Avoid File Version Hell with Useful File Names

filefolders

I consider myself pretty organized, but sometimes even the most well-planned filing systems go awry when you’re flying by the seat of your pants.

Even if you know where everything is, what if you have 10 versions of the same document? It’s easy to get confused, especially when you’re collaborating with other people.

Naming your files wisely can make your life a bit easier, and even make the search for that particular photo edit, report draft, or print-ready document a little less maddening.

Here are some file naming tips that I find useful. It’s a bit of extra work now that could save you a world of pain later on.

Trust me

I know you think you’ve got everything under control with your “version1,” “version2″ system, but trust me on this one.

When you’re at version 7.3 and there’s a version for print, a version for web, an English and French version of each, and another version of all of those versions where we changed the word “and” to “or” in the third paragraph, you will thank me.

Use basic characters

angryface

Cute emoticon. Terrible file name choice.

If it’s not a letter, number, or dash, please don’t use it. Remove periods, commas, apostrophes, exclamation marks, and SPACES from your file names.

Some programs will either get confused, or throw in a bunch of junk characters to replace the symbols with data it understands. This is messy and annoying for everyone.

If you must, use either “-” or “_” to separate words. Like this: File_Name.jpg
Or better yet, just use capitals. Like this: FileName.jpg

Use descriptive file names

You should have a pretty good idea about what the file is before you open it, based on the file name.

Is it a photo of Susan? Call it Susan.jpg
Is it a photo of Susan smiling? How about SusanSmiling.jpg
Is it a photo of Susan smiling while she’s at the park? SusanSmilingPark.jpg will do.

Susan

Susan. Smiling. In the park! (Source)

But why not just create a folder called “Susan” and throw all of my photos of Susan in there? Then I can just call them Smiling.jpg and SmilingPark.jpg without putting Susan’s name on every one, right?

True, and you should definitely have a Susan folder, but once one of the files is out of context the name is going to be useless again. When you attach that file to an email and send it to someone else, the folder won’t be there to identify the subject as Susan.

Keep this in mind, especially when you’re collaborating on a project with others.

For example, if it’s a client project, keep the client name in the file name. Include the project name too. Like this: ABC-Company_ResearchReport.pdf

Is it a work in progress? Use ABC-Company_ResearchReport_DRAFT.pdf
Is it approved and ready for take off? Use ABC-Company_ResearchReport_FINAL.pdf

Are there translations? ABC-Company_ResearchReport_ENG.pdf and ABC-Company_ResearchReport_FR.pdf will help you find the document in English and French.

Include the date

WhatDayIsIt

Get in the habit of putting a date in the file name. Like this: FileName_Feb-25-2015.jpg

If you work on the file for more than one day, re-save it with the current date so when you go back you know to open the latest dated file for the most up-to-date version.

It’s also a good idea to include the date on the document itself. Right at the top by the title is a great place. If it’s a working document – especially if it’s a working document – include “UPDATED:” before the date.

Every time there’s an edit or change to the doc, change the date in the text and the file name to today’s date and save it as a new file. If you ever need to reference a previous version, you haven’t lost anything.

Try all of the above

So if you were to follow all of the advice above at the same time you’d end up with a file that looks something like this: ClientNamePrintAd_V7-3_ENG_Feb-25-2015_FINAL.jpg

I know, I know. It’s sooo long. I get that a lot.

In some situations this would be total overkill, but in some other situations it could be really handy.

Tuck away old versions

Congratulations! Version 8 of the English web document has just been approved and we don’t expect any more edits for at least a day or two…

To avoid confusion, for you and for anyone else looking for the right document, go into your messy file folder of document versions and create a new folder called “DRAFTS”.

In fact, why not add a message for your coworkers into the folder name like “DRAFTS – DO NOT LOOK SO SCARY OMG.”


Select all of those old versions, from FINAL1 to FINAL7, and even that FINAL FINAL one you thought was the real deal. Move them all over into to the DRAFTS folder and forget they ever happened.

Whatever you do, don’t delete them. That will be the time when someone decides they liked Version 5 the best.

Now you can search for files

If you’ve done all of the above, and you misplace a file, the great thing is you have a better chance of digging it up with a quick search. Search the folder, or your whole drive if you’re really stumped, by the project name, date, or any of the other useful info you’ve included in your file names.

You’re going to be soooo happy when you type “Susan” into the search box, and all of those photos from your trip to the park with Susan pop up. There’s Susan.jpg, SusanSmiling.jpg, and SusanSmilingPark.jpg!

Good thing you don’t name all of your photos “Photo1″ or “Photo2″ because that would be a huge headache.


I hope you find my super nerdy advice helpful. My main goal is really to break the internet with impossibly long file names, but if I can help you get organized along the way then that’s super.

Remedies for Cold & Flu Season

Illustration by Penelope Bagieu

Illustration by Penelope Bagieu

There have been some nasty flu bugs flying around this winter. Pretty much EVERYONE I know has had the same flu. They all said it was horrible and they were right – of course I got it too.

Ever wondered why cold and flu season coincides with the wintertime? Apparently nobody really knows for sure. According to the wiki on flu season, influenza cases increase “roughly tenfold or more” during winter months and there are a few theories about why this happens, but no solid answer.

One study found that the flu virus has a “butter-like coating” that protects it as it makes its way to your body. The theory is that in the summertime the coating is more likely to melt away before the virus hits your respiratory tract, killing the virus. In colder weather the coating turns into a hard shell making the virus more hardy and able to survive for longer periods outside of the body. (Source)

I suffer from asthma and when I get sick it tends to hit me hard, so I do what I can to prevent getting sick in the first place.

Here are a couple of things that I keep handy during cold and flu season that can help ward off the sickies, or can at least shorten the time you’re sick. They also taste good, which is a nice bonus when you’re already miserable!

Hot Lemon & Honey

hotlemon

This is a simple recipe my mom used to make me when I was sick as a kid. Unlike NeoCitran, it doesn’t contain any drugs, it tastes really nice, and it won’t cause any side-effects except maybe the warm cozies.

You’ll need:

Lemon juice – fresh or bottled, doesn’t matter.
Honey – raw organic is best.
Boiling water

Now do this:

Pour a small amount of lemon juice into a mug. Pour until it’s about 1-2 CM from the bottom. Then pour boiling water into the mug, leaving some extra room for about 3 TBSP of honey. Just keep adding honey until it tastes more sweet than sour. Curl up in a blanket and enjoy.

The lemon gives you a nice big shot of vitamin C. The honey, especially good quality honey that isn’t too highly processed, has wonderful antiviral properties, helps soothe your throat, and will give you a little boost of energy.

Rosehip Herbal Tea

rosehip-tea

This is another standby hot drink that packs a lot of vitamin C.

I used to haverosehiptea-imported a hard time finding rosehip tea, and had to hunt for it at health food stores and European grocers, but in recent years I’ve been able to find it at the supermarket more often.

It’s often combined with hibiscus. The tea has a nice reddish colour and fruity flavour.

Brew yourself a big mugful and add honey to taste. Again, the vitamin C and honey combo will do you good and it tastes a lot better than over the counter medicine.

Ricola Lozenges

Ricola-package

This brand may be known here in Canada for its unintentionally goofy ads, but I’ve found that Ricola’s cough drops are very effective.

I never believed that a cough drop could do much more than soothe your throat and maybe give you a blast of menthol to make you FEEL like you’re breathing better, but whether there’s data to back it up or not I’ve found that Ricola drops do relieve sore throats and even help me cough less.

They’re made with a Swiss recipe of herbal ingredients and, as far as I can tell from the Ricola company website, contain no medicinal ingredients other than herbs. The sugar-free versions of their drops do contain aspartame though.


I guess everyone has their own stand-by cure for colds and flu. Of course there’s chicken soup. Some people swear by hot peppers, and for others it’s garlic, ginger or zinc. For some it’s a hefty swig of NyQuil followed by a loooong nap.

What works for you?

Love Your Body, Love Your Self

scale-urbeautiful

There are plenty of reasons we’re supposed to hate our bodies and millions of products sold to help us battle these insecurities. There are weight loss products, hair dyes, wrinkle creams, supplements, and surgical procedures designed to help us get over the feeling that our bodies are disgusting.

In fact, just having a body seems to be something that’s generally frowned upon.

There are some basic assumptions we’ve made as a culture in order for these attitudes to thrive, but that’s a whole other blog post. Instead, let’s look at how unfair we can be to our bodies, and why they deserve to be celebrated instead.


Laughing_Buddha

Every body has fat. And we’re so mean to fat.

Everybody knows all about how bad fat is supposed to be. Burn it off, starve it off, carve it out, avoid it altogether, put it in your breasts, butt, lips, or in the garbage, just don’t let it get the upper hand.

But fat is our friend. It really just wants to to protect your vital organs and take care of you when you can’t nourish yourself. It wants to envelop you in a warm hug on a cold day. It makes babies even cuter. And it’s just kind of fun and silly and wants to jiggle along when you giggle.

Be nice to your fat.


greyhairModel: Yasmina Rossi

Every body has hair. And we’re so mean to hair.

It’s okay to have hair, but only in certain acceptable places. Otherwise shave it off, wax it, tweeze it, rip it out, burn it, or zap it with a laser. Have some on your head, but only if you’re prepared to process the hell out of it. Strip off all the nice natural oils with detergents, coat it in synthetic lubricants, and then spend 3 hours loading it with more products, fry it with heat, burn it with chemical dyes, and then try to fix all of the damage you’ve done with even more “repair” products.

Hair has its own personality, and it doesn’t mean to argue with you, it’s just got to do its own thing. It would rather dance around in the wind, wild and unruly, than hear about your hairstyle plans. It might want to be big, or flat, or whirl around your scalp in all different directions. It does not care what colour is “in” this season, it joyfully changes its own colour; it glows in the sun, and in time it shifts into grey, silver and white.

Be nice to your hair.


interwovenhandsPhoto credit: alejandroplesch

Every body has skin. And we’re so mean to skin.

It’s never quite what we want. It’s too dry, too oily, too freckly, too wrinkly, too thin, too light, too dark, too saggy, too uneven, too blotchy, too blemished, too scarred. Scrub it, douse it with chemicals, cover it with makeup, screw up its natural balance and then lube it up with petroleum, strip it with acid, sandblast it with “microbeads,” fry it in the sun or bake it under the sickly glow of a tanning bed.

Your skin is your soft, sensitive bodyguard.  It’s cautious and protective, but ready to face any threat first without question. It will warn you when something’s not right and will become more resilient if abused. It’s a warm place for loved ones to find comfort. It’s your connection to the world, and the medium of your intention.

Be nice to your skin.


leafveins

Every body has veins. And we’re so mean to veins.

At some some point in your life you will be told that your veins are an unsightly problem. Whether it’s that vein that pops out of your forehead when you laugh, or the spider veins and varicose veins creeping over your legs, or whichever ones happen to show when you put on your bathing suit. You’ll be told to cover them up, squash them with socks, zap them or wish them away.

Your veins and arteries are magnificent, and they lovingly help to nourish every part of you. They do the bidding of your heart, and guide your blood on its journey through every cell in your body, making every breath you take another miraculous extension of your life. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Be nice to your veins.


blowingkiss

Every body has breath…

I predict that this will be the next completely normal, natural thing that will someday be considered a disgusting aspect of our bodies that needs to be regulated and controlled.

I mean besides breath mints and mouthwash and all of that. If I’m right, some day you are going to have to avoid breathing too much in front of people.

There will be advertisements for products that ask questions like,

“Tired of that nasty hot air coming out of your nose and mouth?”

“Are you embarrassed that your breathing is bothering people around you?”

People will wear masks, or filters, or some product to make the completely normal and natural act of breathing more socially acceptable, and we will all start being really mean to our breathing.

Sound ridiculous? It is, but so are all of the other ways we demean and subjugate our physical selves.

Courageous Inspiration

Keshia Thomas – Compassion is More Powerful Than Anger

KeshiaThomas

In 1996, when an group of anti-KKK protesters realized there was a KKK supporter in their midst, things quickly got out of hand.

The group chased the man and started hitting him with their signs. Keshia Thomas, who was 18 at the time, jumped in and covered his body to protect the man from being beaten.

She was quoted as saying she’d been hurt in the past and wished someone had stuck up for her.

Her courage reminds me that hate doesn’t defeat hate, it just makes things uglier. If you can remember that even your worst enemy is a human being who was born as loving and innocent as you were, you will live a more beautiful and fulfilling life.


Katherine Switzer – Strength is Greater Than Power

KatherineSwitzerKathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. At the time in 1967 women were not allowed to compete in the marathon.

She made no attempt to hide her gender. When press covering the event noticed her running, the race organizer Jack Semple ran out after Switzer and tried to physically remove her from the race, snatch her numbers off, and shouted at her to “Get the hell out of my race.” Switzer’s boyfriend pushed Semple aside and he and other runners formed a shield around her through the entire race. She finished with a time of 4:20.

Initially, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) responded by threatening women with disqualification from future athletic events if they tried to run against men. Eventually, five years after Switzer completed the Boston marathon, they changed the rules in 1972 so that women could compete in the same event.

Katherine Switzer took first place in the 1974 Boston marathon, and second place the following year.

Her courage reminds me that having the bravery to do things differently, and the inner strength to keep going against all opposition, can be tremendously difficult. But it can change the world.

Vsauce Videos

Vsauce-BillNyeVsauce’s Michael with his friend Bill (via THNKR)

I recently re-discovered Vsauce on YouTube and have been watching a lot of episodes lately. It’s nerdy good entertainment with a mix of science, philosophy, history and random things that make you go “hmmmm.”

Vsauce creator and host Michael Stevens has covered a pretty diverse range of topics including profanity, why things seem creepy, why we have two nostrils, and what it would look like to travel into a black hole.

In the episode below I learned about “dazzle paint.” It sounds like a cosmetic used by the kids on Dance Moms, but it was really a military tactic used in World War I.

 
 

And here’s one that answers that age-old question, “what if the moon was a giant disco ball?

 
 

Check out the Vsauce YouTube Channel for more videos like this.

Throwback Thursday: Joey Lawrence “Raps”

JoeyLawrenceIn the early 1990’s Joey Lawrence, and this monstrosity of a vest, were both cool.

Remember early 90’s Joey Lawrence?

For some weird reason he came up during a conversation today. I think the discussion went from Wahlburgers, to Marky Mark’s music career, to this terrible video from 1993….


Joey Lawrence – There’s Nothing My Love Can’t Fix

In 1993, baggy denim overalls and oversized flannel shirts were the height of fashion.

At the time, long before Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik starred as an awkward teen in Blossom and her co-star Joey Lawrence was quite the teen heart-throb.

This video poses a deep philosophical question for the ages. If Joey Lawrence raps, does that make him a rapper?

A lot of this video is cringe-worthy, but I especially like the way he acts out wiping tears away like he’s playing charades. And what’s going on at 3:39? That’s just really…unnecessary.

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make Rice

rice

Winter is a great time to break out the CrockPot and embrace slow cooking. It’s nice to come in from the cold to find your dinner is ready and waiting, and even welcoming you back with the lovely smell of a home cooked meal.

But sometimes you’ve got it under control and you just need an extra hand in the kitchen.

Sometimes what you really need is a bunch of cooked rice.

If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use your slow cooker to prepare lots of beautifully steamed rice.

How to Use Your CrockPot as a Rice Cooker

crockpotrice

This recipe was originally published on Stephanie Odea’s website.

You’ll need:

– 1 tbsp of butter
– 1 cup of white basmati rice (any rice should work)
– 2 cups water
– a pinch of salt

Now do this:

– Rub the butter on the inside of the slow cooker pot
– Add the rice
– Add the water and salt then stir
– Put the cover on and cook on high for 2-3 hours. Check the rice every 45 minutes or so.

That’s it! You could double or triple the measurements to make a large batch for a big crowd, or just make some extra to use for the next recipe: homemade rice pudding.

Quick Stovetop Rice Pudding

ricepudding2

Rice pudding is a childhood favourite of mine and a great comfort food fix. This is a super easy version that I like to make with leftover rice. The longer you cook the rice the creamier it gets.

I usually just throw the ingredients in willy nilly, but since that isn’t very helpful I’ve listed some approximate measurements.

And yes, you could probably throw all of the ingredients into your already-hot slow cooker, but really, who wants to wait all evening for dessert?

You’ll need:

– 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
– 2 cups milk (almond milk is an ok alternative but regular milk that’s 2% fat or more works well)
– 1/3 cup sugar (I like using brown sugar)
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 tsp salt
– nutmeg and/or cinnamon to taste

Now do this:

– Combine the cooked rice and milk in a saucepan and stir over medium heat
– Add sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and spices and stir well
– Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for 15-20 minutes until it thickens
– Serve warm or cold

Super simple and a tasty way to use up leftover rice.

Try it lukewarm with a cool dollup of strawberry jam. It’s the best.

ricepuddingwithjam