There are a number of ways to convert your photos, movies, records and audio tapes, etc., to contemporary media, like digital files. Commercial venues will do the job, but are expensive. Brookstone, Amazon and many other retailers sell media-centric playback/record hardware which come compete with software, cables and instructions. They are easy, but also a bit expensive and potentially of lesser flexibility and quality.
DYI online help solutions abound, where by step by step instructions explain how to convert analog content, with existing players, to digital files on your computer. This is what I did to begin the process of digitalizing my cassette tapes. Although there are many fine examples, I found the e-How article “How to Use Garageband to Copy Tapes to CD” a perfect source. http://www.ehow.com/how_6501615_use-garageband-copy-tapes-cd.html
My Apple computer has Garageband, a audio file creator and editor, and all that was additionally needed was a cassette player with output connections. My old Pioneer CT-W500 deck fit the bill, still hooked up to my 1980’s stereo system. Since I didn’t need the amplifiers or tuner for this task, I simply moved the player to my desk, for convenience; found an RCA “out” to Mini-Stereo “in” cable, and connected the player directly to the computer. An old set of headphones provided live monitoring. One additional program called Waveform, downloaded free,helped trim recordings and edit where needed.
I’ve already had some fun with this. Coming across an old cassette of a family gathering from years ago, I digitalized it, created a sub-file (with Waveform,) and shared the clip by e-mail. Once converted to digital files, (and saved in I-tunes,) this process takes almost no time at all.