February 6, 2023

If thinking about everything on your plate during the holidays is stressing you out, let me help.

Technology can lighten the load and make the next few weeks easier. Tap or click for some of my favorite holiday tech tips, including saving money and being on time for family reunions.

Do you have a big drive in front of you? I support you. Tap or click smart tech tips to save money on gas and send alerts when you’re running late.

After reuniting with loved ones, set aside time to preserve cherished family memories. Recording your loved ones takes some preparation, but it’s well worth it when you have the audio and video to look back on years later.

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Why Preserving Family History Is So Important

Think back to all the stories you remember older relatives telling over the years. You may remember bits and pieces. Wouldn’t it be nice to rescue them anytime?

Contact the family member you want to interview before thinking about the logistics. Rather than popping this idea at the last minute, let them know what’s on your mind. Explain why having their stories means so much.

Then, schedule a quiet time to talk. They may need a few days to prepare the topic, or to cheer themselves up if they are afraid of being impressed by the camera.

A photo album is covered in mud from flooding in Kentucky, Saturday, July 30, 2022.
((Silas Walker/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

Want to look better on camera? Here are my best tips for taking selfies and group photos.

Prepare in advance

You can record interviews via audio, video, or both. While video has more depth, audio is a great alternative for stories that feel deeply personal or difficult to tell.

For most people, sharing stories is most comfortable at home. Once you arrive, look for a suitable location. Choose a quiet area with lots of natural light. A blank white wall can look too drab. Put something in the background, such as a bookshelf, sofa, or lamp. You need a comfortable environment, especially when recording video.

Pay attention to your seating arrangement too. Sit to one side of the camera and let your relative watch you. Looking directly into the camera is jarring to the speaker and future viewers.

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Next, think about what you want to ask. Pick something general, like a historical event they witnessed or how they named their child. Also be ready for open-ended questions, like, “Is there a story you want to share but never actually talked to me about?”

Remember to be an active listener. Don’t let the prompts and questions you have prepared distract you. Stay focused on what your relative is saying. Follow-up questions often lead to the best stories.

As a national radio host and inductee into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, let me pass on an important final tip. When you talk, smile. The person across from you will smile back. Your voice will be happy, we all like to be happy.

Speaking of families, here’s an easy way to save money: Create a family plan for the services you pay for each month.

Digital camera, memory card and mobile phone on wooden table

Digital camera, memory card and mobile phone on wooden table

The Best Way to Document Your Family History

If you have a newer smartphone, use its built-in voice recorder app and camera.

For video, hold the phone horizontally so there are no black bars on the sides of the video. Put your phone between you and your relative so the camera can capture both of your voices.

Instead of holding your phone or trying to balance it on something, grab an inexpensive tripod. Otherwise, you may accidentally block the speaker or cause an unstable picture.

this is affordable Amazon Basics Tripod Lightweight enough to take anywhere, yet extends up to 50 inches.If you want desktop options, I like this TalkWorks Flexible Phone Tripod.

Technology, if you want to go further

Your phone is fine for taking pictures and recording sound, but a cheap lavalier mic can make a world of difference. If your phone isn’t up to the job, a high-quality camera will save you from blurry images or distracting smartphone sounds in the background.

One Lavalier Lapel Microphone Can be plugged into any device with a headphone jack. This price is less than 20 dollars.

Action cameras are cheap and can record 4K video. If your phone’s camera isn’t great, consider getting one. This Vision 3 model Less than $100.

Keep your video and audio clips organized

Now that you’re done recording, it’s time to save your findings. There are many useful applications for editing, organizing and compiling audio and video.

Story Catcher Pro Make your memories easy. You can import photos, add captions, use themes and add title cards. Additionally, it provides starter questions to spark creative discussions. You can share your final creation via email, Dropbox, YouTube or Vimeo.

What are the disadvantages? It’s only available for iPhone and costs $4.99.

Eastman Kodak, the icon of photography that invented the handheld camera and helped the world take the first photo of the moon, is getting out of the camera business.

Eastman Kodak, the icon of photography that invented the handheld camera and helped the world take the first photo of the moon, is getting out of the camera business.

If you want a free option, check out story group. It is available for iPhone and Android. The app helps you prepare questions, record interviews on your phone or tablet, and upload the audio.

This option is helpful for remote interviews because you can invite someone to chat through an app or website. To get started, you all have to log in remotely. You can then record, save and upload your conversations.

You can back up clips to your desktop, a physical drive, or the cloud for easy sharing. Now you have a piece of history that you can appreciate in the future.

maintain your technical knowledge

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today. “It’s a full 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech questions for callers like you from around the country. No matter where you get the podcast, search it. For your convenience, click the link below to Get the most recent episode.

Podcast Picks: Best Cheap Gifts, Airline App Tricks, Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

In 30 minutes, you’ll learn 1: which apps to download before your vacation trip, 2: how to add your driver’s license to your mobile wallet, and 3: how to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” apple, google podcasts, spotify music, or your favorite podcast player. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

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Get more know-how Kim Komando Showbroadcast on more than 425 radio stations and available as podcast. Sign up for Kim’s free 5-minute morning wrap-up Learn about the latest security vulnerabilities and technology news. need help?leave your questions to kim here.

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