Plus Edition Article

(+) Donald Duck’s Family Tree

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

This week I would like to present the family tree of one of our best known and most-loved movie stars. The ancestry of this famous 80-year-old movie actor has been ignored for far too long. Now is the time to document the extended family of a great movie star, the subject of film, television, and numerous comic books, the anthropomorphic duck with yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet: Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

Actually, this isn’t as much of a joke as one might imagine. It seems that the Disney Corporation has kept meticulous details about all the Donald Duck cartoons and comic books since Donald’s first appearance in 1934 in “The Wise Little Hen.” For the following eighty years, the Disney Corporation has been remarkably consistent in referring to Donald’s relatives as well as many other facts.

For instance, you may have seen many cartoons of Donald Duck driving his automobile; but did you ever notice the license plate number? It is always “313.” That’s right, Donald’s license plate number has always been the same since his automobile first appeared in 1938.

(+) What is the Cloud and Why Should I Care? – Part 3

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

The first part of this article, available at, explained what the cloud is. The second part, available at, described using genealogy applications in the cloud. In this third segment, I thought I would address frequently-asked questions about cloud computing. Namely, is it secure? How do I access the cloud? What does it cost to use the cloud?


Is the cloud really secure? The quick answer is: nothing is ever perfect. However, data that you store privately in the cloud is probably is more secure than data stored on the hard drive in your computer at home or on your laptop computer. Let’s look at several examples.

(+) Downsizing: the Paperless Office for Genealogists

WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

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

“I believe historians need every possible piece of paper and archived byte of digital data they can muster.” — Dan Gillmor, computing editor, San Jose Mercury News, 1 September 1996

Paper. I have been drowning in it for years.

Genealogists soon learn to collect every scrap of information possible. We collect copies of birth certificates, marriage records, death certificates, census entries, military pension applications, deeds, and much, much more. I don’t know about you, but I have been collecting these bits of information as paper, mostly photocopies, for years. Over the past thirty+ years, I have probably spent thousands of dollars in photocopying fees!

(+) Why I Switched from Dropbox to Google Drive

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

I have written often about Dropbox. I have been a Dropbox user for years and have always had a high opinion of the service. In fact, I continue to have a high opinion of Dropbox. However, several competitors have appeared on the scene in the past few years. One of those competitors has kept expanding its services and dropping its prices. That competitor is Google Drive. In fact, Google Drive has improved so much that it now appeals to me even more than does Dropbox.

I recently moved almost all my files stored in Dropbox to Google Drive, and after a few days of use, I am very happy with the switch.

(+) What is the Cloud and Why Should I Care? – Part 2

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

Last week I published Part #1 of this article and it is still available at Part #1 provides an explanation of cloud computing. In this new article, I will provide a bit of history of cloud computing and then will focus on genealogy-specific uses of the cloud.

In the beginning…

When home computers first appeared in the late 1970s, they were free-standing devices. Home computers in those days typically did not communicate with other computers. If you wanted to get information out of your computer, you or someone else had to first put the information into the computer and store it. In those days, information was usually entered from the keyboard or from audio cassette tapes that had been recorded on another, similar computer. In the early 1980s, floppy disks started to become common.

(+) What is the Cloud and Why Should I Care? – Part 1

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

The newest technology these days in computers is called “cloud computing.” However, the buzzword is so new that many experienced computer users do not yet understand the term. In fact, “the cloud” can be different things to different people. I thought I would write a three-part article: the first part explains what the cloud is, and the second part will describe using the cloud for genealogy purposes. The third part will address some of the frequently-asked questions (FAQs) concerning the use of cloud computing.

(+) Crowdsourcing: the Most Valuable Genealogy Tool of the 21st Century? (So Far)

The following article was written by and is copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Wikipedia (which is itself a crowd-sourced collection of information) defines crowdsourcing as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”

Wikipedia then adds a bit more detail: “This process is often used to subdivide tedious work or to fund-raise startup companies and charities, and can also occur offline. It combines the efforts of numerous self-identified volunteers or part-time workers, where each contributor of their own initiative adds a small portion to the greater result.”

(+) Update: You Can Easily Be Very Safe and Secure While Online

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

I recently wrote at about an easy method of creating an encrypted Internet connection and using a super-secure web browser. The result is an Internet connection to web sites that is difficult, perhaps impossible, for anyone else to monitor. Security is believed to be top-notch when using this method. It was developed for use by the U.S. military for sending secret messages over the public Internet and is also used today by law enforcement officials, banks, stock brokers, and even drug dealers to send information securely. Even recently-leaked documents from the NSA indicate that the spy agency has not been able to intercept communications that use this method.

The article I wrote described how to easily add it to any Windows or Macintosh computer. It can also be added to Linux systems with a bit of work. However, I have since learned that the same techniques are also available for Chromebooks, Android, and Apple’s iOS operating system used on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch mobile devices. You can make sure that all your computers have secure connections.

(+) One Week with Google Glass

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

That’s me wearing my new Google Glass. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Google Glass is the latest advancement in wearable technology. Officially, it is called an “optical head-mounted display,” or OHMD. It is a tiny computer display screen attached to either a pair of glasses or a “mini-frame” supplied by Google. The screen is held just above the right eye when worn in the same manner as glasses. See the pictures for a better look. Google Glass is packed with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, speakers, camera, microphone, touchpad, and a gyroscope that detects head-tilts. The major piece of interest, however, is the tiny, 640×360-pixel resolution screen the size of your finger that shows you all the information you need above your right eye.

Google explains that the new product is always properly called Google Glass, not Google “glasses,” because there is only one glass from Google: the tiny computer display screen. However, many others will call it “Google glasses.”

Most commands are given to the computer by voice input although a very few commands are given by tapping or sliding one’s finger along the touchpad built into the right side of the eyeglass frame.

I received my Google Glass more than a week ago.


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