Any mom will agree: the best Mother's Day gifts (other than jewelry, a spa day, and a Kindle Fire) are the homemade ones. They show that you appreciate her enough to invest your time and effort on something personal, something unique, something special.
For example, you know all those photos in Mom's camera, the ones she's been amassing for years but never bothers to download or print? Why not turn them into a slideshow, one you can burn to a DVD and show during the Mother's Day festivities?
Don't have the right software? Now you do: Wondershare is offering DVD Slideshow Builder Standard (Windows) for free. With it you can put together a basic slideshow, complete with menus and music. It normally sells for $49.95.
To get the software, do this:
1. Scroll down the offer page a bit until you see the Get Keycode button.
2. Click it, and then click Download. Wait a few seconds for the download to start.
3. Fill in your name and e-mail address, then click Send Me Keycode.
4. Install the program, then use the registration code you received via e-mail to activate it.
FYI, my code arrived mere minutes after I completed step 3. If yours doesn't show up, check your spam filter. If it still doesn't show up, I humbly request that you follow up with Wondershare.
It's worth noting that for a reasonable $12.95, you can upgrade to DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe, which lets you add videos, transition effects, and pan/zoom motion effects (which really do add a lot to the slideshow -- just ask Ken Burns). However, the Standard version does let you choose from various themes that include these effects -- you just don't have a lot of control over them.
I have some experience with these kinds of things, so allow me to make a few suggestions. First, show each photo for no more than 5-7 seconds. Second, put a song in the background, and make the slideshow fit that song (i.e. run 3-4 minutes). Anything longer is impractical.
Finally, go easy on the crazy transitions. They might look cool, but nothing beats a simple fade or dissolve. You don't want a bunch of swirls, flips, and flyouts to detract from the main attraction: photos of Mom and her wonderful family.
Bonus deal: Did you snap up that awesome $139 Kindle Fire yesterday? Don't go crazy and drop $30-40 on a case for it. HandHeldItems is having a sale on Kindle Fire cases, and will cut an additional 25 percent off with coupon code kindlefire25. I'm partial to any case that doubles as a stand, and can prop up the Kindle in both landscape and portrait orientations, like this one.
Bonus deal No. 2: While supplies last, TigerDirect has the Toshiba BDX2250 Blu-ray player for $29.99 shipped. That's after redeeming a $50 mail-in rebate (PDF). The BDX2250 can stream Netflix, Pandora, VUDU, and more.
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