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Genealogy Software Users Choice Awards for 2017 announced by GenSoftReviews

The following announcement was written by GenSoftReviews:

The 9th annual Users Choice Awards have been tabulated and awarded at the GenSoftReviews website.

During 2017, 82 of the nearly 1,000 programs listed received 535 reviews. Along with the review, users rated the programs from 1 to 5 star, with 5 being best. Programs that received at least one review in 2017 with 10 or more all-time reviews that achieved a user rating of at least 4.00 out of 5 receive a GenSoftReviews User Choice Award for 2017. The award reflects that the program is well-liked by its users.

The 25 programs awarded a GenSoftReview Users Choice Award as a Top Rated Genealogy Software for 2017 are:

MacFamilyTree Update Version 8.2 is Now Available

I received a short note from the producers of MacFamilyTree, one of the leading genealogy programs for Macintosh. I have written before many times about this powerful and visually impressive product. You can find my earlier articles by starting at: http://bit.ly/2txH4MT.

This morning’s note says (in part):

We have just released the next huge MacFamilyTree update. Version 8.2 comes free for all users of 8 and 8.1. MobileFamilyTree has been updated to version 8.2, too. Both apps are currently sold at 50% discount.

Our charts always have been the most beautiful ones… but we improved them even more.

GenSoftReviews Announces its Users Choice Awards for 2016

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler who compiles the Users Choice Awards:

gensoftreviewsThe 8th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website based on 750 reviews submitted by users during 2016.

44 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2016. Of those, 27 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and each win a 2016 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

The Winners include:

rootsTrust: a Genealogy Program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux

rootsTrust (always spelled with lower-case “r”) is an advanced genealogy program that runs on all three popular desktop and laptop operating systems: Windows, Macintosh OS X and Linux. It is one of the few genealogy programs that can make that claim. Actually, the program’s web site at http://www.rootstrust.com/read-me-first.html says, “rootsTrust has been successfully tested on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. It runs in either 32-bit or 64-bit mode. It also works with any of the aforementioned operating systems on a Mac using the Parallels emulator.”

rootsTrust is also a rather powerful genealogy program.

LibreOffice and Other Desktop Office Suite Programs Offer Better Choices than does Microsoft Office

NOTE: The following article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I feel that every computer owner should know about these free and low-cost choices available.

Microsoft Office once had an unquestioned stranglehold on the world of productivity suites and programs. However, recent software products now compete with Microsoft Office, and I like one of them even better than Office. Best of all is the price tag: FREE.

LibreOffice_logoLibreOffice is a desktop office suite for Windows, Macintosh, and most versions of Linux that combines a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, drawing program, math program, and a database program. It competes with Microsoft Office in most every way except one: price. LibreOffice is available FREE of charge. There is no “pro version” or upgrade to any other available versions. There is only one version, and all features are available free of charge in that version. Indeed, “Libre” is the Spanish word for free.

A Special Offer for Family Tree Maker Users: MyHeritage is Offering the Family Tree Builder Genealogy Program for Windows and Macintosh PLUS an Unlimited Size Family Site for FREE

ftbThe recent announcement by Ancestry of the “retirement” of Family Tree Maker (see http://goo.gl/BCk2qO for details) has turned out to be a great gift for other genealogy software producers. Thousands of disappointed genealogists are now looking for alternative products. Several companies have announced “special offers” for Family Tree Maker users who wish to switch to a Windows or Macintosh program that will remain supported for some time. I will suggest that a new announcement this morning from MyHeritage should be seriously considered by any Family Tree Maker user.

Disclaimer: MyHeritage is the exclusive sponsor of this newsletter so I could be accused of bias. In fact, anyone who accuses me of bias is correct! To be blunt, I probably am biased. Even so, I do think this is an excellent offer and I will invite readers who do not share my biases to read the announcement and decide for themselves.

MyHeritage has announced a two-pronged offer: both Family Tree Builder software and an unlimited size Family Site for FREE. Of course, Family Tree Builder software for both Windows and Macintosh has always been free. (See my Free Genealogy Software article at https://blog.eogn.com/2015/12/10/free-genealogy-software for details.) The real gem in this announcement is the offer of a FREE family web site of unlimited size on MyHeritage.com.

Convert Your Old Windows or Macintosh Computer into a Chromebook Clone

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks. (See https://goo.gl/lLcwMo for a list of my previous articles about Chromebooks.) These inexpensive laptop computers are great for many purposes. One obvious use is to provide a computer for anyone who is not computer literate, including children, senior citizens, or any adult who has never had a need to learn much about computers. The Chromebooks are simple: they just work.

Neverware_logo

Chromebooks typically cost $200 to $300 although you can occasionally find them for less if you watch the sales. That’s cheap, but not free. Now a company called Neverware can provide software that will convert your old Windows or Macintosh into the functional equivalent of a Chromebook. Best of all, the software is FREE for individuals.

Run Windows Programs on your Macintosh with Parallels Desktop

Do you want to switch to a Macintosh for reliability reasons but hesitate to do so because you want to keep some of your Windows programs? Many Windows programs do have Macintosh equivalents (Word and Excel for both platforms), Calendar programs (replace Outlook with iCal), desktop publishing (replace Microsoft Publisher with Apple Pages), photo editing (Adobe Photoshop is available for both platforms), and dozens of other equivalents. However, maybe there is that one certain Windows program that you like that does not have an exact clone on the Mac. Perhaps your favorite genealogy program does not have a Mac version. What can you do?

Parallels_11

Run the Windows program on the Macintosh!

Sophos Antivirus for Macintosh

For years, Macintosh owners felt smug with the statement that “Macs don’t get viruses.” Indeed, that was true for years but times have changed. Viruses and other malware (malevolent software) have appeared in recent years that will infect a Macintosh. Admittedly, these new threats are rarely seen. They don’t seem to spread as quickly and easily as the Windows malware. Nonetheless, Mac owners today can only claim, “Macs rarely get viruses.”

Most Macintosh owners have never installed anti-virus software simply because they never saw a need for it. In fact, that was a successful practice for a long time simply because most Macs never encountered a problem. New problems are appearing these days and I would suggest the prudent Macintosh owner now should install anti-virus and anti-malware software.

Luckily, there are free anti-virus programs for Macs that have an excellent reputation for preventing problems.

Family Tree Builder for Macintosh, a FREE Program, is Now Available

MyHeritage has just announced the release of Family Tree Builder, a powerful genealogy program for Macintosh owners. I have been a beta tester of this program for the past few weeks and must say that I am impressed with it. Best of all, it is available free of charge. It is obviously the most powerful free genealogy program available today for Macintosh owners.

Disclaimer: MyHeritage is the sponsor of this newsletter. However, I believe I would write the same or similar words even if the company was not the sponsor of this newsletter.

GenSoftReviews Announces its Users Choice Awards for 2014

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler of GenSoftReviews:

January 2, 2015

The 6th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website.

26 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2014. Of those, 16 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and were awarded a 2014 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

  • The Winners include:
    9 Windows programs: Ahnenblatt, Clooz, Family Historian, Ancestral Quest, Brother’s Keeper, Family Tree Builder, Behold, RootsMagic and Genbox Family History,
  • 1 Mac program: Reunion
  • 5 Online programs: The Next Generation, Famberry, My Great Big Family, MyHeritage and Family Echo
  • 1 Handheld program: Heredis for iOS

Announcing RootsTrust, a Genealogy Program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux

This sounds interesting. A new genealogy program works on all the popular desktop and laptop operating systems. It even will operate directly from a flash drive, not requiring installation on a hard drive. I suspect hard drive installation will result in faster operation, however.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Atavus, Inc.:

On October 31, 2014 Atavus, Inc. officially released rootstrust, an advanced genealogy program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It is one of the few genealogy programs that is portable across all three operating systems.

Atavus calls its product a genealogical data management system (GDMS), which is a computer program designed to manage relationships between people, and relationships between people and places as well as historical and administrative relationships between places and other places. A GDMS also allows users to import and export data, generate family tree charts and other textual reports, link document and multimedia image files as well as websites to the objects it manages: Persons, Families, Events, Places, Sources and Repositories (libraries, archives museums and private collections).

VueScan Scanner Software for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iOS and Android

Most genealogists love scanners. I know I use mine often, both for genealogy purposes and for all sorts of other reasons, such as saving electronic versions of receipts, the users manual for the kitchen stove, recipes, directions to various locations, and much more. However, I sometimes hear other genealogists say something like this: “I bought this expensive scanner several years ago and love it. However, I later upgraded to a new computer with a new version of the operating system, and now my scanner doesn’t work on the new computer. What should I do?”

Well the easy answer is to purchase a new scanner that includes drivers for new operating systems. That’s easy to say but hard to justify financially. Another answer is to look at the scanner manufacturer’s web site to see if there is a new driver available for the latest version of your operating system. Should that fail, try VueScan.

Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) Explained

NOTE: This article may appear to be unrelated to either genealogy or history. However, some genealogy software is released as Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) and a number of questions about such software have been posted to the discussion board on the newsletter’s web site in recent weeks. I thought a short article explaining the term might help others who have not yet asked “What is FOSS?”

Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) is exactly that: FREE. However, not all free software qualifies as open source.

I will classify free software into four groups. The first three are considered to be proprietary software. That is, the producing organization does not allow else to see the source code of the software the programmers created. The source code is private, or proprietary, information that only the employees of the producing organization are allowed to see.

1. Ad-supported free software

Free software is proprietary software that might be something created by a corporation or a non-profit organization and may contain advertising that promotes the products or services of that organization or perhaps purchase something from one their advertisers that pay to have advertising inserted into the free software. The producing company does not make the source code of the program public, however. You have to hope and trust that the free software does not contain viruses, trojan horse software, or other malware (malevolent software) that might steal your credit card information or bank account credentials or something similar. Facebook is perhaps the best-known free software that contains advertising.

(+) A Report on my Move to the Cloud

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

NOTE: This is an update to an article I published about two years ago entitled, I am Moving to the Cloud. The article described my plan to move most of my computing functions to cloud-based services. In short, after two years, I have completed the move for about 95% of the tasks I perform every week and thought I would provide a report of my successes—and also describe a couple of failures. I offer this as “food for thought” for your planning.

If you are happy with your present computer and its capabilities, you probably shouldn’t move everything just yet. However, if you plan to replace your computer someday or if you travel frequently (as I do), this article may provide some ideas for your future plans.

I have moved. Well, not my personal possessions, my clothes, my tools, or even my computers. Instead, I moved my data and most of the tasks I perform weekly. I have moved to the cloud.

First, here is a quick definition of a cloud as the word is used in computer technology.

Scan and Digitize Your Books for $1 Each

I have been scanning genealogy books for several reasons. Finding information in digitized books is much easier and faster than manually searching through thousands of printed pages. However, the biggest reason is for a word that still gives me shivers. It is a word dreaded by almost every soon-to-be retiree:

DOWNSIZING

A few years ago, I became a “snowbird.” That is, I go south every winter and north every summer, following many of the birds. I now spend my winters in Florida where the weather is much more pleasant than where I have lived most of my life in the “snowbelt.” However, I still spend summers “up north.”

Having two homes has several obvious advantages but also more than a few disadvantages. First of all, it seems like every time I want to use something, such as a book full of genealogy information, it is always in “the other place.” That is a serious disadvantage for any genealogist!

Next, I downsized. My new home in the south is considerably smaller than where I spend my summers.

So here are the quandaries:

Polarr Photo Editor is Available Free and (Optionally) Requires No Installation in Your Computer

I know that many genealogists frequently use photo editors to improve or restore old family photographs and for a myriad of other uses. If you would like to do the same, you might already be aware that the two leading photo editing products are Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) which is only available as a subscription service for $20.99 US per month, and Photoshop Elements, which retails for $99.99 or is also available as a subscription service for $9.99 per month.

NOTE: Adobe, the producer of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, often bundles other products along with the company’s mainstream products and prices vary frequently as various bundles go on sale. Always check the Abode web site at http://www.adobe.com for the latest offers.)

While Photoshop CC and Photoshop Elements are both great products, they tend to appeal primarily to professional photographers and to other business users who can justify such expense. The prices often discourage casual users who only want to edit a few pictures on their home computers. As a result, a number of lower-cost alternatives to the Photoshop programs have become popular, including:

Is It Time to Try a Newsreader?

Your paperboy just got smarter. This article will tell you how to easily read more information on the Internet in a shorter period of time. In short, you can use much of the Internet without all the clutter.

I used to spend 2 or 3 hours per day visiting specific web sites over and over in an attempt to find new information. I regularly visited CNN.com looking for news, weather.com looking for the latest weather forecast for my home town, various stock market web sites, and, of course, genealogy sites looking for information about a variety of topics. The old method meant visiting each and every web site, one at a time, then waiting for the page to appear on my screen, then looking at menus to find the new information, waiting again for the new pages to appear, and so on. It was a tedious way to search for new information.

Today I can accomplish the same thing within a very few minutes instead of spending hours searching for elusive information. Today I “subscribe” to CNN.com, weather.com, and several hundred other web sites. New information automatically appears on my computer’s screen whenever I want; I no longer have to open a web browser to visit dozens of web sites in search of new information. I only see new information. Older information that has already appeared on my screen earlier is not displayed to me a second time. Most of the advertisements are also not displayed although a few do manage to appear. The result is in the a form of a “custom newspaper” designed for me, containing new information about topics of interest to me.

Microsoft to Sell Low-Cost Chromebook Killers

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy, unless you happen to use a computer to assist you in searching and recording your family tree.

I have written often about Chromebooks. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+chromebook&t=hf&ia=web for my past Chromebook articles. Chromebook laptops boot up quickly, never get viruses, and perform most of the operations that the majority of computer users want: they surf the web, play games, have excellent word processors, work with Facebook, handle homework, and most everything else. However, they don’t do well at processing-intensive applications, such as 3D rendering, financial / scientific modelling, or video encoding. Chromebooks typically sell for $175 to $300 with a very few high-end models selling for higher prices.

Chromebooks run the Chrome operating system, produced by Google. They do not run Windows or the Macintosh macOS operating systems. Therefore, you cannot install and use Windows or Macintosh programs in them. Instead, almost all Chromebook applications are cloud-based applications, such as Facebook, Gmail, MyHeritage.com, Ancestry.com, The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (“TNG”), and thousands of others.

These low-cost laptop computers have proven to be very popular and apparently have been taking sales away from Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system and, to a lesser extent, from Macintosh systems as well. Microsoft apparently has noticed the drop in sales. Now the company has announced that Microsoft will promote low-cost laptops manufactured by other firms that run a dummied-down version of Windows 10, called Windows 10 S. Prices will start at just $189. These new laptop systems obviously are designed to crush the Chromebook rebellion.

Looking for Help in the Heredis Booth at RootsTech

Heredis is a very popular genealogy program for Windows, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, and Android. At least, it is popular in Europe and in many other places although I don’t hear as much about it in North America. The folks who produce Heredis are working to change that. They plan to have an exhibit booth at RootsTech 2018 in Salt Lake City to demonstrate Heredis to everyone there. However, they are looking for some help in that booth. Are you interested?

Comment from Dick Eastman: I have used Heredis a lot and am very impressed with the propgram. It certainly is competitive with the other leading genealogy programs of today and I can see why it is so popular in many different countries. To see my past articles about Heredis, start at https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+heredis&t=hg&ia=web.

The following announcement was written by the folks who produce Heredis: