Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Posts tagged ‘Digital’

(Inter) National Scrapbooking Day

I’m sure you’re all aware that today is National Scrapbooking Day and are celebrating by…what?…what do you MEAN you’ve never heard of National Scrapbooking Day?! Let me enlighten you. In 1994, Creative Memories started a nationwide movement on the first Saturday in May to celebrate the family tradition of making keepsake photo albums. National Scrapbooking Day used to focus solely on physical albums and album pages, but it has grown to accommodate all the various ways we celebrate our memories and share our stories. Creative Memories is now a world-wide company, and so National Scrapbooking Day has really grown into Inter-National Scrapbooking Day!

I celebrated today by hosting a special crop workshop for my customers. They received some nice NSD- themed goodies and were treated to a great homemade lunch of salad, garlic bread, and chicken broccoli alfredo! Over 20 pages were completed in just 5 hours and one customer finished her first family album and started on another!

In between helping customers with page layouts and showing them all the tasty new products coming out in June, I made four 12×12 page prints for my mom for Mother’s Day (see below). My parents don’t have a house; they live in a trailer (a luxury, 44 foot house on wheels complete with a fireplace!) and have been travel all over the country for the last 12 years. They have a custom picture board in their living room for which I used to make & send 12×12 scrapbook pages. I haven’t sent anything in ages, though, because I’ve done mostly digital scrapbooking in the last year.

Now I can use Storybook Creator Plus to create digital 12×12 page PRINTS (essentially 12×12 composite digital photo pages), upload them to the CM Photo Center, and have them sent directly to her for her board. She gets the pics, I can make them up quickly (under two hours for the pages below), and I don’t have to worry about packing and mailing them myself. Yea! When she’s done with them, she can pop them into a Picfolio Max album and leave it on her coffee table as a conversation piece.

So here are my pages. They are almost all of my kids, though I threw in one of my sister Dawn trying on her wedding dress. Take a peek and tell me what you think! If you think this is something you’d like to do, shoot me an email (dschink@neo.rr.com) and I’d be happy to help you get started!

Looking Backward and Forward

I recently browsed through my own blog, reading past posts and comments. I thought it was interesting how I have a different perspective on some of what I wrote just 15 month ago.

For example, here’s an excerpt from one of my earlier posts from January of 2007: “There are even rumors that Hilary Rodham Clinton might start a serious bid for the U.S. presidency. Although I don’t particularly like her stand on many issues, I would feel it necessary to strongly consider voting for her in order to create history and further deteriorate the historic stranglehold on power men have and do hold in this country.”

Now we are less than 7 months from the general election and not only has Hillary started a serious bid for the presidency, but she and Obama are running neck and neck with both having already garnered more votes individually than any other past presidential candidates in a Democratic primary election.

And, yes, I considered voting for her early on, but after researching the candidates’ stands on various issues, listening to stump speeches, and seeing how they react in a variety of situations, I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t vote for her, even though she is a woman and I sincerely do want to see a female U.S. president before I die. But I plan to live to be 101 years old, so there’s still plenty of time. (-:

So this year I am an Obama supporter and so have put away my, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Good Woman for President” button (obtained years before Hillary’s run), since I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression that I think Mrs. Clinton is that “good woman.”

An April 2007 post discussed my hopes for a congress that would stand up to President Bush. I wrote, “…my fear [is] that the Democrats, having gained power in Congress, would be unable or unwilling to exercise their people-given power to stop him.” Hmm…looks like that fear has come true.

I also discussed Sunshine Week, a movement to keep discussion alive about the important of open government and freedom of information. Unfortunately, I heard nothing about Sunshine Week this year.

In contrast to my changed perspective politically, my perspective on the importance of organizing your digital photos hasn’t change one iota! Memory Manager is still the best program out there – and unlike the price of just about everything else these days, the cost of this software hasn’t changed! Everyone I know who has this program is sold on the features and ease of use. Read more about tis fantastic program here.

It will be interesting what perspective changes next year brings.

Changing History

The concept of changing history used to be science fiction. One of my all-time favorite t.v. shows was “Voyagers!” where Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones traveled through time to “fix” history that had gone wrong and get it back on track. I’ve blogged before about the nature of reality as a function of perception. Today, more than ever before, we have the power to alter memory, effectively changing reality. This bring up some interesting practical issues and sometimes thorny ethical ones.

On a practical level, the advent of digital photography allows anyone to alter her own reality. Creative Memories’ Memory Manager software makes it easy to change photos in all sorts of useful ways. Crop your photos, adjust light levels, and even use the clone tool to “erase” unwanted blemishes. As useful and fun as these features are, they are a form of altered reality. How much is too much?

In this fascinating article, a doctor talks about a split second choice to deliberately alter 10 minutes of a young mother’s reality through the administration of a memory-erasing drug. Ellen had chosen to undergo surgery for a suspicious bone tumor with only local anesthesia and the pathologist, not realizing the patient was awake in the operating room, announced over the intercom that the tumor was definitely a rare, aggressive form of bone cancer. The anesthesiologist immediately administered to Ellen a drug that caused her to fall asleep and erased the last 10 minutes of her memory. She woke up calm and happy at the time, although she was told about the cancer at a later date and ultimately died from it 6 years later, never knowing that 10 minutes of her reality had been altered.

As new as this issue feels, we humans have been struggling with “reality” for centuries. The psychological state of disassociative memory disorder is a physical way the brain copes with trauma, essentially altering reality to something the person can handle. But this is a rare disorder. Much more common is “selective memory” where only some of the events in an experience are retrieved. (I think this is also called “aging”!)

So is altered reality a good thing? How much alteration is too much? When is or isn’t it appropriate to alter reality? I suspect we will uncover similar questions and struggle for more conclusive answers in the coming years.

Remarkable Ohio

My involvement in blogging started with reading other people’s blogs. One of my favorites blogs is Alvin Trusty’s. Back in March 2007, he wrote about his new interest in geo-tagging and a project he started to document all the historical markers in Ohio.

002_23a.jpg

The idea is for people to take digital pictures of Ohio historical markers (like the one above) and upload them to Flickr with the tag “remakableohio.” Anyone going to Flickr who enters the tag “remarkableohio” will see all the historical markers on one map. Best of all, you can zoom in to read any of them.

This is not only cool, but handy if you grew up as I did with an historically interested mom who wanted to stop and read every sign and an historically indifferent dad, who was the driver and sped up past every sign. As a result, I’ve read the first few words of lots of these signs, as we drove by at high speed!

This project is open to the public, but according to Alvin’s research in the Flickr help files, your signs will only show up on the public map if you upload 5 acceptable photos. At that point, your account will be approved for public searching.

Last weekend, I entered my 5th and 6th remarkableohio photos, so the photos I’ve taken are now visible to the public. The signs I photographed were in downtown Cleveland on Wade Oval, in downtown Zoar, and in downtown Xenia. The map is sadly devoid of signs in Northeast Ohio, so go to the Ohio Historical Society’s website to find out if there are any markers near you and get those camera clicking!

Skype

I love Skype! It’s free software that allows me to talk to other people worldwide over the computer. There are NO FEES associated with this service, although you can choose to pay for more extensive service. But look at everything I can do for free: call other people who have Skype, have video conferences, do one-on-one or group chats online, and have conference calls with up to 9 people.

My parents downloaded Skype and with only dial-up service, we can do voice chats (using your computer like a phone) and text chats. This is handy since neither of us has a land line, meaning we use cell minutes for all prime-time calls. When they get to Florida and high speed access this winter, we will be doing video conferencing so they can see and talk to their grandkids.

My sister installed Skype on her computer at work, so she can “skype me” (send a text message) when she has a free moment and I can respond when I have one. If we are both free at once, we can chat back and forth real-time. We even had a 3-way chat with mom to talk about wedding details!

Go here to download Skype and try it out. If you don’t know anyone else who has Skype and you are someone I know, email me and I’ll send you my Skype name so we can chat! (For privacy, I only allow incoming messages from people I know.)

The Man on the Dead Horse

Since December of 2006, this historical photo of a man sitting on a horse has been sparking speculation and interest.

Dead Horse

The photo was one several historical pictures included in a 2007 calendar issued by The Sheboygan Press. Theories about the story behind the photo have poured in from places as diverse as Norway, Scotland and Brazil. The BBC, AP, CNN, and other major media outlets ran stories on the photo. The following link seems to have a pretty good explanation for the image. So the mystery is solved, right?

http://www.sheboygan-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070127/SHE0101/701270488/1062/SHEnews

Not so fast. THIS site has a DIFFERENT theory. It’s a remarkable example of the depth of research that some have put into figuring out the story behind this picture.

http://ancestralmanor.com/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=129

So, what’s the point?

How many pictures do you have at home, in a printed or digital format? And each picture has at least one story behind it. After all, it was taken for a reason. And you probably figure that there’s no point in writing down the story behind the picture because YOU know what the picture shows, what it means. After all, it’s OBVIOUS, right? I think you see where I’m going here.

In junior high, we did a sociological anthropology experiment where we were asked to describe how people far in the future might describe a toilet seat if it were unearthed in an archaeological dig. We came up with all sorts of hilarious theories – the most memorable being a religious ceremonial object, since most houses have them.

The point is that in just a few short centuries or decades, things we take as commonplace today will be completely exotic, their uses perhaps even undecipherable. This is even more true now than it was when I was in junior high. My kids don’t have a clue what purpose a typewriter, rotary dial phone, or walkman served. The only place they’ll see one is in a museum (or my mom’s storage unit – she’s got EVERYTHING in there).

Your pictures are precious, but your memories and stories are priceless. I’m sure neither the man on the dead horse nor the photographer taking the picture could have imagined the impact that image would have on people over 100 years later. And perhaps the story behind the photo is mundane, but wouldn’t you still like to know what the heck was going on? So please, for the sake of future generations, go ahead and write down the stories behind your photos!

Memory Management

Do you take digital photos? Are they stored on your computer or on your camera’s memory card? If they are in your computer – bravo! – but are you able to quickly find what you need when you need it? The computer is the 21st century version of the shoebox: all the photos get thrown in the computer and most people STILL can’t find that photo of Aunt Sally they took at the family reunion.

Lots of people use the folder system to organize their photos. Some elaborate examples are blogged about here: http://www.trustyetc.com/trustyblog/?p=74

The problem with folders is that they are time consuming to create, allow you to view your pictures only one at a time, and don’t provide an efficient method for cross-referencing. If you DO try to cross reference, you are usually forced to create multiple copies of the same image, so space quickly becomes a problem.

I am a photo organization and memory preservation consultant. Since I help people organize their photos and capture the stories behind them, it is essential that I, myself, am organized!

Creative Memories’ “Memory Manager” software is simple and elegant in design, with more sophisticated and intuitive features than the popular programs Picasa or Photoshop Elements. And at $40, it’s less than half the price.

Like the other two programs, Memory Manager organizes not only digital images, but also digital video, scanned documents, and audio files (including MP3’s). It allows for single-click editing and CD/DVD backup. Like Photoshop, it displays multiple thumbnail images and allows for quick drag and drop sorting. But here are some amazing Memory Manager features the other two programs don’t offer:

  1. Stores both import date and picture date – and allows sorts on either
  2. Allows picture date edits – great for scanned-in photos or correcting photos mis-dated by your camera – & shows a visual timeline of all files
  3. Searches by season (winter, spring, summer, fall) using “fuzzy” dating logic
  4. Unlimited journaling with spell check for every file; journaling stays with the file
  5. Option for automatic shadow copies of all files, images & journaling upon program close for painless backups
  6. Cross-tag and file pictures in multiple places WITHOUT making multiple copies
  7. Powerful custom search on key words or strings, by event, by date, or by individuals in the picture
  8. Has the option to overwrite after edit or keep individual revisions
  9. Revisions are kept with original photo for easy viewing and managing
  10. View images that have been printed or not printed
  11. Has 45 print layout templates. Easily make index prints, wallets, 8×10’s or unique combinations of sizes
  12. Create & print custom journal boxes with or without borders in desired size, font, & colors
  13. Create a custom default toolbar with your favorite editing tools

The editing features are awesome because they are simple for non-technical people to learn and use. The search feature is my favorite because of the versatility. I am able with just a few clicks to locate and display all the photos taken in summer showing both our kids.

My husband John was skeptical. He demanded a showdown and challenged me to find a particular copy of a picture of Emily just after birth, which we had in some folder on the home server AND on a backup CD. Using Memory Manager, I had the image up on my screen before he had even found the CD with the image on it!

Memory Manager also comes bundled with Storybook Creator – free digital scrapbooking software that creates albums using simple drag and drop functionality.

To take a virtual tour of Memory Manager, go here: http://www.CMmemorymanager.com/

To purchase this software AND receive free, in-person, one-on-one training, go here: http://www.myCMsite.com/DebS

Welcome to the 21st century!

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