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I’d say it’s a safe bet that almost everyone has a collection of conventional photos they’ve amassed over the years. You’ve probably got a photo album or two of family photos, perhaps a shoebox full of snap shots and/or Polaroids taken on various vacations or other occasions, maybe a few trays full of 35mm slides. And just where are these ‘precious’ memories right now? Chances are pretty good that they’re gathering dust on a shelf in a closet or some other location that’s not readily or easily accessible for viewing them. In addition to not being able to look at them conveniently, time, temperature and humidity all take their toll on photos and slides. These environ- mental elements can cause them to curl, lose their color vibrancy and, in worst-case scenarios, cause the emulsion to peel away from the backing paper or film. Indeed, time marches on and there’s really no way to stop it from showing its effects on your pictures. Or is there? Well, none of us can really stop time, per se, but we certainly can take some positive steps for preserving those irreplaceable photos and the memories they rekindle. The solution is to make a DVD of your photos and slides. It’s really not hard to do; it just takes a little time and some basic equipment. And, if you involve the rest of the family in doing it, it can be a fun activity for all, too. Digital pictures are already in the format required to put them on DVD; your conventional photos and slides, however, need to be converted into digital format, so that’s the first task at hand in making your DVD slide show.
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GETTING YOUR GEAR TOGETHER If you only have conventional photographs, then just about any flatbed scanner, including the popular all-in-one printer/scanner units, will do the job nicely. However, if you also have slides or just 35mm negative strips without the corresponding prints, then you’ll need a scanner capable of ac- cepting these forms of media as well. I use a Hewlett-Packard HP ScanJet 3970 flatbed scanner that connects via the USB port, and it has the capability of scanning 35mm slides or 35mm negative strips. When I purchased it a few years ago, I paid well under $100 for it then; the chances are pretty good you can pick one of these (or an equivalent scanner) up on eBay or elsewhere at real bargain-basement prices these days. You’ll also need a DVD burner and blank DVD media to make the slide show disc, and these, too, are also very affordable currently. If you want to view the slide show disc on your TV, then you’ll also need a DVD player. Of course, you can always look at the DVD on your computer, too, if you wish. Over the years, several of the photos I wished to scan curled up, which makes them very difficult to scan properly. To keep them flat, I went to the local stationary store and purchased a roll of drafting tape. Even though this stuff looks like regular masking tape, it is quite different. Drafting tape can be peeled away from a photograph with- out damaging it; regular masking tape or cello- phane tape is difficult if not impossible to remove from your priceless old photos without causing any damage,