Ask A Librarian: Hard Drive Cleanup for Macs?

screenshot from Disk Inventory X

 

I am looking for someone who can help me find and clear out excess data on one of my internal drives to free up space…

[While I am happy consulting, a lot of times if people know how to download, install and run software, they may not need my help. Someone emailed to ask about cleaning up his Mac’s hard drive. Here is my advice.]

The tool I usually use for identifying “What is taking up all the space?” is a free tool called Disk Inventory X which you can get at this link (click the upper right button to download, where it says  8.3 MB)

http://www.derlien.com/downloads/index.html

You may have to follow these instructions to open an application from an unknown developer. When you install and run it, it can give you an idea of what is taking up the space and where it is. Usually for a lot of people the answer is pretty straightforward like “Music” or “Old movies” or “Photos that you also have in iCloud.” In fact, a lot of times syncing iCloud stuff when you take a lot of photos is the thing filling up people’s hard drives. The #2 thing is old backups that are stored somewhere on the hard drive that they moved there when they got a new computer but never investigated.

Ask A Librarian: VPNs?

image of a tunnel from an old railway magazine from 1905

 

From a Vermont librarian: VPNs are really important and I’d like to remind our patrons about them, but it gets confusing pretty fast. My sense is that patrons (and people in general!) want bullet point answers and specific steps to take when it comes to tech. I don’t have any experience with VPNs other than I just turned it on through my Dashlane password manager today. I see that Wirecutter recommends IVPN and TorGuard for $60-70/year. Do you have a VPN you recommend or, short of a recommendation, use?

It’s super confusing isn’t it! Wirecutter suggestions are good ones. I do not use one. Some of it will really depend what they need.

For people who don’t want to stream content, for example, something like TunnelBear has a free option for low-bandwidth use.

Nerds I trust also suggest PIA and talk about easy setup.

So maybe you want to give people a little chart and show people options (low bandwidth, best rated, loved by nerds) but maybe not too many.

And then you can use this chart if your patron has some HUGE important thing (like privacy is the most important thing, or cost or whatever) that can help you choose one more tailor made. (you can download the chart so you don’t have to page through it ten items at a time).

woodshedding in libraryland II

image of a woodshed from the library of Congress collection

Been thinking about this blog and how a lot of the work I’ve been doing lately doesn’t always lend itself to longform reflection. When I looked up “woodshedding,” a term I use for talking about going back to library-school type activities (i.e. more learning, less doing) and found this post from 2008. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “What I’m up to.” work report, so here we go.