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Computing with Bifocals - Review: iRemember Digital Scrapbooking
by - October 31st, 2005

It's time for my first recommendation related to the upcoming holiday season.  This recommendation is for a piece of software and it can either be considered as a gift or as something you might want to use yourself to create gifts.  It depends on your interests.  The software is called iRemember and it is specifically for creating scrapbooks.

For the non crafters reading this, scrapbooking is a hot ticket in the craft world and it has been for some time.  The old photograph albums you may remember from your childhood are long gone.  If you are like me, you can remember the little black corners with sticky backs that one carefully placed on the four corners of a photo and then licked and stuck to the white stock pages of an album. After a few years the glue stopped working and someone would have to re-adhere all the photos (or give up and throw them in a shoe box.) 

Through the years other varieties of scrapbooks came on the market, such as the ones where the whole page is sticky and you just place the photo where you want it on the page, or the ones where you lift up a plastic sheet and place each photo under that.  Both of these later two could do major damage to your photos.

Ah, but none of those are good enough for today's crafters.  Today's photo albums are works of art.  Each page is a theme that highlights the importance of the subject or event surrounding the photos featured on the page.  People spend a fortune creating these albums and in almost any craft store today one can find shelf after shelf of supplies, from fancy theme paper and special scissors to complicated storage/carrying cases.

This software lets the user achieve the look of the hand made albums without the investment of so much time or energy and at a one time cost of U.S. $49.95. 

iRemember 1.0.1 (Release 9/13/2005)


Manufacturer:  Intriguing Development
Home Page:  www.macscrapbook.com
Description:  A digital scrapbooking application for the Mac.
Price: U.S. $49.95  (Available on Amazon.com for $44.95)
Minimum Requirements:  Mac OS X 10.3.x through 10.4.x,  PowerPC® G3, G4, or G5 processor,  256MB RAM (512MB recommended)
CD-ROM Drive, 2GB of available hard disk space
System Used for Testing:  PowerBook G4, Mac OS X 10.4.1

The basic skill required for this software is drag and drop.  That is not all there is to it and, of course, the reality is that the user will also have to know how to use iPhoto or at least how to download photos from a digital camera, but at least this software is easy to use.

It comes with a number of theme templates for a holiday, event, or occasion that serve as a backup for the feature photographs.  Following is an example of one that I made for an album of 8.5 by 11 inch pages.

Template With Photos Added
Blank 8 .5 by 11 Inch Template

Click the thumbnails for a larger image

Notice that in the finished product the border around the two pictures has been enlarged to fit around the photos.  This is a fairly unique concept.  In other graphics related applications that I have used, one is required to adjust the photo to fit the presized border.  This can cause problems with the quality of the image.  With this software you are able to grab the corners and move the borders in and out to fit around your picture.  It is also important to note that I did not have to resize my pictures to make them fit into the frames.  The applications did that for me. 

When creating your page design from scratch there is an important step that you must make to retain this element of automatic fit and I will get to that in a moment.  First I want to show another aspect of the software.  You are able to create scrapbooks in a number of different sizes.


Page Size Options for iRemember
Click the thumbnails for a larger image

Most printing companies can print pages for you in sizes larger than what a home printer can produce so it is not necessary to limit yourself to a standard 8.5 by 11 inch format.  The software templates adjust in size and layout depending on the size paper you choose.



12 by 12 Inch Template
6 by 6 Inch Template

Click the thumbnails for a larger image

Each element of a page can be locked once you are pleased with it.  Conversely it can be unlocked so that, in this example, "Christmas of 2005" can be changed to any theme you want it to be and then locked again.

You have the ability to create pages from scratch which makes your options unlimited.  As I mentioned above, there is an important step to making this work.  If you do it correctly it is easy.  As usual I learned this the hard way.  The page I made from scratch looks like this:


Scrapbook Page Made From Scratch

Click the thumbnails for a larger image

Each element of the page must be anchored in a shape chosen from the toolbar.  Select the shape from the Tools palette, which will change the cursor to a '+'. Mouse click in the desired location on the active scrapbook page and drag to create the shaped object of the desired size.  For the background, start with a rectangle shape the size of your page.


iRemember Toolbar

It is the anchoring that controls the size and shape of what goes on the page.  In the example above the "torn paper" design that I used in the background showed up as a solid yellow square until I confined it within a rectangle the size of the page.  Then it instantly appeared as you see it now.  I selected "send backward" from the Arrange menu and then added additional shapes on top of it to insert additional photos and text. 

In addition to the templates, there is a library of clip art found under the File menu.  The library includes backgrounds, poems, scriptures, borders, headers, corners, etc.  There is not a large selection, but one can achieve a diverse presentation by mixing and matching different elements. 

There is a page drawer that shows up to the right of your project that gives you a quick overview of how each page of your album is looking.  That helps you evaluate the design of your work as you go.  Your album can be composed of as many pages as you wish.   You add a new empty page to a scrapbook using the Add command in the Page menu or by mouse clicking on the "+" button in the bottom of the page drawer.

The iRemember application lets you drag and drop the following image file formats onto a scrapbook page:

  • PDF - The Adobe Acrobat© Portable Document Format (PDF), which uses a ".pdf" file extension.
  • TIFF - The Tag Image File Format (TIFF), which uses a ".tif" file extension.
  • JPEG - The Joint Photograph Experts Group (JPEG) format, which uses a ".jpg" file extension.
It lets you drag and drop the following text file formats onto a scrapbook page:
  • RTF - The Rich Text Format, which uses the ".rtf" file extension. This includes the RTFD format, which typically packages a TIFF image with RTF text.
  • Microsoft Word© - The Microsoft Word default document format, specifically the format with the ".doc" file extension.
  • Text - The common American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text format, which uses the ".txt" file extension.
There is an Inspection window (Under the Window menu) that lets you rotate, resize and crop photos, outline shapes, change line styles, and widths, add shadows, and fill shapes with colors or patterns.

Some sample pages, produced by the manufacturer,  may be viewed here.

Some people may prefer this kind of photo album to the kind that can be produced using iPhoto and ordered from Apple, particularly for special events like weddings, new babies, or graduations.  It all depends on your personal tastes.  As I noted at the beginning, if the user knows how to download photos from their digital camera to their desktop, this is a good piece of software for beginners to use.


Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.


Post your comments below.

Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.


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