Frank Gregorsky, who is in the business of recording family anecdotes, has asked me to make a modification to my article on Preserving the Sounds of Family and I’m happy to do so.  His request was in response  to my comment, …when CD-ROM technology becomes obsolete (and this could happen soon), the technological advances of tomorrow are likely to produce even more miraculous results. The following  points are well-taken and certainly in keeping with the intent of this blog:

Point 1: All digital discs — video, audio and computer — are the same size and will fit in the disc “bay” of any computer built in the past 20 years. If you buy a CD today at Best Buy, you can play it in a living-room CD player built 25 years ago; and you can play that same CD in a VIDEO player you would buy tomorrow (as long as you can brave the stampede).

There is a VAST level of compatibility and uniformity to the “disc” that we have come to take for granted from the mid-1980s on. For one of these formats — disc-types — to disappear, they will all have to disappear.

Point 2:  Media hardly ever disappears. We still have AM and FM — these broadcast technologies have been the same since 1940. Cassette tapes are still used by thousands of school systems (see www.SchoolOutfitters.com) and — believe it or not — J&R Audio in NYC has 5,000 new musical releases — not the Beatles or Louis Armstrong, but present-day artists — available on 33 rpm vinyl! Turntables are easy to buy today, and not just at yard sales. 

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My original article.

When families get together to celebrate a birthday, or a holiday, or just to chat, they usually take photographs. With the amazingly low cost technology around today a lot of people own video cameras, digital cameras, or both and use them to capture memories.

We are all, either by happenstance or by conscious effort, family genealogists and it’s always good to remind one’s self that these events should be recorded for posterity, whether it’s a humorous pie in the face moment, or a discussion with an older member of the clan.

Using videos for family history anecdotal records can be intimidating, especially for the older generation, and often results in a loss of spontaneity. Audio recordings might be a more effective way to capture uninhibited conversations with people who freeze or become self-conscious if they think they’re going to be recorded on video.

A few months ago, I found a tape recording of a family reunion with two old aunts in Scotland. It was made by the Australian branch of my family during a visit to the old country, and I wished to be able to  listen in just one more time. Thanks to a thoughtful friend, my wish was granted.

I didn’t know it was possible take such an old cassette tape and have it digitally encoded and transferred to CD-ROM. It’s even possible to restore the sound to almost original quality and the hissing noise, made by the mechanisms in the old recorders, can actually be eliminated.

My tape was about twenty-five years old and it was probably the result of an accidental preservation process that it remained intact. If you have any tapes that you’d like to preserve,  you might want to try the sound transfer process. Even when CD-ROM technology becomes obsolete (and this could happen soon), the technological advances of tomorrow are likely to produce even more miraculous results.

The CD-ROM transfer I received was a gift, but I’ve done some research online and found several businesses offering sound transfers. I can’t recommend any one service over another, because I haven’t used them myself, but there are plenty of vendors offering reasonable prices on the web. If I decide to use a local service, at least I’ll have an understanding of how the process works before I enter the store.

A couple of days ago I found a written account by Nicole Trifone on the Family Patch web site of an interview with a very innovative Frank Gregorsky, who makes a business of recording family anecdotes. Click on the link below to read the interview.

http://oakton.patch.com/articles/capturing-the-sounds-of-family

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