Plus Edition Article

(+) Why You Want to Archive All Your Email Messages – Part #1

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

This is Part #1 of a 2-part series.

iwantarchiveWe often take email for granted these days. For many people, it is a process of writing a quick note, reading a return note, clicking DELETE, and then moving on. However, is deleting a good idea? I can think of at least two reasons why we might want to archive all our email messages, both sent and received. One reason is genealogy-related, the other is not.

Did you inherit family heirlooms of love letters great-grandfather sent to great-grandmother during the war? Or perhaps other letters written for other purposes? While love letters are always great for sentimental reasons, other letters, even business correspondence, can offer great insights into the lives of our ancestors. Will your descendants have similar feelings about the correspondence that you write?

(+) Leave Your Existing Genealogy Program Behind and Look to the Future

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

Are you thinking about upgrading to a new computer, possibly including an upgrade to a new operating system? If so, this article is for you.

future-computers

Over the years, a number of popular genealogy programs have been discontinued. Do you remember Personal Ancestral File, The Master Genealogist, CommSoft’s Roots 5, Carl York’s The Family Edge, Quinsept’s Family Roots, Ultimate Family Tree, or SierraHome’s Generations 8.0? Those and a number of other, lesser-known genealogy programs have all faded away over the years. May they all rest in peace.

(+) What They Never Told You About Immigration

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

Hundreds of articles about immigration to the United States have been published over the years in various magazines, books, and online sites. Indeed, a few dozen articles about immigration have been published in this newsletter alone. To my knowledge, the numbers and facts mentioned in all of those articles have been quite accurate. I would suggest, however, the more interesting facts and statistics are the ones that were never mentioned in most articles.

emigrants-arriving-ellis-island

Much has been written about the 47 million Europeans and Asians who entered the various ports of entry from 1820 through 1960. For all that, how many of those articles ever mention the fact that more than one-third of those immigrants RETURNED to their homelands?

(+) What is a Genogram and Why Should I Create One?

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

Almost all genealogists are familiar with pedigree charts. These are basic charts for recording parents, grandparents, and earlier generations for an individual. Pedigree charts are used to show bloodlines and are limited to displaying only ancestors. Pedigree charts do not display siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or other extended relatives. Here is an example of a pedigree chart:

john_f_kennedy_family_tree

Click on the above image to view a larger example.

Pedigree charts have long been a standard tool used by genealogists and others. They are easy to understand and clearly display a lot of information in a small amount of space. However, pedigree charts are limited in what they can display, normally showing only the name of each individual and the places and dates of birth, marriage, and death. They do not show relationships of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or other extended relatives. They also do not display the dynamics of a family over multiple generations.

(+) Hands On with the new Pixel XL and Google Project Fi Cell Phone Service

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

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy articles, you might want to skip this one.

Project_Fi-logoI have written before about Google’s cell phone service called Project Fi (at https://goo.gl/oVU5aA). It is a low-cost service, providing unlimited phone calls and text messages for $20 a month plus data service available at very low rates. The interesting thing about Project Fi is that it uses three different cellular networks plus wi-fi connectivity to provide voice, text, and data service nearly everywhere. What I like best of all is that Project Fi also works in more than 135 countries with either no roaming charges or else very, very low roaming charges.

Today I received my new Pixel XL and thought I would write share my impressions of it. While I only have experience with the larger Pixel XL, I have read that the smaller Pixel phone is identical, other than screen size. Therefore, I believe my comments should cover both the Pixel and Pixel XL phones.

I will also compare the Project Fi cellular service to one of its major competitors.

(+) Preserve Your Data for Generations

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

Bill LeFurgy has written an interesting report about ever-changing data formats and the effect on historical studies. The case he described concerns a survey of citizen reactions to the Kennedy assassination that was conducted from November 26 through December 3, 1963, by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. The survey results were recorded on paper punch cards, which were used to input data into the mainframe computer used to tabulate study data. Summary results were then published.

When another national catastrophe struck on September 11, 2001, NORC researchers wanted to replicate the 1963 study by asking the same kinds of questions to assess public reaction. The aim was to compare how the nation responded to two very different tragedies. There was but one problem: how to read the punched cards from the 1963 study?

(+) How to Encrypt Your Files for Security

Subtitle: Everything you wanted to know about encryption but didn’t know who to ask

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

encryptionI have written several times about the need to encrypt all computerized information that you wish to keep private. This week, I will tell you how to encrypt information stored on your computer, stored on a jump drive in your pocket, or being sent across a network connection.

Encryption is the one thing that allows computer users, financial services, and even governments to securely move information around the Internet and to store that information safely, away from prying eyes.

Wikipedia provides the following definition:

(+) How to Remotely Control a Distant Computer

…or perhaps a computer that is not so distant

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

Remote control software for desktop and laptop computers has been available for years. All systems administrators of large data centers are familiar with these programs, as are many “work from home” individuals who need to control computers at the office on nights and weekends. However, the same technology is available to everyone; you do not need to be a systems professional in order to access the computer on your desk at the office or the one at home when you are traveling. Best of all, many of these remote control products are available free of charge.

Remote control software has a very simple goal: add a second monitor, keyboard and mouse to a computer. The difference is that these secondary items are located some distance away, perhaps miles or even thousands of miles away. I was recently in Singapore and was able to access my computer in the US in essentially the same way that I do when I am at home. Everything that is displayed on my computer’s monitor at home was displayed on my iPad in Singapore. Everything that I normally would type on the home computer’s keyboard worked well when I typed on the (optional) iPad keyboard in Singapore. The mouse also worked as normal, although I used my finger as a substitute mouse on the iPad’s touch-sensitive screen. Still, it produced the same results as using the mouse when at home.

I had full access to my new and saved email messages, to all the files on my home computer’s hard drive, and more. The only thing missing was that I could not insert a CD into the slot in the home computer.

(+) Genealogy Books on CD

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

books-on-cdI have been reading an interesting book. In fact, it is a book about my family. The original book was published in 1901, so it has long been out of copyright. I have seen it offered for sale as a reprinted book for $150 to $250. In fact, I purchased a printed copy of the book about 25 years ago, and it now sits in a box in my basement. I ran out of bookshelf space, and I don’t open this book all that often. Therefore, it was banned to the basement years ago and, admittedly, I haven’t opened it since.

The new book that I purchased this week is exactly the same book. It has exactly the same words, exactly the same images, everything. Well, not quite everything: there are two major differences.

(+) Authors: Sell Your Books on Amazon

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

amazon-booksDid 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.

(+) A Single Server in a Data Center is not the Cloud!

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

A newsletter reader recently posted a comment about some articles I have written explaining why the cloud is good for genealogy and for many other purposes. The newsletter reader protested, “You constantly tout that cloud storage is much more secure than local device based storage. Yet, we constantly hear about celebrities, companies and national and state governments whose files have been hacked and published.”

Yes, indeed, there have been major security problems with government and corporate data servers. However, these problems did not occur on cloud computing services. The problems all arose (to my knowledge) from hackers accessing old-fashioned servers in data centers, not from true cloud services that use encryption. In every case I have read about, the stolen files came from individual servers or banks of servers, not from the cloud. The cloud is not the same thing as a server in a data center.

(+) Update: The Future of Personal Computers for Genealogy and Everything Else

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

In the June 1, 2016 edition of this newsletter, I published a Plus Edition article (at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=40235) entitled, (+) The Future of Personal Computers for Genealogy and Everything Else. In that article, I wrote:

“When it comes to technology, nothing lasts for very long. In fact, the concept of large desktop computers has already lasted longer than most other things in technology. It may be unwise to predict the imminent death of any particular technology and probably even more unwise to predict the death of the desktop PC, but obviously changes already surround us.

“The reality today is that the Windows or Macintosh desktop computer is no longer the primary computing device for many consumers.”

(+) How to Find City Directories For Sale Online

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

city_directoryLooking for a city directory from the 1800s or early 1900s? You may be able to purchase the city directory you wish for modest prices. I have seen reprinted city directories sell for as little as $2.00 while digital copies on CD-ROM frequently sell for about $5.00 or so. Even the original city directories printed in the 1800s sometimes sell for as little as $4.95 although $20 or $30 seems to be a more common price.

Best of all, if you don’t see what you want today, you can create an “automated search robot” that will check for you every day. If the robot finds an item that matches the search terms you specify, it will send you an email message to notify you of the latest addition. It will search for you day after day, even while you are sleeping, even if your computer is turned off.

(+) The Majority of Books Published Before 1964 Are Free of Copyrights

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

Over and over, genealogists have been told that the copyright has expired for all works published in the United States before 1923. In other words, if the work was published in the U.S. before January 1, 1923, anyone is free to republish excerpts or even the entire book without obtaining permission. That statement remains correct today. However, many genealogists are not aware that the overwhelming majority of all books published prior to 1964 are also free of copyright. That’s “the overwhelming majority of all books” but not all of them.

(+) It Always Feels Like Somebody is Watching Me… So Get a VPN!

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

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the easiest way to obtain a fast, private, and SECURE Internet connection.

vpnDo you work online from coffee shops or hotels? Do you travel and take a laptop, tablet or smartphone with you to use online? Do you perhaps travel internationally? I often travel internationally (I am in Ireland at the moment), and I always use a VPN when traveling, whether I am in the U.S. or overseas.

Actually, using a VPN while at home is also a good idea. After all, do you know if one of your neighbors is possibly monitoring all the data you send and receive? Then again, we all know that the NSA is monitoring everything we send and receive online.

Unless you are using a VPN (virtual private network), nothing you do online is private. A VPN encrypts and protects everything you do online, and can be downloaded as an app on your phone or computer.

(+) Are You Eligible for Dual Citizenship?

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

usa and british passportAre you eligible for citizenship in the country where your ancestors were born? You might not have to give up your American citizenship. Many Americans may be surprised to learn that they are eligible for dual citizenship.

The US government used to claim that you couldn’t hold dual citizenship except in certain cases involving dual citizenship from birth or childhood. However, the US Supreme Court struck down most of the laws forbidding dual citizenship in 1967. The court’s decision in the case of Afroyim v. Rusk, as well as a second case in 1980, Vance v. Terrazas, eventually made its way explicitly into the statute books in 1986.

(+) Update: My Move to the Cloud

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

A few months ago I published an article entitled, “I am Moving to the Cloud.” Since that time, I have continued my move to a cloud-based personal service for genealogy and other applications, and now I am almost completely cloud-based.

In the original article, I described several cloud-based services, explained actions I had already taken, and described what I planned to do. Since I published that article, I have followed most of the items in my plan. However, a couple of vendors have changed their services slightly, and some new services have been introduced. One of the new services was so appealing that it caused me to change my original plans. I also experimented a bit as I moved through my planned changes. The result was even more changes in my plans as I gained experience.

The original article is no longer accurate because of these changes. I decided to re-write that original article and to include the changes in the new version that I am publishing today. This is the extensively revised article.

I’ve decided to move. Well, not my personal possessions, my clothes, my tools, or even my computers. I am moving my data and my applications. I am moving to the cloud.

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

(+) 5 Ways to Connect Long-Distance Family Members

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

Today’s lifestyles often mean that families are separated by hundreds of miles, if not thousands of miles. Grandparents and grandchildren may live in different parts of the country or even different parts of the world. The U.S. Department of State estimates 6.3 million Americans live abroad, and more than 65 million travel overseas each year. Indeed, many people travel frequently for business or pleasure, resulting in them being separated for days, weeks, or even months at a time from family members. Yet today’s technology allows distant parents and grandparents to read their children or grandchildren bedtime stories, to draw with them, and to be with them—virtually.

For instance, I spend winters about 1,200 miles from my grandchildren, and yet I video conference with them frequently. A few weeks ago, I did the same while I was in Singapore, about 10,000 miles from the grandchildren. Doing so is easy and free. Well, you do have to have an Internet connection and some hardware that you probably already own. I guess that it is not free technically but is available “at no extra charge,” using equipment that most of us already possess. Add in a bit of free software and you, too, can be (virtually) with your loved ones daily.

(+) Convert 35mm Slides to Digital

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

slidesI have hundreds of 35-millimeter slides stored in boxes. They might as well be shoeboxes although the boxes I use are a bit different size. I collected them over the past few decades and must admit I never looked at any of them again until recently. I find that storing slides or any photos or home movies in any inconvenient location means that they are rarely viewed again. Why did you or someone else spend all the money for cameras, film, and processing if no one ever looks at the results?

I will suggest the solution is to digitize the films and slides. Once digitized, the images are easy to view at any time and very easy to share with others. Your children, grandchildren, cousins, and other relatives might like to receive digital copies of pictures taken long ago. With today’s technology, that is easy to do.

(+) You Can Build Your Own Safe and Secure File Storage Service in Your Own Cloud

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

cloud-computingStoring files in the cloud provides convenience and security. Having a second (or more) copy of a file stored some distance from your computer provides a lot of safety in case of hard drive crashes or accidental deletions. Cloud-based file storage services include Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, iDrive, SugarSync, Box, SpiderOak, and probably a dozen or more others. However, all of these services have one thing in common: they store your files on other companies’ servers. Many individuals and almost all corporations are reluctant to do that for security reasons. They simply do not want to keep their secrets on someone else’s servers.

Luckily, there is an easy answer: store your files on your own servers or on rented servers that are TOTALLY under your control, not accessible to anyone else, not even to hackers.