Relaunch of blog

I re-launched this blog with a new look-and-feel. Let me know what you think?

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Five best digital photo organizers

Lifehacker.com is a great website with all kinds of interesting tips to make your life easier. They recently posted an article on the Five best digital photo organizers. Here are the results (as of April 7, 2008): 

Best Digital Photo Organizer?

Folder Structure

 17.6% (1178 votes)

Flickr

 6.1% (411 votes)

Picasa

 42.7% (2864 votes)

iPhoto

 14.2% (950 votes)

Adobe Lightroom

 19.5% (1306 votes)

 What do you use?

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How to make old fashion flip books

How to make old fashion flip books

FlipClipsDo you remember those animated flip books that we played with as kids? Well, they are back in a hi-tech format. It’s called Flipclips. With Flipclips you turn your digital video into a paper flip book that you can give as fun gifts to friends, family and grandparents. According to the FlipClips website:

Preserve special moments with much more than just a photo! Turn your digital video clips into paper flipclips to carry with you, send and share!        

Prices start at $8.99 per book and if you register now and refer 3 friends you get a free book. My plan is to check it out and update you on the results.Let me know if you used it — did you like the results? 

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Convert any audio, video or photo file to any other format!

Have you ever had the need to convert one audio, video or picture format to another? Well, now you can with an online service called ZamZar.com. The entry level offering is FREE! The free offering gives you 100MB in file size, and 5 concurrent conversions. Pricing range from $7/month for the Basic and $49/month for the Business package. Read more about this service at Lifehacker.com. Scoble likes it, and Techcrunch wrote about it as well.

Here are other online services:

  • Convert it: This service is free at the moment. Doesn’t seem to have a file size limit. Very clean interface and easy to use. No registration required.
  • Media-Convert: This is also a free service with a 150mb file size limit. The interface is cluttered, but still easy to use.
  • Hey!Watch: Encode video files using this online service. You have to register and the price is 10c per encoding credit. I’m not sure what that means. Webware has a good write up on Hey!Watch.

And finally Lifehacker.com writes about lots of other file conversion utilities.

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Digitize your cassettes and LPs

MacWorld has a great article on digitizing your old cassettes and LPs. Read the comments as well — they contain good information. This article is only for Mac users. They mention the following programs to use to digitize your analog audio:

Another option is: Audio Hijack Pro, ~$32.

I’ve digitize a number of old audio cassettes recordings my dad made in the ’60’s. They are now in iTunes and I can share it with my family and my children. Great stuff!

What do you use to import old cassettes and LPs?

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Convert older MPEG-2 video to DV format

Convert older MPEG-2 video to DV format

I’ve recorded a lot of video clips on my older digital cameras, including a Casio EX-S600. These older video clips are stored in MPEG-2, AVI, and other older video formats. Newer video editing programs (like iMovie for the Mac) don’t support most of these older video formats. This week I decided that it was time to solve this problem. After about 2-3 hours of research I got lucky…read on…

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iPhoto does a great job with Christmas cards

iPhoto does a great job with Christmas cards

If you haven’t mailed your Christmas cards yet, then you may be too late. You can always send e-cards. This year, like last year, we used Apple’s iPhoto application to create a Christmas card. The process to create a card is quick and easy. The hardest part is coming up with a message, like “Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2008″. Very original — don’t you think? iPhoto is part of Apple’s iLife suite of products and includes: iPhoto, iWeb, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand. Basically all the software you need to digitize you photos, videos and analogue (tapes) sound.Here are the steps involved in creating a Christmas card with iPhoto:

  1. Launch iPhoto on your Mac. I used my MacBook Pro.
  2. Click on the ‘Card’ icon at the bottom of the app.
  3. Select a theme. Drag-and-drop photos onto the card. Write a message.
  4. Click on ‘Buy Card’ and following the buying instructions. We ordered 50 double-sided postcards @ a total cost of $62 (.99c per card + shipping/tax).
  5. I picked standard shipping and it took 3 business days to be delivered with Fedex ground.
  6. The cards are nicely wrapped and you also get an envelope for each card. They shipped it in a very sturdy box.

Summary: Quick and easy to create a beautiful custom Christmas card. Not too expensive. A similar card at Walmart is .84c per card. Quick delivery. I will use this service again and can highly recommend it.

PCMag recently reviewed iLife ’08 and give it a 4/5.

What service did you use this year?

.Mac (Apple Computer, Inc.)

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How to Digitize slides guide from PopPhoto.com

PopPhoto.com describes three easy ways to digitize your old slides. After you digitize your old slides you can save them to DVD, print them and share with loved ones, or share them on photo sharing sites like Flickr or SmugMug. I have a lot of old slides that my Dad took in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I started digitizing these slides using my trusty Canon CanoScan 8400F. This is a very slow process, however it is rewarding to see each slide convert to a digital photo “before your eyes”. Another option is to send your slides to a scanning service like ScanCafe. PopPhoto reviews ScanCafe in this article, “The 24-cent Scan”. Back to the original article. PopPhoto gives 3 options:

1. Slide Duplicator

Bottom Line: If you’re digitizing slides for computer slide shows, DVDs for TV viewing, or for posting on the web, a slide duper might suffice. But, if you want the possibility of making prints from your duped slides, pass on the duplicator and consider a film scanner.

PRO Inexpensive and relatively fast.

CON Images not sharp enough for big prints.

2. Film Scanner

Bottom Line: From an image quality standpoint, film scanners are your best bet. They make little sense, however, if you don’t need the resolution or have a limited number of slides to digitize and won’t be using the scanner again. If this is you, consider a slide duping house.

PRO Extensive control over resolution and image quality.

CON Cost of the scanner may be high.

3. Slide Duping House

Bottom Line: While sending slides out for duping is, from a labor standpoint, the easiest way to bring your slides into the digital era, it’s probably also the most expensive.

PRO Little labor on your part.

CON Can take weeks, is expensive, and affords you little control over the image quality.

On PopPhoto.com you will also find a few more interesting articles including:

Finally, you can start by reading a book like, “Scanning Negatives and Slides” or “Mastering Digital Scanning with Slides, Film, and Transparencies”.

I am interested in your experiences scanning slides or film.

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Digitalbucket.net – New service to backup your photos online

Digitalbucket.net – New service to backup your photos online

Digitalbucket.net is a fairly new file sharing service. You can store, share and retrieve any kind of file from anywhere on the Internet. I’m interested in this service because they provide photo album and photo editing (using Snipshot — well not really, read on) capabilities.

Digitalbucket.net - New service to backup your photos online

The service is currently in beta and they offer 4 pricing options: Beta (free), Basic ($14.99 per year), Professional ($49.99 per year), and Business ($149.99 per year). You can also request a custom plan.

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Review of Online Photo Services, including SmugMug, Picasa and Flickr

Firsttube.com reviewed some of the most popular online photo services in A Review of Online Photo Services. Thank you Adam. He reviews the following sites in detail:

Here is his conclusion (also read the comments for more sites):

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