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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.

Microsoft Office is Now Available on Chromebooks

This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I have written often about Chromebooks, the inexpensive laptop computers. (See http://bit.ly/2zNe4HY for my past articles about Chromebooks.) This is a follow-up to the earlier articles.

Perhaps the most common question about Chromebooks is, “Can it run my favorite Windows (or Macintosh) programs, such as Microsoft Word?” The answer was “No.” However, that is changing.

Chromebooks are designed to be used with the cloud and run programs that are stored on servers in the cloud. There are thousands of such programs available. See https://play.google.com/store/apps?hl=en for a list of the available apps that run on Chromebooks. The genealogy apps may be found at: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps&hl=en.

HOWEVER, Microsoft has now released versions of Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive) written especially for Chromebooks. The Chromebook versions have most of the functionality of the Windows and Macintosh versions, although a few features may be missing.

Nokia Security Report for 2017

Are you concerned about malware (malevolent software), such as viruses, keyloggers, and trojan horse programs? If so, you might want to read a new report from Nokia.

The Nokia Threat Intelligence Report examines malware infections found in mobile and fixed networks worldwide. It provides analysis of data gathered from more than 100 million devices by the Nokia NetGuard Endpoint Security solution. The new report details key security incidents and trends from the first three quarters of 2017. Amongst the findings:

  • Devices using the Android operating system were the most likely to be infected this year, according to Nokia research.
  • Android was the #1 target for Malware, about 1% of all Android devices will be infected, an increase from 2016. This means 0.94% of all Android devices were infected, slightly above Google’s 2016 Q4 estimate of 0.71%.
  • Out of all infected devices, 68.50% were Androids, 27.96% ran on Windows, and 3.54% used iOS.

Zoho Workplace: My Favorite FREE Replacement for Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has been the leading word processing/spreadsheet/presentation program for a couple of decades, maybe longer. It is powerful, feature-rich, and able to create files that are universally compatible with all sorts of other programs. There is only one major drawback: Microsoft Office is very expensive.

Prices for Microsoft Office vary from about $80 to around $350, depending upon the version selected. The more expensive versions typically are bundled with additional Microsoft programs, useful primarily in corporations or other environments where groups of people work together on shared projects.

Another big drawback is that the price is charged PER COMPUTER. If you own two computers, perhaps a desktop system and a laptop system, you need to pay twice in order to comply with the shrink-wrapped licensing agreement that you agreed to abide by when installing the product.

IAJGS Conference in Orlando is a Success

I spent much of last week at the annual conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. This conference serves as an annual reunion of top Jewish genealogists and newcomers alike. The conference is held in a different city around the world every year. This year’s event was held in Orlando, Florida on July 23 through 28. Count them: that’s 6 days of conference!

Walt Disney World Swan Resort

The conference was held at the Walt Disney World Swan resort, a top-notch venue for a conference. Than again, it is a Disney property so you expect it to be good! I don’t think anyone was disappointed.

The conference included 369 events, including 225 lectures and panels, 33 films, 42 BOF/SIG (Birds of a Feather/Special Interest Group) meetings, 19 computer workshops, an excellent computer lab, and more than a dozen breakfasts and luncheons.

60+ sessions were live streamed over the Internet and also will be available on demand (for a fee) until 1 November 2017. If you were unable to attend in person, you can learn more about watching many of the presentations by going to http://live.iajgs.org.

How to Make a PDF File Searchable

A newsletter reader asked the question: “How can i make a PDF file searchable?” I thought others might have the same question, so I will reply here in the newsletter so that everyone can benefit. Also, anyone with additional methods is invited to post comments at the end of this article.

A searchable PDF is a PDF file that lets you both search for keywords in the text and use copy/paste to extract text from the PDF. Unfortunately, many PDF files are not searchable. Instead, they are simple images of an original document.

In short, a PDF file usually can be made searchable ONLY when it is created. There are some exceptions, however. I will describe some exceptions at the end of this article.

Follow-Up: How Private is Your Genealogy Information?

Yesterday, I published an article entitled How Private is Your Genealogy Information? That article is still available at: http://bit.ly/2r4m26g. In that article, I strongly suggested encrypting any sensitive information stored in your computer’s hard drive, on flash drives, or in any cloud-based file storage service. Encryption keeps your private information private.

A newsletter reader then asked a very simple question: “How do I encrypt my info?”

The question is simple although the answer is a bit more complex. I decided to post my answer here in a separate article so that everyone could read my reply:

How to Find Someone Who Has the Book You Seek

Perhaps the full title of this article should be How to Find Someone Who Has the Book You Seek and Also Let Everyone Else Know About the Books You Own and Also Catalog Your Own Personal Library with Minimal Effort.

You can find dozens of programs that will help you catalog your personal book collection. Some of these will create a list that you can print or store on your own computer or store on your smartphone or even upload to the World Wide Web. Some products also keep track of the books you want to read (sometimes called a wish list) and will also keep track of books you have loaned out to others, including the date loaned. Some cataloging products will also track other media, such as CD and DVD disks, video games, and more. However, one online service does all that and lots more. You can access your information from a web browser on a desktop computer, a laptop computer, or even from a smartphone. The last feature is very useful when you are at a bookstore or flea market or genealogy conference and are wondering, “Do I already have that book?” Best of all, you can share your catalog with others and also see what others have in their collections. The service is available either free of charge or for very low fees.

(+) The Best Note-Taking App That You Probably Never Heard Of

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

I have been a big fan of Evernote for several years. At the moment, I have more than 4,200 notes, audio clips, photographs, web pages, scanned images, and more in my Premium account on Evernote. The program is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, WebOS, Maemo, BlackBerry (including BlackBerry Playbook), and Google Wave platforms as well as a beta for Symbian S60 5th Edition. There are portable versions of Evernote available for flash drives and U3 drives. Notes can be shared with other Evernote users over the Internet.

The downside of Evernote is that the company added limitations to the free version, called Evernote Basic. It’s now accessible via a maximum of two devices. You can select any two from the above list of computing devices, but the limit is two. The company also raised prices on the premium versions of Evernote.