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ScanSnap 3 – Photos

ScanSnap 3 – Photos

I put nearly 200 photos through the ScanSnap in less than an hour while I was talking on the phone the other morning. It pretty much does everything for you. I feed them through individually after sorting a bit by size. It seems to work best if the guides are adjusted to the size of the picture but after the first couple that is pretty mindless. It scanned both sides if there was anything on the back at all. Some of the photos I put through are least 80 years old.

In some cases it assigned a number to the scanned pictures which would indicate the front and back are together and in some cases it didn’t. I didn’t feel it necessary to spend time trying to figure that out.

I have no idea how many pictures I have. There are more in that box and I have two additional larger boxes. I easily have 2,000 more. It won’t happen overnight but I am now confident I will get them done. It’s much easier and faster with the ScanSnap than the flatbed scanner I was trying to use [which is perfect for stacks of single sided pages and does legal size] and does not require as much of my attention.

After the pictures are scanned I spend time renaming them with names to indicate who is in the picture. Those that I have no idea or not enough information keep their scanner assigned number which makes them stand out as unidentified. It is easy to work with them in the ScanSnap Organizer although you don’t have to use it.

All my pictures are saved to a 1 TB NAS drive, that is a large drive attached to my router and available from any computer [or iPod or SmartPhone] on my network. There Picasa automatically begins working on the face recognition. Read about that here. It does some amazing things, sometimes telling me who is in the unknown pictures.

Using Picassa 3.5 to Identify Photos

Using Picassa 3.5 to Identify Photos

I have been playing with the facial recognition in Picassa 3.5, Google’s free photo organizing and editing software. I have a lot of pictures scanned [and at least as many to scan]. Working with photos is not my favorite thing. After playing with the latest version of Picassa for about an hour I’m down to only 9,000 to identify!

The most interesting thing to me is it often chooses family members as potential matches. When I was labeling my granddaughter Marly’s pictures it brought up for my consideration some of her sister Sarah’s pictures. It did the same with my brothers.

I was hopeful that it would use this family resemblance to help identify some of my unknown ancestors but that has not happened so far. The only photo it has identified that I didn’t know was one baby picture. It suggested it was my #2 brother. Upon closer inspection I believe it is. So there is hope it will find others as I start to identify the ancestors.

By pulling up the faces it did show me pictures I didn’t even remember or know I had, an interesting side benefit.

I don’t like the way it wants to link the pictures with an email address from my Google contacts. To foil it I used full names for men, maiden and married names for women. For those woman who don’t use a married name I included their middle name. It seems to be looking for a perfect match in contacts and accepts these as new people. Of course, the problem will not arise with the old pictures but I tested on those I was sure about.

The price – free – is right so you have nothing to lose and maybe some photos to identify.

Viewing the Slides and Negatives

Viewing the Slides and Negatives

I had a wonderful day, out and about in the perfect weather. I picked up the slide and negative viewer, came home and installed it. Then I spent a couple enjoyable hours looking at slides. Ah the memories!

I’ve only made a dent. I estimated I had 300 but 500 appears to be more likely. So far I’ve found some slides which I believe my college roommates would pay to have destroyed. 🙂

I’d say the device works pretty well. The slides are old and definitely have deteriorated to some extent. But I can view them and determine if I want to save the picture or toss with ease. It comes with photo editing software called Photo Impression, version 6. I am not a photo editing expert, looks decent.

Negatives are a different story. Pre 35mm negatives come in an assortment of sizes. The plastic negative holder is designed for 35mm negatives both in size and spacing. This can probably be overcome with some dedication. The bigger problem is while I can see the negative on my screen the software often gives error messages trying to copy the negative. I don’t know enough about the software to determine why but I will see if I have the same problem with another software.

Instructions are minuscule but the device is fairly mechanical — you put the slides or negatives into the appropriate holder and manually push it through. I can hear a little click when it is centered over a slide. Presumably that is true for the negatives too although I haven’t gotten to any negatives that are really the “right” size so I haven’t used that notification. You have to give it a minute to provide a digital image on your computer screen. You can push a button on the device to save the image. After that it is all up to the software — this is where it says it can’t get the image on many of the negatives I’ve tried so far.