Consolidation, digitally speaking.

One of the biggest challenges to downsizing is consolidation. There are going to be items to store, and the accessibility of those items is going to be very limited. There are three things that I have found needlessly take excess room.

The first is paperwork. With few exception (car titles, diplomas, etc), this is fairly easily dealt with if you own a scanner. I have devised a system where I scan a document as PDF to either a temporary location on my computer or on a small USB drive on the scanner (which then gets moved to the temp location on my computer). In the temp location, I run Optical Character Recognition on the files to make them searchable (on MacOS, this is internal but requires a bit to add this ability to Windows, and I have yet to experiment with Linux in this respect). From there, they are synced to my Microsoft OneDrive account to access on all of my devices. The originals? They’re shredded if they have personal information, or simply recycled.

Next is CDs. For us, right now, this isn’t too much of a problem as I’ve already used iTunes and other CD ripping software over the years to make sure we have digital copies of our music. The originals have to be stored in this case, otherwise the digital copies aren’t legal.

The most challenging has to be our DVD collection. Like the CDs, you have to keep the originals, bu they take up much more room. Making digital copies is easy with products such as Handbrake or MakeMKV (the latter of which is what I’ve been using).

Accessing the movies in this case is quite a bit more difficult because 1) the preferable viewing device in this case is a TV, and 2) the video files take up much more digital space compared to CDs. This is where Plex comes in.

plex-logo-banner-1

Plex is a cross-platform media server and client. Since it has a Linux version for the server, I was able to install it with no problems on my openSUSE Leap server (which I’ll detail in another post). As for client, since we own a Roku Streaming Stick, it was a breeze. The Roku was able to auto-detect the server without issues.

I’ve been ripping the DVDs with my Mac Pro and placing the files on a dedicated hard drive for media on the server. Eventually I’ll put our music collection on it as well since this will make playing music in the RV easy as well.

Unfortunately, I can’t rip our Blu Ray collection since that would require a Blu Ray drive, but perhaps eventually. In the meantime, we’ll have to keep the Blu Ray discs out of storage.

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