Overcoming Overload

Simplicity. Elusive in definition, exhausting to behold through the thicket of our current organizational paradigm, the quest to achieve what may be perceived as an enlightened state is as personal as a toothbrush. The following article is not intended to preach to or convince you of anything. I’m just having a moment, okay?
KM2P ver. 2

Hawk Sugano via Compfight

I’m always writing about simplifying my computer activities by automating and organizing. Naturally, I share the tidy results. What you don’t see is the constant state of flux on my hard drive, as I try one system after another. Flux is a lovely word:

Developing and maintaining a decent file and folder organization plan is challenging. I use too many clicks to retrieve current project files on a daily basis. Worse, if I download a ton of content, I don’t always get to it right away. I keep trying new ways to manage my downloads folder.

The latest round of experimentation was inspired by my discovery of Belvedere, a free utility written by Adam Pash of LifeHacker.com. Belvedere automatically moves files into folders by following a few rules. This will replace my home-grown batch file, because it can handle more rules. Here is my very limited script, which I cadged from some forgotten RoboCopy example resource:

SET src="C:\Users\Mitchell\Downloads"
SET dest="C:\Users\Mitchell\Downloads\Old"
SET what=/COPYALL
SET opts=/MOV /R:0 /W:0 /LEV:0 /NDL /NP /LOG+:ClearDownLoads.log
SET filespec=*.bmp *.gif *.ico *.jpg *.png *.psd 
SET subdir=Graphics
ROBOCOPY %src% %dest%\%subdir% %filespec% %what% %opts% /SAVE:job-%subdir%
SET filespec=*.ahk *.exe *.gz *.msi *.rar *.zip
SET subdir=Setup
ROBOCOPY %src% %dest%\%subdir% %filespec% %what% %opts% /SAVE:job-%subdir%
SET filespec=*.doc* *.epub *.htm* *.pdf *.rtf *.txt
SET subdir=Read
ROBOCOPY %src% %dest%\%subdir% %filespec% %what% %opts% /SAVE:job-%subdir%
SET filespec=*.xl* *.csv
SET subdir=Spreadsheets
ROBOCOPY %src% %dest%\%subdir% %filespec% %what% %opts% /SAVE:job-%subdir%

RoboCopy is a file syncing utility from Microsoft. It’s an improvement over Xcopy, but still a cryptic nightmare. The way I set things up, Whatever goes into the downloads folder eventually gets moved to one of the “old” downloads folders. Since I’m always looking for stuff in my downloads folder, it’s nice to have zero clutter. Belvedere does the same thing, improving on my RoboCopy by continually scanning the source folders for eligible files to archive.

One of the things about having something neat that just works is, I want to implement it everywhere. I didn’t feel like making another batch file for the other locations, such as my Projects folder, so I simply lived without it. Now, with Belvedere, I have no reason not to include all of the folders in my routine file maintenance.

The promise of Belvedere lies, not with its organizational prowess, but in its ability to automate my continual flux.

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