Going Digital: Simple Tools and Techniques for Sharing and Enjoying Your Digital Photos and Home Movies

Going Digital: Simple Tools and Techniques for Sharing and Enjoying Your Digital Photos and Home Movies

by Alex L. Goldfayn


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Get digital prints that look better than film, create amazing photo and video DVDs, and even learn to use your camera phone to its maximum potential with this non-technical, easy-to-understand guide

Imagine displaying your photos on your television in big-screen glory, set to your favorite music. Imagine digitizing your old home movies, editing out unwanted parts, and sharing them on DVDs. And imagine sharing photos and movies of your child's first steps moments after they happen — online, over the cell phone, or even on an electronic picture frame half a world away.

With today's technology, all that is possible — and more! Going Digital will arm you with the tools and techniques you need to share your digital memories with friends and family — online and offline, on the computer, and in the living room. Written in down-to-earth language for people with all levels of technological knowledge, it's a user-friendly guide that will change your life — and your family's.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060873189
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Alex L. Goldfayn writes the "My Tech" column for the Chicago Tribune; the column is distributed worldwide by Knight Ridder/ Tribune News Service. He hosts The Technology Tailor Show for WGN Radio, and appears regularly as a technology expert on television. Read Alex's work and sign up for his exclusive electronic newsletter at TechnologyTailor.com.

Read an Excerpt

Going Digital

Simple Tools and Techniques for Sharing and Enjoying Your Digital Photos and Home Movies
By Alex Goldfayn

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Alex Goldfayn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060873183

Chapter One

The Wonderful World of Digital

What Is Going Digital?

Going digital is . . .

Eighty-one-year-old John sending his extended family simple, annotated photo albums of family events and family history on CD. Recently, John sent 50 family members digital photo albums of his fiftieth wedding anniversary party.

Anthony videotaping his baby son's first steps, first words, and first climb across the monkey bars; editing those movies on his computer; and sharing them on a simple-to-make Web site with family and friends.

Andy creating a slide-show tribute DVD to his uncle for his seventieth birthday party. The 20-minute show featured photographs from his uncle's life and video of his past haunts and hangouts, all set to music and shown on a big-screen projector to a tearful gathering of family and friends.

Stephan digitizing movies from his mother's life, editing them, and creating professional-looking DVDs--complete with menus and behind-the-scenes "making of" footage--on his computer. Even old-style reel-to-reel films from the first half of twentieth century were included.

My wife, Lisa, creating a most amazing memory book forher father, Ron, on his sixtieth birthday. The book included hundreds of photos from his life--some scanned from film, slides, and dusty old dog-eared pictures, others taken with digital cameras. It was done scrapbook-style, with written memories--e-mailed in by family and friends--interspersed with the photos. Of course, my father-in-law loved his gift, and, testing the patience of those around him, happily narrated every photo in the book as he flipped through its pages for the first time.

Stephanie taking pictures with her cell phone and sending them, with recorded voice explanations or questions ("What do you think of this outfit?") to her family and friends. She shares some of her favorites on a Web site designed especially for pictures taken with camera phones.

So what is going digital?

It's a whole new way to capture, share, organize, and enjoy your most precious possession: the memories of your life. It's using common, affordable (sometimes free) technology to bring your photographs and home movies to life.

That is going digital.

Some Housekeeping

The Memories of Your Life--
The Stories of Your Peers

I've found that people learn best through the experiences of their peers. Although you're used to experts talking at you, you'll be able to relate better to the stories of real people, some of whom are in a personal and professional place in life similar to yours.

It's my goal to motivate you to action with these people's stories. As you read through the amazing things people are doing with their digital pictures and home movies, I hope you will think, This isn't so hard. I can do this too. In most cases, you will already have most of the technology you will need. You will be either a free download or a very small purchase (usually less than $50, and what's 50 bucks if it brings your loved ones joy and happiness?) away from taking advantage of some of the techniques presented here.

Throughout this book, I'll balance my own advice with the stories of the people introduced briefly above and of others. All of them have found their own unique way to go digital. Between my experience and their stories, you'll be able to select the tools and techniques that will bring the stories of your life to life.

The Worst Thing You Can Do Is Everything

The pages of this book are filled with tools and techniques for sharing and enjoying your photos and home movies. From experience, I know that if you try to use all, or even most, of the ideas right away, you'll be frustrated and overwhelmed, and you'll probably return your photos and movies to their original resting place: a dark spot, far from view. The doing-everything-all-at-once-is-overwhelming principle is especially true when it comes to technology, where things are usually awkward and strange at first. And since we're dealing with the precious memories of your life, it's important to pick the right tools for you, and, critically, begin with only one or two new tools or processes. Try them, get comfortable with them, see if you like them, and then move on to some others.

Which brings me to this: this may not be a book you'll read from beginning to end. You may, for example, be most interested in learning how to make great-looking prints of the digital photos being stored on your computer. If so, jump ahead to chapter 4 now. Or you may have recently bought a cell phone that takes pictures, and you want to know what you can do with them. If this is the case, move up to chapter 7. Or you may never read the chapter on camera phones because it isn't relevant to you. The point is, feel free to jump around and go through the chapters that interest you most.

The tools and techniques for getting the most out of your photos and home videos are waiting for you in this book as you need them, when you need them. Use them at your convenience.

All or Nothing It's Not

One of my basic principles about applying technology to your life in meaningful ways is that it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. In other words--and this is a surprise to many people who read my work and hear my speeches--I don't suggest you substitute the nontechnical methods that you're currently using with high-tech, digital-age, Silicon Valley-made tools.

For most people, going digital automatically starts with a digital camera. In fact, as you read this, about 60 percent of all Americans own one. But a digital camera is not a requirement for making digital photographs. If you want to, you can easily and affordably keep using your favorite film-based camera, develop photos at your local drugstore or camera store, and scan them into your computer. (I'll cover scanning in more detail in chapter 2). And voilà! You have digital photos. . . .


Excerpted from Going Digital by Alex Goldfayn Copyright © 2006 by Alex Goldfayn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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