(+) How to Read Any eBook with (Almost) Any eReader

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Electronic books, usually referred to as ebooks, have mushroomed in popularity in recent years. A recent Pew study (at http://goo.gl/GfrzLL) found that 28 percent of American adults read ebooks, up from 23 percent at the end of 2012. Another Pew study (at http://goo.gl/dMK4W1) found that 46 percent of people now own a tablet or e-reader of some kind. About seven in ten American adults reported that they read a mix of printed books and ebooks. Only 4 percent of people reported to be “ebook only” readers.

(+) Microsoft launches Office for iPad

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

This is a follow-up to the Plus Edition article I wrote two days ago: (+) A New Generation of Office Suites to Replace Your Microsoft Bloat. It is available at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=29936. In that article, I wrote, “Office for iPad is expected to be announced in just a few days. I cannot predict what the new Office for iPad suite of programs will contain; but, based on the history of other Microsoft products, I suspect there are several things we can expect: the new software will be…”

Indeed, Microsoft today did announce Office for iPad. It is about what I expected.

(+) A New Generation of Office Suites to Replace Your Microsoft Bloat

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Microsoft Office consists of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Depending upon the version of Microsoft Office you purchase, it also might include OneNote, Outlook, Microsoft Publisher, or Skype. First launched in 1988, Microsoft Office has become the de facto word processing and office management software standard of the computer industry. Softpedia reported (at http://goo.gl/bGu7Dl) that Office is used by more than a billion people worldwide. As popular as the Microsoft Office suite has become, it still is not “the best” office suite of programs for everyone. In fact, Microsoft Office has some very good competitors.

Perhaps the biggest threat to Microsoft’s dominance isn’t pricing, however. I find that Microsoft Office is rapidly becoming obsolete.

(+) How to Reduce the Errors in Your Genealogy Database

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

This article describes a method of killing two birds with one stone.

The first question concerns corruption within your genealogy database. Is your data still good? Or have read errors or write errors managed to corrupt the database? When you make a backup, are you backing up a good database or are you simply making a (corrupted) copy of a corrupted database? Read my earlier article “Always Test Your Backups!” at http://goo.gl/sNRxZe for description of the problem. Pay close attention to comments from newsletter readers that were posted at the end of the article. The problem is real and has happened to quite a few genealogists.

The second question concerns the integrity of your database. Are you confident of the accuracy of your genealogy data? You might be amazed at how many databases I see that include mothers giving birth at the age of eight, marriages at age twelve, or deaths at the age of 135. Sometimes you even find a person with a birth date prior to those of his parents. Download almost any GEDCOM file from the Internet and I suspect you can find similar problems.

You Can Download 83,947 Genealogy Books Free of Charge

You can keep a huge genealogy library in your own home. You don’t need to purchase bookcases or build an addition onto the house. You can keep the entire collection in your computer or even in a handheld Kindle, iPad, or similar device. Actually, you don’t have to keep a local copy at all, as the entire collection is available online, and you can retrieve the books of interest at any time.

Several organizations have been digitizing old genealogy and family history books for several years. The number of available books is still growing daily. Perhaps the largest such collection is available in Archive.org’s genealogy collection. Available items include books on surname origins, vital statistics, parish records, census records, passenger lists of vessels, and other historical and biographical documents.

(+) Pedigree Collapse

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

All of us can determine the number of our ancestors by performing a very obvious mathematical progression: two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so forth. In the past twenty generations, you have a mathematical chance of having more than one million ancestors. Thirty generations produces more than a billion ancestors, and forty generations results in more than one trillion.

That is correct from a mathematical viewpoint but deliberately ignores one obvious fact: there have never been that many humans on the face of the earth since the dawn of evolution! The reality is that it is impossible to have one trillion unique ancestors, regardless of the mathematics involved.

(+) The Differences Between Simple File Storage Services and True Backup Services

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

A newsletter reader asked the following questions as a comment to an earlier article: “I don’t know Google Drive. Do you consider it primarily a ‘backup’ service or a ‘storage’ service? Can it be used for either? Does this persuade you to drop Dropbox for Google Drive or would you keep both?”

My answer cannot be condensed to one or two sentences. I decided to write this article which, hopefully, provides some in-depth information about the differences.

Google Drive is primarily a storage service.

Dropbox is primarily a file replication service. That is, its primary function is to AUTOMATICALLY copy files from one computer to another computer (or to multiple computers). Dropbox also stores copies of each file on Dropbox’s servers.

Neither Dropbox nor Google Drive are very good backup services. They do not backup everything.

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(+) Authors: Sell Your Books on Amazon

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Did you write a book detailing your family’s history? Perhaps you wrote about the history of your town or perhaps a Civil War battle or almost any other topic. Another possibility is that your local genealogy society has extracted records from old documents and now wishes to publish them. Perhaps you self-published your book, had it printed, and now you have hundreds of copies stored in the basement. Indeed, one of the most difficult parts of self-publishing books is the marketing: how to advertise and sell the books. You may not know there is a powerful ally that would like to help: Amazon.

(+) Why You Want to Use a VPN

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 


If you are concerned about anyone snooping on the Internet and seeing what you are doing online, you might consider installing a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a distant server to let you conduct your online activities (visit the websites you want, make online transactions, download files) anonymously, without being tracked and spied upon. VPN technology uses a combination of features such as encryption, tunneling protocols, data encapsulation, and certified connections to provide you with a secure connection to private networks and to protect your identity. Luckily, VPN products are available for Windows, Macintosh, iPhone/iPad, Android, and Chromebook systems. One product will even work with Xbox, VoIP telephones, and other devices that do not allow for installation of networking software.

(+) Hands On with a Wireless Flash Drive

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

A wireless flash drive? What’s that? Why would I want one?

Most computer owners are familiar with flash drives. These storage devices are usually about two or three inches long and have a USB connector on one end. When plugged into a USB port on a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer, they appear to be equivalent to disk drives. The computer can read and write data to flash drives. However, unlike normal disk drives, there are no moving parts in flash drives. They are rugged, easily carried in a pocket or purse, and are great for saving and moving data from one computer to another. I use flash drives for several short-term backup purposes and also always take one to the library where I can copy data to the flash drive, take that data home, and then copy it to my home computer.

(+) Future Bookstores Will be the Size of Today’s Starbucks

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

I must admit that one thing I enjoy is going to a Barnes and Noble or any other large bookstore and wandering around for an hour or more. I browse the shelves for topics I am interested in. I usually find other books that I wasn’t interested in until I saw the book on the shelf. Sadly, I think such “browsing trips” will be a thing of the past before many more years pass.


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