Ion Audio is now selling a USB 35mm slide digitizer called the Slides 2 PC. For less than $100, it digitizes each slide at a respectable (but not incredible) 5 megapixels. The whole process is painless: you simply push a slide into the box, push a button, and the slide is scanned in less than a second. There's even automated exposure and color balance.
I'm impressed. Sure, there's been plenty of slide scanners, but about seven years back, my mother purchased one of the first slide scanners to digitize boxes of old 35mm wafers, a childhood memory of frilly dresses, scotch-and-sodas and chain smoking fathers in shirt sleeves frozen in each. I don't remember the price, just that it was staggeringly expensive.
I wish this sort of consumer solution had been around back then, but surely, there's plenty of people like my mother with boxes of old slides in the closet. An affordable, painless slide scanner like the Ion Slides 2 PC is going to be the gateway to a lot of poignant memories of old friends, cherished pets and departed loved ones.