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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Storing all things digital (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tom Wong
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Manchester, United Kingdom
142 Posts

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This question is interesting as rather than dealing with physical organisation of things such as props, books & dvd's it deals with the organisation of any magic related products which are digital such as pdf's, video instructions etc.

I used to store all of my digital magic stuff straight onto the internal drive on my computer, but with a lot of hours of video and thousands of pages scattered across different pdf's I decided to go out and buy a 1TB external hardrive to keep all of my digital magic stuff.

This allows me not only to have a place to keep my existing stuff but gives me the space to back up (Download) online streaming videos, back up my dvd's so that I have a digital copy (Video file) incase one of my dvd's becomes damaged.

Now onto the actual question, how do I organise all of this data into suitable categories (Folders)?

Obviously first of all I would split everything into folders labled "Books" "Video" etc. but from there what? In terms of video I tried splitting into categories such as Cards, Coins, Mentalism etc. but these categories were to broad and didn't compensate for stuff that maybe used a mix of cards and mentalism. So I tried plot instead. For example in the Cards folder, as sub folders may be Torn & Restored, Colour change, 4 of a kind production etc. but take a recent purchase of mine, The vault by David Penn, would that belong to the plot ring flight or nest of boxes. Maybe I could try grouping depending on the creator of the effect?

The same question applies on the pdf (Book) side of thing. What do I group by?

Responses and ideas are much appreciated.

Regards,
Tom
tony4938
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Stafford, UK
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Firstly if your using an external HD I would highly recommend you use a cloud service to back it up. I save all my Magic to Dropbox which means I can access it anywhere (Internet access depending).

As for folders, everyones different. My Books are organised by Author unless its a collaboration then they are just stored as a file. I have a folder named 'effects' within that folder each effect has its own folder so the video download and any PDF (also any other stuff connected). With regards to generic effects like Ambitious card, OOTW, etc they have a folder and everything connected to that effect is stored in there. My other folder is 'videos' in there I have a folder for Lectures, in that two folders, Penguin and At the table. A folder for Sleights and moves, in there it is split down into sections (moves). everything else is just placed in there on its own, unless there is more than one video by the same person, then I create a file with the performers name.

Hope that helps.
Tom Wong
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Manchester, United Kingdom
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Quote:
On Mar 19, 2017, tony4938 wrote:
Firstly if your using an external HD I would highly recommend you use a cloud service to back it up. I save all my Magic to Dropbox which means I can access it anywhere (Internet access depending).

As for folders, everyones different. My Books are organised by Author unless its a collaboration then they are just stored as a file. I have a folder named 'effects' within that folder each effect has its own folder so the video download and any PDF (also any other stuff connected). With regards to generic effects like Ambitious card, OOTW, etc they have a folder and everything connected to that effect is stored in there. My other folder is 'videos' in there I have a folder for Lectures, in that two folders, Penguin and At the table. A folder for Sleights and moves, in there it is split down into sections (moves). everything else is just placed in there on its own, unless there is more than one video by the same person, then I create a file with the performers name.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the input.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
20015 Posts

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I hear you, I have tried to store my 60 years of magic on electronically. I have been using PaperPort for many years. Finally, they settled on a standard and it Adobe PDF format.

The problem with hard drives is they fail, and yes, I have had to terabit drives fail on the same day. I had all my magic on a Seagate 4TB external drive. Guess what, it failed and I lost a lot of material, mostly anything that was not in PaperPort format, why, I cannot answer that question, but I lost many PDF files I purchased over the Internet and did not convert to PaperPort PDF. I did not want to spend over a $100) dollars to have someone recover the lost item bite by bite, so I used a 1st attempt recover program.

Tip: Never remove a USB drive of any kind without getting permission from the your computer to do so. Do so will make your drive unreadable without a recovery program.

After this experience, I suggest you backup or copy your files using at least 3 drives and the cloud as well. Just make sure you read the fine print to see if you can maintain it for a long time. Microsoft, a few months ago reduced their 10GB Cloud to 5GB and told everyone they have to remove files if over 5GB or lose them.

As far as your files, I think if you want to find them you should just put every file in a separate folder, those folders can be within main folders. Just don't go over the 128 character title limit for long file names. Those file names can be searched, and if you convert your printed files to PDF, they can be searched as well.

You method of filing is dependent on how you think of your magic effects. I list mine by the place I got them from, then the person who's trick it is.

Such as: Abbott's Magic, tricks, book, lecture notes. Then by the person or title of the trick shortened. Video, it is best I think by the person on the video or the name of or trick.

Such as: Chis Kenner Three Fly, if you have more then on Chris Kenner trick, name a file folder Chris Kenner, then the other tricks in each file folder under his name.

That is how I do it.

Otherwise, have miscellaneous Magic folder, and list each individually within their own folder.

If you know you are going to keep them, my advice is to just put them on DVD disc, create a text document that can be read by any operating system, about what is on each disc.

All drives still die, even the Solid State drives. Just buy a good DVD mastering program and learn it, then put them on good DVD disc. Otherwise you will lose them at some point. I don't trust the Cloud, simply, because there is no telling if their company will change, and make you rush to get your files off. Plus you need a very fast Internet connection to work with large files.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Wizard of Oz
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Great advice Bill!!!

Unfortunately, DVDs degrade and aren't a long-term reliable storage medium. I learned this the hard way with some decades old family movies.

This issue is becoming so important now in the magic community since paper instructions are practically nonexistent, and DVDs following. I'm thinking the cloud is maybe the safest as industrial high-end servers are maintained (hopefully) by a knowledgeable and attentive team of technicians. Still, the paranoid survivalist in me continues to worry about a catastrophic attack (natural or man-made) to our power grid. What then?

Books. It always comes back to books.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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I hear they have archival DVDs, for long storage periods. They are suppose to last something like 50 to 100 years, if memory serves me correctly.

From what I read, black is the best for good videos. Regular DVDs are suppose to last 20 years or 1000 readings.

I am sure all this takes into account good storage methods.

I just want the information to last as long as I do, after that is does not matter anymore. I won't be around to read any of it.

The next problem beside electricity, is you need a DVD reader to view any of it, or a computer to read the information. Those DVD drives are just as poorly built as hard drives. I tried buying the considered best by computer magazines and it failed after 3 to 6 months. I now stick with LG, as I have not had any of them stop working.

Of course, we don't know what will be the next great way to read our saved information. I kind of puzzled why it has not changed already.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Ihop
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Tom,
I've been through some of the issues you mention.
I now have 3 external drives. 2, 3 and 4 TB
Years ago I transferred my home movies from VHS and Hi8 tape to DVD..
I made 2 of each as a backup and tested each one to make sure they were readable.
Back then, they had - DVDs and +DVDs..
17 years later those same DVDs aren't playable.
Thank goodness I still had the original tapes boxed away.
I'm not sure why but my guess is that the technology used to make those DVDs aren't compatible with the new DVD players.
I strongly suggest NOT to use DVDs for archival backups.
My son does this for a living and he was the one to convince me of this.
I now use my external drives.
I never had one fail. That doesn't mean it won't happen but it's much safer than DVDs.
Sure you can use the Cloud, Dropbox, Google, and countless other services but I prefer having the files in my possession.

As far as organizing your files, that's a personal preference.
What works for someone else may not work for you.
That being said, I use a mix of organizing..
Mostly by category.
For example all my sponge ball instructions and videos are in my sub folder named "sponge balls".
My invisible thread stuff goes into Levitation.
Other videos like the Bill Malone videos is a mix of different effects and I have a lot of Bill Malone files.
That goes Ito a Bill Malone sub folder.
My drives are searchable by either the name of the file or as in the case of PDF files, the contents of what is in the file.
My point is you have to name your video files so they can be found by searching.
Ihor
Bill Hegbli
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-DVDs won over +DVDs, if your DVD rom, burner, etc. cannot read the disc and you are using Windows 7, then get the update from Microsoft to fix the problem. I just learned about this, this week. Now I can read my -DVDs, instead of watching the light blink, and finally go out.

Also when purchasing a new drive look at what it will read and write. Not all drives read everything. It usually on the website details or on a little sheet or booklet with the drive.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Ihop
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Bill,
My DVDs were not burnt on a PC. It was made on a standalone JVC VHS to DVD RECORDER.
Many others that I have spoke to are having similar problems.
Microsoft Windows was not involved in any way since I am playing my old DVDs on a DVD PLAYER hooked up,directly to a TV.
I tried BluRay, standard players, and the original VHS to DVD recorder.
That was the purpose of making the DVDs. So,they can be watched on a TV. Rather than on a computer.
I don't USE Windows.
I am a Mac user.
I owned a video business and have quite a bit of experience.
But thank you anyway.
Ihor
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Okay, I threw out my TV and installed a Hauppauge TV card, so my computer is a complete multimedia device. I even hook up my VHS and do all converting through the computer. So I sometimes think that is how others play their entertainment devices.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
TheRaven
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You can put all the content in one folder. Create an index in a spreadsheet with info on author, title, topic, etc and just search the index to find the file name. Better yet, instead of an index, create a library catalog using free online tools like https://www.libib.com/
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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A relational database program like Microsoft Access, is perfect, but learning and assembling the database is more work, and time consuming, then would be logical. I over 10,000 instructions, magazines, videos, books, lecture notes. that would take a very long time to categorize then I have time left on the planet.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Steadyhands
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For many years I used catalog software from FNProgramvare. He did Books, Video/DVD, and Music catalog software using a MS Access DB with his own front end. Unfortunately he stopped developing these a few years ago and now only releases the occasional bug fix. Collectorz touted themselves as a alternative but I've not migrated as FNProgramvare's programs still work.

For eBooks and PDFs I've moved to Calibre. I've been a Calibre user for 6 years now and it continues to get better and better. Calibre will convert to and from all of the common eBook formats. Another really useful feature is the ability to manage the content on your phone or tablet from within Calibre. Calibre can push the tags and keyword metadata into ePub, Mobi PDF and other formats. This means they are visible to your reading software. So I'm happy with my solution for eBooks, but I've not done much in the space of Video/DVD.
Ihop
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I've been using Filemaker Pro as a database for over 20 years. It's much easier than MS Access (which I also used for a short while) and is compatible for both Windows and Mac OS.
You can set it up for inventory, book catalog, DVD, videos, magic inventory, customers, schedule, etc.etc.
Each one is a separate database but can be linked to work with any other if desired. The options are limitless.
Of course you have to learn how to use it but it's not difficult if you're into that sort of thing.
Lynda's tutorials are a pleasure to learn from.
Ihor
Tom Wong
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For the best results with converting .pdf's to a more kindle friendly format I recommend k2pdfopt.
Ahlichs
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I have a small number of top level folders: books, DVDs, effects, lectures​, moves. And then I keep an index file where I'll have little sections for topics I want to look up later and what files contain material on that topic. So when I but a new DVD, I rip it (I don't trust optical media anymore), and on my first watch I'll throw some entries into the index.
zachwyman
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Another option for backups is Amazon Cloud Drive. This allows for unlimited storing of media.
Tukaram
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I have a lot files I keep synchronized over my PC, laptop, and 2 external drives (family photos, music, DVDs, documents, magic). It seems excessive, even to me, but I have lost some important files over the years and would rather be safe than sorry. Any trick I buy that comes with a DVD gets an iso rip immediately, for backup. I quickly outgrew any free online storage, and would rather own my external drives than pay for a service.

Organizing them can be a tough call. In my Magic folder I have many subfolders: balloons, cards, coins, iso, kids, rings, silks etc. Some of the folders, like kid magic, have multiple subfolders as well. Some of the things do not fit neatly into one category and get their own folder, E.g. Pop Haydn, TKO, and Misc Lectures & Notes (that is my messy folder) Surprisingly, when I am looking for a particular file, I can usually find it right away ha ha

I use the program Beyond Compare to manage my syncs.
Tom Wong
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Manchester, United Kingdom
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Quote:
On May 25, 2017, Tukaram wrote:
I have a lot files I keep synchronized over my PC, laptop, and 2 external drives (family photos, music, DVDs, documents, magic). It seems excessive, even to me, but I have lost some important files over the years and would rather be safe than sorry. Any trick I buy that comes with a DVD gets an iso rip immediately, for backup. I quickly outgrew any free online storage, and would rather own my external drives than pay for a service.

Organizing them can be a tough call. In my Magic folder I have many subfolders: balloons, cards, coins, iso, kids, rings, silks etc. Some of the folders, like kid magic, have multiple subfolders as well. Some of the things do not fit neatly into one category and get their own folder, E.g. Pop Haydn, TKO, and Misc Lectures & Notes (that is my messy folder) Surprisingly, when I am looking for a particular file, I can usually find it right away ha ha

I use the program Beyond Compare to manage my syncs.

Thanks for the input.
AceOfJokers
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In the past I've tried backups, as well as backups of backups. Now I just store everything on iCloud.
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