Information Management is Hard

I’m curious what PacketU readers are using for information management. Do you use a single ubiquitous storage mechanism or app (like Box or Evernote)? Or perhaps you have a specific (perhaps local) solutions for sensitive nature of information? Maybe you approach this as a “best of breed” application?

Information Management

It seems like I struggle quite a bit with organization and I’m curious how others address these challenges.

I’d love to hear from you, so share your thoughts by commenting below.

Disclaimer: This article includes the independent thoughts, opinions, commentary or technical detail of Paul Stewart. This may or may does not reflect the position of past, present or future employers.

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About Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security)

Paul is a Network and Security Engineer, Trainer and Blogger who enjoys understanding how things really work. With over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, Paul has helped many organizations build, maintain and secure their networks and systems.
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2 Responses to Information Management is Hard

  1. As much as I’d love to have some brilliantly-designed organization system, I end up just gravitating to what I can stick with (and search through). The most important thing for me is to be able to remember where to search for something. I have loose mental categories of “files” and “notes.”

    Files: Dropbox for personal stuff, Box for professional (my company uses Box). I recently upgraded to Dropbox Pro and am starting to move larger directories into it (ebooks, photos, app installers). I also let Dropbox grab all my screenshots. For machines with less storage, I have a machine specific “drop” folder and a Hazel rule on my primary machine that moves files from those folders into a “to sort” folder that doesn’t get synced elsewhere. I’m currently checking out Expandrive which lets me use Dropbox and Box as if they were locally mounted drives without actually downloading the files to my local drive.

    Everything that’s not synced I just find via Spotlight or Finder.

    Notes: Evernote. I don’t generally keep files in Evernote except for pictures (usually pictures of text), scans, and PDFs that I mentally classify as “searchable text” or something I’d want to keep in a filing cabinet were it on paper. Receipts, travel documents, articles, technical references, cheat sheets, home inventory, the occasional email – there’s tons of stuff there. If it’s a working document or a larger text file (like a manual or a book), that goes into Dropbox. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving my work notes into OneNote just for the separation, but I don’t know that it would be worth the effort.

    Email mostly just stays on my mail server (Google or Exchange). It’s maybe not the best solution from a security or data preservation standpoint, but I haven’t found a better way to keep a searchable index of my mail.

    Sensitive information goes into 1Password, but if I start having reason to store files that don’t fit my mental 1Password category, I’ll use an encrypted disk image in Dropbox.

    Photos: I’m not yet sure about. I’ve been using iPhoto for a long time which, for several reasons including slowness, I’m not always a huge fan of, but every time I try to migrate to something else I end up being dissatisfied with it.

    Of course I have tons of other services with a few bits of data tossed here and there because I can’t help but try out every new things I come across, but in the end, I generally stick to a small set of tools. I’ll also note that I’ve spent a decent amount of time looking to migrate to solutions that would work across all major platforms (OS X, iOS, Windows, Linux, Android), but I think it’s been a waste of time. I work more efficiently with the platforms I know well and the apps that I think work best. Availability on my desktop, laptop, phone, and web covers 99.9% of my needs and saves me from picking a less-ideal service just because it also supports a platform I’m not actually forced to use.

  2. J. David FIG says:

    Evernote is my app of choice and I use it for everything for my job and all aspects of my personal life. Need a copy of my homeowners insurance? Sure…I’ve got it right here on Evernote. What was the MetroE trouble ticket I worked last week for a customer in Omaha? Give me a sec…I’ve got it here in my Evernote. I need to re-read the article on VRF’s…I have them on my Evernote.

    I still struggle a bit on organization; however, I’ve come to realize that organization of my “life” if a living, breathing thing. I usually spend 5-10 every morning sorting through & organizing my notes.

    The cross-platform of Evernote is important to me…especially the “Clearly” Chrome extension.

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