Plus Edition Article

(+) Never Save Original Photos in JPG Format!

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

Genealogists and millions of others have saved hundreds of millions of digital photographs on their hard drives, in the cloud, and on CD-ROM disks. Perhaps the most popular file format for digital photographs is JPG (or JPEG), a commonly used method of compression for photographic images. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10 to 1 compression with little perceivable loss in image quality.

JPEG is the most common image format used by digital cameras and other photographic image capture devices, such as scanners. It is also the most common format for storing and transmitting photographic images on the World Wide Web.

(+) My Favorite Way to Easily Save Cell Phone Photos

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

I have more than 3,000 photos and videos stored in my cell phone. That includes pictures of my grandchildren, photos from genealogy conferences, images of old documents found in various archives, recipes that I “photo-copied” from magazines, bills, receipts, and even a few billboards I enjoyed and decided to save.

Of course, I want to copy all of these items to one or more cloud-based services as well as to my own computers for long-term storage and preservation. Over the past year or two, I have experimented with programs that copy photos from a cell phone to Amazon Cloud Drive (Amazon Prime members can upload unlimited photos free of charge), Google Drive (free of charge for up to 15 gigabytes), Dropbox (free of charge for up to 2 gigabytes), (up to 15 gigabytes free of charge), and several other services.

(+) The True Expense of Genealogy Research

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

The recent story about the closing of the Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection is sad news. (See my earlier article at for details.) However, in this case, I have to agree with Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan. If a valuable resource at a taxpayer-supported public library is being used less and less, managers of that library need to re-evaluate where the funds are being spent. Libraries are under constant financial pressure. They obviously need to spend their meager budgets in ways to obtain the “most bang for the buck.”

In fact, Michele Reagan is correct. Anyone with a computer can now obtain more genealogy information online that what any public library in a town or a small city can provide. In fact, the computer probably can provide more genealogy information than what was in the Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection in Phoenix with the obvious exception of quite a bit of Arizona-specific information that is not available elsewhere and even that can be fixed by having those specific materials digitized at an expense that is probably much less than keeping the “bricks and mortar” library open.

(+) A Lesson to be Learned From One Library’s Conversion to a Digital Library

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

ebooksOne prestigious coeducational college preparatory boarding school recently made a radical change to its library. With 140 years of academic excellence, one would expect the school to be steeped in tradition. However, a visitor to the campus might be surprised to learn that the 100+ year-old school’s library has gone almost all digital.

In a newspaper interview, the former headmaster said, “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books.”

(+) Why Reinvent the Wheel?

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

WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

One thing that constantly puzzles me is why do genealogists keep re-inventing the same wheels? In fact, we have the tools today to reduce this duplication of effort immediately and perhaps to even drive it to zero within a few years. If we do that, the result will be peer-reviewed, high-quality genealogy information available to everyone.

For decades, the standard method of genealogy research has been to look at original records as well as compiled genealogies, looking for information about each ancestor, one fact at a time. In modern times, we typically have used IMAGES of the original records published on microfilm and, more recently, images that appear on our computer screens. We then supplement these original records with compiled genealogies from many sources, including printed books, online web sites containing user-contributed information, and even GEDCOM files found online. Experienced genealogists also understand the importance of VERIFYING each piece of information, regardless of where it was obtained. Yes, even original hand-written records made at the time of an event may contain errors.

Compiling a genealogy typically requires hundreds of hours of work, sometimes thousands of hours, sometimes great expenditures of money, and, when original records have not been easily available locally, we often spend significant amounts of money on travel.

To be kind, I will simply say that the results have been variable. Some skilled and careful researchers have produced accurate and carefully documented genealogies. Other genealogists, typically those with less-than-perfect research skills or motivation, have produced compiled genealogies containing errors. A few have produced genealogies that I can only describe as “fairy tales.”

(+) How to Make Sure Your Laptop, Cell Phone, and Other Electronic Devices are Prepared for Power Outages

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

A recent 24-hour power outage at my home brought the subject of emergency preparedness to mind. Power, telephone, cable television, and FIOS fiber optic lines all had been ripped off the telephone poles by falling trees in several different locations around town during a major wind storm. Not only was the power off but all the telephones in my neighborhood were dead, the cable television was also dead, and Internet connectivity by cable or FIOS fiber optic also was inoperative. Despite these handicaps, I was able to maintain telephone communications and Internet connectivity all the time. While this outage only lasted about 24 hours, I could have maintained the same communications for a week or more without power.

I would suggest everyone should think of their own preparedness for power outages, whether caused by weather, automobiles running into telephone poles, or any other calamities.

(+) Enjoy Internet Access Nearly Anywhere and Anytime with a Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot

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

Introduction: There is a bit of irony here. I was writing this article about how to connect to the Internet when traveling or during a power failure when the power went off! A tree fell across the power, telephone, FIOS, and cable company’s lines, landing across the street and into my front yard. It was the first power failure in the neighborhood in months, and it happened while I was writing this article about being prepared for power failures!

Power, telephone, and wired Internet connectivity were inoperative for about 24 hours. During that time, I used the methods described in this article to access the Internet via a cellular connection.

One of the phrases we often read in technical articles these days is “Internet everywhere.” Indeed, wi-fi Internet connections, often called “hotspots,” are available at thousands of coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, schools, and dozens of other places as well. I have successfully connected online from fast food burger places and while riding at 34,000 feet in an airplane However, despite the phrase “Internet everywhere,” we still cannot connect online from anywhere. A few places do not have wi-fi networks. And then there is the universal question: what do we do during power failures?


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