Managing personal digital information is crucial in this day and age. These materials can include digital photographs and videos, documents, e-mail, website passwords, and quick notes.
In this post, I will go over four apps or services that will help you become a Pro on managing you data. It may not necessarily work for everyone in every situation. Nevertheless, they do help in consolidating the information and manageable format.
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Document Data Management
Over the years (with kids) we have been accumulating over 250 GB of digital photos and videos. I was storing them in a 1TB external hard drive attached to my router. All our documents and digital files were stored on it as well. The solution worked with access on every computer at home. However, the moment we stepped out of the home network, I could not access them. I started looking for a cloud solution which brought me to various online storage solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. None had a free option to completely consolidate all the data. I finally settled on OneDrive by subscribing to Office 365 subscription. The subscription provided me 1TB online storage with advanced security. Once installed on your computer, it synchronized real time when any file changes were detected. Using the OneDrive app on my smartphone, it allowed me to scan documents and save them directly to the drive.
The one additional selling point in the subscription was that it also provided me licenses for Office Suite which allowed me to install MS Office on up to 5 PC’s, tablets and smartphones. At the time of this writing, the annual subscription was $69.99 for a single user.
Financial Data Management
With more than 20 accounts spread over my bank accounts, investments and bills, it becomes almost impossible to keep a track of all the data unless you are using platform to aggregate it. Mint from Intuit comes to the rescue in this situation. It is a free service wherein you can add all these accounts including bills such as utilities, cellphone and service providers. The iOS and Android versions are available for smart phones and tablets and also has a web-based version for desktops. It integrates with your smartphone calendar to send you reminders when payments are due. It helps in automating your finances which I have covered in my blog post here.
In addition, the app also provides historic spending and income trends along with your personal net worth.
Keeping track of usernames and passwords is a task in itself. Google Chrome has built in features to manage passwords but unfortunately it is not easily transferable or compatible when you are using multiple platforms. In such cases, it is much easier to manage it using third party services. Lastpass is one such service that provides a secure system to store usernames and passwords. It has integrations with almost all the browsers and automatically saves the information to your user profile. The next time you visit the website it automatically fills in the information. The data will also be available on tablets and smartphones with the apps installed. In addition to saving passwords, Lastpass also allows you to save secure notes, passport, drivers license and attach pictures to the content.
Sometimes during conversations, I need to take a quick note. It could be the name of a book or a movie or something that is of interest. Smartphones usually come with a note taking app but not all of them are available across all platforms. For this, I have come to rely on OneNote from Microsoft. The real functionality of OneNote comes into play when using on a tablet. Now at meetings (personal and business), I use OneNote for notes taking using freehand writing or type in. The app allows conversion of free hand writing to searchable text although it does not necessarily convert 100% accurately at all times. OneNote is available on iOS, Android and Windows allowing it to be used cross-platform.
With these four services, I have now consolidated and organized my digital data. It is available to me 24/7 in any part of the world as long as I have an internet connection.
What other apps do you use? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me your comments below and Happy Digitizing.