Author Archives: Keith Osbon

What if YOU are the family historian?

Are you the family historian?  The one with all the knowledge of the family’s ancestry?  The person with the most pictures and videos?  The keeper of the piles of old negatives?  The scrapbooker of the family?  If so, you probably feel an excessive burden sometimes, especially around holidays when the extended family gets together.  They all look to YOU for the images, the knowledge, the answers.  And you may not always have them. Fortunately, there are now best practices around preserving and organizing the memories of an extended family (not just your own household, but those of aunts, uncles, cousins, and other close relatives).  As we look forward to the holidays this year, here are a few tips to help you and your family preserve the past so everyone in the family can enjoy old memories.  And do so without being stressed out!  Now is the time to begin to think about getting your memories digitized.   Communicate with extended family members NOW, well before the holidays. Ask them to send you as many memories as they can. Specifically, photo shoeboxes, photo albums, 35 mm slides and negatives, scrapbooks, VHS tapes, and camcorder tapes. As you gather them from extended family members,...
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Your Memories Are A Mess … They Don’t Have To Be

We need to ask you a very important question … Where are all of your photos and videos right now? Think about it for a second.  It’s likely that the answer isn’t as obvious as it may seem.  You’ve probably got some on your phone.  Others are on your computer, and still others may be in a cloud service.  Then there’s your old phone, and the iPad. Facebook.  Flickr.  Google Photos.  Not to mention the old pictures in the attic, in the shoeboxes, in the closet, and under the slide projector that no longer works.  You get the idea. Your memories are spread out everywhere, but they aren’t organized in any meaningful way.  Even if we at Memory Fortress converted all your old analog memories to a digital format, it doesn’t mean that you’ve integrated our work with your more recent digital pictures.  Putting your hands on an old picture takes some serious work! It’s sometimes even harder to find your newer pictures as well.  It doesn’t have to be that way. In an ideal world, you’d have all your memories consolidated in one place, then spread out to multiple copies (cloud, external drive, phone, etc.).  And these memories would be highly organized, tagged,...
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The Future of the DVD

The familiar DVD became the standard format for storing media in the 1990s and has seen several improvements since then.  We built our company with the DVD as our main delivery device – you send pictures, slides, and video to us, and we return them to you digitally on a DVD.  It sounds like a simple proposition, but the reality is a little more complex. When the DVD came out in the mid-1990s, personal computers were not the fixture in homes that they are today.  So DVD players dominated the landscape for more than a decade, and tens of millions of consumers dove in and purchased one.  Along the way, they made sure to get their favorite movies on DVD as well, for superior visual display and lack of degradation of quality over time. Now we are in the middle of yet another format shift, moving away from DVDs and towards larger storage devices such as USB flash drives, external hard drives, and cloud-based delivery systems.  Consumers don’t purchase DVDs anymore, they simply use WiFi to stream their content on demand.  Many computer manufacturers have stopped putting DVD drives in computers at all. Within ten years, it will be difficult to purchase...
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What’s With The Low Prices On Photo Scanning?

This is a question that we get so often, we decided to do a full post about it.  When we were first deciding what we wanted Memory Fortress to be, it was incredibly important to us that everyone’s story be told, not just the folks with money.  That led to the obvious conclusion that if we were going to be accessible to everyone, then we needed price points on all of our offerings that reflected that commitment to digitize the images and videos of our great country. We decided to be a low-cost provider of quality services, which means that we are competitive with our prices on every single offering.  There are no sales at Memory Fortress, no one-day specials, no super-saver weeks.  We don’t use any coupon codes either.  We simply have low prices every single day of the year.  It is our goal to make it obvious to the customer that we want their business. A standard price on photo scanning might be 33-50 cents per image from our competitors; Memory Fortress customers can get it as low as 14 cents per image.  Scrapbooks are usually scanned in the $2.50-$4.00 per page range. We offer it at $1.39/$1.79 for 300/600...
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Delivery Devices – Rules Of Thumb

We get so many questions about types of storage devices, formats, and capacities that we figured that they are worthy of one comprehensive blog post.  Delivery devices are what you actually receive from us!   We’ll add some of the actual questions to our FAQ section, but for now, let’s dive in.  These are common questions we get from customers every day.   Q:  I have X number of photos.  How many will fit on Y device? Rule of Thumb:  A picture scanned at 300 dpi averages about 500KB, while a 600dpi file averages about 1.5MB. Translation:  We can fit about 9,000 of your pictures on a single DVD (300dpi) and even at higher 600dpi resolution, we can fit over 3,000 pictures on one DVD.  Our smallest USB flash drive holds 8GB of data, which translates to over 15,000 images at 300dpi and over 5,000 images at 600dpi.   Q:  I have X number of 35mm slides/negatives.  How many will fit on Y device? Rule of Thumb:Our average slide file is around 6MB, with a normal range of 4-8MB depending on the images.  Since all of our slides are scanned at over 4,000 dpi, the file sizes are larger than for photos. Translation:  We can get 700-800...
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Image Deterioration Can Be Stopped

Here at Memory Fortress, we see it every day, several times a day.  Pictures, slides, and negatives will arrive in boxes to be processed, and we quickly assess the condition of all.  Most of the time, we see the effects of the ravages of time.  Images which were once pristine have now deteriorated, sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable.  And while we can halt the process (via scanning and some software corrections), it doesn’t change the fact that the original images are not of the same quality they once were.  Image deterioration is a real problem for many Americans. So why does this happen? Back 40-60 years ago, film manufacturers like Kodak didn’t fully understand how their products would hold up in the future.  While great improvements were made in the 1980s, film products from before then haven’t fared as well.  The chemicals used in make film negatives, slides, and photographic prints were less stable, and prone to color skewing over time.  What this means is that even if the owner of the images took excellent care of them over the years, there is still a very good chance that the dyes have undergone miniature chemical reactions that slowly changed...
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Organizing Memories Is Stressful, But There Is A Solution

You read the headline right. Most people KNOW where nearly all of their important memories are.  The reason that they experience considerable stress isn’t worrying about lost memories; it’s about knowing just how long a full-scale organizing and digitizing project will take.  For many families, this is easily a 150-200 hour task.  That’s right … close to a full month of work.  And that’s just focusing on the memories in one house. Many extended families have memories spread out among multiple houses, in multiple states.  The thought of even getting your arms around the scale of the project can be overwhelming.  Organizing memories is full-time work. Here are some (but not all) of the many comments we hear nearly every day when people call us: I have 25-30 photo albums, and all the pictures are stuck to the page, I can’t get them out to scan them. We have 2,000 slides, but the slide projector no longer works. There are boxes of VHS and camcorder tapes in the garage … all home movies! … but we can’t play them anymore. My mom died and we found all these film reels in the basement … I have no idea what is on them...
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Marines from 6th Communications Battalion, Marine Forces Reserve, marched in the annual New York Veterans Day parade Nov. 11. This year marks the 92nd anniversary of the New York Veterans Day Parade. The parade is hosted by the United War Veterans Council, Inc. on behalf of the city of New York. It is the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation. Since Nov. 11, 1919, the parade has provided an opportunity for Americans and international visitors to honor those who have served in the nation's largest city. Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the recently awarded Marine Medal of Honor recipient, rode in the parade. Major Gen. Melvin Spiese, deputy commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force, represented the Marine Corps as one of the reviewing officials of the parade.
bald eagle american photo scanning
photo scanning

Memory Fortress Supports our United States Armed Forces

Our Military Connection We are an American Company and proud to support our United States Military.  The founders of Memory Fortress are either veterans or come from families with strong military backgrounds.  We believe deeply in a strong, proud USA, and a big part of that is documenting the history of the country.  That doesn’t mean relying on NBC or CNN, it means relying on YOU.  Your history is far too important to us to just let it blow away in the wind, unremembered and unappreciated. You have worked hard your whole life.  You have raised a family, or have been a part of a family.  You have sacrificed so that your family can benefit.  You may have even served this country in some capacity, be it in a military or civilian role.  The history of our country is not whatever the media decides is important today; the history of the country is YOU. To those of you who have served in combat, we offer you our deepest thanks and appreciation for your sacrifice.  You are the best this country has to offer, and you serve as a shining beacon for those who follow in your footsteps.  We think that preserving your...
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How Much Is This Going To Cost?

This is one of the more common questions we get over the phone and on email. Even though we’ve got the Pricing Grid centrally located on the website, there are still plenty of other questions coming in relating to cost. So in this blog post, let’s hit on some things that come up most often. We won’t spend much time talking about the actual prices (because they are printed here), but more about the value we deliver to you. Whatever you send in, we know it’s going to cost at least $99. That’s our minimum order size, and it’s a great incentive for you to send in all of your memories at once, rather than a couple of hundred images at a time. We are a bulk scanning facility; we are not well-suited to scanning a few dozen images. Nearly all of our customers send in a lifetime’s worth of memories for their families. All of our pricing models have volume discounts as an additional incentive to send in more items. You can save about a third of the price per unit by sending in large quantities. For example, a single 300 dpi photo at low volume costs 22 cents, but...
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Why We Started Our Scanning Service

Why Do This? It started off as the solution to a problem.  We had over 15,000 pictures, at least 25 camcorder tapes, and many assorted slides and negatives.  Our parents had at least that much themselves, and none of it had been digitized.  All the digital images were from 2005 and after, but everything prior to that was in a photo album, or in a shoebox, or in the closet in a bag.  It was semi organized at best and spread out across three rooms.  After determining that doing the work ourselves would take far too much time and money, we chose an online service and shipped off our photos.  The company did a decent job - everything got scanned and as far as we know, no pictures were lost - but the quality was iffy.  There was no color correction and at least a third of the digital images were not oriented properly, so we had to rotate 5,000-6,000 ourselves by hand. It was obvious to us that millions of Americans were going to have the same issues we had, and so an idea was born.  Since we strongly believe that everyone should be remembered, creating digital copies of memories...
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