March 31, 2010

Preserving those Precious Memories

CoinHarryBy Harry G. Coin
Industrial/Systems Software Architect
CEO, Quiet Fountain LLC

563-332-4970 •

So, there I was: just under 50 years old, looking at about 100 boxes of photographs on slides taken from the 1950s through the 1980s, holding all the memories of our parents’ parents, their wedding, our childhoods, graduations and our weddings. Precious and irreplaceable, but also taking up a lot of space. My sisters and I have our own families now, spread around the country. The time when we all come together is rare and short; there is time to show at best one or two carousels for the kids and grandkids.

So many memories of our grandparents and parents, wars, joys, hardships and just life needed sharing! Family trips, school proms, snowmen in the yard, these needed preserving. But who has slide projectors today? And, so many slides! Of the thousands there, not many had the amazing content and dazzling quality you’d want to pay for hours of TLC to make it ready for hanging over the fireplace. The photos of Niagara Falls recall good times, but the photo with now departed grandma holding the kindergarten grandchild climbing on the nickel-for-three-minutes view telescope with the Niagara Falls somewhere in the distance– those are the ones that are somehow more important: but as a charming moment, not for hanging over the fireplace.

What to do? Was it totally necessary to have family sort through them all to decide which were worth saving and for whom and which were going into the bucket? They would wait in the closet another 20 years before that was done! The price had to come down, so I could just do them all. As I’ve had a career in computer systems architecture, I decided to make it happen. So during my evenings I warmed up my soldering iron and bought some gear to create a system to convert thousands of slides onto DVD’s in a quality better than they looked projected on the silver screen, especially improving the ones that were too dark. I converted all my family’s slides. Now my sisters and I have all 10,000+ of them on digital picture frames in each of our houses, showing our kids every day as they pass by– memories of our own childhoods, our parents as young people and the lives of their great-grandparents as well, and the sacrifices and realities of war. I’ve done this for over two-dozen acquaintances and others too.

Well, here we are. Now I have a hobby side-business that I’m ready to share with my fellow QCA area neighbors. If you have a only a handful of slides, it makes sense to go to a typical photo store near you, or buy one of those computer-attached wonders to convert them yourself. But if you have two or more carousels and you want them all done while you’re still young enough to pass copies around the family, I’d be pleased to offer you a chance to get the benefits that worked out for me!