Cleaning Up the Family Media Library

I have a digital mess. Our “photo library” exists on 3 different computers plus 2 phones. Each computer has different files but most files are the same. How do I clean it up? With 15K files, I need some help from the computer to find duplicates and rename the files.

1) a definitive collection of photos for every entire year, organized by year (one folder per year), having files named with a counter based on date;
2) synchronize collection across home network so that if a hard drive fails, there is a backup;
3) videos (home movies) should be moved to a sister directory to the photos; and
4) for the current year, all cameras should upload to plex and at the new year, the “keepers” will be copied into the library, organized according to the aforementioned rules.

1) download a local copy of each photo collection so that deduping is not hampered by network speed;
2) purchase and download duplicate photo finder ($40). Run comparisons at 100% setting to delete perfect matches. Run again at 85% and look through to see if there are close matches delete any duplicates;
3) merge remaining photos into one collection;
4) merge remaining videos into one collection;
5) purchase and download Lyn for Mac ($20);
6) video deduplication is manual. I find the best solution is to sort by file size in Lyn and if there are two files with equal sizes, compare thumbnails and delete the dupes;
7) batch rename files with the format: counter – date.extension;
8) in my network, Windows computers will hold the files, so now I will copy the Library to my Windows computer. To synchronize files, I will use Microsoft synctoy (note: this is difficult in Windows 10 but if you install the Windows Sync Framework, it works fine); and
9) lastly, I will configure my phones to “Upload images to Plex”.

Retooling for the New Year

I’ve been keeping a running list of upgrades and system changes to do and thought I should post them as a sort of technical new year’s resolution list.

This is, admittedly, quite dorky stuff and at this point, it’s a to-do list, not a done list. Here goes:

  1. ✓ My home has an old, broken intercom system (pictured above). I took out the old guts and put Alexa inside with some good computer speakers. One special touch was to have the speaker outputs run through an analog volume control on the front of the SoundGuard;
  2. ✓ HTTPS via certbot;
  3. ✗ Android auto for safe, hands free phone us in car (fail: too limited in its options);
  4. ✓ Maybe I should stop using Resilio Sync for copying images from phone to collection. It’s quirky. PLEX has a photo upload thing. I’ll try that;
  5. ✓ LastPass password manager;
  6. I need a way to organize a decade of digital photos and remove duplicates. I like Lyn for organizing but duplicate detection is not a strongpoint;
  7. ✓ Change my personal email from on google apps to Continue using Chrome to read email;
  8. ✓ Move notes from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote;
  9. ✗ I’ve been using Todoist for a while. If OneNote handles it better, I’ll port that over too (Todoist is better);
  10. ✓ Change work email/calendar/chat from Safari to Mail, Calendar (OSX apps) and make Chrome the default browser and then setup the Hangouts Chrome extension;
  11. ✓ Spotify premium instead of strictly an mp3 collection;
  12. ✓ New bluetooth digital music player in truck (Kenwood DPX303MBT);
  13. ✓ Sprout Invoices with e-commerce via Stripe for freelance work;
  14. ✓ Will try replacing Tablo DVR with HDHomeRun configured with PLEX;
  15. ✓ A jerry can for gassing up the Gravely (because cheap plastic cans drip all over and make me a grumpy old man);
  16. ✓ A new bike.

New Desk and Computer in Home Office

I alluded to this project in an earlier post but the job wasn’t done at that point.

The old desktop was a tiny sewing table that I found on the side of the road. It worked but it was too small and wicked tall! The iMac was feeling sluggish and when I reviewed my records, I was surprised to find that it was already 5 years old.

old workstation – in basement now

The new desktop was made of resawn (a woodworking term) sapele (a species of wood known colloquially as “African Mahogany”), an old mahogany file cabinet and a new cabinet to hold the cpu with vintage “amplifier grill cloth” on the front for breathability and style. I purchased the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair and it’s a good value.

new workstation

The new computer is a homemade Windows 10 PC with the following specs:

  • AOC G2460PF 24″ Free Sync Gaming Monitor
  • Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
  • Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
  • Corsair Carbide Case Silent Edition
  • 500W PSU
  • Asus Z170 motherboard
  • Skylake 3.5 Quad-Core CPU
  • 16GB DDR4
  • WD Blue 4TB HDD
  • 250GB m.2 SDD
  • Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic desktop suite
  • Microsoft Windows 10

One additional detail: I did a little custom electronic work to wire a switch that would toggle the audio output between the headphones and the speakers. This is immensely useful and quite satisfying in comparison to making those adjustments in software.

Overall, I’m really happy with the setup. It’s fast and should be happy to last for around 5 years.

Salesforce Project Completion

This year, I worked with Brown University to transition from legacy application and enrollment technology and their inherited problems to a new platform. We started from the ground up; facing legacy services approaching and surpassing their sunset dates.

We found replacement products available from a variety of vendors. The legacy backbone was Ellucian Banner. While Ellucian offered solutions in the same spheres as what we needed, we found that the systems didn’t handle the full lifecycle of the user. We decided to go with Salesforce.

We needed an application and an enrollment system. Standard products offered those with some handling of user records, but we went with a user-centered system and used TargetX for application and built a home-grown system for enrollment with a combination of our course catalog and a salesforce cart to manage registrations.

The key difference is central: who is at the center? a process or the user.

This was a major transition and we are still ironing out the details of how to integrate Salesforce data into our legacy systems. For example, we need to take Salesforce registrations and their associated costs and pass that data into our billing system. This is not a mindless transition. We need to maintain our legacy billing system while providing a new input from Salesforce. There’s a lot of technology supporting the transition but also a lot of stress that it is done right.

For now, it is a work in progress. I’ll have to talk about it more in future posts…