Feb 29, 2020

When an idea becomes a project

People from time to time ask me in my retirement, what do I do all day ? Or what do I do to keep busy during the day? Or if I’m ever without things to do in everyday retirement ? 

Great questions. One thing I absolutely don’t do in retirement is hurry to be busy. I like to be on time, I don’t like to be in a hurry for anything. 

When I was working, especially in my years at Cox, I had so much going on in my head, (this was before online digital calendars); I had an organizer tool that was amazing. It was a small book like organizer that was enclosed in a zipped wallet of sorts, and that is how I successfully managed everything in my life, especially work. I loved that organizer; it went with me everywhere.  It tracked all work activities, meetings, conference calls, major project milestones, lunch appointments, travel dates, employee information, etc. It also tracked personal dates: birthdays, medical appointments, life milestone dates, everything you can imagine.  It had a small insert pocket where I kept favorite photographs of JoAnn and Roger IV when they were children, and also 2 or 3 favorite quotes. I had a mini version of that organizer at all times in my purse or backpack. To this day I still have 20+ years of those small monthly organizers; I can tell you what I was doing on most days from the years 1993 to 2015.  I love tracking dates and times, I’m wired that way. 

Anyone who knows me, also knows I love to think, reflect, read, consider, learn and document.  I love ideas.  And many times my ideas turn into projects, some short term, some long term.  And many of those projects involve telling stories, capturing memories, and celebrating life. Once such idea is on its way to becoming a project. 

Since Maddie’s passing in early January, I have spent time, not continuous hours, certainly several hours, (3 to 4 to 5) looking a photos and videos of Maddie and Morgan stored on my phone.  My reason for doing this, I have an idea of creating a video with a collection of photos and videos of both amazing Corgi girls. The idea is to curate a collection of images that encompass their lives and store it digitally on YOUTUBE and have access to it anytime, anywhere and also be able to share. Certainly accessing a video made with great love and attention is a much more pleasant experience than going through thousands of photos on my phone or cloud account, looking for Maddie and Morgan photographs.  

Today in my cloud account I have thousands of photos. The photos go all the way back to 2005.  On average there are 1,300 photos per year, 3.6 photos per day.  Some percentage of the total, maybe up to 20%, are photos that were taken long ago, photos taken by my DAD when we were all growing up, photos I had digitized from his slides, an imported into the Apple photos program so I could incorporate them into photo book projects and also family video projects. 

So how does this Maddie, Morgan video idea become a project? There is a feature in the Apple photos program called FACES. The application recognizes the faces of people in Apple photos and if you give a specific face a name, the app is then able to recognize an individual face and create a group of photos for that specific face.  A version of face recognitionof sorts.   

My task is now to research what type of work around or similar feature is available that applies to dogs, or the faces of dogs.  Is there a 3rd party application that allows the identification of any type of subject, animals, buildings, nature, objects, etc. and allows the automatic grouping that the current FACES program accomplishes in Apple Photos ?

If you know the answer to this, please send me an email.  I know I’m not the only person that has embarked on creating a video of their dogs.  So this idea of two or three weeks ago has now become a project. I’ve started doing research on Google, I will visit Apple Support forums, go to the Apple store and ask, maybe there is an easy work around.  

I’ve read articles on the Internet that Apple provides a feature that is currently available only on the iPhone and iPad, that will group dog and cat photos.  The question then is does the “collection” gathered on these devices translate to the Apple cloud.  I’m always a bit shy of going with information I read on the internet, unless I can verify the validity in an Apple Support Group or via going to the Apple store and asking questions.  Also whatever the solution is, it has to be able to support importing the photos into the iMovie program where I will create the video.  

This project will take time. There are some constraints, YOUTUBE has a restriction on the length of time for videos uploaded to their platform.  The last one I did was 17 minutes long and I was able to upload successfully.  Usually before you start a video you have to consider how many photos you want to include; with 17 minutes, you get 1020 seconds to work with. If each photo is set to view 8 to 10 seconds, this translates to 102 to 107 photos that can be included.  I don’t know how many Maddie and Morgan photos I have stored in the cloud, I would guess there are probably several hundred, therefore the need to curate. 

For all the videos I’ve made in the past, once I have the content gathered, the actual process to create and edit the video, including audio, takes on average 1 to 2 hours of time working in iMovie for each 1 minute of video. So for a 15 minute video, it would plan on 15 to 20 hours of working with the iMovie software. Again this includes the video track, the audio track, any special effects or editing of the actual photos, transitions between each photo, and video titles.  Gathering the actual content can vary depending on the overall subject matter and this is certainly the most important part of the project. 

And because I have time, I take time.  My goal today is to have this completed in 1 or 2 months. Will see how this goes.  I know this project will help with the huge void I have in my heart.  Not a day has gone by since January 2nd that I’ve not missed Maddie and Morgan. 

Thanks to all who texted, called and sent emails while I was sick. It took a full week to get rid of the dry cough.  I stayed away from all public places, meetings, etc. I did not want to make anyone uncomfortable with any type of coughing after traveling out of the country. 

All is well ! ! !