The Real Deal 146: The file frontier--home media management

How do you share, store, and manage all those photos, MP3s, videos, and other stuff? There's no perfect way, but we discuss some options.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
3 min read

How do you share, store, and manage all those photos, MP3s, videos, and other stuff? There's no perfect way, but we discuss some options.
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First, props to gknee's husband for the title of this episode. He even made art! Let's set the table with this e-mail.

************ Love the topic this week.

We have many computers in our house and it is a constant struggle to keep all of our photos, videos, music, and movies organized.

The closest I’ve come so far has been to use a NAS drive to store our photos and home movies (recorded with our digital camera). I have each computer mount the NAS when they start up on the network. Then, we use Picasa and make sure to have it index the folders on the NAS drive.

The problem is that my no-tech wife uploads photos and videos from our camera onto her computer in seemingly random folders instead of saving them to the network drive (no matter how many times I remind her). So, I have to make sure to copy all of the files from her computer to the NAS every once in a while.

As for our movies, I purchased an external SATA hard drive to expand our Tivo’s storage capacity, then I ripped all of our DVDs (we don’t own many) with DVD Shrink and transferred the movies to the Tivo using a Tivo Desktop replacement program called pyTivo. It’s so much nicer to have our movies on the Tivo already. Dealing with a DVD player in this day and age is a pain.

Our music files are scattered all over the f&^%$^% place.

I’m very interested in hearing what the members of the township of Deal come up with.

Much respect, MC Fisticuffs.


The problems: Networking is wonky, Windows to Mac issues, Work domains on home system

Syncing: How do you get just the photos, music, and other files you want on your machine without keeping a copy of everything in existence?

The cloud: Flickr, LaLa?, Picasa, Google Docs. This isn't helping. It makes it more of a mess. If you paid for S3 it would be expensive.

The solutions: NAS attached to your home network accessible from the Internet, Still has issues

The ideal: Here's what we want the companies to do.

Comments on Windows 7 epidode:

Hi Rafe, Tom, I have been running Windows 7 as my primary OS for the past few days and it has been working out quite well for me. The Windows+Tab key command that cycles through the open windows is much smoother. Some programs work faster, and I love the new Snipping Tool.

I wonder why they did not simply push this as Vista SP2. It would have saved Vista's name and it would have followed an established trend: Third time's the charm. - didibanner

fleddyx Rafe mentioned he uses an extension/add-in/program allowing him to dock and lock running programs to various positions on his screen/monitor. Can he share the name of the program? What others might I try?

Comment on password episode

7-zip (the best compression/archive manager for Windows) has an option to make archives with 256 bit AES encryption. It's a really good option for encrypting individual files and folders. Plus, when installed, it puts a 7-zip option on your context menu, so putting files/folders in an archive only takes a few clicks. It comes in a portable version (portableapps.com <http://portableapps.com> ) which is also open-source and freeware, so you can handle your archives on the go. I always put important data in an encrypted 7-zip archive before emailing it to myself.


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