Disaster-proofing your memories
For my day job, I review engineering reports for a forensic engineering firm. Forensic engineering is not so much how to build a house, but why did it fall down. We deal in disasters, so I am forever reminded of the disastrous effects of flooding and fires. Lately I’ve reviewed several reports where everything in the home was lost, ruined, or burned. Home fires start so easily and unexpectedly — whether from a faulty or overburdened power strip, a power cord pinched in a door or under a sofa leg, or just old wiring in the bathroom fan.
It reminded me of the extreme importance of scanning all of your photos — and documents — and having them saved off-site. Scanning alone isn’t enough — chances are good if a disaster is going to destroy your photo albums, it will also be destroying your computer and external hard drives as well. You need to have an off-site backup.
A couple of options are to burn CDs or DVDs with all of your photos, or copy them to flash drives and distribute copies to various family members (who do not live in the same house, obviously). I certainly wouldn’t turn down tons of family photos from any of my relatives!
I think, however, the best idea for backing up and storing all of your photos is cloud storage. There are, of course, many many options that you could choose – everything from backup services like BackBlaze, Mozy, or Carbonite, to easier-to-access cloud storage like Dropbox.
My favorite option for scanning & storing my digital photos and genealogy documents? JoyFLIPS, a fast, easy scanning, editing, tagging, organizing, story collecting, printing and more App. And it’s free.This iphone app with all of it’s amazing bells and whistles is completely free. You can download it in the app store. (Android is coming, I promise!). And unlimited — as in no limits whatsoever — cloud storage for your scanned photos is also completely free. Yes. Completely free.
What I really love about the JoyFLIPS app — that totally knocks out any of the competition — is that not only is it super easy and fast to take absolutely fantastic scans of all your old print photographs — you literally flip through your photos while your iphone scans them in amazing quality — but you can then add captions, keywords, tags and even entire stories about a photograph, using and recording your voice (or someone else’s voice). The recording will play back with the photo, plus it is also converted to searchable text that stays with the photo.
Because your original-size photos are stored in the cloud, and only a small version is actually needed to be viewed on your phone (thumbnail), the app only takes up a very small amount of your phone’s memory space. I have almost 10,000 photos on my phone! I can search and find any one of them in a flash, and there is still plenty of room on my phone for more!
You can also import your already digitized photos into your JoyFLIPS account so that you can organize ALL of your photos at once. Really – All of your digital photos, in one place!
Two more of the many features that I want to mention are IBM’s Watson and FamilySearch.
JoyFLIPS is a FamilySearch partner. You can find our app in the FamilySearch app gallery, and you can upload photos directly to FamilySearch right from within your JoyFLIPS app.
JoyFLIPS is integrating the power of IBM’s Watson in the background of our programming, to help automatically tag your photos, for starters. We are training Watson to learn to identify and tag, and in the future, to go out and find genealogical information based on the names you’ve tagged in your photos.
All that is free. Really. And all of this free will leave you with change in your pocket, so that if you want to do more with your photos, you can. Soon JoyFLIPS will be partnering with other photo service companies, so that anything that you want to do with your photos can be done from within the app: ordering prints, photo gifts, coffee cups with your dog’s photo on them, etc. The coolest thing, though is the memory stick that will be available soon, which will back up your entire JoyFLIPS account onto a flash drive for you. This ‘memory stick’ will be the easiest way to not only have all of your photos backed up in the cloud, but make great gifts for family members: Give them the flash drive for a gift… and for safe keeping!
Download the app for your iPhone and watch for updates — Being in Beta means it just gets better and better with each update! Follow JoyFLIPS on Facebook and join the JoyFLIPS Facebook Users Group to ask questions and share ideas.
Disclosure: I volunteer time to be part of the JoyFLIPS beta team, helping to make it the most awesome photo scanning app for genealogy ever. I am not paid for my help nor my opinions.