This page describes some of the projects I have been and will be working on in order to give you an idea about the type of work that I can do and the software that I am used to working with.
Web Site Development
My daughter and I have a reseller account on a Web server that allows us to host and manage our own domains, create mailboxes, and to configure these resources when we need to. The game she works on is hosted on this server, as are the genealogy site and the Rosedale Software site (this one.)
At one time I had my genealogy material on this site (as should be obvious from the home page,) but it is being moved to a dedicated site, rosenkrantz-genealogy.org. Visitors can download the text and graphics from a family genealogy book that was published in 1900. They can also view the entire book at the site, search for text, and trace their ancestry backwards by hyperlinks to Harmon Hendrix Rosenkrans, a soldier-of-fortune who arrived in New Amsterdam in 1655 from Bergen, Norway.
I am not a marketer and I only design very simple sites which are meant to convey information such as this one. I use Microsoft FrontPage 2003 which is generally disdained by "real" site developers, but it is quick and easy to use, and quite well suited for my purposes.
There were probably only a few hundred copies of the family genealogy book printed when it was published in 1900. My grandfather had a copy which came down to me. But the number of family members has grown exponentially since it was published, and no doubt many of the original copies have been lost.
In the early 1980's I saw no way of providing each of my three children with copies of this book short of making Xerox copies, which was quite expensive at that time. Then there followed in quick succession the first personal computers, word processors, scanners, optical character recognition, Photoshop, CD burners, the Internet, and DSL. Who knows what advances tomorrow may bring, but this is enough for me to not only make copies on CD available to my children, but to make unlimited copies available free on the Internet to any family member who wants one.
I started this project in the early 1990's while I was still working full time, scanners were of much lower resolution and more expensive, and optical character resolution (OCR) software was much less accurate and also significantly more expensive. It took me several years working part time to get that 332 page book scanned, OCR'd, and proofread. I finished this about the time I retired. In retrospect, it might have been quicker to simply type the book in myself!
I got a dial-up connection to the Internet shortly before retirement, and by this time it was becoming apparent that I could not only provide my kids with the text files on diskette, but that I could publish the text file on a small personal Web site so that anyone could download it free.
At the same time, an early version of Photoshop seemed to offer a means to include the graphics files as well. Some of us still remember the early days of word processors before it was possible to integrate graphics and text, but by then even that was possible. It took me about three years, off and on, to process the 116 graphics in the book, much of it done very painstakingly and slowly. Since then, Photoshop has incorporated some new tools which would probably speed that task up significantly. In any event, by the late 1990's I had a Web site where people could view the text and graphics as well as download free copies for themselves.
This site was available until early 2007. I am presently revising the site and moving it to a dedicated domain, which I hope to have up by the middle of 2007. I will use all of the original text and graphics. However, re-scanning and re-editing the graphics is a task under consideration due to the much improved scanning and Photoshop software at this time. I have no idea when I will be able to get around to this.
At the time I did this, I could not find anything about converting scanned half-tone images to continuous tone images so I developed a method for doing it myself. Those little dots in half-tone images are not easy to deal with because of the Moiré patterns that result from scanning. However, a recent Google search showed that there are now methods for dealing with these patterns and at some point I may research this and re-scan these images.
I have a large collection of records. Some of them are collectors items that came down to me from my great aunt and that date back to the early 1900's. The gem is a 78 Bakelite record, about ¼" thick, with grooves on one side only: Mischa Ellman and Enrico Caruso doing Ave Maria. There are others that I don't recognize. There are also a lot of 78's from the 1940's that were part of my childhood. The 33 RPM vinyls date from the late 40's on, and were a viable medium until they were made obsolete by CD's in the early 80's. And of course there is a lot of music on cassette tapes that overlaps the end of the vinyl and the beginning of the CD eras. The analog signals from these are digitized, recorded, and reprocessed with Diamond Cut 6 to improve their sound.
Unfortunately, I have tinnitus - ringing in the ears, which completely obliterates the high frequency overtones that give music its color. Removing pops and clicks from records is easy because I can hear them and also because they are easily seen in amplitude vs. time plots. But Diamond Cut 6 can do a lot more, such as emulating the characteristics of the venue such as an auditorium or a small club, and the warmth of the various tube circuits that these records were played through. So someone else will have to do the fine tuning on this music.
The 33 RPM records have jacket notes, and many of the special series, such as the RCA Soria series, have extensive printed booklets accompanying them. All of the jacket notes and special booklets have been OCR'd and converted to WORD files, including the graphics. The album covers where photographed with a digital camera in camera RAW format, edited with Photoshop and converted to 4¾ × 4¾" so they can be printed on jewel case inserts. The jackets have also been used as a basis for images to be printed directly on the CD's themselves.
I have not found the time yet to begin converting VHS tapes to DVD's because I am still working on the audio project and I still have a long way to go on that one. Nevertheless I had the opportunity to obtain a copy of Adobe Production Studio Premiere CS2 at a very low price so I was able to install it on my system in anticipation of this project.
35 mm Color Slide Project
This is another project that is waiting in the pipeline. I have a lot of 35 mm slides from the 60's and 70's that my kids want. Scanning them in using a high resolution scanner and saving them on one or more CD's will allow me to distribute them to all of my kids. This works pretty well: I scanned in some slides at high resolution for a friend recently and they made fine 8 × 10 glossy prints on my photo printer.
I have used EXCEL for two personal financial planning projects. The fluctuating price of natural gas has made the local gas company's uniform payment method a joke. They simply estimate the next year's monthly uniform payment by dividing the current year's total cost by 12. This has caused small overages in some years and in others I have hit by a $700 due balance on the annual reckoning date. I dropped out of their plan and designed a more conservative strategy where the uniform payment is recalculated every month, which gives me a varying payment each month and always ends up with a carryover balance on the annual reckoning date.
I also created a spreadsheet that allowed me to escrow my irregular but large expenses, such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, and automobile insurance in equal monthly amounts that are determined each year using the goal seeking tool.