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gazumped

DropIt! - Keeping files and folders organised... (Windows only - sorry...)

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It's nice to have some help to move files around,  and maybe rename them,  archive them,  maybe even create a reading (or a review) list.  I normally suggest Belvedere for this task,  which is an old-ish app based on an AHK script that mainly used to move files from one location (usually my scanner destination folder) into an Import folder appropriate to the name of the file.  Basically it filed my edited scanning for me.

Seems like there's a new sheriff in town however.  I just found DropIt!  (The exclamation point is entirely me - sorry..) 

"Drop a group of different files and folders on the floating DropIt image and it sorts them to defined destination folders, compresses or extracts them, opens them with associated programs or performs other defined actions." (From the website)

It will:

ScreenClip.thumb.png.36bda44fa77d478df8ab897ff8d0772f.png

If (my) Evernote is to be believed,  I actually knew about this app in 2011,  but I only installed and used it in anger a few days ago.  I don't even recall who gave me the link now (sorry again) but I just dropped about 100 files into the icon on my desktop and for each new file type was asked (effectively) "what should I do with this?".  PDF files over a certain size can go direct to a cloud drive now - and I'll see whether I can add a 'packing list' to attach to a note so I know exactly what is where.  Other files with keywords in the title can go to my default notebook import folder,  or to my local notebook 'receipts' folder,  or to... wherever.

I'm proceeding slowly to minimise unexpected outcomes,  but it's very easy to script actions at my beginner level,  and the app is clearly capable of a great deal more.  I'd definitely suggest having a look at it - it took ages to get through the initial list - though I've had live assistants that would have taken longer to get the system in their head - but the next time I drop a bunch of files I just have to deal with a few new queries.

My progress towards Worlds Laziest Man is already on target for this year

:)

 

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Ah yes, DropIt. Played with it years ago. Not sure why I went with Belvedere instead.

Why were you looking for something else? What's the thing that makes you switch from Belvedere to Dropit?

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DropIt seems to have had a redesign a couple of months ago - maybe that's why we both passed on it some time ago.  I wasn't looking especially - just saw this (I now remember) in one of those wonderful '40 best apps of 2017' lists while I was deleting it with other emails.  For the rest,  I was already using the software or didn't care about the offered features but DropIt was the only Belvedere-style app that I've seen in a long while;  so I enquired within...

As to its killer feature,  I was testing it out quickly,  so dropped a few random (and disposable) files on the icon and got the "whaddye want me to do with this?" pop-up.  Following through with the dialogue I found I could assign common actions from drop-downs and code (a lot) more options into dialogues - much easier (IMHO) than Belvedere,  and pretty fail-safe.  It's newer than Belvedere,  which hasn't (AFAIK) been updated in years,  and it will do more,  and I got it up and sorting files within a few minutes of installing it.  I'm pretty sure I'm using only a small corner of its capacities,  but having gone (almost) paperless,  I'm still left with a hard drive full of random stuff that should be archived or trashed - most of my active stuff is in the Cloud with Evernote and various drives.  Things get moved off the HD from time to time as I find and update them,  but I really need to sort through and streamline all my storage,  and this seems like a tool I could use to do it much more efficiently.

YMMV!

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HI gazumped,

Just out of interest.  I know that you keep most of your stuff on Evernote.  Therefore, I was interested in how you were using Belvedere and/or Dropit?  For example, in my case almost every file that I generate needs to get stored somewhere in Evernote.  For example, if I receive a pdf "Gas Bill" it would get put into "Add to Evernote" which is the default folder that puts everything into my EN Inbox.  From there I have to move the Gas Bill to the relevant note, tag or notebook that it needs to be in.  This is about 95% of my filing activities so not sure how these 3rd party apps could help.  

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Tried it again and having the same pleasant results as you, @gazumped -- a keeper.

@idoc when I scan to Evernote I rename the file inside Evernote (so an export later on will have sensible file names) and then save that same file in my "PAPERS" folder in Dropbox. As my naming practice is yyyy-mm-dd [type] [from] [to] a program like Dropit can do the organizing for me.

Other example: I like to collect wallpaper/photos. Here too I follow a naming pattern. Use a program like Dropit and it can go immediately to the right folder.

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4 minutes ago, ruudhein said:

when I scan to Evernote I rename the file inside Evernote (so an export later on will have sensible file names and then save that same file in my "PAPERS" folder in Dropbox. As my naming practice is yyyy-mm-dd [type] [from] [to] a program like Dropit can do the organizing for me.

I'm curious about the duplicate save    Evernote & Dropbox

When I save a scan to Evernote, I'm done with it;  the file is deleted

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10 hours ago, DTLow said:

I'm curious about the duplicate save    Evernote & Dropbox

As I wrote, long ago, in Sharing Digital Memories:

Quote

As soon as we start to store information on the application level through integration with a database, we risk data loss through obsolescence of the application.

It’s not that the final storage place becomes obsolete but rather that it starts to demand that the next generation are geeks with intimate knowledge of how this application stored information where and how — and how to get that information out.

A good example is Evernote[4] which when installed as a local application stores its data in a SQLite database. For geeks it’s trivial to 1) find this out, 2) realize you need a SQL browser of some sort, and finally 3) to find such a SQL browser without being ripped off and to effectively use it to export the information.

Are you absolutely sure your children will be such geeks?

It becomes necessary to export to a more standard file format or to prepare for it — and to possibly prepare such export paths and detailed information. More on that, detailed information, later on.

The file system is the best place for file storage. It scales infinitely. Most anyone knows how to access it and barring disk corruption, file extraction is a breeze.

You and I, we live in Evernote and are intimately familiar with it. The ones after us? Our wives, husbands, (grand)children; maybe not so much.

I have a premium Dropbox account of 1 TB. That is mirrored on my external hard disk. I can make a 1-on-1 copy of that hard disk simply by copying the folder; something the ones after me can do too. Access to that drive is guaranteed, even while I may have forgotten to update my Evernote password entry in my End Of Life document.

Leaving instructions on how to keep that data alive (how to back it up regularly) is trivial compared to Evernote.

This is also why I name files the way I do, following the philosophy of Scott Dart, the then manager of what was called Windows Live: The Truth Is In The File:

Quote

[...] our goal is “the truth is in the file”. That means that metadata you apply to your photos is part of the photo, and available to any application that knows how to read it

 By naming a file yyyy-mm--dd [type] [from] [to] any changes on the filesystem, such as created date, are irrelevant because the filename itself still carries the information.

Now, doesn't a simple Evernote export achieve the same thing? Yes and no. Yes, it writes to the file system. No, it's no longer logically arranged in such a way people can simply browse a well laid out folder tree.

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2 hours ago, ruudhein said:

It becomes necessary to export to a more standard file format or to prepare for it

I'll take a look at your article to see if I missed anything in my backups

  • I use a cloud drive 
  • Using Evernote's export feature, I have a parallel database in html format.
    • Its a flat file structure; no folders; no sql
    • The files duplicate Evernote notes with the same note titles
  • The tags are embedded in the notes; I'm working on converting them to external tags
  • In addition to the notes in html format, I use attachments in pdf and image formats.  
    My thinking is these formats are ubiquious and future proof

>>it's no longer logically arranged in such a way people can simply browse a well laid out folder tree.

This has been much discussed in the forums.  I'm sticking with Tags for organization.
I note that most OS file systems have added support for tags

>>my naming practice is yyyy-mm-dd [type] [from] [to]

I use a similar convention with my Evernote note titles

 

 

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14 hours ago, idoc said:

how you were using Belvedere and/or Dropit?

Hi idoc - similar to ruudhein,  I scan all my documents to a folder on my hard drive and then do my editing,  which is usually 'just' a rename of the file and then a manual OCR. (Separate discussion,  I know others use ScanSnaps built in OCR to do that on the fly,  and I did try that for a while;  but somehow the results just didn't seem as good..).  Renaming goes yyyymmdd (of the document) - type (receipt / letter / user-guide) - source or subject (a name or a device) - keywords (whatever seems relevant...).  Then I'd dump the files into another folder for Belvedere to look at.

Belvedere was (is still) set up to look at one folder and sort through the contents based on filename,  moving different files to different Import Folders to sort them into Evernote.  In some cases they get archived or saved elsewhere.  From time to time I'd also use the app to sort through other folders and move (for example) PDF files into one folder or onto a thumb drive for easy transport.  Not hard to set up over time,  but it was complex in execution.  Also the software is a bit old now*;  I didn't know how long it would continue to keep up with Windows so new ideas were always interesting.

DropIt now - all I needed to do was drag and drop my Scans folder onto the icon.  I immediately get prompts that "random.pdf file detected - no associations for this file; would you like to create one?"  Answer 'yes' and I have the option to move all PDF files to a location,  or check for all files with 'receipt' in the title for one location,  and all files with 'user guide' to another...

I'm still just finding out how granular I can be with my file management,  but it's looking very positive.

Like ruudhein,  I'm also beginning to think about legacy use..  none of us are immortal and while I have easy access to all my important documents,  my family are - let's just say talented in other ways(!!)**. 

So I think the answer may very well be to duplicate my essential documents in Evernote (easy enough to update from time to time) and move them to an easy-access folder (with the right passwords) somewhere on my home network.  DropIt will help with that too.

* It's based on AHK so I don't know whether ongoing updates to that software would affect it's currency...??

** I do have a grandson who shows some promise,  but that's a long term project of uncertain outcome ;)

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3 hours ago, gazumped said:

and then a manual OCR. (Separate discussion,  I know others use ScanSnaps built in OCR to do that on the fly,  and I did try that for a while;  but somehow the results just didn't seem as good..)

Could you provide details on your manual OCR process
I'm relying on Evernote's OCR/Search process.  It covers pdfs and images, including handwriting
I have no idea on how good it is comparatively, and I know I lose the OCR data in my backups

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

Could you provide details on your manual OCR process

Sorry for the imprecise description - when I got my ScanSnap some considerable while ago,  it came with ABBYY (it said) as the built-in OCR processor,  but -for some reason- the package also included Adobe Acrobat 9 for editing.  In the 'early days' of OCR,  allowing the scanner to copy and then process was a much longer process (well - 30 seconds or so) than just a scan.  So I got into the habit of scanning non-searchable PDFs,  then using the process in Adobe to import a bunch of files for 'batch' scanning. 

Cal pointed out to me some time ago that there were updates to ScanSnap that made the process much faster,  so I switched back to 'inline' OCR for a while.  There were two drawbacks - every so often I fudge up a scan and need to add or remove pages from the file,  and from time to time I seemed unable to find documents that I had recently scanned.  So I switched back to my original process:  scan to folder / mess with the files as necessary / drop the folder content into Adobe to OCR,  then (via DropIt and one or more Import Folders) into Evernote.

Haven't been aware of being unable to find a scanned file since.  I OCR locally (mostly) so I'm sure it's been done - there are obviously occasions when I save from a mobile or save a picture when I rely on Evernote to do the job.

Sounds a bit clunky now I list it out,  but it works for me.   ;)

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I agree that the snap scan OCR process is slower and clunkier than Adobe Acrobat.  I routinely OCR hundreds of pages a month and have experimented widely with both work flows.  By far, the best for me is to scan my pages into a file which I then batch OCR with Acrobat.  The file is saved to a "holding folder" on my C drive.  I then rename the file with the appropriate EN type nomenclature and save it to my EN import folder.  The reason why I like this work flow is that I like to preview and name the file before I send it to EN.  Also, it is not uncommon that I think that I have saved a file to EN and then discover that it never arrived (probably error on my part).  I never panic when that happens because I can always find a copy of it in my temporary holding folder (although it will be named by date of scan and not the name I assigned it when I sent it to EN).

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4 hours ago, gazumped said:

Hi idoc - similar to ruudhein,  I scan all my documents to a folder on my hard drive and then do my editing,  which is usually 'just' a rename of the file and then a manual OCR. (Separate discussion,  I know others use ScanSnaps built in OCR to do that on the fly,  and I did try that for a while;  but somehow the results just didn't seem as good..).  Renaming goes yyyymmdd (of the document) - type (receipt / letter / user-guide) - source or subject (a name or a device) - keywords (whatever seems relevant...).  Then I'd dump the files into another folder for Belvedere to look at.

Belvedere was (is still) set up to look at one folder and sort through the contents based on filename,  moving different files to different Import Folders to sort them into Evernote.  In some cases they get archived or saved elsewhere.  From time to time I'd also use the app to sort through other folders and move (for example) PDF files into one folder or onto a thumb drive for easy transport.  Not hard to set up over time,  but it was complex in execution.  Also the software is a bit old now*;  I didn't know how long it would continue to keep up with Windows so new ideas were always interesting.

DropIt now - all I needed to do was drag and drop my Scans folder onto the icon.  I immediately get prompts that "random.pdf file detected - no associations for this file; would you like to create one?"  Answer 'yes' and I have the option to move all PDF files to a location,  or check for all files with 'receipt' in the title for one location,  and all files with 'user guide' to another...

I'm still just finding out how granular I can be with my file management,  but it's looking very positive.

Like ruudhein,  I'm also beginning to think about legacy use..  none of us are immortal and while I have easy access to all my important documents,  my family are - let's just say talented in other ways(!!)**. 

So I think the answer may very well be to duplicate my essential documents in Evernote (easy enough to update from time to time) and move them to an easy-access folder (with the right passwords) somewhere on my home network.  DropIt will help with that too.

* It's based on AHK so I don't know whether ongoing updates to that software would affect it's currency...??

** I do have a grandson who shows some promise,  but that's a long term project of uncertain outcome ;)

Very interesting.  I appreciate the feedback.  I have the exact same "talented" family as you do and have had to plan accordingly.  One of the things that I have always done with EN is using a single note to store large numbers of related pdf's.  For example, I have a single note called "Gas Bills".  This note is where I dump every single gas bill pdf that I receive.  After each year I combine the 12 pdf's into one annual pdf eg: Gas Bill 2017 and delete the other 12.  I've been doing this for years so I now may have a pdf called "Gas Bill 2008-2017" and am now starting on the monthly gas bills for 2018.  The bottom line is that I have grouped all my pdf's into dedicated notes rather than spreading them around EN with tags and names etc.  The advantage is that if I want to take 20 pdf's from one note and combine them, I simply right click on the note and select "Save Attachments".  All the pdf's are then copied to a temporary folder where I can quickly and easily have Acrobat combine them into a single file.  Or I can choose to copy them over to Gdrive or any other folder.  This would not have been possible if I had saved every single bill, statement, scan etc to it's own seperate note (which most of us do).

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2 hours ago, idoc said:

One of the things that I have always done with EN is using a single note to store large numbers of related pdf's.

I don't see the benefit of a consolidated note

Using your Gas Bill example; I would have tag:GasBill   also tag:Budget-Utilities

Searching with tag:GasBill retrieves all my gas bill notes
Since I prefixed the title with the billing date, sorting by title gives me the bills in the correct date sequence

Or I can search on tag:Budget-Utilities my utility bills sorted by date

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I think the advantage is as was described by my previous post.  I like to have 10  years of gas bills all in one note.  It's very easy to do and there is absolutely no downside to it.  I can store many years worth of statements by combining them in acrobat into fairly small files.  10 years of gas bills is about 2 MB.  In my business I deal with over 100 vendors.  I have a seperate note for each one and every vendor statement is in that dedicated vendor note.  If I want to see the statements for vendor X I simply go to his note and can see 20-30 pdfs all in a row.  If it gets a little messy, I will use Acrobat to combine them.  My entire business can be conducted by skimming through 100 notes as opposed to thousands of notes, tags, titles etc.  One of the advantages of the one note structure is that you can never make a mistake ie: if you get a cable bill, you simply copy it into the note dedicated to cable bills.  However, if you are titling, tagging, dating, sorting you need to be very meticulous to avoid mistakes.  With my one note per vendor system it's hard to make mistakes and the mistakes will be reflected within the note itself eg: I may have placed the November cable bill after the December one instead of before (I'll spot the misplaced pdf immediately rather than looking at different notes).  Finally, the one note system makes it very easy to provide concatenated data eg: while installing solar panels I was asked by a company to provide 3 years worth of electric bills.  I was able to go to my one note containing all the electric bills, "save attachments", combine with acrobat and then send that one big pdf (all done within 2 minutes).  It would have required several more steps if I had spread my pdf's around 50 individual notes.

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8 hours ago, DTLow said:

>>it's no longer logically arranged in such a way people can simply browse a well laid out folder tree.

This has been much discussed in the forums.  I'm sticking with Tags for organization.
I note that most OS file systems have added support for tags

Not sure how it works on Mac, but on Windows an Evernote export will not tag those files; the tags are just text in the HTML files. The attachments are stored in folders with the corresponding names of the HTML file. So if you export 10,000 notes with attachments, you have 10,000 HTML files, sorted alphabetically, with 10,000 folders. For the people who come after me, that's not really helpful. Hence my double-saving :)

@gazumped I have "convert to searchable PDF" enabled (ScanSnap 1300) and it seems fast and sort of between adequate and accurate.

3 hours ago, idoc said:

After each year I combine the 12 pdf's into one annual pdf eg: Gas Bill 2017 and delete the other 12.  I've been doing this for years so I now may have a pdf called "Gas Bill 2008-2017" and am now starting on the monthly gas bills for 2018.

What's the filesize of the combined note? I try to keep my notes small. Partially because the larger the database, the slower things seem to become (with locally installed software), and partially because I have noticed before that when you downgrade your account, large notes can be an issue syncing.

 

39 minutes ago, idoc said:

10 years of gas bills is about 2 MB

Ah! Saw your update.

Very nice setup. Also, instead of having 120 HTML files + 120 folders with 120 files, you have one HTML file + folder + attachment. Very interesting!  

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15 hours ago, ruudhein said:

Not sure how it works on Mac, but on Windows an Evernote export will not tag those files; the tags are just text in the HTML files.

It's the same on a Mac, the tags are text in the file.  
My plan is to use an Applescript to extract the tag text and apply it as a file tag

In the meantime, the embedded tag is of use as a search field.

>>So if you export 10,000 notes with attachments, you have 10,000 HTML files, sorted alphabetically, with 10,000 folders. For the people who come after me, that's not really helpful. Hence my double-saving 

If I implement @idoc's workflow in merging notes and consolidating PDFs, I'll get the numbers pared down.  Maybe a dozen or so notes  ;)

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3 hours ago, ruudhein said:

Not sure how it works on Mac, but on Windows an Evernote export will not tag those files; the tags are just text in the HTML files. The attachments are stored in folders with the corresponding names of the HTML file. So if you export 10,000 notes with attachments, you have 10,000 HTML files, sorted alphabetically, with 10,000 folders. For the people who come after me, that's not really helpful. Hence my double-saving :)

@gazumped I have "convert to searchable PDF" enabled (ScanSnap 1300) and it seems fast and sort of between adequate and accurate.

What's the filesize of the combined note? I try to keep my notes small. Partially because the larger the database, the slower things seem to become (with locally installed software), and partially because I have noticed before that when you downgrade your account, large notes can be an issue syncing.

 

Ah! Saw your update.

Very nice setup. Also, instead of having 120 HTML files + 120 folders with 120 files, you have one HTML file + folder + attachment. Very interesting!  

I do have a couple of notes that have massive pdf files in them.  For example, we service 40 clients a day and scan their billing sheets every month into a note.  Therefore, that note will have 800 pages every month.  Acrobat can scan and compress this into about 35MB.  I totally agree with your observation that large files makes EN slower and can cause sync malfunctions, so when I combine these massive files I upload the older ones that I don't need directly into Gdrive and leave a little placeholder in the now empty EN note to let me know where I put them.  For example,  the Jan 2017-April 2017 note is now empty but it directs the user to a 140MB file that was moved to Gdrive.

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On 2018-01-10 at 2:41 AM, ruudhein said:

Are you absolutely sure your children will be such geeks?

 

On 2018-01-10 at 5:30 AM, gazumped said:

my family are - let's just say talented in other ways(!!)

I like the family descriptions, and am taking no chances with my digital legacy.  They may not be the sharpest crayons in the box, but I'm trusting my family can handle a web url.

On my demise, the family will receive a web link to an Evernote document that outlines my digital setup and passwords.  It identifies key documents (also Evernote web links) in a well ordered outline layout

I have this set up on a digital deadman switch.  It triggers if I haven't updated my daily journal (in Evernote) for 5 days.

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40 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I have this set up on a digital deadman switch.  It triggers if I haven't updated my daily journal (in Evernote) for 5 days.

You recently mentioned this setup, if I'm right.

Is that a locally running script? Didn't you mention an email service too?

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5 minutes ago, ruudhein said:

You recently mentioned this setup, if I'm right.

Is that a locally running script? Didn't you mention an email service too?

I have an Applescript running daily on a Mac Mini

The discussion was here

 

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