22 August 2014

Why a blog is more attractive than a website

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you are better off publishing parts of your tree as separate articles in a blog than as a full family tree website as produced by most family tree programs. My reasoning will be demonstrated by searching for a name and a place that I am interested in for my own family history: The very first result in this list is a blog post:  Compare that page with this one:  Which one looks more interesting? Which one would look more interesting to … [Read more...]

Twitter for family historians

What is Twitter? Twitter is what is known as a microblog. You can send and receive messages, called tweets. A tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters. Tweets can be seen, and searched, by everyone unless you restrict them only to your friends. You can search for messages by a single person, by a word or phrase, or by a topic or hashtag, which is word, often abbreviated, with a # in the front of it. A tweet you particularly like can be retweeted to your followers. Tweets can include … [Read more...]

My own mini-scanfests

When you come back home after a productive research trip to an archive or library do you often end up with a stack of photocopies? Yes, me too. I use my digital camera whenever I can but sometimes it just isn't possible to take photos. Sometimes the repository doesn't allow it, and other times the documents are folded up so well that it is just easier to get the experts to photocopy them. When I get home I tend to leave them for a while in the 'filing' pile, and the longer they stay there … [Read more...]

I love my new Toshiba mini notebook!

Well, I was brave enough to take the risk! My new mini notebook is a Toshiba NB200, which arrived by courier yesterday. I broke the seal warning me that my new purchase may not function correctly and I've been playing with it ever since. So far I'm just installing the software I need and downloading and installing updates, and the battery has lasted very well. The keyboard feels solid and the major keys are much the same size as on my standalone keyboard, although of course all the other keys … [Read more...]

Thanks for buying, but your new mini notebook may not work

I bought a new mini-notebook, to replace the piece of junk I bought a year and a half ago. It has just arrived, and the label stuck across the opening to the box states, in part: You must read and follow all set-up and usage instructions in the provided manuals and Instruction Manual for Safety and Comfort. If you fail to do so, this product will not function properly and you may lose data or suffer other damage. EVEN IF YOU DO SO, TOSHIBA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY THAT THIS PRODUCT WILL … [Read more...]

What will you do when your computer crashes?

The longer you work with and read about computers, the more horror stories you read about what went wrong. Whether there is a happy end to the story or not depends on whether the owner of the computer backs up their data and how regularly they do it. Here's my story. This happened late last week. My laptop is almost three years old, so it's getting on for a laptop. Laptops are different from desktops, they are built to be small, not to last. This laptop pretty well contains my life - my … [Read more...]

Electronic Gadgets Part 3 – put your family tree on your phone

Well, I've done it, and I'm very happy. My family tree is on my phone and goes with me everywhere.  How have I achieved this remarkable feat, you may ask? Read on!  You may remember that I have been trying to replace 4 heavy little electronic gadgets with one or two. I bought a new phone, a Nokia E65, to replace my previous phone, my PDA and my MP3 player for those long trips out to repositories. My phone is wonderful, it has a microSD card, which I replaced with a bigger, 2GB, card on which I … [Read more...]

Electronic Gadgets Part 2

The story so far: I want to reduce the number of electronic gadgets I carry around with me on genealogy research trips. Instead of carrying a mobile phone, a PDA, a digital camera and an MP3 player, I'd like to carry something that combines at least 2 or 3 of these functions. Well, I've got a new phone. It's a Nokia E65 that I've bought as part of my new contract with Vodafone. I use Vodafone because it gives me reception in my house, which is down in a valley which other networks don't reach. … [Read more...]

Electronic gadgets

I've been considering the gadgets I carry around with me that have been proliferating over the years. They are all very useful, even indispensable, but they do contribute rather heavily to the weight in my bag. How many of these do you have? Phone Of course, I have a mobile phone, as so many of us do. That's where it all started, I guess. I think this is the 4th one I've had over the years, or perhaps the 5th. The phones get smaller but I think they are probably now as small as they can be … [Read more...]

Computers in Genealogy

How on earth did we get by before we had computers? It's hard to remember now how much longer everything took and how much harder we had to work! I've been thinking lately about all the ways computers help make genealogy more enjoyable and my list keeps getting longer and longer. Perhaps you can think of other ways as well - let me know! We have email! Remember what life was like before email? We had to read about other researchers in books or journals and write them letters, and then wait for … [Read more...]