Resource Review

Long Term Photo Care program by Laura Oles  US $62 PMA member price. on DVD

One of the downsides of publishing on a CD or DVD is that readers don't find it as intuitive as a printed book, and that almost trapped me into missing the meat in this innovative resource from PMA.

The good news: if you dig hard enough you find a lot of valuable content.

The bad news: it's buried so completely in a "convenient user interface" that you'll probably give up before you find it. The DVD totals about 2.5 GB. Here's what you find on it:

  • A 50-page white paper
  • Laura Ole's presentation from PMA 2007, in the form of a Power Point with a weak recording of the audio track.
  • A PDF of a single web page
  • A PDF of

Everything else on the DVD is a display program called InterActual, which caused two of the three computers I tried it on to grind to a halt. On those occasions when it would load I'd get this error message:

Error PL4013: Playback failed due to a problem with the video subsystem. You may be using an unsupported display mode or your system may not have a working decoder installed. Please ensure that your DVD decoder is functioning properly by launching it from Start | Programs. Click “Help Online” for details on how to correct this problem.

There are also some .vob files. VOB files are encoded very much like standard MPEG-2 files. If the extension is changed from .vob to .mpg or .mpeg, the file is still readable and continues to hold all information, although most MPEG-2-capable players don't support subtitle tracks. However, you've got to have a working DVD player software to play these. And once you've gone to all the trouble to do so, what have you got? A self-playing version of Laura Ole's presentation from PMA 2007, in the form of a Power Point with a weak recording of the audio track. Very frustrating.

The disk jacket liner promises a Training Power Point for TV viewing. I couldn't get it to play on my home theater DVD player, but I believe it's the same presentation by Laura Oles.

If you get past the InterActual interface (easiest way: use My Computer to Explore the disk) you can actually access the content. Some of it's pretty good.

The "white paper" is the Long Term Photo Care Retailer Resource Guide. I'd recommend printing it out, because that's much easier than reading a PDF onscreen. However, you'd best have a fast full color printer, because it's laden with lots of color graphics - most of which look pretty but add little to the data. To the chase:

Here's some of the best stuff - a plan to teach your customers how to save their digital pictures.

"CENTRALIZE THEN DIVERSIFY

"A customer’s digital pictures must first find a central base before the process of ongoing, effective back up and protection can begin. The most logical landing place is the computer.

"You may be thinking “Wait a minute. We’ve just read all these statistics that say that computers crash more often than teenage drivers, and now you say to put ALL the pictures on a computer hard drive?”

"Yes. But only as a starting point.

"The images all need to come to a central location so the back up and protection processes can cover all the customer’s most important images. Centralization to a computer’s hard drive does the following:

  1. It is in line with existing consumer behavior in many respects,
  2. Getting images in one place begins the process and encourages consumers to take the next step
  3. It makes the next processes easier to complete and maintain."

If you start with this information, you can then teach your customers to go on to the logical steps of

  • backing up to removable media (CD or DVD)
  • making multiple copies (including storage off-site)
  • copying to removable hard drives (which probably won't fail at exactly the same time as the internal hard drive
  • storing on line
  • making prints

The LTPCRRG has some of the best, most concise explanation of CD and DVD types I've ever seen. It covers the topic of file migration extremely well, and this is a topic we have to get ready for.

The LTPC program also supports retailers by providing ready-to-use full color brochures (as PDFs) and an LTPC web page (also a PDF).

Watch the Power Point presentation on a computer with a good speaker system. Despite the technical issues it's very informative.

My recommendation to retailers? Buy it. Work past the frustrating interface. Milk it for all its worth and get started on the educational project yesterday.