From cameras to smart phones to e-readers, tablets, and computers, our lives are becoming ever more digital.
In just digital photos alone, Americans take an estimated 105 billion a year. (source) If you have a hard time staying on top of it all in an orderly, efficient, and productive manner – you’re not alone.
But we finally found a way to conquer digital chaos with private cloud storage, and we’re going to show you how!
Digital chaos slowly (or quickly!) builds up over time.
As we had kids (big surge in pictures), changed computers many times (read: file backups spread here, there, and everywhere – usually created urgently because we had to stay on top of this or that client projects), and went through various other life changes, our file collection has slowly and silently built up over the years. To say it got overwhelming would be an understatement.
It’s so easy to just stick files on hard drives and thumb drives and sd cards and not put too much thought into how it’s all piling up like you can quickly see when it’s printed out. The convenience is excellent, but the temptation to keep everything is greater because it doesn’t affect you in a tangible way. So the reality is that you can still end up with quite a mess.
Last year we finally got rid of our old file cabinet and the boxes of pictures in our closet in favor of scanning them all into easily accessible bytes.
It feels amazing not to have that clutter spilling into our physical life anymore, but it still needs our attention to manage it all in an efficient and orderly manner!
Thankfully, digital storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, but as graphic and web designers who’ve also dabbled in photography and video for years, our media files alone take up a LOT of space, let alone all the contracts and communications, personal files and ebooks, and stuff we use to homeschool our kids.
You miiight say our storage situation got a little out of hand…! I’ll save you the trouble of counting, that’s 11 hard drives pictured and there are more somewhere, not to mention SD cards.
David has been talking about setting up network accessible storage for a long time now, but I wasn’t convinced until WD sent us their new My Cloud Expert Series EX4100 NAS (Network Attached Storage).
It turns out that WD basically created my dream solution.
How Private Cloud Storage Helps Us Conquer Digital Chaos
Why is WD’s My Cloud Expert Series so wonderful?
1. Frees up space on our computers – I put my laptop through a lot with large graphics files, photo editing, almost daily video editing and more. The more space I can keep free, the better.
2. Performs automatic backups – Not only does David have his Macbook TimeMachine set up with this cloud storage (he hasn’t gotten my PC backup set up yet), but whenever we take pictures or video with our phone, they’re automatically going straight to our EX4100 where we can quickly find them later from our computers if we want to. That would’ve come in handy when our phone got stolen a couple weeks ago 🙁
3. Provides way more space to manage files – I’ve been slowly working on sorting through all the files on our conglomeration of hard drives, and I got stalled largely because I ran out of space. It’s ridiculously inefficient to try to work with terabytes of files spread over so many different places. Now I can get everything in one place and much more easily check for duplicates and get it all humming along like a dream.
4. Simplifies file management – no more hauling out our box of hard drives (you saw that atrocity above, right?) to locate the right one to hook up to my computer, only to realize it wasn’t the right one after all and go through the process again… I can just access all the files in one place over our network, no messy cords!
5. Access files on the go – I’m pretty excited about the fact that I no longer have to haul an external hard drive around with me in order to have access to all those files. All I have to do is log in on My Cloud and voila! In addition, we can also share files with others. It’s basically our own private version of something like DropBox or Google Drive, say what?
6. Create a private server – If we wanted to, which we may someday since we do a lot of web stuff, we could set this up to serve files for us online.
7. Stream media – As part of our going digital push that I mentioned earlier with documents and photos, we also put all our movies and music on our computers. What’s slightly epic about this NAS setup is that we can actually stream those directly from where they’re stored – again, no hauling hard drives around.
8. Makes it easier to post to Instagram – the previous method I was using for files that weren’t from our phone was to drop them from my computer into DropBox, which is easily accessible from the phone. Now, however, all I need to do is store my files on our EX4100 NAS, where I want them anyway, and I can access them on our phone from the My Cloud app – easy peasy, no extra steps required!
It works in reverse, too, see? These were 2 pictures David took on our phone a while back that were automatically synced to our EX4100. I grabbed them directly from there on my laptop and dropped them into the easiest on-the-fly photo editor, Pixlr Express, and spit them out in all of their silly glory.
Are you ready to simplify your digital life and conquer the chaos? Check out the My Cloud Expert Series and enter to get your own below!
WD wants you to have the chance to kick some digital storage butt, too (my words, not theirs 😉 ) so they’re providing a 4TB EX2 worth $349.99 for one of you very lucky readers.
Thank you to WD for providing me a My Cloud Expert Series EX4100 to keep and review.