July 20, 2024
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July 20, 2024
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Should I Convert My Old Tapes to Digital?

Although I know we all complain about companies bombarding us with ads wherever we turn, as my company has begun to expand I have also had to start thinking about marketing, exposure and sales pitches.

While browsing the ads on my Facebook page one day, a company called iMemories.com caught my eye. The ad shows reel to reel, slides, VHS, BetaMax, pictures and other old-fashioned media that iMemories.com will convert to digital format, regardless of its source.

Every reader I know has a neighbor or a friend who promises to convert these keepsakes for you, but somehow it’s never a priority. I once tried to do this on my own, and after hours of failed attempts I threw the DVDs away and put the VHS tapes back on the shelf. A pal of mine who ended up helping me is a very-well-known doctor who was doing this as a hobby. (Thanks, Dr. T, for helping me back then!)

The urgency at this point is that Sony announced earlier this year that they will not be producing blank BetaMax tapes anymore. It’s true—there are still people out there using BetaMax. Please do not wait to convert to digital. VHS is also quickly becoming obsolete, and many of us don’t even own a fax machine or VCR any longer. Closed circuit TVs are the biggest users of VHS, but once those old systems break down and they go digital the need for VHS tapes will end as well.

In addition, the New York/New Jersey area has been through Hurricane Sandy and we have learned how quickly everything can be under water. In my career as CEO of an I.T.-managed service provider, we have never seen such devastation. Many of our visits post-Sandy were to businesses that had every PC, server, backup and DVD under water. Unfortunately, one client never recovered and opted not to reopen due to the rebuild of data cost.

As my past columns have indicated, mine is a “cable cut family.” No cable boxes, no expensive cable TV subscriptions; we stream everything on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime. I would never go back; if I have to watch a commercial I cringe (which is ironic considering that my company is now considering advertising).

Remember the old days? A bubby/grandmother would say, “Let me show you my grandkids,” and they would take out their plastic accordion of pictures and show you all these outdated, faded pictures. Now most grandmothers will take out their iPhone or Droid and swipe. My amazing mother, Rivkie Garb, loved and known by all, has a brother, children and grandchildren all working in I.T. and she has a Droid and adroitly takes pics, comments on WhatsApp and even sets her own GPS. How times have changed.

My wife’s family has pictures from every moment of their lives. My family has all the pictures in a bag or box. I don’t think we have one album anywhere. Today it’s all digital media sharing. Those picture frames where the grandkids change every five minutes are sending that inventor straight to heaven for the happiness he has given to grandparents.

But back to my story about my new favorite company iMemories.com. Here’s how it works: You order a box that comes to your door. The box contains proper bubble wrap, large Ziploc bags and a postcard to list the contents. For a person like me who hates fiddling with complicated shipping, this box is a dream. Everything is in the box including a UPS shipping return label.

In about one week you will get an acknowledgment that the package has been received. Depending on the project(s) you send them, a week or two later an email is sent with the price of the project. You can say no at this point, although I would advise paying the amount, especially if you have no other options.

Once the project is completed, your are either emailed a download link or there is an option for a DVD copy. iMemories.com has a cloud space one can pay for to host the pictures and share with friends and family. I personally opted to download the videos in MP3 format and then I uploaded them to Google Photo. iMemories.com does charge to send back the originals, but unless they are print pictures I would not worry about getting the originals back.

At first I was somewhat annoyed at the long wait for a response. However, after I got the videos and shared them with my family, the time elapsed seemed insignificant. It also dawned on me how difficult it must be for iMemories to process this outdated media.

If you are the one person who will purchase all of the hardware to convert to digital, my I.T. hat is off to you. Otherwise, I highly recommend this company as a way to create a lifetime of memories that you can easily share over the internet.

This is a company I used that performed the work as advertised. As you may have guessed, I never recommend a company until I have first been a satisfied client.

Writer’s note: I have been married to my young-looking and beautiful wife, Rachi, for 21 years this month. My children, who are 19, 17 and 12, have never seen our wedding video. I even gave it to a photographer who held it for two months before telling me he just didn’t have the time. I have interns and full-time engineers whom I could pay to do this. With all my resources, I too used a digital transfer service. Follow my lead. Happy 21st anniversary, Rachi—it’s been nothing but an honor to be your husband.

By Shneur Garb

 Shneur Garb is the CEO of The Garb I.T. Group in Teaneck, New Jersey. Questions or comments send to [email protected].


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