2013-12-06 Organizing PDFs

I recently visited RPG Now and decided to visit the list of updated PDFs. Unspeakable rites of the ancients—that many!? I think the reason I have so many PDFs is that I bought two bundles for a fistful of dollars destined to help charities years ago. I went through the list and only downloaded the products I felt I was interested in. I skipped Pathfinder products. I skipped paper miniatures. I skipped floor plans. So many things that I’d love to have, but there is just not enough time! I clicked on Traveller stuff, Fate stuff, OSR stuff like Sine Nomine, Labyrinth Lord, Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), and since I can never download more than ten files, and since I cannot automatically deselect all the files I selected for download I manually deselected the ten entries I just downloaded, selected another ten entries, downloaded, downloaded—I downloaded 77 updated files.

Wow. We are definitely living in plentiful times.

So now I had eight zip files in my download folder and I realized another problem: There’s a folder on my external disk for RPG PDFs and its directory hierarchy is multiple levels deep. Dungeons & Dragons or Pendragon? TSR or Frog God Games? Basic D&D accessory or module? Sorting all the PDFs into the folders is driving me nuts.

And what’s worse: my iPad has a PDF reader (Good Reader) with it’s own, separate copy of a subset of these files. And in my idiocy I used a different directory structure on the iPad.

So now I need to figure out what to do, and how to keep the two in sync without my Repeated Strain Injury flaring up.



You could organize them all in Dropbox. That’ll let you sync across devices.

Derik 2013-12-06 14:49 UTC

Unfortunately there are various issues I see: I don’t think I have enough quota left for those files (some of these RPG files are 50MB and more). I don’t trust these companies so I will still need backups. On a crippled device like my iPad, having Good Reader access Dropbox involves copying the files again, which still leaves me with the question of keeping it all in sync. And finally, US copyright exceptions are different from Swiss copyright exceptions (fair use vs. Eigengebrauch) so I feel like I’m inviting trouble by trusting a US company. I guess I could use Wuala, but it’s interface with Good Reader would be even more cumbersome.

AlexSchroeder 2013-12-06 16:22 UTC

This is how I do it. All my RPG PDFs are in ~/Dropbox/RPG/ and sorted into subfolders one level deep. No hierarchy beyond that, unless a single product happens to be a directory. One of the subdirectories is named “Tablet” which I sync to my ipad using GoodReader directly (so no copying, really). That directory only contains copies of the PDFs that I want always on my tablet (currently, 142 files). I could sync the entire RPG hierarchy, but don’t see the need.

This involves no trust of Dropbox, as the files are also in my home directory on both my laptop and desktop, and they get backed up to external media.

Brendan 2013-12-06 23:36 UTC

I like the simple structure you propose, and I like the idea of keeping all the files for the tablet in a separate directory which is easy to sync. If you use a simple structure, moving files in to and out of the “tablet” directory is no hassle. I see it clearly now: my directory structure is complicating things. I need to get rid of it.

AlexSchroeder 2013-12-07 00:08 UTC

Wow, two months later and I have finally merged all the crap on the iPad with the stuff on my hard disk. As I keep buying more and more stuff (D&D Classics!), I get more and more updated products when I visit the site again. But I think I figured it out, now.

On my Mac, the folders are shared using the File Sharing settings and the Option “Share files and folders using AFP”. I keep the directory structure very flat. On my iPad, GoodReader is sync’ing some selected folders from this hierarchy. When I download stuff on the iPad, these files all stay in either in the root folder or in the My Downloads folder. No renaming and moving of these files! When it’s time to “clean up”, the files are moved to the Mac, filed appropriately, and if they’re in the right directory, they will get sync’ed back to the iPad.

It seems to work. I’m happy.

AlexSchroeder 2014-02-20 17:51 UTC

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