[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.
Many of us have spent hours, days and months scanning precious photos and documents only to lose them when a computer crashes, a backup system fails or a natural disaster strikes.
In the past, when most photographs existed in paper form, there were several ways to obtain a copy—a reprint from the negative, a photocopy, etc. Now, when a hard drive fails, those digital images are often gone for good.
The Picture Keeper—A Snap To Save!
I have just started working with an easy-to-use backup device to save all of my digital photos and scans of documents. I first mentioned Picture Keeper in a previous post and now I’d like to explain how to get started using a program that many call “the simplest automatic picture backup device.”
Getting Started with the Picture Keeper
Just plug the Picture Keeper drive into a USB port on your computer and it will walk you through the process of backing up your photos. The software is already installed on the USB drive and is ready to start saving your digital photos and scans.
The first time you use the Picture Keeper drive on a PC, the “Auto Play” dialog will appear. With your mouse, double-click on the “Open Folder to View Files” option.
Normally, the main PictureKeeper window will appear, but if not, click “LaunchPictureKeeper.exe” to launch the program:
For Mac, look for a drive on your desktop labelled "PK" or "No name". Double click on that drive. When it opens the window, just double click on the item labelled "PictureKeeper" that contains a small icon in front of it. The other files are for PCs.
Then the Picture Keeper dialog will appear.
Using the Picture Keeper Program
Click “Start Backup” to begin the initial process of backing up your photos. The Picture Keeper will automatically navigate your hard drive looking for image files (jpg and png). It will then copy them to the Picture Keeper drive using the same folder and files names as those already on your computer. You can use the “Options” menu to add additional image file types such as bmp and psd.
Picture Keeper 8 (PK8) will store approximately 8,000 image files, provided your pictures or scans are approximately 1MB in size. If more space is required, a second Picture Keeper drive can be purchased which will seamlessly continue the backup on the second drive.
Additionally, you can use one Picture Keeper drive for a second computer. When the Picture Keeper program has finished backing up images on the first computer, simply plug it into the second computer and it will back up images on that computer as well.
Finally, remember that when you remove the Picture Keeper drive from the computer be sure and put it in a safe place!
To learn more about The Picture Keeper, watch the video below:
Picture Keeper Will Backup New and Updated Images
Now the best part! Let’s say a month has gone by and you were reminded to back up your pictures again by the Picture Keeper auto-reminder. Plug the Picture Keeper device into your computer and it will automatically back up any photos or scans that were added or changed. That is all there is to it! It certainly cuts down on duplicate copies of images on your hard drive or backup device.
Overview of How Picture Keeper Works
- Plug the Picture Keeper drive into a USB port, click “Start Backup” and Picture Keeper automatically begins searching for and saving all of your digital images. No software to install or setup. No wires. No passwords. No monthly fees.
- After the initial backup is complete, each subsequent backup runs faster as Picture Keeper only copies recently added or modified photos.
Picture Keeper Features
- The Picture Keeper is a simple and easy way to back up digital images. No technical knowledge is necessary—just plug in the Picture Keeper drive and let it go to work!
- The Picture Keeper stores up to 8,000 digital images depending upon the image size.
- The backed up images can easily be transported to a digital photo printing kiosk located at drugstores and warehouse stores such as CVS or Target.
- You can create a “Plug & Play” slide show on any digital picture frame or television that has a USB port.
- You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your digital images are safe and secure!
- A second Picture Keeper drive will work in conjunction with the first one for continuous back up.
- Each time you plug in the Picture Keeper drive it automatically finds the new or modified images added to your system and includes them in the backup.
- The Picture Keeper can help consolidate digital images from two or more computers and help eliminate duplicate images.
- The Picture Keeper is compatible with Mac, PC and Linux* operating systems.
- The Picture Keeper is more than just a USB flash drive…it does all the backup work for you!
- You can contact the U.S.-based Picture Keeper customer service support team by phone or email.
- The Picture Keeper comes with a one (1) year limited warranty.
Flip-Pal mobile scanner is now offering the Picture Keeper 8 (PK8) drive for sale online—click here for more information or to purchase.
*Compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows 7; MacOS 10.4.11 and above; Linux.
Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Apple, Mac, MacOS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
[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!
The tragedy of a natural disaster surrounds us this summer in our community of friends and neighbors here in Fort Collins, Colorado. This morning I awoke at 1:00 a.m. to the smell of smoke from the nearby wildfire. I got up, turned off the outside fans and closed the windows. When I saw this morning’s paper, tears flowed as I read about 57 more homes being destroyed by the fire.
The last two weeks in Fort Collins have been like living next to a fierce campfire. Daily, smoke and ash cover the skies, our cars and our yards. I can clearly see plumes of smoke from my front door as they rise above the surrounding foothills. The flames—which at times have reached 200 feet into the air—have destroyed more than 250 homes and burned over 80,000 acres. A single home with a family's memories burned to ash is difficult to imagine, let alone more than 250.
Wildfires, Hurricanes and Other Disasters
Besides the Fort Collins area, wildfires have been raging elsewhere in Colorado as well as in Utah, New Mexico and California. In addition to these fires, the hurricane season is barely under way in the Atlantic and there have already been four named storms—a record number for this early in the year. Flash floods, tornadoes and other disasters, both natural and man-made, are a common occurrence in areas of the U.S. and worldwide.
The Solution—Proactively Preserve Your Family Memories
Instead of risking the loss of your family memories, what if you digitally archived them and stored them in several places? You could digitally backup your photos and documents on a thumb drive and store it in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. You could digitized your photos and keep the originals in a safe place. You could even upload your digital images to the cloud via an online storage site.
A Backup Plan Using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the Picture Keeper
As the family historian, I have devised a backup strategy for all of my valuable photos and documents. First I scan my original documents and photos with my Flip-Pal mobile scanner and store the scanned images on my computer's hard drive. Then I plug the The Picture Keeper thumb drive into my computer’s USB port and it copies all of the scanned images onto the drive.
The Picture Keeper is an amazingly easy to use backup tool. The included software keeps track of previously copied images so that the next time you plug it into your computer it detects any new pictures you’ve scanned and copies them to the thumb drive!
I back up all my scans and photos to the Picture Keeper and then I put it in a safety deposit box at my bank. At the beginning of each month I get my Picture Keeper from my safety deposit box, plug it into my computer and backup any new scanned items.
Now is the Time to Create Your Back Up Plan!
Whatever your preferred method of digitally archiving your family memories—please make sure you regularly back them up and store them in a safe place.
Photo: "Elk Bath" – A wildfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, United States, August 6, 2000, by John McColgan, employed as a fire behavior analyst at the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Public domain via Elk Bath - Montana Wildfires.
How do I know which Software Suite to buy for my Flip-Pal mobile scanner?
It all comes down to a) the complexity of your creative projects and b) what type of computer you use – a PC or a Mac.
Creative Suite Craft Edition is for PC users who want to make a simple digital genealogy/scrapbook project, enhance photos and create a slide show.
- PagePlus Essentials has all the templates, word processing, graphic design and layout tools you need for stunning calendars, invites, cards, newsletters and more.
- PhotoPlus Essentials is your fast and easy photo editor. Make everyday photo fixes, repair damaged pictures, apply creative effects, organize, print and share.
- WebPlus Essentials makes building a fun or sophisticated website within everyone’s reach. Use templates, then customize with your own photos, text and more.
- Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 lets you create beautiful scrapbooks, cards, invitations, then share your designs with a couple of clicks.
- SlideShow Expressions helps you organize and print photos, easily create slide show movies, and entertain your friends & family.
- Family Tree Heritage Platinum 8 genealogy software allows you to build your family tree, Web pages, and preserve and share your family heritage. You can even access Ancestry.com directly from Family Tree Heritage.
Digital Creativity Suite is for both PC and Mac users. It has great software to make professional-looking projects at home and then share your creativity with your friends and family.
- Photoshop Elements 10.0 helps you turn your precious photos into sensational photos. Use automated options to crop, straighten, fine tune, repair and retouch your photos, tag and share photos with your social network. It also contains tools to quickly organize, find, view and manage all your photos and video clips.
- Logo Design Studio Pro lets you create professional logos for business or personal use. Easy to use templates, fully editable vector graphics, and drawing tools allow you to create special effects logos expandable to any size with import and export capabilities for all the popular formats.
- Corel Paint It! can turn your favorite photos into beautiful paintings. Simply choose a painting style and watch the automated painting process create the perfect hand-painted photo art. Add brushstrokes and fun effects to personalize your scrapbook, family album, greeting card or any other masterpiece.