Software

Firefox Announces Send, Providing Free Encrypted File Transfers while Keeping your Personal Information Private

NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, the article has nothing to do with genealogy, DNA, history, or any of the other topics normally discussed in this newsletter. However, the article contains information that I believe every computer owner should know so I am publishing it here. It describes how to SECURELY send files to another person in such a manner that nobody else can read them if you enable the password option and if the recipient knows the password unlocking key. (Don’t send the password in email!)

I just tested this and found that it also works with Chrome and I suspect it will work with other web browsers as well. The sender and the recipient can be using either Windows or Macintosh. Additionally, Send will also be available as an Android app in beta later this week. Best of all, it is very easy to use. Not bad for FREE software! The following is an extract from the Mozilla Blog. (Mozilla is the organization that produces the free Firefox web browser):

“Imagine the last time you moved into a new apartment or purchased a home and had to share financial information like your credit report over the web. In situations like this, you may want to offer the recipient one-time or limited access to those files. With Send, you can feel safe that your personal information does not live somewhere in the cloud indefinitely.

MyHeritage Adds Automatic Clustering of DNA Matches for Insights on Common Ancestors

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage. (However, I converted several key phrases into BOLD TEXT.)

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global service for genetic genealogy, announced today the release of AutoClusters, a new feature that automatically clusters and visualizes shared DNA Matches.

In the past few years, millions of consumers have purchased DNA kits in order to find relatives based on shared DNA. However, the DNA results typically do not describe the exact relationship path between two matching people, and only cite the likely connection (for example, 3rd cousins). AutoClusters are helpful in shedding light on the relationship paths, by grouping together DNA Matches who likely belong to the same branch and have a common ancestor. Reviewing their family trees can allow users to piece together the entire branch.

Zoho Office Suite now uses Artificial Intelligence to Provide a FREE, Powerful Alternative to Office 365

I wrote about the Zoho Office Suite more than two years ago in an article entitled Zoho Workplace: My Favorite FREE Replacement for Microsoft Office. Zoho Workplace is a competitor to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, and similar office automation products. It also can read and write documents that were created with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, and similar office automation products. (Some minor changes to fonts and formatting may occur when using files created by other programs.) Zoho Workplace works well with a Chromebook, a Windows system, a Macintosh, Linux, or even with an iPad or Android tablet.

Zoho Workplace is still my favorite free word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation suite of programs. I no longer use Microsoft Office. Instead, I prefer Zoho. Now Zoho has made major upgrades to the programs. My earlier article is still available at: https://wp.me/p5Z3-53w.

Quoting an article by Mark Hachman in the PC World web site:

Collectionaire Launches at RootsTech 2019

I suspect there will be lots of new product announcements in the next week or more in conjunction with the RootsTech conference. Here is one announcement from Collectionaire. I saw their product at last year’s RootsTech and was impressed. However, the company obviously has been working on the product even more since then, adding more value to the app.

Here is the announcement from Collectionaire:

New web app uses cloud technology to bring a unique approach to organizing, preserving and sharing one’s “best memories”

Unlike other family archiving programs there is no need to move photos – it links users to treasured memories and collections in any cloud site

San Diego, Calif. – Feb. 8, 2019 – Collectionaire today announced the launch of its new cloud-based web app created to help organize, preserve and share a family’s most cherished photos, videos and digital keepsake memories. Unlike other photo organizing solutions, users do not move photos and videos to the Collectionaire site. Instead, the app acts as a hub, linking users to their photo and video collections stored in other cloud sites.

Free Genealogy Programs

A newsletter reader wrote recently and asked if there are any free genealogy programs available today. I thought perhaps others might have the same question so I will respond here in the newsletter where anyone interested can read the answer.

In fact, there are many free, full-featured genealogy programs available for Windows, Macintosh, Chromebooks, Linux, or even for installing in a web server you control. The various programs do vary widely in features and capabilities.

In addition, the handheld systems that run Chrome or Apple’s iOS operating system also have many free genealogy apps available although most of them are somewhat limited in capabilities. I would not describe any of the genealogy apps for handheld devices as “full featured” programs that compete with the desktop genealogy products for Macintosh, Linux, and Windows. However, even that is changing.

The following is a list of free genealogy programs that may meet your needs. However, the paid programs usually offer more features.

GenSoftReviews Users Choice Awards for 2018 Announced

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler who writes many genealogy software reviews:

Genealogists use GenSoftReviews.com as a site to rate and review their genealogy software and to look for new software based on other people’s reviews. The site opened in 2008 and has received over 5,200 program reviews and ratings for the over 1,000 programs that are listed.

January 1, 2019

The 10th annual Users Choice Awards have been tabulated and awarded at the GenSoftReviews website.

During 2018, there were 410 new reviews given to 83 of the programs listed at GenSoftReviews. Along with the review, users rated the programs from 1 to 5 star, with 5 being best. Programs with at least one review in 2018, ten or more all-time reviews, and a cumulative user rating of at least 4.00 stars out of 5 receive a GenSoftReviews User Choice Award for 2018. The award is indicative that a program is well-liked by its users.

The 24 programs awarded a GenSoftReview Users Choice Award as a Top Rated Genealogy Software for 2018 are:

The 2019 Version of Heredis is Now Available

Heredis is a vary popular genealogy program, available for both Windows and Macintosh. I believe most of the Heredis customers are in Europe although the company has been gaining new customers in North America and elsewhere. Heredis can display its menus in many different languages.

I have written before about Heredis. To see my previous articles, start at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+heredis&t=h_&ia=web.

Now the producing company has released a major new update to the program, called Heredis 2019. Here is a list of some of the new features:

rootstrust and Exotic Languages

The following announcement was written by Atavus, Inc.:

The GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification allows for romanized and phonetic variations of personal and place names. Name variations allow for a phonetic representation of a language whose symbols have no intrinsic phonetic value, like Chinese characters. Romanized variations use Latin letters, whereas phonetic variations use non-Latin alphabetic or syllabic symbols. Students of Chinese often use Pinyin to learn the pronunciation of the characters they are learning. Pinyin is one of numerous romanization systems for Chinese.

The Chinese of the Peoples Republic of China, Singapore and Malaysia write using simplified Chinese characters, whereas the Taiwanese and the people of Hong Kong and Macau use traditional Chinese characters. Written Japanese contains Chinese characters called kanji along with symbols from two different non-Latin, phonetic, syllabic symbol sets called katakana and hiragana making it, arguably, the world’s most complex writing system. Kanji can be represented phonetically using katakana or hiragana. Korean also uses a syllabic writing system called Hangul which is used in conjunction with Chinese characters call Hanja.

Some genealogists who have exotic ancestral personal and place names prefer to maintain them in the original language and provide a romanized variation as a comment. Others rather record names in a romanized form and document the original language and spelling as a comment.

How to Download an Entire Website for Offline Reading

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, the article describes some very useful methods of storing information from web sites onto your local hard drive. That can be useful for genealogists and for many other people as well.

It is easy to save individual web pages for offline reading, but what if you want to download an entire website? Would you like to download part or all of a particular web site and store the information on your computer’s hard drive? There are several different programs for Windows and Macintosh that will let you do just that. Some of the programs are available free of charge.

Joel Lee has published an article in the Make Use Of web site that describes four such programs. He even describes my favorite one, called SiteSucker. He writes:

Keep Loved Ones Digitally Close with Family Locator

Disclaimer: Despite the name, “Family Locator” won’t help you find your long-deceased ancestors.

Every time we have a disaster, I think of the cell phone app called Family Locator. I am in Florida at the moment, and news about this week’s Michael hurricane certainly reminded me of the need to find and even track the whereabouts of family members. This app answers an age-old question: “Where are you?”

The Family Locator app for iPhones, Android phones, and even BlackBerry phones lets you know where some or all of your family members are located, plus or minus a few feet. This can be critical information when they have been evacuated to a storm shelter of some sort in advance of a hurricane or forest fire or tornado, or if they are simply stuck in a blizzard. Setting up alerts in the app will also allow you to know when family members have made it safely to their next destination.

In order to function, both you and all family members you wish to locate must have the Family Locator app installed on everyone’s cell phones, and each phone must be turned on and communicating with cell towers or wi-fi hotspots.

RSS Newsfeeds Explained

NOTE: This is an article I published four years ago. The subject recently arose again and I realized that many newsletter readers are unaware of the simple way to read this newsletter, other blogs, and many other web sites that publish new articles more-or-less daily. I decided to make some additions to the original article and then republish it for the benefit of those who haven’t read the four-year-old version:

You may have noticed that this newsletter and several other genealogy Web sites are available via RSS news feeds. So are thousands of other Web news sites covering a wide variety of topics. This article will hopefully explain what RSS feeds are and what they can offer you.

RSS is an abbreviation for “rich site summary” or “really simple syndication.” Most people don’t need to remember this definition any more than they would spell out “ATM.” As to the word “feed,” this simply describes the way information gets to people: web servers “feed” their information to those who ask for it. For those who want more technical detail, RSS feeds are composed in XML, a format that is similar to HTML, the standard language in which many Web pages are created. For a rather technical explanation of RSS, look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS.

RSS has been available for years but many people are not yet aware of its capabilities. RSS can simplify your life and save time. It is an excellent method of avoiding the flood of internet security problems and email overload. RSS has become a popular way for news publishers to provide information without sending computer users to different Web sites, cluttering their email with spam, or exposing them to adware, spyware, worms, or viruses. These factors make it equally attractive to those who read their information.

Infinite Family Tree Drawer – a New App in the Macintosh App Store

Infinite Family Tree Drawer is a rather simple Macintosh program that reads GEDCOM files and then can convert the data to expanded pedigree charts or descendant charts, suitable for printing and even for hanging on the wall.

Several users of the program report that is is a great tool for anyone who keeps family trees on Ancestry.com because Ancestry users can generate and download a GEDCOM file and then use that file with Infinite Family Tree Drawer to create printouts that aren’t available on Ancestry.com itself. Of course, it will also work with any other modern genealogy program that is capable of generating GEDCOM files. (Almost all of today’s genealogy programs can generate GEDCOM files.)

The program’s description claims:

Use a Word Processor in the Cloud

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, if you would like to learn of a cheap and very secure method of using applications in the cloud for word processing purposes, this article may be of interest to you.

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.

Akshata Shanbhag has written an article in the Make Use Of web site that describes seven word processors and one text editor that are cloud-based, powerful, and are available free of charge for personal use.

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 a Chromebook, an iPad, or an Android tablet computer, this is the article for you.

What is the Most Popular Operating System in the World?

Hint: it is not Windows. No, it isn’t Macintosh either.

According to an article by Dieter Bohn in The Verge web site, the Android operating system is installed on more computers, laptops, tablet computers, and smartphones than any other operating system in the world. In fact, it isn’t just slightly more popular than some other operating system; it is by far the dominant operating system of today.

The soaring popularity of Android is due in large part to its main platform: the smartphone. The number of smartphones sold today outnumbers sales of computers running Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. In fact, many young consumers and also people in third world countries never purchase a desktop or laptop computer; they simply use a smartphone or tablet for all their needs. And Android is installed on about 85% of all the smartphones in the world.

Synium Software Releases a New Update of MacFamilyTree and of Logoist for Macintosh Mojave

The following announcement was written by Synium Software:

Have you ever wondered why our apps provide that tremendous look and feel? One of the reasons is that we always make use of Apple’s latest and greatest technologies. Synium always has been first in line supporting what Apple had to offer – delivering the best in Mac and iOS software to you.

Wasabi: the New, Low Cost Cloud Storage Service

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, if you would like to learn of a cheap and very secure method of storing data in the cloud for backup purposes, this article may be of interest to you.

Wasabi is a brand-new cloud storage service. The company is so new that not all the planned “bells and whistles” are yet available. However, the present implementation hows a great deal of promise. In short, Wasabi appears to be perfect for Macintosh and Windows users looking for a simple way to use cloud storage at very low prices.

I signed up for Wasabi a few hours ago and, so far, it seems to work well. I am using Wasabi in the same manner as an external disk drive. Installation and operation was simple. If I do encounter problems with Wasabi in the future, I will publish a follow-up article at that time.

The most obvious advantage of Wasabi is the price: $.0049 per gigabyte/month which equals $4.99 per terabyte/month (all prices are in US dollars).

Displaying County Lines on Google Maps

Google Maps doesn’t show county boundaries, so Randy Majors created a tool to display them. The tool is simple to use. Simply enter a place name and then click “GO.” The normal Google Map commands of Plus (+) and MINUS (-) can be used to zoom in and out on the displayed map

Simple, easy, and very effective. That’s the kind of tool that I appreciate. You can access County Lines on Google Maps at https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html.

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.

Gramps 5.0.0 Released

Gramps is a FREE genealogy program originally developed for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems. However, it has since been ported to Windows and Macintosh systems as well. It is an impressive program, both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists. Not bad for a FREE program! Gramps has thousands of users all over the world.

Gramps is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists. It is not developed and sold by any commercial company. Instead, you can download this program online and start using it immediately. There is no registration required, no spyware, and no invasion of your privacy. In fact, you can even download the source code yourself and examine it for any flaws or bugs. Once you are satisfied with the source code, you can compile it on your own computer. However, for those who prefer an already packaged version, you can download the executable program itself and simply start using it immediately.

A Report on “Which Computer(s) Do You Use?”

About a week ago, I published a 2-question poll asking newsletter readers Which Computer(s) Do You Use? 2,548 people responded and told which system(s) they use for genealogy tasks. I found the results to be interesting and decided to publish them here.

Question #1: What is your PRIMARY computer, the one you use the most for genealogy purposes, such as recording your own family tree? (Please check only one)

Answers: