More Flickr Goodness

Since SmugMug bought Flickr, things have been improving. First and foremost is that Flickr will remain Flickr and not become part of SmugMug. There will be some changes of course, but all of them for the better.

First of all, the free Flickr account will continue but beginning in January it will be limited to 1,000 photos and videos. That may seem disappointing, but a majority of the current free members have less than 1,000 photos in their account. I found out years ago that $50/year was a very affordable way to protect my collection of family photos, scanned records and other ephemera from disaster.

In addition to focusing on photographers, I’m happy to see that the SmugMug crew appreciate Flickr Commons as much as I do.

When a company is generating income, they will have money to provide features and services that would not be available otherwise. I look forward to watching Flickr grow. Click the button below to take a look at one new feature – The Weekly Flickr. This one celebrates Valentines Day.

Weekly Flickr Valentines Day

Storytelling With Clips

Apple released Clips [iOS – free] on the first day of our cross-country trip last year. The notice popped up on my iPhone while we were driving across the Florida panhandle. It only took a couple of minutes to download and I was soon experimenting to see how it works. At first look my thoughts were it was too simple to be of much use, but by the time we reached Texas I knew this app was a game-changer.

img_2190.png

Clips is available for both iPhones and iPads but only the 64-bit ones. That means an iPhone 5s or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, iPad Air and Air2 or an iPad Pro.

With Clips you create a project made up of photos, video, narration and soundtracks. You can take photos and videos with Clips or import them from your library. Tap the appropriate option from the items found under the viewer and off you go. In this example, video is the chosen option so the big red HOLD TO RECORD button appears. The microphone icon on the left turns the microphone on or off while the camera icon on the right switches between the front and back camera. When the PHOTO option is selected, you will see the flash button, the shutter button and the camera icon which switches between the front and rear cameras. Choose the LIBRARY option and the viewer area displays your photos. Tap to select the ones you want to choose.

img_2191With Clips you create a project then add and arrange “clips” to build your story. Tap the down icon shown at the top left corner of the Clips screen to create a new project. As you add video and photos to your project, those elements appear at the bottom of the screen. In this example, you’ll see a video clip at the bottom. Tap it to select it and several icons appear above it giving you some editing options. In this example, the selected clip is a video clip so the editing options include cutting part of the video or trashing the entire clip. In this example the video was recorded without audio so there is an editing option greyed out. It is the mute icon. If you create a video with sound, that icon is available should you want to mute the audio.

Once you have collected multiple clips for your project, you can tap and drag individual clips to rearrange their order in your project’s timeline. If a video clip needs trimming, select the clip then tap the scissors icon to display the trim box. Tap and drag the left or right trim control to remove the section that needs trimming. When ready, tap Apply.

img_2192At any time you can save any clip to your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Select the clip you wish to save by tapping it then tap the Save button located at the top right corner of the screen. The save icon is visible in the screen shot above. Clips that are saved on your phone can be used in other projects.

In addition to clips and photos, there are all kinds of elements you can use to enhance your project. You can add music from a collection of “soundtracks” or from your own music library. You can also add “Live Titles” by dictation. Not only will Clips convert your words to on-screen text, it gives you the option to style that text too. There are also some interesting filters and effects to jazz things up a bit.

Once your project is finished, in addition to saving it to your Camera Roll, you have a number of sharing options too. You can email or text a project to others and share it on your favorite social networks. They can be forwarded to your account at YouTube and Vimeo. Best of all, if Clips recognizes your friends in any of the videos/photos included in the Clip project, they will be listed on your share sheet.

Here’s my first project “clipped” while driving the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Vicksburg. I’m not a very good dash cam operator and the windshield it a bit buggy but it did show me how useful this amazing little app can be.

And this is just the beginning! Wait to see what else you can do with this delightful little app.

Famicity – A Scrapbook for the 21st Century

Famicity is described as a private social network designed for families. It is that, but it is also a beautiful way to build a scrapbook of your family’s history – current, near past and distant past. Those of us researching our family history have collected all kinds of photos, ephemera and stories about our ancestors. Famicity offers a beautiful platform to show off all those wonderful things along with their stories.

Famicity Screen

In this view, I’ve posted individual photos from my family collection. Each photo has fields to include date, place and description. The description can be a simple caption or a story. You can also add tags to each entry. These tags can be useful to quickly display all photos and stories associated with a particular tag. You can tag a person, a place, an event or whatever keyword will help you organize the elements you post at Famicity.

Each item you include in Famicity can be assigned permissions. This makes it possible to include friends as visitors but limit their access to certain entries. It could also be used to limit the younger family members access to photos or stories that aren’t appropriate for their age. As the owner/manager of your Famicity network, you control who has access and what they have access to. The Tree element also serves as the “profile” for each member. As the site manager, you can also organize individuals into groups. Groups are useful for quickly assigning permissions or sending messages to a certain group.

Albums and video in Famicity

I love the albums component. It’s the perfect place to celebrate an event, vacation or family collection – both past and present. You can tag and comment on the album and on individual photos within the album. You can also include captions to each photo.

Don’t ignore the video element either. Capture and share those special moments like a baby’s first steps. You can share videos from platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but that means the video is still visible to the world. When you are posting a “private” video – one you don’t want to share with the world – you can post the video file directly on Famicity. You would need the Famicity Premium account ($4.99/month) which includes 50GB of storage with 1GB for each member.

In addition to photos, videos, ephemera and stories, Famicity also includes a private messaging space where members can communicate with each other. Using the Inbox, only the people in the conversation will have access to those messages. Each person has a profile page which also serves as an address book for members. The profile information on each member includes email address, birthdate and a photo. Famicity is set up to send birthday reminders to Famicity members using the profile information. Send your birthday greetings as a private message or as a graphic birthday “card” on the Famicity timeline where members can share their greetings with everyone using the comment element for that card.

There’s a lot more Famicity goodness just waiting for you and your family to enjoy. One very nice feature is its cost – nothing! To learn more and get started on your own Famicity network, visit them at https://Famicity.com.

Lost Memories

The hurricanes that devastated the Carolinas have left many of us stunned at the horror Mother Nature can inflict.

While most of the damage can be repaired or replaced in one way or another, there will be many precious treasures that can never be replaced. The family photos and treasured ephemera from generations past are often victims of disaster. Storing them in archival quality containers can protect them from a normal environment, but not disasters such as these.

Photographing treasures, scanning photos and documents won’t save them from destruction but when those digitized items are saved in a secure location (or multiple locations) their memory will live on. And, with a little extra effort, you can also tell the stories of these precious things. These photos and their stories can be passed on to future generations.

Journaling TreasuresThe wicker chest you see in this screenshot was taken using my iPhone and the Day One journaling app. Day One is more than just a daily journal of events. It is also a delightful way to capture the people, places and things that are part of our lives.

The Day One app is available for Mac desktops as well as iOS and Android devices. The apps are free, but a premium subscription ($3.99/mo or $34.99/year) is needed to take advantage of features including unlimited encrypted cloud storage, unlimited photo storage, multiple journals and cloud synching between devices. The cost of a premium subscription is well worth the cost. Having copies of your journals – and the photos included in them – safely stored far away from the disaster insures that this memories will not be lost.

The premium subscription supports multiple journals. You can create a journal just for your treasures. Use the app to photograph those treasures along with a note describing it, where it came from and any history that goes along with it. Don’t stop with furniture. Things like art work, Christmas decorations, wedding gowns, antiques and even toys all have their own memories.

One more thing . . . Day One also has a publishing feature so you can create custom books to share with others. Premium users get a 25% discount.

My treasured wicker chest and other special items may someday be lost in a disaster, but their memory will live on thanks to Day One.