Posted in Journaling

Day One Gets Graphic

DayOne GraphicsThere’s nothing that says you can only include photos in your Day One journal app. The samples you see here were created using several different graphics apps and saved as photos. It doesn’t stop there. The latest updates to iOS devices also gives me the ability to draw and doodle in journal entries using my finger . And it also works great with my Jot Dash stylus ($20 at Amazon).

In this example, I added three graphics images to my Day One entry. Day One stacked them above the text I had already entered (not shown here). It doesn’t show well in this screenshot, but the graphics are quite readable on my iPad. I’m experimenting with the graphics elements to see if I can create an eye-catching collection of graphic stories then use Day One’s publishing feature to create family history books. Stay tuned . . .

Posted in Blogging Support, Publishing Resources

Why You Need a Blog Editor

Those of us with a treasured family journal, scrapbook or collection of letters have a window into the personal side of our family’s history. That one or more generations of people took the time and effort to protect and preserve those treasures makes them even more precious. Today, we have a large community of bloggers documenting and sharing their research and family stories. It’s amazing how quickly these “little stories” become impressive historical collections.

That’s the good news.

What happens to all that work when the blog platform you are using shuts down or has a server crash? There are all kinds of disasters that can impact your blog and its content. What are you doing to protect your work?

While most blog platforms include an online editor to make it easy to write and publish your posts, you may want to consider using a desktop (or mobile) editing app instead. There are a number of advantages to using an editor. Besides the obvious backup advantage, an editor will also make it easier to repurpose your posts into other family history publications.

I found two wonderful apps (for Mac and iOS) that support both my blogging effort and my writing projects while protecting both. I use Byword (Mac – $10.99, iOS – $5.99) as my blog editor. Its publishing feature supports posting to WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, Blogger and Evernote. I use iCloud to save copies of each post. I also use the Ulysses writing platform (Mac – $44.99 and iPad – $19.99) to manage my writing projects. Ulysses supports an “external folder” option that allows me to connect those Byword folders for easy access to my blog posts. Copies of any post is easily dragged into a writing project.

Even better … both Byword and Ulysses support Markdown so not only am I protecting my posts from disaster, I’m future-proofing my stories – saving them from the scrapyard of obsolete software.

Posted in Project Ideas

Storytelling With Clips

Apple released Clips [iOS – free] on the first day of our cross-country trip last year. The notice popped up on my iPhone while we were driving across the Florida panhandle. It only took a couple of minutes to download and I was soon experimenting to see how it works. At first look my thoughts were it was too simple to be of much use, but by the time we reached Texas I knew this app was a game-changer.

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Clips is available for both iPhones and iPads but only the 64-bit ones. That means an iPhone 5s or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, iPad Air and Air2 or an iPad Pro.

With Clips you create a project made up of photos, video, narration and soundtracks. You can take photos and videos with Clips or import them from your library. Tap the appropriate option from the items found under the viewer and off you go. In this example, video is the chosen option so the big red HOLD TO RECORD button appears. The microphone icon on the left turns the microphone on or off while the camera icon on the right switches between the front and back camera. When the PHOTO option is selected, you will see the flash button, the shutter button and the camera icon which switches between the front and rear cameras. Choose the LIBRARY option and the viewer area displays your photos. Tap to select the ones you want to choose.

img_2191With Clips you create a project then add and arrange “clips” to build your story. Tap the down icon shown at the top left corner of the Clips screen to create a new project. As you add video and photos to your project, those elements appear at the bottom of the screen. In this example, you’ll see a video clip at the bottom. Tap it to select it and several icons appear above it giving you some editing options. In this example, the selected clip is a video clip so the editing options include cutting part of the video or trashing the entire clip. In this example the video was recorded without audio so there is an editing option greyed out. It is the mute icon. If you create a video with sound, that icon is available should you want to mute the audio.

Once you have collected multiple clips for your project, you can tap and drag individual clips to rearrange their order in your project’s timeline. If a video clip needs trimming, select the clip then tap the scissors icon to display the trim box. Tap and drag the left or right trim control to remove the section that needs trimming. When ready, tap Apply.

img_2192At any time you can save any clip to your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Select the clip you wish to save by tapping it then tap the Save button located at the top right corner of the screen. The save icon is visible in the screen shot above. Clips that are saved on your phone can be used in other projects.

In addition to clips and photos, there are all kinds of elements you can use to enhance your project. You can add music from a collection of “soundtracks” or from your own music library. You can also add “Live Titles” by dictation. Not only will Clips convert your words to on-screen text, it gives you the option to style that text too. There are also some interesting filters and effects to jazz things up a bit.

Once your project is finished, in addition to saving it to your Camera Roll, you have a number of sharing options too. You can email or text a project to others and share it on your favorite social networks. They can be forwarded to your account at YouTube and Vimeo. Best of all, if Clips recognizes your friends in any of the videos/photos included in the Clip project, they will be listed on your share sheet.

Here’s my first project “clipped” while driving the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Vicksburg. I’m not a very good dash cam operator and the windshield it a bit buggy but it did show me how useful this amazing little app can be.

And this is just the beginning! Wait to see what else you can do with this delightful little app.

Posted in News

Join Storytellers Studio at MeWe.com

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If you are not familiar with MeWe.com, you are in for a treat. MeWe is a delightful social network offering a number of useful features for collaborating online. It may seem a bit simplistic at first, but you will soon realize there is a lot more to MeWe. One reason MeWe is so special is that it doesn’t stalk you or bombard you with commercials and other junk. Your privacy is protected there.

The image above is a screenshot of the Storytellers Studio group’s home page. In addition to the group’s timeline, you will also find an impressive group chat feature that supports both text and voice chats. This will be useful for Q&A sessions and other events. In the Files section you will find several useful how-to documents along with project ideas.

To join us, your first step is to become a MeWe.com member. MeWe.com is accessible using your web browser. The example above shows you what MeWe looks like in the browser. There are also apps available for iOS and Android devices and phones. Once your account is set up, take a look around to get a feel for the place. The easiest way to find Storytellers Studio is to use the search box at the top of the screen. Once you request to join the group, the adminstrator will authorize your access. You will also see Storytellers Studio listed in your My Groups panel. Feel free to take a look around. You can add comments and/or ask questions on any post published in the groups timeline. Stop by the Files section (found in the menu bar just below the group graphic) and check out the documents posted there. MeWe supports text, voice and even video chats. We plan to put that to good use.

The Studio blog has an important role in group management. This is where most of the news, resource options and other information will be published here and “announced” in the group timeline. Both elements work together to help you get started in your storytelling efforts. We hope to see you soon at Storytellers Studio!