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A free iPhone app released today from memory-sharing site 1000memories makes
your phone work like a scanner.
The Shoebox scanning app helps
you digitize, organize and share collections of photos from the past.
You use the camera on your iPhone to snap a picture of a photo. Shoebox auto-detects
the edges of the photo, then crops and straightens it. You can add information such
as dates, names, and locations, then upload the photo as a JPG to 1000memories.com.
There, you can be organize and share your pictures.
Of course, the quality of Shoebox “scans” depends on the phone’s camera. If you have
the latest iPhone, the 4S,
your digitized Shoebox photos will be on par with what you’d produce with a typical
desktop scanner, 1000memories cofounder Jonathan Good told me. The 4S has an 8.0 MP
sensor for high-resolution mobile scans, as well as an improved f2.4 lens for quality
Good says he also gets excellent results using his iPhone 4. The app is compatible
with all previous iPhone models, as well as the iPad.
An Android version is coming soon, Good added (to the delight of this Android user).
“The popularity of the iPhone camera has proven that people want something that’s
quick, accessible, and easy to share,” says 1000memories’ other cofounder, Rudy Adler.
“For us, that’s what providing a social mobile scanner is about – making it as easy
as possible for people to get their photo collections digitized and shared with the
people they care about.”
It’ll certainly make scanning a box of photos quicker, and it’ll be easier to digitize
photos in your relatives’ possession—no need to persuade Aunt Bertha to let you cart
her precious album home.
Note that the app outputs a JPG file, but the TIF format, which creates uncompressed
files, is the most
widely used type of file for digital master photos. That lack of compression is
also why TIF files are large and impractical for electronic sharing. So you may want
to create TIF backups of important pictures.