, both logically and technically. But I think it’s doable. It’s all a part of Em and my philosophy to shrink our life into something smaller, simpler and easier to manage.

I’d let you know how exactly I am doing this, but because it needs to be secure, I am only going to tell you about a few choice bits. Technology has progressed to a point where just about everything we need is accessible on the go and more useful than was unimaginable 10 years ago.

Over the last two years, we’ve transitioned the home from PC to Mac. I’m able to watch TV shows together with Emily even when I travel thanks to the <a href="; target="
_blank”>Slingbox and Replay TV. Our photo albums are geotagged and on Flickr. I’m in the process of digitizing all our music and photos (only 200 CDs and 300 pictures to go!) and we both have video iPods to take it on the road. We’ve inventoried all our books, DVDs and games through Delicious Monster’s Library. Even our grocery lists are online.

There are some limitations. I still have yet to find a good video service, so our iPods will do. (I was an early YouTube adopter, but it’s too MySpace now.) Our DVDs and games are still on disks, but I think I can move all our movies to a central server within a year. We’re going to start with archiving our raw wedding video footage in high-def. Another item on the list to tackle is document management.

I’ve done all this all on free or very inexpensively. The only expensive item will be the huge drives it will take to store all this data. The wedding footage alone is 500 GB. Add RAID 1 mirroring to that and we’re talking about 2 terabytes to start. Ouch. But hey, when we pick up and leave this place, we won’t have to worry about CDs, DVDs, DVD players, photo albums or other little bits and pieces. We’ll keep you posted on how this all goes.


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