Tag Archives: technology

No Longer Completely Lost in Translation with Google Translate

Dad grew up in a large German speaking family in North Dakota. It wasn’t until he started attending school that he was required to speak English.

Visiting my father’s family, when I was young, was interesting. Great food, lots of laughter, loud volume, couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying. As we grew older, dad’s family shifted from speaking German to English except during times of distress. When a crisis arose the family would talk and yell in German. We were left wondering what in the world was going on and anxiously asking, “What? What?”

The German speaking tradition was not passed down to us. We often bothered dad about this, but for whatever reason (and I have a few ideas), German was not a second language in our household. Most of the time this does not pose a problem for me. But once in a while my lack of German gets in my way.

I have pictures, mementos and letters from my parent’s lives. Dad’s boxes contain hand written letters in German. I can’t read or understand German but I was taught to be resourceful. Using Google Translate (a free online service) I type the German words from the letters and watch them transform into English before my eyes. Google Translate is not infallible and while it helps me understand the general content of the letters it is not always completely accurate. But this does not discourage me. I enjoy the challenge and it’s fun trying to decipher these letters on my own.

The latest letter I am working on involves sincere greetings, a report of good health, a missing item found in a pocket, joy in finding it, and I believe tight pants. The suspense is building.

 

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Lights, Camera, Color! – Create Your Own Coloring Pages from Photos

Technology allows for creativity beyond my own capabilities. Crayola’s Lights, Camera, Color web activity imports your very own digital photos and converts them into coloring pages. How cool is that!

I enjoy transforming my grandchildren’s photos into coloring pages. The black and white coloring pages are beautiful art of the little ones I love. I share these coloring pages with them the old-fashioned way, in an envelope with a stamp, so I can include a note with the mandatory x’s and o’s.

You can give it a try at Lights, Camera, Color!

Using an iPad 2 and IncrediBooth to create a do-it-yourself Wedding Photo Booth

Materials Needed:

  • iPad 2
  • IncrediBooth iPad App
  • Rocketfish iPad stand
  • Small table to place iPad and stand upon
  • A spotlight lamp (placed on the table to add lighting to the booth)
  • Apple VGA Adapter to connect ipad to projector
  • Photo booth wall constructed from painted pvc pipe
  • Curtain panels
  • Many, many Props – masks, necklaces, sunglasses, hats, boas, mustaches, picture frames, speech bubbles – find web links to photo booth ideas and printable templates on my Photo Booth Pinterest Pinboard

This past summer my daughter wanted to rent a photo booth for her wedding reception and I thought that sounds like fun. Then I priced it out and realized, no, not that much fun. But I am not easily dissuaded.

The release of the iPad 2 with its built in cameras as well as a wide variety of photo booth apps allowed us to realize my daughter’s dream and mine too. She had a photo booth at her reception, I have an iPad forever.

We trialed many photo booth apps. We chose IncrediBooth because it was in my price range (99 cents), uses the front facing camera (guests could see themselves as they hammed it up for the camera), has the standard 4-picture photostrip feature and several different retro image effects.

We used a Rocketfish iPad stand to secure the iPad on a table within our homemade booth.

My husband is handy. He spray painted and constructed a photo booth frame from pvc pipe. We made a 10 foot long by 6 foot high wall. I bought curtain panels (in the wedding colors of course) from a discount store. These were hung from the top pvc rods. We placed our moveable wall in a corner of the reception room, enclosing 3 sides of our photo booth.

We used twine to hang a lettered sign across the front of our booth. Props were purchased, made and borrowed. We had hats, boas, mustaches, glasses, bead necklaces, crowns, sunglasses and speech bubbles on sticks with erasable markers at hand. The props were placed in colorful baskets outside the photo booth. The hats hung on decorative rope on our photo booth wall with clothespins.

Inside the booth, we set up our table. The small table supported the iPad in its stand and a lamp which lit up the booth.

We had one person scheduled to ‘man’ the photo booth at all times to assist those who needed help.

Right after taking the pictures, guests were able, with a simple touch of the screen, to email the pictures or post them on Facebook.

During dinner, we plugged the iPad into the projector and shared the photo booth pictures with everyone.

After the reception, my daughter and her husband were able to see all of the photos and were amazed how everyone, no matter the generation, got into the spirit of the ridiculous. They had fun emailing pictures to friends with their own commentary.

When all was said and done, creating our own digital photo booth cost less than renting one. Now that is the way to justify an iPad. And the pictures? Priceless.