Looking ahead at the events planned for this year, I feel the need to completely restructure, reorganize, and streamline my entire digital universe. This will take a sweet amount of time, I realize, but given the complex behemoth that my digital archive has become due to the accumulation of over seven years’ worth of projects, reformats, and acquisitions, the time is now.
It all started out simply, with my first computer a mere two folders, “art” and “business,” were all that I needed to keep things in order. As time progressed, there were a few digital expansions, where loads of new software, hardware, documentation, support files, and resulting experimental files were heaped onto the already flimsy organizational structure that my “archive” had at that time become. Then there was college, various lines of employment, and a million scanned documents determined too important to simply toss. By this time, my artistic output had increased as well, with bandwidth intensive projects like Dead Letter Art, F-Disk Media, and StopSystem, my then new 250GB external hard drive was almost full. Along the way, I’m afraid, most attempts at “starting fresh” and reorganizing everything were shortsighted if not temporarily efficient.
So now, after having attained a small foothold on the internet with a newly designed, all-powerful Perishable Press website, I have taken a few steps back to contemplate the “big picture” and evaluate an optimal plan of attack. I truly cannot believe how inefficient and unorganized my system has become. Truly, it is a mess.
So what then? It would be easy to continue pumping out business and projects and downloading chunks and creating turdz and just letting files and shortcuts and directories just get bigger and more convoluted and redundant until finally I just utterly smash my computer and throw it into the backyard. But no..
Rather I feel it necessary, if I am to truly start fresh this time, to carefully backup and remove everything from my various hard drives — that is, remove everything that isn’t part of the operating system. I may leave the software too, as my desktop computer — Praise the Lord — runs very smoothly, and so I am not going to bother wasting my time reformatting that. However, the other computer on my wireless netwerk, my trusty laptop, will receive a complete makeover. The reason behind this involves utilizing the laptop for what it actually is: a wonderfully wireless and completely portable satellite computer. Indeed, the way things are currently setup, the laptop just sits next to my desktop, occasionally being used to check some odd function or a floppy drive. Thus, after its reformat, it will possess no local files (other than OS and software) whatsoever — but, rather, it will exist as a completely modifiable docking platform, with secure tunnels to project directories, business information, yea — the entire Perishable archive.
Which brings us, more or less, to all of the files that will stay as either part of the archive or as working files. The plan? Well, after I spend a few more days thinking things out more comprehensively, I will begin by burning all content to DVD. This in and of itself will prove expensive and time-consuming, but will also establish a complete “first generation” backup of everything existing at this point in time. Then, after clearing the decks, if you will, desktop scrubbinz and laptop reformat. All tuf. This should take some time as well, especially to synchronize the two computers with software and devices. After testing the bare-bones system and checking/making improvements with workflow and usability in mind, it will be time to scandisk and defragmentize everything and then reformat and repartition the external hard drive. The new directory tree has not yet been established, but some changes are indeed in order. Finally, after the smoothing out any virtual wrinkles in the netwerk, hardware, devices, and software, it will be time to “repopulate” the archive directories and working file systems. This will also serve as an opportunity to “edit out” any extraneous or redundant digital files and rename and restructure as necessary.
This process is extensive and will no doubt claim much of my “free time” for several weeks to come. It will be good to travel back through time via the archives and reminisce about past events, digital and otherwise. Who knows, the whole process may open new doors and spark new ideas, inspiration to continue my creative endeavours. I may even decide to detour further into the sidelight and complete an unfinished project or two. As a bonus, digging through the past will trigger recollections concerning significant events that have unfolded throughout our life, providing excellent fuel for future articles posted in the Timeline category. So there it is — a plan to plan and execute a plan to restructure, reorganize, and streamline my entire digital universe.