Cruft is jargon for anything that is left over, redundant and getting in the way. It is used particularly for superseded and unused technical and electronic hardware and useless, superfluous or dysfunctional elements in computer software. Wikipedia
Along with plenty of reading and reflection, I’ve been cleaning out lots of the cruft, physical and digital, that has accumulated over many years. Including a few bags of stuff brought home from the former cubicle. No matter the origins, it’s a process that’s often quite cathartic. [On his retirement activities] Tim Stahmer, Some Things Never Change
I love discovering a new and useful word. "Cruft" is the perfect term for all that digital garbage in one's harddrive or Dropbox, in one's e-mail, and on one's website that simply accumulates slowly, unnoticeably, and relentlessly. The detritus of digital activity.
In the physical world, I do a pretty good job of eliminating cruft. I regularly weed my book shelves, desk drawers, file cabinets, clothes closets, and garage. With the exception of souvenirs from my travels and handmade gifts from my children, I have no qualms about pitching something.
Digitally, discarding the obsolescent, redundant, and useless is more challenging. Probably because the medium that stores 1000 PowerPoint files weighs about the same as the medium that stores 1 of them, assuming one is not using the cloud which weighs exactly the same and uses exactly the same amount of space - nada.
As I get prepared for moving - just in case my house ever sells - I am tossing a lot of physical cruft. If I have not used something in the 15 years I've lived in this house, it get tossed, gifted, or sold. Why should I not then dump anything digital I have not used in 15 years?
A teacher commented this week that before our department started doing training on Schoology, we should have first taught teachers how to move all their digital files from their computer and local network drives to their GoogleDrive accounts. A good suggestion, I thought, since linking to online documents in Schoology makes a lot of sense.
As educators move files from local drives to cloud-based application, are they moving a lot of cruft as well? And does all that gunk make finding and using the good stuff more difficult.
Any suggestions for identifying and managing the cruft in your virtual life?