Seeing is understanding

This post builds upon "I decided to trust cloud storage". If you didn't read it, please spare a few minutes for going through it for a better context.

As I started to move my files to cloud, a lot has happened. I've decided on a single provider for my files, bought extended file revision membership on said provider, and more importantly, started to move my files over there. The backup plan is not completely realized yet, but progressing slowly. I know I'm late to the cloud party, but being able to access your files anywhere is life changing and nice.

However, it is not all rainbows and unicorns.

I can confidently say that extended file revision membership paid itself off. I use a couple of tools to interface with my cloud storage account. One of them is capable of "out of tree synchronization", which is a fancy name for synchronizing a folder on the cloud anywhere on your computer. This allows syncing large folders to secondary drives and accessing them without filing the primary drive. Due to a complex case of application miscommunication and user error, I deleted a folder containing over 40,000 files. However, the files were restorable and nothing is lost. Having a year for recovering files is assuring if something goes unnoticed. Lastly, the storage provider sends an email in the lines of "You deleted a lot of files. If you didn't do that intentionally, here's a list. You have a year to restore them", which is neat.

Another revealing thing about cloud storage is the visibility it provides for your files. As a person who has a similar history to a nice internet stranger who documented his 25+ year journey; I have a lot files, on a lot of drives, organized in a plethora of ways, over a very long time. When combined with the density of modern era storage mediums, a lot files can be stored in a deceptively small volume of space, making them real-world bags of holding.

Previously, I have started to consolidate these drives to reduce the drive count, however, as it turned out, copying files and drinking tea while waiting for tasks to finish is a poor way for gauging the depth of the task at hand. Digging into these drives, moving the files to the cloud and organizing them was revealing.

Much more revealing than I ever imagined, to be honest.

In the era of multimedia, large files are the norm. A video recorded with a nice camcorder or a mirrorless camera can use gigabytes of space without much effort, and working with these files distorts your perception after a while. In reality, a great deal of information can be stored in small files. PDFs, text files, documents, and similar files can pack a lot of information into a minuscule space. Tucking these into a folder make them disappear. When opened for organization, the collection greets with all of its might.

Then, I understood the height of the mountain I need to scale.

As I move to the files to the cloud or put them aside to consider later, I started to grasp the size of accumulation happened over time, how I tucked things away with anticipation of returning back to them to handle them properly, but conned by the technology and by myself. Growing drives allowed hiding more into a smaller space, faster transfer speeds and more convenient interfaces allowed following the path of least resistance without thinking at all.

However, when the day has come to organize all this accumulation and separate what matters from the cruft, all the debt has to be paid in full. It's possible to use the features which enabled all this accumulation for an advantage too. Advanced tools can find duplicates faster, bigger drives can give a bigger scratch space for organization, and faster interfaces & network can allow quicker transfer across drives or the planet.

Now, the cloud storage has more folders and files than it ever has, but all the files are useful, meaningful and are the things I want to access. Seeing them reminds their existence, slows the accumulation and allows much greater reuse. The journey is in its opening legs, but it'll be much more fruitful than I ever anticipated. I can see that.

Lastly, a 64 GB USB flash drive can carry a world, and then some. Keep that in mind.