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Jul 09

What I Do – or – What I Do It With!

This meme was posted by Thomas over at Geneabloggers. He asks that we list the technology we use in our genealogical pursuits. Thomas rightly speculates that those of us who work at home have few colleagues with whom to compare notes.

Genealogy is actually my avocation, I spend much of my time on research and compilation. I have done many free lookups, some pro bono work for other researchers, and some paid work, but this is mostly about me.

* Hardware: My desktop is an HP Media Center PC. Actually that is just what the case says, I have added, removed and changed the set-up so much it really does not resemble the original. Here are the specs:

OS Name: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer HP Pavilion 061
System Model EG642AA-ABA M7260N
System Type X86-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz, 3000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

There are 4GB memory, I added some. The desktop computer has two local fixed disks, the first is the original equipment, a 500GB disk which contains drive E, the preload/recovery files, and drive C, the operating system and program files. I added a 700GB internal disk on which my data is stored.

I have a DVD reader/writer and a CD reader on the computer.

Attached to the computer is a killer set of Logitech speakers that my grandson left here at the house, if he ever wants them back, I will have to buy some. I have a 3 port Belkin KVM switch, which allows me to use my keyboard, monitor and mouse to switch between as many as three computers. This is handy when I am getting ready for a trip, since I hook my laptop to the switch and can use the laptop as my “main” computer for a day or so before a trip, while still having a real screen and keyboard.

I use an Envision flat panel monitor which I grabbed a Costco a few years ago. It is square, I hate the stretched out look.

Speaking of laptop, I have an older Toshiba Satellite, it has 4GB memory, and I recently upgraded the OS from XP to Windows 7, which it handles well. It has a square monitor, too. The keys are starting to fall off, but what the heck, it works!

* External storage: I run two removable disks, a 500 GB MyBook which contains only the backup of the data my computer, and a 3TB network drive which contains a second backup of my computer and of my husband’s computer. I do not backup the operating system and programs, just the data. I have the original disks for all my operating systems and software, so I just “take a chance” on that aspect of my computers. We also have an external drive which contains a 4th backup of our data only, and remains off site except when the data is being refreshed. Backups are very important to me, because of my husband’s photography hobby, and because I do some website design. I need access to all my data and revisions at all times. I sometimes use flash memory to temporarily store files.

* Online storage: I have some data on my personal websites, but do not rely on on-line backups.

* Backup: The three drives described above. I use Compare & Backup, and Everyday Auto Backup.

* Firewall, Virus, Spyware: AVG Internet Security, version 9.0.839. We scan all computers every night. I really like the link checking feature of this software, which warns about threats. Our router also acts as a firewall.

* Internet Service: ATT Uverse. We use their router for our home network. It is far more satisfactory than my previous software solutions. We back-up and share data across that network daily.

* File cleaner: Occasionally, perhaps once per year, I use C-Cleaner.

* Printer: I have a Hewlett Packard DeskJet 895CXI. It still works, and I do not usually replace things that work.

* Phone: MagicJack at home. We like this because it sends us an e-mail if we have a message. For mobile phones, I use an ATT family plan, and personally have an Iphone 3GS 32GB, with text messaging and internet. This is my one small bow to “new”, and I enjoy it a lot.

* Mobile media: Iphone

* Music player: Iphone on the go; Windows Media Player at home.

* Car audio: Sirius Satellite Radio, I only listen to the channel 65, Bluegrass Junction. Also, an ITrip for my Iphone, which broadcasts the tunes on my phone to the car radio.

* eBook Reader: I used both the desktop and Iphone version of Stanza.

* Browser: I use Firefox nearly exclusively. I do have IE on my main computer, since some sites simply don’t work well with anything else. I have many other browsers installed, which I use to test websites.

* Blog: Self-hosted WordPress.  I compose my posts with BlogDesk.  It works very well for me, and uploads to my site with FTP.

* RSS: I use the WordPress built-in RSS.

* FTP: Filezilla

* Text editor: I use notepad or wordpad. For programming I often use Scintilla, and for transcribing I use Transcript.

* Graphics: Adobe Photoshop Elements.

* Screen capture: Old fashioned, I use the old control/PrtScn key combination, then paste into a new Elements file, as in, File, New, From Clipboard.

* Social media: Facebook, Twitter. Have a GenealogyWise account, but never check it. Ditto with MySpace.

* Social bookmarking: I do not use this.

* Social profile: Facebook, MyBlogLog

* URL shortener: TinyURL.com.

* Office suite: Microsoft Office XP, Google Docs. I have used OpenOffice but found the transition difficult. With my husband’s retirement creeping up on us, I am likely to use OpenOffice rather than buy or upgrade my Office Installation.

* E-mail: Thunderbird with a lightning calendar attachment which integrates with Google Calendar.

* Calendar: See above.

* Accounting: Quicken Home and Business 2008 (out of date again!)

* PDF generator: Nitro PDF Professional.

* Genealogy database: RootsMagic 4.

* Genealogy tools: Notebooks, paper, pencils, pens. I have used GenSmarts in the past, and may give it another whirl if I ever get the data I have entered.

* Other tech stuff: I have Sony Cybershot digital camera which I bought many years ago, and paid a small fortune for. It does not have the capabilities of the newer ones, but it has an eye piece, which is almost necessary for me to get a good shot. I have been taking photos of books and microfilm machine displays with that camera for 8 or more years. I use GedView on my Iphone when I travel. I have a lightweight Canoscan scanner, which I use at home and away.

So that’s it. The people my age or older who I know think I am a technology genius, and the younger people think I am a dinosaur. I believe I am actually somewhere in between.

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