I had lunch with Geoff at an awesome Singaporean place in Menlo Park and he asked me a bunch of geek questions, here are the answers for one and all:
“iLounge iPod Recovery Guide”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/copying-music-from-ipod-to-computer/ as iLounge points out there are a bunch of iPod recovery tools around. Most cost a nominal $15. I use the shareware podutil and it works great.
For scanning photos or 35mm, this is a big task. I use the Minolta DiImage 5400 Elite which scans at an amazing 5400 dpi and cost $500 and can scan 4 slides for 6 negatives at a time with amazing quality. My main regret is I didn’t get something with a batch loader on it with all the photos I have. For that, Gary has recommended the Nikon family and I kind of agree with him. You should have someone do the raw scan and then you can spend hours with Vuescan or Photoshop CS 2 to improve and enhance the images. The main thing is that you run the scan and then you give it to your brother, sister whatever as its a batch job.
Here are the latest on the hardware, basically, I’d recommend the “Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED”:http://www.bythom.com/coolscanv.htm as the scanner I’d get today. You can get a 50-slide adapter ($320 at “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3141522/sort_type=bottomline) which is great to scan lots and it has an amazing specification including 4000 dpi (most slides and 35mm negatives won’t need that), is fast and is relatively inexpensive at $1000 street according to “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2299425/sort_type=bottomline (just amortize that against your memories and give to your friend or neighbor when done). This is a prolevel tool, so the scans will be great. Part of what makes it worth it is that the scanning software it comes with is actually very good. Otherwise, you have to spend $2-300 for Vuescan or Silverfast to get good a quality.
By the way, the quality of the scans far exceeds that of a el cheapo desktop scanner because it has much better color range (technically it has a D of 4.8, which refers to the lightest vs. the darkest colors) and it has automatic dust and scratch removal. This is truly amazing software called Digital ICE that really does remove all the aberations. You’d be amazed what a 10 year old slide has on it.