Friday, July 20, 2007

A New Wedding Memory Album by MemoryPress

"It never rains, but it pours." I imagine most genea-bloggers are like myself; I go through these dry spells where I can't think of anything to blog about, or can only think of topics that don't seem interesting enough to mention. And then there are times like the past two days, when so much happens so fast that there simply doesn't seem time enough in my day to blog about them all! So I will have many exciting things to share about the next few days. I'm still continuing blogging my great-grandfather's World War I memorabilia; I have another "My Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census" post in the works; there's plenty more about and the great finds there that I'm excited to be sharing; the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has three bits of terrific news; I made some new discoveries at two local Family History Centers yesterday...and I had a great interview with Jeff Harmon of MemoryPress today!

Jeff works with a small start-up company in Utah that has just released a family history project that will be of interest to family historians and genealogists. MemoryPress is a start-to-finish solution to publish your Personal or Family History into a beautiful hardbound book.

5 things that set MemoryPress apart:
  1. Online Collaboration—kind of like Google Docs, MemoryPress lets you collaborate online, but to create your family history.
  2. REAL Typesetting —powered by TeX, MemoryPress easily organizes and typesets up 480 page books online! To our knowledge, this has NEVER been done online before.
  3. Tech Mash-up—MemoryPress will soon import blogs, MS Word Documents, Online condolences, flickr photos. (out of these we have only released the flickr import to date)
  4. Really Long Lasting Books—When you print your family history stories you want them to last. Watch what happened when we put a MemoryPress book in the dryer for 45 minutes.
  5. Customer Phone Support—Creating a book can be difficult for the non-tech savvy user, it can be difficult to learn drag-&-drop, uploading photos, etc... They can give us a call and we will step them through it at no extra charge.

MemoryPress' purpose is to publish Family History books (baby, wedding, memorial, biographies, etc...), archiving them online and making them search-able, while publishing them into traditional book form.

When I first heard of this product, I wasn't sure that this was something I would want to do right now. After all, I'm a pretty busy gal! While I am working towards gathering resources for an eventual published Hoekstra Family History, I am nowhere near being prepared to start publishing. But then, as I looked over the products, I thought of my 20-year-old wedding photo album I had put together in one of those (yikes!) nasty magnetic-photo page know, the one with the archivist's nightmare of acidic plastic pages that slowly (and sometimes quickly!) eat away at your photographs? Yes, that one! I thought this would be a great opportunity to redo my wedding album and save the photos for posterity. Not only do I have many color prints, but also some special black-and-white photographs that I could incorporate into a stunning book along with our written memories!

Now I have to say that first of all, the technological support at MemoryPress is fabulous! I learned this the hard way as Jeff was guiding me through the various fun features of the online creation of a sample book. We both had lessons in patience as first my laptop was having issues displaying photos I attempted to upload, and then my desktop lost Internet service. After waiting out these snafus, I had no problem viewing, uploading and playing around with the text and graphics of the sample book on my desktop. This is not to say that MemoryPress won't work with your laptop; Jeff assures me that the program adjusts to both huge or tiny screens. I have an industrial-grade, rather than a commercial-grade laptop, so occasionally problems show up with this machine that I'm sure are unique only to this product. The friendly, patient, helpful service was a wonderful example of the support customers are certain to receive from this company!

I can hardly wait to get started, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

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