At Home with Tech

Figure out which consumer tech you need, the right gear to buy and how to use your new gadgets.

Tag: Time Machine

How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Time Machine

If you’re getting bored snapping the same picture over and over again through the years, then you might be in for a pleasant surprise…

I expect you’ll agree that life serves up a fair number of repeatable sequences that are simply driven by the calendar, such as birthdays, holidays and certain vacations. And these moments often orbit family events at the same locations.

If you purposefully remember to snap similarly framed photos at these occasions every year… then, think about the mind-bending results.

Now, you’re capturing the passage of time with your smartphone, and you’ve effortlessly stepped into the role of photo historian. And in fact, you’ve created a time machine of sorts.
(How great is that?!)

Granted, this type of project is not for those with short attention spans. You’ve got to put years into it. Even decades.

It’s not difficult to do. You’ve just got to remember a few shots and keep repeating them.

You’ve Probably Already Started
I’ve found it’s better to go with posed shots that are easier to replicate over the course of time. But certain action shots can also be predictable (like blowing out birthday candles). And then it’s always great to connect them together across the years.

To this last point, you might already be collecting certain repeated photo moments. You’ve just got to find them… and then let the magic unveil itself!
(They don’t always have to be taken in the exact same space.)

For example, here’s a July 4th fireworks sequence covering the past few years that I quickly put together…

Pretty cool, right?

It’s All about the Journey
The truth is… this type of archival photo documentation never really ends. Assuming you’re printing these photos on quality photo paper, or you’ve figured out a way to ensure your JPEG files survive the passage of time, you should eventually hand off your project to ‘the next generation.’

At some point, we all think about our legacy. That you can hand off those series of images that succinctly represent the journey through life.

What a concept.

And it’s never too late to start.

It’s time to start building your ‘Guardian of Forever.’

Use Old Tech to Find Lost Memories

Much like many of your memories, old tech may be discarded, but not actually forgotten. Did you realize that yesterday’s tech can sometimes evolve into a time machine to help you rediscover joy from your past? Here’s how…

Much like many of your memories, old tech may be discarded, but not actually forgotten. Did you realize that yesterday’s tech can sometimes evolve into a time machine to help you rediscover joy from your past? Here’s how…

Do you recall the adrenaline rush you get when you open a box for the first time containing that new piece of must-have tech? It’s like pure joy. But then, it often dissipates as your brain looks for the next must-have tech bling.

That’s a problem on a variety of levels, but I’ve chosen not going to confront any of those concerns in this moment.
Instead, I’m going to focus on the fleeting goodness…

My good news is I’ve discovered that emotional memories of ‘new tech joy’ doesn’t have to entirely disappear!

If you are of a certain age, I invite you to a take a trip back in time with me…

Find a Time Machine
My family and I recently visited a series of artist open houses in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where artists opened up their studios to the public.
(I had no idea that Bridgeport had such a thriving artists community.)

And hidden in the middle of all of the amazing studios was a magical room filled with video arcade games from the 1980’s.
(To be clear, this wasn’t an art space… it was a company that rents these old relics for parties.)

But to me, it was something else.
It was an actual time machine!

I stepped in, took a few more steps… and was suddenly transported back to my college days at Colgate University, when I would hang out in the basement of K.E.D. in the common space and play video games for a quarter a play.
(Or was it fifty cents?)

Specifically… I played ‘Galaga’ and ‘Atari Star Wars.’

Remember Your New Tech Joy Using Forgotten Old Tech
As I walked deeper into the dark room, I spotted those same games! I walked up.
And then something happened…

I realized you could actually play them… right there!
(For free, no less)

What?

galaga

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pressed the start button on Galaga.

Holy cow.
The little laser blasts.
The sounds.
The feel of it all…

atari-star-wars

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I walked up to a Galaxy Far, Far Away and launched my X-Wing to destroy the Death Star.
(It took me three passes, but I eventually got it done!)

All of those past quarters spent. All of those forgotten skills…

The Past is the Present
I never thought I would ever play these arcade games again.

And yet here they were.
It was if I was in a temporal nexus.

The memories all rushed back.
I felt it.
All of it.

Whoah.

This dark, seemingly endless room must have been crammed with fifteen other favorites.

pac-man-arcade

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all had our go-to game, right?

Pass the Baton
What a treat.
And an amazing demonstration of both the emotional and experiential memories your brain holds onto.

But my rewarding trip down tech memory lane inevitably had to end, right?
Well, not necessarily…

There was someone else in there with me.
Somebody who had never played a video arcade game from the ‘80’s.

I then watched my six year old play Pac-Man for the very first time.

21st-century-six-year-old-meets-pac-man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt the universe re-centering itself.

(If only for a moment)
And then it was time to say goodbye to this Guardian of Forever…

Keep the Memories Alive
It’s funny how you can run into your past in the most unlikely of places and reactivate your tech joy from long ago.
(And a testimonial for the ongoing value of old tech)

Plus, if you really pay attention, I think you could easily walk by someone else’s past magic tech joy and experience a bit of their own euphoria.

century-studio-camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wooden Century studio camera, anyone?
Perhaps… a camera obscura?
No?

All right. Maybe I’ve gone back a little too far…

How to Convert Your Camera into a Time Machine

I’ve got an amazing photo project for you, but it’s going to take you years… even decades to complete. You might even have to pass it on to your children to finish. Are you ready…?

I’ve got an amazing photo project for you, but it’s going to take years… even decades to complete. You might even have to pass it on to your children to finish. Are you ready…?

I’ve been talking a lot lately about my quest to take better photographs. Pictures that are sharp and capture the moment… or an expression on someone’s face. Part of this equation (for better or for worse) is to take the same shot multiple times in the hope that I’ll capture that magic moment I see or something shortly after… which approximates it.
(Or at least try to get everyone with open eyes open)

Sure, that recipe creates twice to five times the number of photos you’ve got to manage, but I must admit, it’s a helpful insurance tactic to increase the odds you’ll actually get the shot you want.
(It’s also quite useful to remember when you ask a stranger to take a snapshot of you and your family. Believe me…)

Capturing Time
But the concept of taking the same picture over and over again can serve another goal. It can create a time machine of sorts for you…

If you purposefully remember to snap a picture of someone or something in the same place… every year… then, think about the mind-bending results.

Now, you’re capturing the passage of time.

You’re no longer trying to be a good photographer. Now, you’re stepping into the role of photo historian.
(How cool is that?!)

Granted, this type of project is not for those with short attention spans. You’ve got to put years into it. Even decades.

It’s not difficult to do. You’ve just got to remember a few shots and keep repeating them.

I’ve been snapping my time-machine photos around family events and vacations. These are the moments in my life that have returned me to the same physical spaces year after year.

I’ve found it’s better to go with posed shots that are easier to replicate over the course of time.

But certain action shots can also be predictable. (Like blowing out birthday candles) And it’s always great to collect them together across the years.

To this last point, you might already be collecting certain repeated photo moments. You’ve just got to find them… and then let the magic unveil itself!
(They don’t always have to be taken in the exact same space.)

For example, here’s pumpkin-picking sequence covering the past few years…Picking Pumpkins over the YearsPretty cool, right?

It’s All about the Journey
The truth is… this type of archival photo documentation never really ends. Assuming you’re printing these photos on quality photo paper, or you’ve figured out a way to ensure your JPEG files survive the passage of time, you should eventually hand off your project to ‘the next generation.’

At some point, we all think about our legacy. That you can hand off those series of images that succinctly represent the journey through life.
…Whoah!

What a concept.

And it’s never too late to start.

It’s time to start building your ‘Guardian of Forever.’

%d bloggers like this: