The NorthEast Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy Society
A Summary of Events and Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists
Vol. 12 No. 1--2007
compiled by Luther Olson
NorthEast Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy [NEOCAG] serves Eastern Cuyahoga,
Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage & Summit Counties.
Regular meetings 2nd Saturday of each month
St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church
435 S.O.M. Road, Mayfield Village, OH.
IN THIS ISSUE:
> No Rush to Adopt Vista
> Residential Genealogy Online
> I Hate It When I Lose Things!
> Digital Genealogist
> Linux Genealogy Desktop CD Version 2.0
> Win 98 Is Dead
> NASA, Google aim for virtual space travel on Web
> Google Delivers Major Blogger Update
> Allen Co. Library carts off gen. books--Collection reopens in new building
> No Rush to Adopt Vista
Windows Vista has been on the market for nearly a month now, but enterprise users and industry experts agree that Microsoft's latest and greatest OS still isn't yet ready to replace XP. The problem is not with the software itself--by most accounts, Vista is technically solid--but with myriad peripheral issues that Microsoft must work out to take the pain out of using Vista.
Take patching, for example. On December 12, Microsoft released an Internet Explorer 7 fix that improved the performance of IE's phishing filter. The software had been bogged down by Web sites with a large number of frames, and users had been complaining. Microsoft patched the problem for Windows XP and Server 2003 users, but not for Vista. That update will come after the consumer release of Vista hits the market some time in January, according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft's public relations agency. And although Microsoft is now issuing security patches for Vista, performance-related updates such as the phishing filter are being handled on a case-by-case basis, she said.
Microsoft won't say why it is holding off on some Vista patches even though the product is commercially available for business customers, but Russ Cooper, a senior information security analyst at Cybertrust, has a theory. "I say Microsoft never intended anybody to run Vista prior to January," he said. "What works on Vista, beyond Office 2007?" he asked. "I'm going to Vista... when my VPN supplier tells me that they have drivers that work, and when my antivirus vendor tells me that they have non-beta versions that work."
Cooper brings up a good point: Application compatibility is another problem for Vista, and VPN and antivirus software are among the applications at the top of the list that users say must work before they will move to Vista. Right now, the most popular software in those categories, as well as other mainstream applications many business customers use, won't be available for Vista until after the consumer version of the operating system is released on January 30, 2007. Some of the applications that still aren't compatible with Vista include IBM Lotus Notes e-mail and collaboration suite; Cisco's and Check Point Software's VPN clients; Intuit's accounting software QuickBooks 2006 and earlier versions; and antivirus software from Trend Micro.
Intuit even took time in mid-December to warn QuickBooks users in a note that they should hold off on upgrading to Vista until after the U.S. tax season ends in April, citing compatibility with older versions of its software and "potential reliability issues" with Vista. IBM said Lotus Notes will support Vista by mid-2007; Lotus Notes 8, the next version of the suite, also will be available at that time on Vista. Cisco's VPN will support Vista some time in the first quarter of 2007.
QuickBooks, Check Point's VPN client, and Symantec and Trend Micro's antivirus software will support Vista following the consumer release. However, in some good news for users, McAfee already has Vista antivirus software on the market. Even some of Microsoft's own products still don't run on Vista. SQL Server 2005, the latest version of Microsoft's database, won't be available for Vista until after the consumer release.
Still, while there may be some lag time in Vista adoption as users wait for applications to catch up to the new OS, companies will eventually have to make the switch to Vista no matter how painful it is. Most analysts predict that enterprises will begin moving over to Vista in earnest by 2008.
"Once Vista is being shipped by OEMs on all new PCs, we won't be debating why people should move," said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology with consulting firm TwentySix New York. "It will be clear that they will need to do so, sooner or later. And honestly, people can argue until they're blue in the face about how XP is fine, but the reality is that it's five years old, technology has changed, and a new OS is necessary."
Robert McMillan and Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service Thu Dec 28, 10:00 AM ET
> Residential Genealogy Online
Would you like to know who lived in your home many years ago? Or perhaps you want to find the home of your ancestors in the 19th century. A new online site can help. Historic Map Works has unveiled a new way to link people and places throughout history.
Historic Map Works is a collection of 19th and early 20th century American city, town, and county maps. The detailed maps show every building and every street in each city or town. Each single-dwelling home contains the name of the family who resided there, either on or beside the building on the map. Apartment complexes contained the property owner's name.
The new site should be of interest to history buffs, genealogy searchers, and real estate agents. Can you imagine the realtor listing the details of a family that used to live in the house being offered for sale? I suspect that amount of detail might increase the sale price!
The maps are visible on the web site free of charge while higher quality printed maps are offered for sale.
Historic Map Works provides the following description of their site: Through this online business, finding a specific historic home or building is easy, as the map collection is linked with modern mapping technology that references existing street names and numbers. By simply typing in an address, users can follow the progression of buildings and neighborhoods through time-in some cases up to 250 years.
The interactive website has already attracted broad appeal, says Charles Carpenter, the founder and president of the company. "Anyone who has ever lived in an older home has, at some point, wondered who the earlier occupants might have been. Even if they live in a modern home, they may also wonder how their neighborhood evolved: which homes were built when, and the progression of neighboring streets. Historic Map Works provides the answers without the endless hours of library research," he said.
Like modern digital maps (i.e. Google Earth), Historic Map Works' maps are extremely detailed and comprehensive, showing the location and footprint of nearly all structures of the period. Unlike its modern counterparts, the antique maps often list the contemporary owner's and/or occupant's names adjacent to the structures. This facilitates research into the history of places and structures as well as about the people who have occupied and owned them-creating an exciting new culture of Residential Genealogy.
While looking through the archives of their neighborhood, users cannot help but notice that the hand-drawn maps are examples of exquisite craftsmanship. Carpenter is confident that people will want to acquire these high-quality reproductions, which are printed with premium paper and inks to ensure their durability.
Those desiring to do more detailed historic, commercial or genealogy research will appreciate another time-saving feature of the site, as well. In addition to the inscriptions of previous owners and occupants on the maps themselves, www.HistoricMapworks.com also allows users to access its extensive database of other contemporary records. The linked antique city directories, census records and phone books enhance the ability of researchers to trace not only the history of any location but also the people in these locations back in time.
Carpenter, started his business as a means to share his enormous collection of antique atlases, which he has gathered over 30 years. His library includes more than 30,000 maps and is believed to be the most extensive collection of county atlases, outside of the U.S. Library of Congress. When Carpenter first began collecting these atlases, he quickly became fascinated by the exceptional qualities of the antique maps. "Each one was like finding a treasure chest filled with fine art and history."
Over the past two years, Carpenter and his staff have worked with state-of-the-art computer and imaging equipment in his renovated 19th Century barn - an artistic treasure in and of itself - to digitize the massive map collection.
Historic Map Works' initial city and town map offerings are in New York City and Carpenter's hometown of Portland, Maine. County maps are also available for nearly every county from Maryland north to Maine. Maps extending along the entire east coast will follow this 2-city, 8 state launch, which are now available for the public to search online, or to purchase to frame and hang in their historic homes and offices.
I will share one experience I had. I first went to the Historic Map Works web site, clicked on one map for a town where some of my ancestors lived, and then clicked on zoom. Imagine my surprise to see my great-great-uncle's house listed in Scarborough, Maine. I had only been on the web site about fifteen seconds!
I cannot guarantee that you will have the same level of success that I enjoyed, but you can find out for yourself at http://www.historicmapworks.com.
The preceding article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter posted by Dick Eastman on August 22, 2006, It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com.
> I Hate It When I Lose Things!
I have many old documents, pictures, old 8-mm movie film, and other things that I wish to keep. It certainly is embarrassing when I go to look for something and cannot find it. I think I know how NASA feels.
It seems that NASA videotaped one of the most significant events in the history of mankind. Neil Armstrong's "one small step" on the moon is considered among the most important events of the 20th century. But the original NASA videotapes have been mislaid in a labyrinth of archives in the United States. NASA and the U.S. National Archives cannot find the tapes.
Six hundred million of us watched the event on television. I remember how "grainy" the pictures from the moon appeared. It is not widely known that the Apollo 11 television broadcast from the moon was a high-quality transmission, far sharper than the blurry version relayed instantly to the world on that July day in 1969.
NASA's video signals in 1969 were incompatible with standard television standards. As a result, NASA could not directly rebroadcast the live video from the moon. What all of us at home saw was created by a standard television camera placed in front of one of NASA's non-standard video monitors. It worked, but a lot of resolution was lost. We saw a poor reproduction of the video that the NASA engineers watched.
Only a handful of people ever saw the high-quality original images shot at 10 frames per second and beamed back to the Australian tracking station at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory in New South Wales. "What was broadcast to the world was nowhere near as good as what was received," said John Sarkissian, a CSIRO scientist stationed at Parkes for a decade. Even Polaroid photographs of the screen showed that the original images received by Parkes are significantly sharper than what the public saw.
Luckily, NASA recorded all the original video on videotape. Not so luckily, NASA then lost the tapes. When the images reached the tracking station, they were transferred onto one-inch, 60-frame-per-second tape and sent to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Houston for safekeeping. All the Apollo mission flights and moon landings were captured in this way and transferred onto one-inch tapes. The tapes were stored in 2614 boxes containing five reels of tape each and held for years in the National Archives in Maryland, outside Washington D.C.
No one knows why, but in 1984 about 700 boxes of space flight tapes there were returned to Goddard. "We have the documents to say they were withdrawn, but no one knows exactly where they went," Sarkissian said. He also states that many people involved in the videotapes and their later transfer have since retired or died. Only two of 700 original Apollo 11 tapes have been found. Also among tapes feared missing are the original recordings of the other five Apollo moon landings.
The only known equipment on which the original analogue tapes can be decoded is at a Goddard Center set to close in October, raising fears that, even if they are found before they deteriorate, copying them may be impossible. A NASA spokesman admits that even if the tapes eventually are found, they may be corroded beyond the point where the information can be retrieved.
I think I'll go make some duplicates of my own videotape collection.
The preceding article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, August 21, 2006, and is copyright 2005 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com.
Here's info about a new magazine in PDF format known as Digital Genealogist. Many of you will remember that Liz Kerstens spoke to us at NEOCAG regarding CLOOZ and Geneweaver. Brent Morgan
> Digital Genealogist
Many of you know that I have been the editor of Ancestry's Genealogical Computing for the past nearly seven years. Ancestry has chosen to discontinue the magazine, effective with the July/August/September 2006 issue that is currently in the mail. I still believe there's a need for a magazine devoted to genealogy and technology. To that end, I am starting my own magazine later this year. It will be called Digital Genealogist and will be delivered to subscribers as a PDF. It will be similar in format and content to Genealogical Computing. In fact, a lot of the authors and columnists will continue to write for me in the new publication, including Drew Smith, popular Cybrarian columnist. The first issue of Digital Genealogist will be send out via PDF attachment to subscribers in November 2006.
If you are interested in subscribing, the annual rate is $20. You can subscribe at www.digitalgenealogist.com. Payments are being taken through PayPal by clicking on the PayPal button on the Digital Genealogist website. Subscriptions will begin with the first issue. One of the advantages to subscribers of a PDF is that the URLs in both articles and ads will be live links, allowing you to immediately explore ideas suggested by authors and websites of advertisers. I am hoping that the format will be agreeable to subscribers.
Liz Kelley Kerstens, CG, CGL Editor, Digital Genealogist
This article was written with OpenOffice.org, a free word processor included with the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD version 2.0 and was sent on to us by our president, Jerry Kliot. I believe this is the first time we have seen any discussion of Linux in this newsletter, and if it is becoming newsworthy it would be nice to see more information on this (no longer) new OS. Thanks, Jerry.
The article is quite lengthy and while inserting it I intended to go through it and edit out all material that was not especially relevant. (This is something I do with most articles.) However, I was so taken by the subject that I ended up without the deletion of a single word—especially when reading how one can install Linux into an old computer and use it to experiment. GREAT IDEA.
Is anyone using this software? Let us know if you have this in your machine. LO
> Linux Genealogy Desktop CD Version 2.0
The genealogy program GRAMPS 2.0 was released in February. A few weeks ago, the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD version 2.0 was released. The two are separate products: either one may be used without the other. However, they are also very complementary products. I will write two separate articles, one for each product. However, I will frequently refer to the other product in each article.
Not everyone is happy with the continued domination of the desktop computer market by Microsoft Windows. Some of us "malcontents" prefer to use either Macintosh or Linux systems for any number of reasons. Suffice it to say that, if you are considering a switch to a more reliable operating system, you will find it easy to do so these days. Once there, you can find alternative genealogy programs for the better operating systems. There are not as many genealogy programs for Linux or Macintosh to choose from, but some of the ones that are available are excellent.
I have the luxury of using several computers, including Windows XP, Macintosh OS X, and three different versions of Linux. Each operating system has various advantageous and disadvantages; there is no perfect operating system that I would recommend for everyone. I prefer Ubuntu Linux for my own work, however. The advantage of Linux is that it is faster and more reliable than Windows. It also never crashes or locks up the operating system. Finally, Linux is available free of charge, unlike Windows and Macintosh.
One confusing difference is the many Linux variations available. Windows always comes from Microsoft and looks about the same when used on any computer. The Macintosh OS X operating system is available only from Apple and, again, it always looks about the same when installed on Apple's computers. In contrast, there are dozens of versions of Linux, and each Linux producer customizes the operating system as they see fit. Each vendor is also free to add various applications. Red Hat Linux will look very different from Xandros Linux, and both of those will still be quite different from Ubuntu Linux. The underlying Linux "kernel" will be the same on all of them, but the "look and feel" as well as the included applications will vary widely. The rest of this article focuses on Ubuntu Linux and a customized version of it made for genealogists.
NOTE: The word "Ubuntu" is found in several African languages. It means "humanity to others" or "I am what I am because of who we all are." The nonprofit Ubuntu community represents the efforts of many people who work together to provide a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu Philosophy states that "software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit."
Further information about Ubuntu Linux may be found at http://www.ubuntu.com.
Earlier versions of Linux were difficult to install and awkward to use. However, major changes in the past few years have changed all that. Most major Linux versions are now easier to install and use than Windows. If you can move a mouse, you can use Linux. Using word processors, spreadsheets, web browsers, genealogy programs, and more on Linux is now as easy as doing the same things on Windows or Macintosh. Installing new programs on Ubuntu and several other versions of Linux is actually much easier than installing new programs on Windows.
This week I obtained a free product called the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD version 2.0. It is a complete implementation of the latest version of Ubuntu Linux along with several pre-installed genealogy programs. The Linux Genealogy Desktop CD fits everything you need onto one CD-ROM disk and operates in two modes: live session and as an install disk. Let me first explain the differences.
The Linux Genealogy Desktop CD allows you to take Linux for a "test drive" on any modern computer that will also run Windows. Best of all, you can use the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD without disturbing anything on your present Windows operating system. All you need to do is insert the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD into your Windows computer's CD-ROM drive and then reboot your computer. The computer then loads Linux from the CD-ROM disk and operates as a complete Linux system. You can run the genealogy programs, word processors, web browsers, games, and more, directly from the CD-ROM disk without using the computer's hard drive at all. The Linux Genealogy Desktop CD never writes any data to your computer's hard drive unless you specifically tell it to. Once you are finished, you remove the CD-ROM disk from the drive, reboot the computer, and go back to Windows as before. Nothing has been changed on the computer's hard drive.
Using a live session is an excellent way to experiment and learn about Ubuntu Linux and the various Linux genealogy programs. You can insert the CD and reboot to use Linux, or you can remove the Linux CD-ROM disk and reboot again to use Windows, as often as you wish. There is no need to ever change your Windows operating system if you don't want to. Using a Linux live session CD also can be a lifesaver when your Windows system dies and refuses to boot. Assuming the hard drive is not the problem, you can boot from a Linux live session CD and then copy all your documents and other critical files from your hard drive to another computer.
While you can run programs from the CD-ROM disk, saving information obviously requires some sort of disk drive for storage purposes. While you always have the option of storing data on your computer's hard drive, other choices for storing data include floppy disks, USB jump drives, and CD-ROM disks.
The second mode of operation is as an install disk. In this case, you boot in exactly the same manner as before. However, once loaded, you click on an INSTALL icon and then follow the menus to install Ubuntu Linux and several Linux genealogy programs onto your computer's hard drive. Then you then can either use Linux as your only operation system, or you can dual boot: have both operating systems installed side-by-side and choose which one you wish to use each time the computer is booted. You won’t need the CD-ROM disk after you have installed Linux onto the hard drive. You will also notice that Linux runs much faster when loading from a hard drive than when loading from a CD-ROM disk.
For most of this article, I will focus on the live session; using Linux without touching the computer's hard drives. The INSTALL option is described near the end of this article. I downloaded the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD image from the developer's web site and saved it onto a blank CD-ROM disk as an ISO image. This can be done on most any Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer. It does not need to be the same computer that you want to use with the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD. More information about creating CD-ROM disks from ISO image files can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iso_image.)
Next I inserted the CD into an old 800-MHz Pentium 3 computer that I have not used in some time and then re-booted the computer. A few seconds later, a menu appeared, listing several options. I chose the first item on the list: boot from CD-ROM disk. About a minute later Ubuntu Linux finished loading. My computer's screen displayed a modern-looking user interface, not the same as Windows or Macintosh, but not radically different, either. Seven icons appeared on the main screen:
1. Start Here
2. GRAMPS Genealogy System
3. GRAMPS Live Chat
4. GeneWeb (a genealogy program)
5. LifeLines (an older genealogy program for Linux)
While not displayed as icons on the desktop, I also later found PhpGedView and GenealogyJ, two more genealogy applications that the CD installed on my computer. All are available at any time from the live session without touching the information on the computer's hard drive.
A toolbar appeared across the top of the screen with many pulldown menu options. (If you wish, you can move the toolbar to the bottom or side of the screen.) I clicked on the various menus and found many applications available: FireFox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail program, OpenOffice.org word processor and spreadsheet program, GIMP graphics editing, various CD-ROM recording programs, games, and more. This free disk includes a lot of applications equivalent to those on Windows or Macintosh that cost hundreds of dollars.
I selected "Start Here" and soon was reading a lot of information about how to use the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD and its applications. I then spent a lot of time experimenting with the many free applications, including several of the genealogy programs.
I eventually decided to end the Linux session. I used the mouse to find the shutdown commands. The system eventually prompted me to remove the CD-ROM disk and press the Enter key. I did so, and then the computer booted back up, loading Windows. Nothing had been altered on my Windows system; everything functioned exactly the same as it had before I experimented with Linux.
I was not entirely happy with the Linux operation from a CD-ROM on my older 800-MHz Pentium 3 computer. It operated properly but was a bit slow. At the same time, it seemed to be no slower than the hard drive's Windows 2000 that I normally use on this computer. I know from experience that placing Windows XP onto a 800-MHz Pentium 3 would result in glacial performance, so I have never done that.
I moved the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD to a 2.4-gigahertz Pentium 4 system and went through the same procedures as before. Using a computer with three times the processor speed and double the memory made all the difference in the world. Now the Linux system was flying! In fact, Linux on a CD runs faster on this system than does Windows XP on the same computer's hard drive.
I spent more time experimenting with the various genealogy applications included with the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD. I will write about GRAMPS 2.0 in a separate article later. I have written about the other included applications before:
LifeLines: This is a very old-fashioned genealogy program that I would not recommend for anyone other than a hard-core Linux character mode aficionado. I have no plans to write a review of this program that hasn't been updated much since 1994. However, you can find a lot of information about LifeLines at http://lifelines.sourceforge.net.
All in all, I am pleased with the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD. In fact, I am so pleased with it that I inserted the disk into my regular Linux system and re-booted. Once loaded, I selected INSTALL and then followed the menus to install this Linux system and its genealogy applications to my hard drive. Several installation options are available; I elected to completely reformat my computer's hard drive and install the Linux Genealogy Desktop as the only operating system on that computer. I could have elected to "dual boot," have both Linux and Windows installed side-by-side and then choose which one I wish to use every time the computer is booted. Since I already have other computers with Windows installed, the dual boot option isn't of much use to me. However, if you have only one computer, you will probably prefer the dual boot option.
Ubuntu Linux asks fewer questions during an installation than does Windows XP. The toughest technical question asked during my Ubuntu Linux installation was the requirement to set my time zone. The same installation also detected and automatically configured my wireless network, something that Windows still cannot do automatically. Once installed, Linux is easy to use. If you can move a mouse, you can use Linux.
Running Linux from a hard drive is much faster than running from a CD-ROM disk. I now run the latest version of Ubuntu Linux and have all the better-known Linux applications already installed and available. These are all full applications; there are no demos or otherwise "crippled" programs. I also no longer need to use the CD-ROM disk. The cost to me? Zero. The software is free, and I used an older computer that I already owned.
Again, the Linux Genealogy Desktop CD software is available online as a 690-megabyte file. That will be trivial for anyone with a broadband connection, but I wouldn't try it on a dial-up line. Either way, use the BitTorrent download option if at all possible. (Information about BitTorrent is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bittorrent. For Windows, I strongly recommend µtorrent available at http://www.utorrent.com.)
If you do not have a high-speed Internet connection or a CD-ROM drive capable of creating ISO image disks, you can purchase a Linux Genealogy Desktop CD disk for the modest price of $14.99 (U.S.) or $15.00 (Australian). While the software is free, the producers of the disk have to charge money to cover the cost of the disks, labor, and postage.
If I owned only one computer, it would be a PC with both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux installed in a dual-boot configuration. That way, I could have the best of both worlds. My second choice would be a Windows computer and a Ubuntu CD-ROM disk that I could insert and run in a live session whenever I wished.
For more information about Linux Genealogy Desktop CD version 2.0 or to download this great free genealogy package, go to http://www.gramps-project.org and click on "Linux Genealogy Desktop CD 2.0 released."
The preceding article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2005 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com.
> Win 98 Is Dead
By Labs Director Jim Rapoza of PC Magazine
Less than a year ago, I wrote a column extolling the virtues of Windows 98, calling it probably the most successful Windows operating system of all time and proudly proclaiming the fact that one of my home systems was still running the aged but still-spry OS.
But, like many other users, I bid Windows 98 farewell on July 11, the day that Microsoft ended all support for it (as well as for Win 98's sibling, Windows ME). I've since upgraded that home system to Windows XP. I'm guessing that there are many other users still purchasing new computers with Windows XP installed, thankful that they won't have that end-of-support sword hanging over their heads anymore. But they shouldn't rest too easy, because that same sword could be hovering again much sooner than they think.
Like a lot of people, I tend to refer to Windows 98 as an 8-year-old operating system. But, as a reader posted on the eWEEK Labs blog (at blog.eweek.com/blogs/eweek_labs/), it's not that old for many users—a lot of people didn't run out and purchase Windows 98 or Windows ME the day it was released. In fact, quite a few people and businesses were buying Windows 98 and Windows ME well into 2002, which means that the product is now considered obsolete just four years after they bought it.
Think about that—just four years until product obsolescence. Outside of food products (not counting Twinkies), is there any other product that you'd expect to be obsolete four years after you purchased it? Heck, when my car was 4 years old, I still thought of it as brand-spanking-new.
Some people will say, "Hey, that's just the nature of software—technology speeds ahead," and all that. But when I look at any one of my desktop or server systems, I see plenty of software that is a lot older than four and is working just fine. When you get down to it, Windows 98 and ME aren't functionally obsolete; they're just being forced into obsolescence.
But I guess that's all out of our hands, and we're just going to have to run out and get copies of the most current version of Windows—namely, Windows XP. (If you plan to jump straight from Windows 98 to Vista, you'll be taking the risk of running an unpatched Win 98 system for the next several months.)
Then, in four more years (or possibly less), we'll get to do the whole thing all over again, because it's pretty much a solid bet that Microsoft will follow its M.O. and enact the same sort of kill of Windows XP within that time frame. I can see the columns in three or four years already. "What are people doing still running Windows XP? It's a dinosaur full of bugs and unable to run the latest in DRM'ed software and movies. Now that Vista Service Pack 6 is out, the OS is rock solid, so there are no more reasons to hold off on upgrading. And, of course, the new Windows Ciego is just around the corner." To people who bought Windows XP when it was first released, this will probably seem like common sense. But for those buying brand-new copies right now (just $129 for XP Pro on Amazon.com), three to four years of support won't seem like much support at all.
And that's probably just what will happen. Up until very recently, people who purchased Windows XP Home Edition were facing end of support at the end of 2006. (Imagine buying a brand-new copy this December that would be instantly obsolete.) Microsoft has amended its policy for consumer products: End of support now comes two years after the next version of a product is released. And, of course, recent history has shown that they'll probably extend support if enough people complain.
But all of this is shaping up to be a never-ending cycle. Even if Windows XP turns out to be excellent at handling any task three or four years in the future, it's a good bet that Microsoft will kill off its support of the OS anyway. (Actually, that would make it even more likely, as XP would be stiff competition for Vista.)
So, goodbye, Windows 98. It was a great run, but there's a new Windows in my life. Given Microsoft's track record, though, I think I won't get too attached to this one.
Check out eWEEK.com's Windows Center for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. PC Magazine
Following through the December NEOCAG presentation on using the various Google search engines as a way to further your genealogy research efforts, I am including two additional items of interest. The second one describes how genealogists can create and use blogs to keep in closer touch with each other. Our group has now had a listserve for many years that has been a useful part of our group information, whether to ask or answer questions, or to notify every member of possible snow day cancellations (three times one year). However, Council has always recognized that our general membership has not made use of this benefit as much as we had hoped.
Would the creation of our own NEOCAG blog make a difference, and get more of us to join in general conversations of personal benefit? This article informs of us a new Google Blog software that should make this project a bit easier. This might be a worthwhile topic for discussion in future Council meetings.
As for the following article on NASA and Google joining to create various space experiences—you may well ask what this has to do with genealogy. The answer is “absolutely nothing.” However, I have been spending many hours in recent weeks exploring the surface of Mars as if I were circling the planet at a very low altitude with instruments that give me much data and a spectacular view. Because of my excitement I feel I have to inform you of this new Google creation that is greater than any science fiction.
Imagine actually seeing volcanic mountains with major lava flows that obviously ended in an ocean that created complex surrealistic formations unlike anything we have seen, giant canyons with detailed signs of liquid erosion still sharp, extremely large dunes inside the lava cone of ageless volcanoes-but made of volcanic basalt sand unlike the silicone grains on earth, and clear views of where giant asteroids once slammed into Mars surface at an angle the spewed out debris still visible over large areas on the opposite side of the crater—most perhaps created millions of years ago. And—many of these features on a scale vastly greater than anything on earth. In addition, there are many other new and exciting things still to come from this NASA/Google union. LO
> NASA, Google aim for virtual space travel on Web
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Web surfers may soon be able to explore the canyons of Mars and experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon thanks to a deal announced on Monday between Web search company Google Inc. and the NASA Ames Research Center. The Space Act Agreement is the first in a series of collaborations between the Mountain View, California-based Internet company and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA and Google said they will work together on a wide range of technical problems and will make NASA's space exploration work, much of which is currently scattered across the Web, more accessible to the public. One project would let viewers see details of Mars and Earth's moon in a format similar to satellite picture views of the world made popular by applications such as Google Earth.
Percival Lowell's map of the western hemisphere of Mars This map of Mars, published by Percival Lowell in 1895, was the result of many years spent carefully studying the Red Planet through his telescope. Now you can do the same through your web browser. In collaboration with NASA researchers at Arizona State University, we've created some of the most detailed scientific maps of Mars ever made. If you have half as much fun exploring them as we did making them, you're in for a great time.
We've included three different types of data in Google Mars:
Elevation - A shaded relief map, generated with data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. This map is color-coded by altitude, so you can use the color key at the lower left to estimate elevations.
Visible - A mosaic of images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. MOC is like the digital camera you have at home. Basically, this is what your eyes would see if you were in orbit around Mars.
Infrared - A mosaic of infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Warmer areas appear brighter, and colder areas are darker. Clouds and dust in the atmosphere are transparent in the infrared, making this the sharpest global map of Mars that's ever been made.
Eventually, they aim to offer real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3-D maps of the moon and Mars and real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle from the screen of any computer with Internet access, they said in a statement.
You can learn more about these images on the JMARS data distribution page. To learn more about Mars in general, you might start with the NASA Mars Missions home page. There's also a pretty good search engine that could aid you in your quest. ;)
Google and NASA first partnered last year to build a new campus at NASA's research center in Silicon Valley. The deal called for Google to develop up to 1 million square feet (93,000 square meter) of real estate within the Moffett Field research park. The collaboration marks another step in a partnership announced 15 months ago when Google unveiled plans to build a 1 million-square-foot campus at the NASA center, located a few miles south of the company's Mountain View headquarters.
Under the arrangement, Ames will feed Google with its weather forecasting information, three-dimensional maps of the moon and Mars, and real-time tracking of the International Space Station and space shuttle flights so the pictures and data are available to anyone with an Internet connection.
"This agreement between NASA and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement.
Google already draws upon some of NASA's imagery to provide Web surfers with interactive tours of Mars as part of a 9-month-old service. Ames and Google also have vowed to work together to solve complex computing problems, including large-scale data management. "Partnering with NASA made perfect sense for Google, as it has a wealth of technical expertise and data that will be of great use to Google as we look to tackle many computing issues on behalf of our users," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
If you have comments or questions about Google Mars, we'd love to hear them. Please write to us at email@example.com.
Mon Dec 18, 2006, Yahoo! News
You enter the
e-mail address of a person to whom you want to grant access, and the Google
account associated with that address will be given access. If an address is not
associated with an account, that person will be sent an invitation to sign up
for a Google account. Blogger.com, which
was acquired by Google in 2003, has helped to make blogging a more ubiquitous
activity, especially as more people have grown up using the Web and are adding
to the already large blog community of readers and writers. With more
advanced smartphones that support new user experiences, the blogosphere is
growing every day. In recent history, the enterprise has begun to feel the
effects of the blogosphere, with some firms recognizing the benefits of
open-mindedness and encouraging employees to blog outside of their corporate
networks. Right now, blogs
double in number every six months, according to Technorati, a blog search
engine. And, as of October 2006, there were 56 million blogs on the Web.
However, despite their strong numbers, the average life span of a blog is
merely three months and shrinking daily, according to new research from
Gartner. Gartner recently
published a controversial report in which analysts predicted that the blogging
trend will level off in 2007. "Today's over
exuberance will give way to a steady state of at least 30 million active
bloggers and 30 million frequent community contributors worldwide," wrote
Gartner analysts Ed Thompson, Adam Sarner, and Esteban Kolsky. "The steady
state will grow again, but much more slowly, as the global Internet population
rises." The Gartner report
also noted that traffic at MySpace and Facebook -- two kingpins of the Web's
social-networking movement -- have dropped 4 percent and 12 percent,
respectively. Those numbers were based on figures from tracking firm
You enter the e-mail address of a person to whom you want to grant access, and the Google account associated with that address will be given access. If an address is not associated with an account, that person will be sent an invitation to sign up for a Google account.
Blogger.com, which was acquired by Google in 2003, has helped to make blogging a more ubiquitous activity, especially as more people have grown up using the Web and are adding to the already large blog community of readers and writers. With more advanced smartphones that support new user experiences, the blogosphere is growing every day. In recent history, the enterprise has begun to feel the effects of the blogosphere, with some firms recognizing the benefits of open-mindedness and encouraging employees to blog outside of their corporate networks.
Right now, blogs double in number every six months, according to Technorati, a blog search engine. And, as of October 2006, there were 56 million blogs on the Web. However, despite their strong numbers, the average life span of a blog is merely three months and shrinking daily, according to new research from Gartner.
Gartner recently published a controversial report in which analysts predicted that the blogging trend will level off in 2007.
"Today's over exuberance will give way to a steady state of at least 30 million active bloggers and 30 million frequent community contributors worldwide," wrote Gartner analysts Ed Thompson, Adam Sarner, and Esteban Kolsky. "The steady state will grow again, but much more slowly, as the global Internet population rises."
The Gartner report also noted that traffic at MySpace and Facebook -- two kingpins of the Web's social-networking movement -- have dropped 4 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Those numbers were based on figures from tracking firm Nielson//NetRatings.
Copyright © 2006 NewsFactor Network, Inc. Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All Rights Reserved
> Library carts off gen. books--Collection reopens in new building
Library worker Beth Avila steers a cart of genealogy books Tuesday in preparation for the move. People looking to research their family history at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library will be out of luck for about a month.
The downtown library’s genealogy department closed Saturday and about 100 employees began moving the materials to the new library Tuesday. A $64 million new main library will open on Webster Street on Jan. 27, while the branch locations remain open.
All of the library will close Jan. 8 so workers can begin moving the rest of the materials to the new location. The main library moved from Webster Street to its temporary quarters at Berry and Clinton streets in early 2003. Workers started moving much of the genealogy department’s 750,000-piece collection Tuesday. The microfilm machines and microfiche cabinets had already been moved.
Employees took books, newsletters and other materials off the shelves and placed them on a wheeled cart, which was then taken to a truck waiting at the dock. The carts were loaded into the trucks, which were then driven to the new location and unloaded, said Cheryl Ferverda, community relations and development manager. “It is as close to taking them off the shelf in order and putting them on the new shelves in order as you can get,” Ferverda said.
Genealogy is one of the two biggest departments in the Allen County Public Library, on par only with reader’s services, Ferverda said. The Allen County Public Library’s genealogy collection is second only to the one at the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.
Kelly Soderlund <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne Wed, Dec. 27, 2006
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