Are you as excited as we are about the upcoming FGS 2012 Conference, Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the "Old Southwest" in Birmingham, Alabama from August 29 to September 1, 2012? This conference is sure to be one of the major events of 2012 for the genealogy community and Flip-Pal mobile scanner is proud to be a part of the experience.
Visit Us in Booth 415 in the Exhibit Hall
Lisa Milner, Director of Marketing, and Diane Miller, Genealogy Program Manager, will be located in booth 415 in the Exhibit Hall at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex to demonstrate how the Flip-Pal mobile scanner can help you capture and preserve your family history. In addition to answering questions, you’ll be able to learn more about the different ways you can use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories.
The Exhibit Hall opens at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 30 and we hope to see you there! We encourage all FGS 2012 attendees to stop by, say hello and learn about the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Visit http://www.fgs.org/2012conference/exhibits/ for complete Exhibit Hall hours or better yet…download the FGS 2012 Conference App on Guidebook here.
Affiliate Marketing for Genealogy Societies
At 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 31, Diane Miller and Flip-Pal Ambassador Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers will be present Affiliate Marketing for Genealogy Societies in the Demonstration Area of the Exhibit Hall. Thomas and Diane will discuss how genealogy societies can leverage the Flip-Pal affiliate program to help others use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner as part of their genealogy research.
Findmypast Day on Saturday, September 1
Flip-Pal mobile scanner is proud to be working with findmypast.com to present the first-ever Findmypast Day at an FGS conference, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. This special event for beginning genealogists includes a series of four classes to help you explore your roots with findmypast.com. Registration is $10 for the entire day and members of the Flip-Pal team will be available to demo the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Visit https://www.fgs.org/findmypastDay/ to learn more and to register.
Win a Flip-Pal mobile scanner!
There are two chances for you to win a Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories during the FGS 2012 conference:
- A Flip-Pal mobile scanner package will be given away by FamilySearch during the door prize segment on Friday evening, August 31 in the Exhibit Hall.
- Findmypast Day attendees will qualify for a door prize donated by Flip-Pal with the winner receiving a Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
- Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter will once again be hosting his always popular EOGN Dinner on Saturday evening. Attendees can experience a great meal, network with other genealogists and also qualify to win Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Click here to learn more.
Flip-Pal mobile scanners Will Be Available for Purchase at FGS 2012
Family Roots Publishing Company, a Flip-Pal mobile scanner reseller, will be offering a special deal for customers at booths 213/215 and 312/314 in the Exhibit Hall. The FGS Conference Special includes 1) a copy of the Dating Old Photographs CD-ROM (value $12.95) and 2) a copy of the More Dating Old Photographs book (value $15.95) with each purchase of a Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
Can’t Attend FGS 2012? Purchase the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Online!
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is not just for genealogists and family historians—it is ideal for anyone who wants to conveniently and reliably scan photos, documents and artwork to be stored digitally and then shared with family and friends. Orders of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories can also be placed online at flip-pal.com, familyrootspublishing.com and other official Flip-Pal mobile scanner e-tailer and reseller sites.
[Editor’s Note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner team member Diane Miller discusses her innovative and creative concept that she now uses to label all of her family history scans.]
I like immediate results. That is why I use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit!
A Plague of Sticky Notes
The story starts a long time ago, while my mother and I were looking at her old childhood photo album. Ever curious, I asked a variety of questions including, “Who’s that?,” “How are they related?” and “How do you spell their last name?”
As I was asking all those questions, I was recording as much information as I could about the pictures using little yellow sticky notes. I placed them in the album on the pictures and in the margins—wherever I could get enough space to stick them. Not a good idea since the adhesive could damage the photos! The finished result looked a lot like the album above. I was writing as fast as I could, but still not keeping up with the flow of the stories.
Over time those notes have fallen off, my mother is no longer here to help me label the photos and I am left to try and figure out which photo goes with what note.
The Goal: Label Photos Without Damaging Them
I am in the process of digitizing my life bit-by-bit. I really wanted an immediate way to label my scans until I could get them put on the computer and then into a proper family, folder, or name organization. I could do what I’ve done in the past—scan the photo with the sticky note attached and then do a proper scan without the note. However I really don’t want the adhesive from the notes near my photos since they are rapidly deteriorating.
With my thinking cap on, I developed a solution: the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit! It is an immediate and fast way to label your photos as you scan them. The kit contains a thin, high quality acrylic sheet and three erasable fine tip markers.
How the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit Works
Scan the original photo to keep as your “master” copy. Then, gently lay the Sketch sheet over the original and draw on the Sketch using the supplied erasable markers. You can add names, dates, arrows, circles and details about the original. Next, scan the original with the Sketch between the scanner and original. The result: a digital label that will always stay with the picture.
When finished, wipe off the ink on the Sketch with a soft damp cloth, then dry thoroughly. Now you are ready to start the process all over again. The photo album below shows the Sketch sheet being placed over the photo with markings on it, ready to be scanned.
I use the “master” scan in digital scrapbooks and slide shows for my family. The annotated scan is kept as my permanent record of who, what, when and where as it relates to the photo.
Tips for Using the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit
Here are a couple of tips when using your Sketch:
- Remember to only mark on the Sketch sheet with the enclosed erasable pens. Permanent fine tip pen ink won’t wipe off.
- Use only one side of the Sketch, away from the original, as the drawing surface so the ink does not come in contact with your photo or document.
- Protect the acrylic sheet when it is not being used since it can scratch easily. I store mine in the padded envelope it came in, with the pens stored in the pocket of the Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket.
- Occasionally clean and polish the Sketch with a nonabrasive glass cleaner and a soft cloth.
For me, the creative process is a continuous one, inspired by my search for my ancestors and, in fact, the search for myself. Let us know how you would use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit! We want to know what inspires you and we’d love to share your ideas with the genealogy community.
[Editor’s note: Cina Johnson of Ohana Software shares her thoughts on why the Flip-Pal mobile scanner is the perfect scanning tool for family historians.]
Have you seen the movie, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids? If so, then imagine using that invention to shrink your flat-bed scanner down to 10¼″ x 6½″. Then throw away your power cord, add a small viewing screen and a memory card—so you don’t need a computer—and you will have a new found freedom in the form of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
Flip-Pal Means Scanning Freedom
Not only will you be able to scan items without the need for a plug and computer, but this miracle machine goes even further by making it possible to scan very large, flat objects. This is accomplished by removing the scanning cover so you can see straight through the scanning bed and out the bottom of the scanner and see the object you are scanning.
I mentioned freedom as a result of shrinking a flat-bed scanner. Here are two examples of what I am talking about. While sitting in the family room in my recliner, I scanned a small photo album. How sweet is that after sitting at a desk all day! And while sitting on the bedroom floor looking through a box of memorabilia I found a small folder with a picture of my Dad along with his pilot’s certification and some other papers from WWII. I hopped on the bed, grabbed my Flip-Pal and began scanning the contents of the folder. In a couple of minutes I had scanned all these forgotten treasures and put them back where they belonged.
Scanning Is No Longer a Chore with the Flip-Pal
Had it not been for the Flip-Pal, I probably would not have bothered scanning them since it would have meant going into the office, booting up the computer, warming up the flatbed scanner and then scanning. Maybe I would have put them into a pile to “scan someday”…but you know what that really means! The freedom to act on the spur of the moment (find, scan and return) is remarkable.
Flip-Pal Easy Stitch Software—Free and Easy
I also mentioned that you can scan large flat objects. The process is different from using a scanning wand. With the Flip-Pal you take a series of scans so that the entire document, picture or design is in essence scanned. After you finish scanning the object in overlapping segments, go to your computer and use the Flip-Pal Easy Stitch software (included with your purchase) and with no effort on your part, your scans are PERFECTLY stitched together to form one complete photograph. To say that the software is remarkable is an understatement…it’s jaw dropping!
I recently made 32 scans of my grandfather's large diploma and used the Flip-Pal Easy Stitch software to stitch them together and the final result was FLAWLESS. I've stitched photographs of buildings and of faces and the results have always been seamless. I've never seen such good results when stitching photos and the process is EASY.
I also ran across a colored picture that was taken in 1974 and the colors had all turned orange. I used the Flip-Pal mobile scanner to scan the picture then used the Color Restoration Software (also included with the purchase) to restore the color. There are options to adjust the colors but after playing around I decided the software did a better job than I could do on my own.
The software alone is worth the price of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Its convenience makes it an incredible value. The simplicity of using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the included software attests to the care that the developers have put into making it user friendly.
No Tech Knowledge Needed
I checked the Flip-Pal mobile scanner website and found that it is user friendly and enlightening. Their FAQ page answered the questions I had about batteries and about scanning framed objects. I checked out their website pages under the About Flip-Pal tab and learned a lot. This page contains customer comments and by reading this and their blog I have even more ideas of how and where to use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. I’m going to be taking it with me the next time I visit my family out of state—and my list of scanning projects is growing.
My Review of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner
Is the Flip-Pal perfect? No, but I only have two wishes and that says a lot. First, I wish they offered a plug-in cord so I COULD use it without batteries when I’m working at home. I love the fact that the Flip-Pal is battery operated so it can be used anywhere but a plug-in option would be nice. Second, I wish there was a bit more depth-of-field in the focus so that matted pictures and slight indentations from a book’s binding would stay in focus. Neither of these is so great that it would prevent me from purchasing the product.
With all that the Flip-Pal mobile scanner does, I will use it much more than I thought I would. It’s so handy and compact that it will stay by my side while I complete my picture preservation project. I just wish I’d had it sooner because it is so FAST. A full sized flatbed scanner takes a lot longer to scan a 4”x 6” photograph than the Flip-Pal, so by staying at my table with all my pictures I can scan a LOT in a remarkably short time.
To be perfectly honest, I was given a Flip-Pal mobile scanner evaluation unit so I could review the device and write this article. However, I’ve had the Flip-Pal mobile scanner on my wish list for some time and now that I have it, I’m not disappointed. In fact, the more I’ve used it, the more I’m enjoying it!
[Editor’s note: The following guest post from A.C. Ivory, author of the Find My Ancestor blog, shares his first encounter with the Flip-Pal® mobile scanner and with photos (and even a YouTube video) shows how you can get started scanning your photos and documents practically anywhere.]
Some of you may have heard about the new mobile scanner produced by Flip-Pal. A few years ago, Flip-Pal was at the Sandy Family History Expo showing off their cool new product and I was able to sit down and play with one at the expo.
I am so impressed with these little scanners! I must admit, when I first saw and heard about them I was a little skeptical. I thought to myself there is no way a little scanner like that could produce such a great quality image. But I have changed my mind!
This scanner is very lightweight and the perfect size for taking it around wherever you go.
You can see how small and mobile the scanner is.
Click here for the Flip-Pal mobile scanner technical specifications.
The photo above shows some of the different buttons and components of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
The Flip-Pal comes with a 2GB Secure Digital (SD) card for saving your scans. The card also comes software for color correction and photo stitching. Since the software comes on the card, all you have to do is insert the card into your computer and the software automatically loads and asks you whether you want to stitch a photo together or make a color correction. If you ever lose your SD card, you can download the software from their website and put it onto another SD card.
Some of you may be saying to yourselves right now "I don't have an SD slot in my computer or a reader that I can use with my computer." For those of you who do not have an external reader or a built-in reader in your computer, Flip-Pal also includes a USB adapter (see the photo, below) that you simply put your SD card into and then you insert the USB adapter into your computer’s USB slot.
The Flip-Pal has a little display screen for changing the scan resolution, either 300 dpi or 600 dpi. You can also change other settings on the screen. Of course, the screen will also show you a preview of the image you just scanned. This allows you to decide whether you want to keep that scan or do another one.
One of the coolest features that I find is that you can take off the lid or the top of the scanning bed and then turn the scanner upside down and scan a book or a large photo! There have been a couple of times where this would have been really handy for me! I have gone through a couple of old scrapbooks my grandma and mom have made, and with each of them I have had to carefully take apart the scrapbook in order for it to fit onto my flat-bed scanner at home. With the Flip-Pal you don't have to do that anymore!
For photos and documents that are larger than the scanning screen all you have to do is "stitch" them together. Now in the past, it required quite a bit of time, talent, and proper software in order to do this. With the Flip-Pal it’s as easy as scanning the images and telling the software which images you want to stitch together…the Flip-Pal does the rest! I have to admit that this photo stitching software is the best I have seen considering how simple it is. While I don't have an actual example of an image that was stitched together—trust me—it is good! You couldn't even tell that it was scanned in multiple sections and then put together into one image!
All the images saved from the scanner are in a JPG format, which works on both the Windows and Mac operating systems.
Also another really cool feature I find with the Flip-Pal is that you aren't limited to 2D scans anymore! With the Flip-Pal you can scan 3D objects such as coins, military medals and even water bottles! Now you may be asking yourself “why you would ever want to scan a water bottle?” Well, you might have an old soda pop bottle or an ancestor’s old tin can that you would like to get an image of what is on it. You can always take a picture, but the photo would be distorted according to the contour of the bottle. With the Flip-Pal you can get a flat image from a circular object!
[Editor’s note: The following guest post from Susan Petersen, author of LongLostRelatives.net, reviews the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and shows how you can be up-and-running in just minutes and on your way to scanning family photos.]
I've eagerly been waiting for my Flip-Pal mobile scanner to arrive ever since I ordered it. This little gem arrived yesterday and I've been trying out some basic scanning as well as scanning an oversized document to see how the EasyStitch software works.
I was scanning some 55-year-old snapshots in less than five minutes after opening the box.
First of all, this scanner is fast. I'm used to my flatbed scanner warming up, grinding around and taking its sweet time. This scanner was producing images for me in just a few seconds.
The image above is just a very ordinary photo of yours truly mugging for the camera. It's fairly typical of Brownie camera photographs processed at the drugstore in the mid-1950s. With some minor adjustments in the contrast, the scan actually looks sharper than the original.
The software that comes with the scanner allows you to make some adjustments with brightness and contrast. I found it to be quite satisfactory for these "quick and dirty" examples. If you want to do more photo restoration in Photoshop or in another photo editing software that would be fine, but for most scans I think the Flip-Pal software is totally acceptable.
The image below is a “Before and After” example of the type of adjustments you can make to your scanned images. On the left is my original scan and on the right is the image after I experimented with the brightness and contrast. The original image is from one of those small photo booth pictures, circa 1940.
The next project was to see just how this works on oversize images. After all, isn't that the reason that a lot of us genealogists are interested in this product?
I went straight for my grandfather's childhood scrapbook of magazine photos of horses, cows and pigs. It's about 12" x 14", maybe even larger, but it's too big to get a full page on my flatbed scanner. It took me a couple tries to get the auto-stitching software to work, but that was my own fault since I seldom read instruction manuals unless absolutely necessary. Since the software was not recognizing any “stitchable” regions, I realized that my scans had to overlap with one another. I made 11 scans of the page and here are four of them, just to demonstrate what the individual scanned images look like. (Image size is reduced for the blog post.)
The Flip-Pal software is loaded on the 2GB SD memory card that comes with the scanner.
I clicked on the menu item "Stitch Scans," selected the scanned images to sew together and in only a few seconds I had the following image on my computer screen:
I've left this image at its original size so you can click on it to see the full-size hi-res scan. I'll challenge anyone to find each individual scanned image. It absolutely matches perfectly. I even avoided cropping this image so you could see the overage on the sides where I did the scanning. Well, what can I say? This is one of the two main reasons that I wanted to get this scanner.
[Editor’s note: The following guest post from Gary Clark, Founder of PhotoTree.com, discusses how you can create archival quality scans of family photos with the compact yet powerful Flip-Pal® mobile scanner!]
While exhibiting and presenting a session on dating 19th century photographs at the August 2010 Family History Expo in Sandy, Utah, I had the opportunity to take a first-hand look at the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and give it good test. I was very interested in the capabilities of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, especially for archival-quality scans while traveling.
First, a little background. As the founder of PhotoTree.com, I have digitized over 3,000 19th century photographs using a variety of techniques and products and along the way I have developed some expectations of scanning and copying technologies.
PhotoTree.com publishes an online database of 19th century photographs and has developed processes to date them—both online and using printed publications. Additionally, we perform photo restoration, requiring high-resolution digital copies of the original image.
We digitize photographs either with a high-end flatbed scanner or by copying the image with a high-resolution digital camera, using a copy stand and custom lights. A 12 megapixel Nikon D300 camera with a 60mm macro lens is used. All of this equipment costs more than $2,500 and is very bulky. The flatbed scanner also requires an attached PC, cables, power source, etc.—not a real nimble set up.
When traveling, I usually don’t have the luxury of bringing my scanner or all of my photography equipment along, but I still need to frequently create high-quality scans of newly discovered photographs. Because of this, I have been seeking a high-resolution portable scanning solution.
Back to the Flip-Pal mobile scanner test. During a lull in the second day of the expo I introduced myself to Ben Kimbell in the Flip-Pal mobile scanner booth and explained my activities and scanning needs. Despite my skepticism, the size, ease of use and price seemed very intriguing, if too good to be true—and you know what they say about things being too good to be true. So I gave Ben a challenge and had him scan a really nice 120 year-old cabinet card that was very crisp and had a great tonal range.
Ben scanned the picture at 600 dpi and I took it back to my PC to open with Photoshop. Voila! Most people wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the Flip-Pal scan and the master copy I made with my Nikon camera—which was also made at approximately 600 dpi.
When zoomed in as much as 300%, both images exhibited nearly identical sharpness, with differences being mostly a matter of opinion at that point. The scanned image did have some detectable noise and some JPEG compression loss. To be honest, you really had to look for them, and both of those were in acceptable ranges—especially when you compare the JPEG file size of 1.8MB for the Flip-Scan versus the 24MB of the original Photoshop file. The Flip-Pal can also scan at 300 dpi, which we did. The results were very good and ideal for most user applications.
Flip-Pal scan at 600 dpi
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is certainly up to all the scanning tasks that a genealogist could have—and more. I will use it as an archival tool when I don’t have access to my studio or can’t bring all my equipment with me. The small size is also a great benefit to the traveler—it’s half the size of my iPad and the image quality is superb.
Gary Clark, Founder, PhotoTree.com Contact: gary[@]phototree.com
PhotoTree.com provides numerous services and tools to genealogists of all levels as well as collectors and historians, that guide them through the process of dating 19th century photographs and helps them preserve their valuable photographs through restoration, reproduction and archiving techniques.
Tools include an online gallery of more than 1,000 dated images in over 50 categories to compare with undated family photos. Viewing documented examples similar to family photos can help establish the probable date of a photograph. This web site, which includes an extensive history and description of 19th century photographs, is freely available to the public.
A series of easy-to-use unique publications for the genealogist and other 19th century photograph enthusiasts are forthcoming from PhotoTree.com. Available in e-book and print, these highly illustrated sample-based guides provide the most in-depth explanation of photograph dating techniques ever published.
In addition, PhotoTree.com offers expert photograph restoration and enhancement services—ensuring that damaged photos will not be lost forever, but can be restored and recreated as beautiful artwork. For a comprehensive source of 19th century photographic information visit www.phototree.com.
Images courtesy of Gary Clark, PhotoTree.com.
We'd like to welcome you to the new Flip-Pal Genealogy Blog! This is the spot where you'll find the latest information about the Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner and how you can make it part of your family history research.
Future posts will cover a variety of topics including:
- How to use the Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner including functions and features.
- Success stories from Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner users – learn how they have captured and preserved family memories.
- Tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner.
Make sure you add the Flip-Pal Genealogy Blog to your bookmarks or favorites. Better, yet add us to your RSS feed reader or sign up to receive posts via e-mail!