Tag Archives: technology

If it ain’t broke…

31 Mar

Despite my general lack of interest in the latest technology I do try to keep my software up to date, especially when it doesn’t cost me any money. It made sense to upgrade my web browser to Firefox 4, it was supposed to be quicker and more secure after all.

The upgrade was straight-forward, it took a while to get used to the slightly different appearance and I can’t say that I noticed any increase in speed and take their word for it that it is more secure.

Disaster (OK, perhaps that I a bit too strong a word for it) came a couple of days ago when I tried to use the Enhanced Image Viewer on Ancestry.co.uk. Everything looked fine to start with (the scroll bars still didn’t work but I am used to that) but the problems started when I tried to save an image.

The first image saved fine, but when I tried another the browser started playing up. When the dialog box opened up and I tried to type in a filename the browser would freeze for a minute or so and I couldn’t type anything or it would let me type a few characters before locking up. Eventually the page disappeared and I was left to try again.

The only workaround appeared to be to close the browser down after saving an image and then opening it up again and moving on to the next image, not really a practical solution for a family historian short on time. I probably could have viewed the images without the Enhanced Image Viewer, but I do quite like the functionality it provides, so I have downgraded to Firefox 3.6 for now.

I was trying to keep up to date, but in this case technology has let me down. I don’t know who is to blame, presumably Mozilla have updated something and Ancestry need to update their viewer to take that into account.

Still, it is rather frustrating and I wasted too much of my time trying to get it to work and then having to roll-back to Firefox 3.6, so please get it fixed Ancestry or tell me how I can make it work properly.

RootsTech: Am I the only one that wasn’t really interested?

17 Mar

I have been struggling to write this post for weeks. Mainly because I fear that I am going to be in a minority and because I don’t deliberately want to upset anyone, so let me start by apologising to those of you who had a really great time and thought RootsTech was the best thing since sliced bread.

I surely can’t be the only genealogist that wasn’t really interested in what was happening at the RootsTech conference in the US last month. I read some of the blog posts, listened to a few interviews and even watched one of the presentations, but still I struggled to get excited or enthused about the conference.

To be honest I am still not really sure what the point of the whole thing was. Something to do with getting developers and genealogists talking to each other I guess, but was that really it? Perhaps it is just me not getting the message? Wasn’t there something about revolutionising genealogy as well?

One of the most worrying impressions that I did get was of a digital divide opening up between the followers of RootsTech and those like me who can’t afford or don’t want the latest gadgets and who don’t have the time to worry about what format they are going to share their data in.

Everything seems to be turning towards more collaboration and social networking these days, but what if you are quite happy working on your own. I am much happier working on my own, at my own pace, pursing things that interest me. I would much rather be in a record office carefully researching some distant relation than worrying about data formats or Twitter followers.

I am not against technology and there is obviously going a place for technology in genealogy, but to imagine that the world of genealogy is going to be revolutionised by RootsTech seems a little far fetched to me.

In my small corner of Sussex this researcher is not going to be investing in any new technology, at least not until something breaks and needs replacing. I will probably upgrade my current family history software when the latest version comes out, because I know how to use it, because I happen to think it is the best and because it doesn’t try to tell me how to think.

Perhaps I will get overlooked by hoards of more technologically advanced genealogists who will never cross my path and vice versa, but perhaps that is really all I deserve? Is there a place for me in the post-RootsTech world? And if there is do I really want it?

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