Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Confessions of a Technology Hoarder

I am a technology hoarder.  Not only do I hoard the physical stuff, but I also hoard the services, software, and tools of technology.  I imagine I am not alone in this 'affliction.'  In this summer of inventorying my life (health goals, "principalness"), technology services, software, and tools are my next target.

Hoarding 101
Hoarding is a serious condition and I mean no
disrespect with this article or the use of the picture

We have a finite amount of time and some things need to be taken off the plate in order to put other things on the plate.  I recognize that it is OK to let things go that aren't working for you or are working against you.  I also recognize that you can't do everything.

Here is the system I used to organize my technology hoard.  As they often do on the TV show, I have categorized items into virtual boxes to help me decide what to do with something with the qualifying criteria listed below.

Throw Away
Love it
Use it everyday
Time saver
So-so on it
Inconsistent/Occasional use
Not sure I need it
Time neutral
Don’t like it
Never use it
No use for me
Time waster


Lastpass - One of my favorite tools for security that I use everyday and would be dead in the water with out it.  All of my passwords for my technology hoard are unique and look similar to this; lZF*oK9bhpgy6klc.  I just remember my very long and "memorable to me" password and the rest is automatic.  It ends up being an inventory list of everything I use or have used on the web.  It is also a great place to securely store important documents such as SSN, birth certificates, and credit card numbers to name a few. 

Evernote - I hate paper and scan everything into Evernote to help me avoid it.  I read Jamie Todd Rubin's excellent blog about going paperless.  I also keep all of my personal notes, thoughts, and plans here.  Easily searchable across all of my devices.

Google - Google is a big entity and owns alot of internet property.  You need a seperate Google virtual hoard box to go through all of the products it offers.  My Keeps are Google+, Drive (Docs side of things), and Gmail.  Everything else is probably Sell/Dontate at this point.

Cloud Storage - As with the Google category, this one is deserving of its own virtual hoard box.  I have accounts with iCloudDropBox, Skydrive, Drive, and Box.  Far too many to keep straight and I have recently consolidated all my files on the Box account.  The primary reason I went with Box was storage; I have 50GB of storage for free on the Box account.  I have also started using Flickr again to store and share photos primarily because of the 1TB of storage for free.

UPDATE:  I wrote most of this on Sunday the 7th, however I just read Jamie Todd Rubin's outstanding post yesterday about his Paperless Cloud and will rethink my Box usage and may rethink Google Drive again.  I also use iTunes Match which has been fantastic for my music library.

Crashplan - Crashplan is a backup utility that allows you to automatically backup your system with unlimited storage.  I currently have over 300GB of files, pictures, and videos backed up in the cloud.  The cost of all of this is $60 a year and I consider this cheap insurance for all of my digital valuables.  The service is fast and reliable.  They also automate backup to an external drive so that you have a local backup of your files if your internet connection goes down.

Others - 7-zipNest, Roku, Pandora, Feedly, iOS (have 7 devices in the house but I don't use a Mac), Lifehacker


Microsoft Office - I love the new Office 2013 (local version, not cloud based).  However I am not sure I want to pay to own a personal copy when I can use Google Docs to accomplish 99% of the things I do with the suite.

TrueCrypt - The best on the fly encryption around.  It is also free.  Not for the faint of heart however.  If you encrypt a drive or a file with this and forget the password, you are toast.  I use it occasionally when I need to send or store something encrypted.

Twitter - I will admit I have not figured out a way to use twitter on a day to day basis, yet.  When I am at a conference, it is indispensable.  I check it somewhat regularly and post my Nike+ running to it.  I see lots of potential, I just need to dwell on it more and find the place for it in my life.

Facebook - Use it primarily to share personal stuff with family and friends.  I have debated whether to prune my friends list down to just those that I have an ongoing friendship and/or relationship with.  At this point, I have just decided to appropriately share items with the right people through lists.

Others - IFTTT, Skype

Throw Away

Instagram - have tried it, but just don't care for it and don't see the point.  My kids are surprised to see the app on my phone.  I haven't used it in probably 2 years.  I go to the default app most of the time and import into Camera+ if I want to do some cool effects on the picture.  This might be the case of me getting too old for the technology.

Pinterest - what I have seen I like.  It also appears to be a good way to share resources with others.  This is a "I can't do everything" throw away.

AppleTV - I test drove AppleTV for our district when we were considering teacher devices and was very impressed with the easy of use and the high integration with iOS devices.  Unfortunately, Apple doesn't seem to want to commit to the device and is slow to update or add content.  The Roku is more open and is a superior device in my opinion (but lacks device integration with iOS).

Prezi - I read and hear all the buzz about Prezi.  I am definitely impressed with the product and don't mean to say anything bad about it.  Unfortunately, I have tried and tried to create a presentation using it and always end up defaulting back to the standards (Powerpoint and/or Google Presentation).
Others - Animoto, World of Warcraft (total time sink and I should, but I won't), Foursquare, MindMeister, Path

Hoard sharing

Do you have anything in your hoard that are Keep, Sell/Donate, or Throw Away that you can share?  Do you have a compelling argument for/against any of the items I have written about?  Post below in the comments. 

Photo - Hoarding for Dummies, Wes Peck