Software

Zoho Writer in the Cloud

If you already have a word processor installed in each of your computers and are happy with your present choice, you probably will want to skip this article. However, if you do not have a good word processor, or if you want to look at other possibilities, this may be the article for you. If you are presently using Google Docs or Microsoft Word Online or some other cloud-based word processor and are frustrated by your program’s lack of some features you want, this is the article for you. If you need a better word processor for sharing documents with co-workers or with family or even with genealogy society members, this is the article for you. If you want a good word processor for an iPad or Android tablet computer, this is the article for you.

Oh, by the way, this article describes a word processor that is FREE for personal use.

zoho_onlineZoho is an online Web service that lets you do almost anything online that you can do on a desktop computer, from creating documents to building a spreadsheet to managing a database, plus conferencing, project-management, chatting, and a dozen other functions. Zoho also duplicates many applications that Google offers with sophisticated calendars, spreadsheets, presentations, email and chat. In some cases, Zoho’s products may be more powerful than Google’s; but, in other cases, the opposite may be true. For this article, I will focus on one product called Zoho Writer.

Zoho Writer is an online word processor that is very easy to use. Yet it has most of the bells and whistles of an expensive, traditional word processor. I also find it to be much more powerful and useful than the word processor available with Google Docs.

ABBYY FineScanner – a Document Scanner for Android and iPhone/iPad

Handheld devices grow more and more powerful every year. Now the mobile device in your hand can not only create digital images of documents and pages from a book, it also can even perform OCR (optical character recognition) that converts the printed words into computer-readable and editable text. This should be a very useful tool for genealogists, historians, and anyone else who does a lot of research and needs to save much of the information found.

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A scan from the Redbook. Click on the image to view a larger version. Your image viewing program in your computer should allow you to zoom in or out as needed and also to print.

You Will Soon Be Able to Run Windows Programs on a Chromebook

I have written a number of times about Chromebooks, the low-cost laptop computers that boot up quickly, are simple to use, never get viruses, and perform the computer tasks that many computer owners want. (Go to https://goo.gl/TsSWQ5 to find my earlier Chromebook articles.) These $150 to $300 laptop computers have become very popular. Now they may become even more popular than ever.

The developers of CrossOver, a utility that allows users to run Windows programs on Linux, have been working on an Android app that does the same thing, bringing Windows apps to the Android OS. Doing so allows Windows programs to run on Google’s new Android interface for Chromebooks. The official app hasn’t been released yet. However, the company has recently posted a video showing the Steam game client and Windows game Limbo running on an Acer Chromebook R11.

A (Possibly) Better Notebook Program than Evernote is Available Free of Charge

Evernote has long been a useful tool for genealogists. Indeed, I have written several times about the use of Evernote in genealogy research. It is one of my favorite programs. I use Evernote more often than I use a genealogy program although I have to add that I use Evernote for all sorts of things, not just for genealogy purposes. (See https://goo.gl/RXq5Ez for a list of my past articles about Evernote.)

Evernote disappointed many of its users a couple of weeks ago when the company announced a price hike and also a reduction in service for free users. (See my earlier article at https://goo.gl/iBShNp for details.) Even though the price hike is modest, a number of Evernote users are now looking for alternative programs that perform the same tasks as Evernote but are either more powerful or else free of charge or both. One product from a little-known company appears to meet the needs of many Evernote users although perhaps it is not a 100% replacement. Then again, a price tag of FREE and the ability to use it on as many computing devices as you wish is very attractive.

Introduction

Antivirus Software Is ‘Increasingly Useless’ and May Make Your Computer Less Safe

This is a follow-up to my article, Virus False Positives: How Can You Be Sure?, published yesterday at https://goo.gl/ydVT0i. Today, CBC News published an article by Emily Chung that says that anti-virus software is essentially useless. In fact, that software may be making your computer more hackable than a computer with no anti-virus software installed at all!

This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) issued a warning about popular antivirus software made by Symantec, some of it under the Norton brand, after security researchers with Google’s Project Zero found critical vulnerabilities. “These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets. They don’t require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible,” wrote Google researcher Tavis Ormandy in a blog post.

Heredis Genealogy Software is on Sale until July 10

Heredis is one of my favorite genealogy programs. You can find my past articles about Heredis by starting at: https://goo.gl/oyX3b0. If you are thinking about switching to a different genealogy program, you might consider Heredis to see if it meets your needs. You can read more about the program at http://www.heredis.com.

Heredis2015

The folks who produce Heredis are offering a big discount for a few days. The “Flash Sale” is for both the Windows and Macintosh versions of this excellent genealogy software. The offer ends on Sunday, July 10, 2016. I am not sure which time zone is involved in the offer so I would suggest not waiting until Sunday evening to order it.

MapMe – A FREE Service for Adding Maps to your Web Site

MapMe is an easy way to create an interactive map with multiple categories. You can use it to show the location(s) of your ancestors’ homesteads or perhaps to show the migration paths of several generations of ancestors. MapMe is available free of charge. No coding required. No Photoshop required. Just create the map, add your locations and embed it on your web site or send it in an email message. It also has more powerful features like events, job vacancies and newsletters.

I especially like the ability to easily insert a map created with MapMe into a WordPress blog, such as this newsletter. For instance, here is a map from the MapMe web site showing what a can be accomplished with the service:

Top_10_Mountain_Biking_Trails

This is a map of the Top 10 Mountain Biking Trails in America. A larger version of the same map can be seen by clicking on the above image.

Let Your Cell Phone Tell You About “History Here”

History Here is a fascinating cell phone app produced by the History Channel. It displays historical locations that may be hidden all around you, including architecture, museums, battlefields, monuments, famous homes, tombstones, and much more.

You can use it at home to learn what historical events happened near you. However, the History Here app will also come in handy when you’re traveling to a new city as it locates large and small museums alike. It also finds events, both famous and obscure. For instance, the first time I used History Here, it displayed information about the first National Women’s Rights Convention held in 1850 a few miles from my home. Who knew?

Besides historic homes and museums, the app also maps many graves of historic figures. Hit a spot on the map, and you’ll get a brief history lesson. You can save spots and later receive alerts when you’re walking near a mapped site.

History Here has recently added TOURS, a list of curated tours in various cities. The TOURS feature uses locations as a way to learn about historical themes and topics, such as Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood, Civil War Atlanta, and Al Capone’s Chicago.

Genealogy Apps for Android and Chromebooks

Android_tabletA newsletter reader read yesterday’s article of “Another Reason Why a Genealogist Might Want to Buy a Chromebook” and asked if Chromebooks can run Windows or Macintosh genealogy programs. I thought I would post the answer here in case other people have the same question.

The quick answer is “No.” Chromebooks do not run programs written for Windows or Macintosh or Linux or UNIX or other operating systems. Chromebooks today only run programs written for the Chrome operating system. As mentioned in yesterday’s article, a future release of the Chrome operating system will also allow most Chromebooks to run programs written for the Android operating system.

There are very few genealogy programs written for Chromebooks but many genealogy programs (or “apps”) are available today for Android, including apps from MyHeritage, FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, RootsMagic, BillionGraves, Find A Grave, and others. You can find a list of all the genealogy apps available for Android at https://goo.gl/EHvKPw. I assume that most of these apps will also run on Chromebooks once the new version of the Chrome operating system is released.

Heredis Genealogy Software is on Sale for 5 Days Only

The folks who produce Heredis genealogy software for Windows and for Macintosh are having a “flash sale” that will last for only 5 days, ending May 22, 2016. The price is only US $10.99 for Heredis software (PC and Mac) on www.heredis.com. The Macintosh version is also available for the same price in the Macintosh App Store.

UFlaoMKU2The producers of the software suggest there are MANY reasons to choose Heredis:

  • Unlimited program: you can enter as many persons, photos, copies of documents that you want!
  • Tens of features easy to adopt: from data entry, one of the Heredis strong points to tasteful family tree charts, Heredis advances your genealogy.
  • Unique functions as enter all members of one family on a single entry screen with the Family Group Data tab: the primary person, the parents, marriages, children, and even the partners of their children are represented!
  • Heredis is universal: whether you have a PC, a Mac, an iPad or iPhone, your genealogy is compatible everywhere, at all times with everybody.
  • A mobile version is compatible with the 2015 version of Heredis for iOS and Android. The mobile version is free.
  • GEDCOM format: if you have created a file with another genealogy program, it is easy to transfer in the Heredis program. Your file will be converted automatically in the Heredis version. All your data will be open.
  • For nearly 22 years, the team has been serving lovers of genealogy and the history of their ancestors.
  • Buying a Heredis license, you have 3 installations on different computers.
  • With the 2015 version, everything is now in Heredis. No need for additional software to be installed or paid for, to have all the necessary tools for your genealogy : photo tool, archives portal…

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (“TNG”) Version 11 Upgrade is now Available

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (“TNG”) version 11 upgrade is now available. This is a major upgrade, so unless you purchased the full version or the version 10 upgrade in the past 6 months, a small fee will be required ($14.99 for most).

According to the announcement from Darrin Lythgoe:

To purchase the upgrade, please go back to your previous downloads page (http://tng.lythgoes.net/downloads10 for version 10) and look for the payment options in the TNG Updates section. If you need the access information again, please reply to this message and I will resend it.

If you’re unsure about how to install the upgrade, I’ve recorded a short video that walks you through it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5V6Pt75e4I

If you still feel unsure of yourself, there’s an option on the downloads page for you to pay to have me install it for you ($15 extra for most). I’m happy to do that for you, but please take note that it may take me a few days to get to you while the release is new.

A summary of the most significant changes can be found here:

http://www.tngsitebuilding.com/features.php

In addition, list of all the changes in v11 can be found here:

Scan and Annotate with the new Evernote for Android

evernoteI consider Evernote to be one of the most essential tools for genealogists as well as for almost everyone else who owns a computer. See https://goo.gl/EN9h9f for my past articles about Evernote. The more I use it, the more valuable Evernote becomes. I now have more than 4,000 notes in Evernote covering a wide variety of genealogy and non-genealogy topics alike. I love having everything at my fingertips on my cell phone, tablet, and desktop computers. I refer to Evernote many times every day. It is the equivalent of having a filing cabinet with me at all times.

One thing disturbs me, however. Evernote produced a wonderful app called Scannable for Apple iOS that allows the Evernote user to capture paper documents quickly and to easily transform that paper into high-quality scans ready to save or share.

I have used Scannable on an iPhone many times to create digital images of genealogy records as well as grocery bills, insurance documents, eyeglass prescriptions, and all sorts of other things. Best of all, Scannable automatically inserts the images into Evernote where they can easily be retrieved at any time in the future. See https://evernote.com/products/scannable/ for more information about Scannable for Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

Yet there has been no equivalent app for Android devices. Until now.

RootsMagic Now Has Added an Interface to Findmypast

The folks who produce RootsMagic genealogy software have announced a major new feature: integration with Findmypast.com. The program previously performed automatic searches of both FamilySearch.org and MyHeritage.com for possible matches to your data stored inside your own RootsMagic database. As matches are found, a light bulb appears next to each person’s name. Clicking on the light bulb opens up a web browser with the matching records (some records may require a subscription). Now Findmypast has been added to the automated search capabilities in RootsMagic version 7.2.

As stated on the RootsMagic Blog: “Findmypast is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. They have over 4 billion historical records from around the world with more being added every week. With more than 1,000 exclusive collections, Findmypast has records which you just won’t find anywhere else.”

The Clixta app Allows Smartphone Users to Upload, Store And Share Their Old Photographs

Two British entrepreneurs have announced a new smartphone app that will allow people to upload, store and share their old photographs. The founders hope that the Clixta app can act both as a place where families or other groups can share old photos privately and as a public archive for British social history.

The app looks interesting but I have to wonder “what’s new?” Today’s smartphones already have a dozen or more available apps that will do essentially the same thing.

Cite This For Me

Genealogists often don’t understand the need when they begin but soon find it is important to cite their sources. After all, someday you will ask, “Where did I find that?” If you were smart enough to record the source citation at the time you recorded the other information, your question is easily answered. You will find many other genealogy uses for source citations as well.

CiteThisForMeCite This For Me is a FREE extension for the Chrome web browser that will automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button. Simply browse to the page you wish to cite and click the button to generate a correctly formatted citation. Then copy-paste the citation into your assignment, or add it to your online bibliography for safe keeping until later. Cite This For Me also comes with a Google Chrome extension.

Not bad for a free product!

Twile Now Offers Improved Tree Performance

I have written before about Twile (www.twile.com), a product that allows family historians to create rich, visual timelines of their family history, made up of milestones and photos from their ancestors’ lives. (See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+twile for a list of my past articles about Twile.) Now the company made some big changes to the invisible parts of Twile, which means that the whole website now runs faster and can handle any size of family tree. You will hopefully notice that everything loads more quickly, especially if you have a large family on the site.

You can read more about the new improvements in the Twile Blog at https://twile.com/blog/2016/04/twile-is-now-even-faster/.

Famberry Offers Free Access for a Limited Time

Famberry is a private collaborative family tree builder that is becoming popular in many countries. I have written about Famberry a number of times in the past. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+famberry for my earlier articles about it. Now the company is offering a free introductory trial period to encourage even more people to take Famberry for a “test drive.”

The following announcement was written by the folks that produce Famberry:

London, England (April 29th, 2016) – Famberry (www.famberry.com), the private collaborative family tree builder, has made their graphical timeline feature free to all users, for a limited period. Users can sign up to Famberry for free and start building a timeline of their family history.

Normally part of the upgraded service, the family timeline on Famberry allows your family’s history to be shown as a graphical timeline, with photos and a narrative to produce an immersive story for your family. Moving away from dates and names and into the realm of family stories and traditions, adds an engaging dimension to your family’s history. Upgraded users can even include videos and documents on their family timelines for a full “multimedia” family history experience that the whole family can enjoy.

The History Project Adds New Product Advancements

The History Project is a fun app for creating mixed media digital time capsules of a life. It is described as a “modern memory capsule that empowers individuals and groups to connect memories across media to build powerful experiential stories that transcend generations. It’s where life stories are told better and the moments that matter are preserved into a meaningful narrative.”

It was one of the semi-finalists at the RootsTech2016 conference and it impressed me and a number of others who had an opportunity to look at its capabilities. Now the app has received a significant upgrade. The following announcement was written by the folks at The History Project:

New Site Features on The History Project Make it Easier than Ever to Create Immersive Digital Narratives Through Group Storytelling & Memory Collection

Collecting and sharing your favorite memories of mom ideal project for families this Mother’s Day

thehistoryproject

OAKLAND, Calif., April 27, 2016 — The History Project is making it easier than ever to create immersive digital life narratives, through a series of new product advancements announced today. The new updates are part of the Oakland-based startup’s efforts to evolve the product to better meet the needs of its expanding user base, by making it easier than ever to start and build projects, and enabling group storytelling.

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Celebrates a $58.5 Million Capital Campaign

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

The Country’s Founding Genealogical Society Honors Legendary Television Anchors Bob Schieffer and David Hartman with Their Family Histories

April 25, 2016—Boston, Massachusetts—Two of America’s legendary television journalists were honored here Friday evening by the nation’s founding genealogical institution, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), as it celebrated a history-making capital campaign at a news-filled Family History Benefit Dinner in Boston.

Bob Schieffer, the immediate past anchor of the CBS Evening News, moderator of Face The Nation, and former 60 Minutes correspondent, along with David Hartman, the documentary journalist and beloved, longtime host of ABC’s Good Morning America, were both given the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the event, in tribute to their contributions to history through distinguished broadcast journalism. In an exciting reversal of roles, however, it was NEHGS giving the news Friday evening as they revealed to both Schieffer and Hartman the detailed stories of their ancestry, researched by expert genealogists at the Society.

Watch the MacFamilyTree version 8 Video

Yesterday I published (at http://bit.ly/MacFamilyTree8) the announcement from Synium Software about the release of MacFamilyTree version 8, a major new update. Several newsletter readers have since asked questions about it, especially as to how it compares to other genealogy programs.

All I can say is that MacFamilyTree is a very, very different program from all the others. Trying to describe the differences in words is an “apples versus oranges” challenge. Perhaps a better method is to watch the video, shown below and at https://youtu.be/toVfTMKno-g. Of course, you can also download and use a free demo of version 8 at http://www.syniumsoftware.com/startdownload?product_identifier=MFT8 to use for a while to see for yourself.

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