Cyber-flinging…

No, I don’t mean getting to hurl your computer across the room, no matter how much the idea appeals to you!

Let’s fling files, and junk mail and old, out of date folders. This could get messy, folks— make sure you are paying attention, because you don’t want to lose something important.

First, email. Junk mail, advertisements, message board memberships, forwarded jokes and the like.

Have more than one email address!! It doesn’t have to be with your internet service—Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail— there are plenty of places to open free accounts. Choose the one (or more) that works the way you like. Open a second or third account. You can make it easy on yourself and just call it “Firstname.LastName1” (Mary.Smith1, Mary.Smith2, etc) Why?

Because the next time you go to a store, or fill out some survey or buy online, you can use the address that you choose to be for marketing purposes. You want this to be different than the one you give to family and friends. You should check it often, for special sales and such, (and who doesn’t love a sale!!) but it won’t clutter your daily, personal email. If you are newly doing this, then every time you receive some sale message, IF YOU STILL WANT TO RECEIVE MAIL FROM THEM, go to their site and change your address.

Second, DO you still want to receive mail from them? You ordered a sweater for a gift from a company you don’t normally shop at, and now they bombard you daily? Unsubscribe!! Usually right at the bottom of the message, you have a link. (A low-impact way to do this is what I have been doing. Each day, at least ONE piece of marketing email is either unsubscribed or re-subscribed to a different box.)

If you are a member on a message board, can your Email program sort these messages into folders, so you can read at your leisure? If so, take the time to set them up properly. If not, consider changing programs!!!

Then, take a look at the message boards themselves. Are you not really involved in all of them? Remove your membership! Don’t be a slave to it. Choose those that fit best.

Now, onto the harder stuff.

(All the following assumes you have a good command of your computer, and I am unable to give precise direction as so many things are different….)

Your C drive—is it sluggish and slow? Do you have folder after folder of writing, memos, and other files just cluttered here and there? Do you NEED them any longer? (Itinerary for a trip taken two years back? At best, print it and store with your photos and other souvenirs. You haven’t printed the photos yet? Store the file in a folder labeled Archives-Various.)

Remember, use the folders to your advantage, just like a real filing cabinet. Make the categories relevant and useful to YOU, and FLING the stuff that is out of date!

CAVAETS:

  1. Do not go digging into places you shouldn’t be. Be careful that your flinging doesn’t go so overboard that you need to call in the computer repair person of your choice to put you back together!!!! (While MY computer repair person seems to think nothing of 11PM house calls, yours may not…)
  2. PHOTOS. Don’t just fling. And, by the way, this could take TIME!!!! Take a break. Work a bit at a time. It didn’t get this way in a week, you probably can’t undo it in a week.

PHOTOS: Make sure all your photos are in one folder on C.

Then, make additional folders and label by year (2010, 2009, etc).

Inside each year folder, make a month folder ( 2009-JAN, 2009-FEB, etc)

Gather all photos that are on C, sort by DATE TAKEN. Select all images taken in Feb of 2009 and move to C:Pictures/2009/2009-FEB. (At this moment we are sorting; you don’t need to look at images for whether they are worth keeping. That can come later. Once you have established a system, however, you shouldn’t put ‘bad’ photos in it.)

Do this for all the photos you have. Make a file for photos others have sent you/things you have collected online, etc.

If you find that in May of 2009 you went to cousin Jim’s wedding and took a lot of photos, you can make a folder called 2009-MAY_JimWedding and put those photos in there ( C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY/2009-MAY_JimWedding) The rest of the photos taken in May will simply stay in C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY. You can do this for any special occasion, vacation, etc, where you have a good number of photos of a particular subject (that cutie pie grandchild for example!)

Continue until all photos are in folders, by year and month.

Using your photo viewer, (of whatever type you use, I can’t give specific direction) look at everything, and do this,folder by slow folder:

Fling any photo that is obviously out of focus, dark, blurry, or otherwise an epic fail. If it is with the subjects eyes closed, and the photo following has their eyes open. If the group shot was taken 13 times, save the 2 or 3 that are ok. Do you have images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin. If someone’s expression is good only for blackmail, either blackmail them already or fling it. Not so quickly, however, with photos of YOU. Don’t edit yourself out of the family by being overly critical of images of yourself. Your grandchildren will thank you.

The only reason to save a really bad image is—IT IS THE ONLY PHOTOGRAPH YOU HAVE OF THE EVENT OR THE PERSON. AND IT HAS GREAT HISTORIC SIGNIFANCE. See, that eliminates most of the reasons for saving the bad ones.

Now, Rename the images you have saved. Select all images, and sort by date taken. Find your select all/rename option and call all the images you just sorted through and found worthy: 2009-MAY_JimWedding The program will add a number to the end of that for you automatically.

Next, do photo editing if you do such a thing, burn CD, order prints, send to family, BACK UP images.

Is there any image you would like to print?  Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Important images? Maybe  burn a CD that will stay in someone else’s home as well.

Also, create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… Smugmug is my choice. I am thrilled with all the options I have there. My account is at the pro level, but you can purchase lower level accounts (less bells and whistles, but still same storage facilities and ability to print.) Use this coupon code  and save $5.00 if you choose to go with them. PMfvFGKyQzxgg

Whatever you do, don’t trust the fact that you have never had a computer crash. In this age of digital cameras, and every moment being recorded, we have a true opportunity to end up with no images if we are cavalier about their care and storage. Old negatives may be shoved into the backs of dresser drawers, and get scratched and stick together, but they can still be printed. A file, lost in the computer, if not backed up, no longer exists if you haven’t at least printed it, or emailed it to someone or burned a CD/DVD or backed it up in cyber-space.

Now, a quick note about access, then I will leave you alone. Images you have shot belong to YOU. You possess the COPYRIGHT and control whether other people may print it or borrow it, or put it up on their blog. Just as you go to my photo account, you will find you can’t right click and save. Those images are MINE.

Be careful if you are storing/backing up your images someplace like Flickr/Picassa Web/Photobucket/Facebook—the more descriptors you put on the images, the more opportunities you provide for someone to steal your images. You don’t want someone’s innocent child to have photos taken and used in ways that are not appropriate. Choosing a place that has passwords, and that the general public can’t just peer around in is something to consider.

Oh, and by the way? You need to do this to ALL your computers. Good luck!

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