Stop the Stream to Honor Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is dead.

The news makes my life pass before me. I stare at the screen where Facebook users continue their posts about Farmville rewards and I want to yell Stop! Stop all the game posts; Stop all the Tweets! Stop everything for one second and recognize the man for the way he changed the world. Can’t you pause for a second to pay tribute to the man whose contributions lead to the creation of all these live streams of posts.
He’s been a part of my life for 26 years and yet, I only met him once. As I think about his life, I can only smile and say Thank you. Thank you for sharing your dreams and making them ours.

Please observe a moment of silence at least to honor this great man. There was no one else like him and we’re all better because of him.

Funeral Blues
W. H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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Hit the Road Capt. Jack

AroundMeImage via WikipediaAre you going to go out of town for the Labor Day weekend? This year, we’re getting four days off. We are going to be visiting with some family at least one of the days. So, its a great time to put my new mobile apps to use. I got an iPhone last Christmas (thank you dear hubby!) and its really made life easier. The “Around Me” app alone really saved us when we were in Texas this summer for my nephews wedding and couldn’t locate the hotel. After the third time around the block, I pulled out my phone, put in the name of the hotel and it showed us exactly what turns to make to get there. Really cool.  Playing with “Around Me” some more, we found local museums and other hot spots. As an addicted genealogist, of course I had to pull up directions for the local libraries and cemeteries.

When we visited the Alamo, I pulled out my trusty “Reunion” app and looked up all the relatives that I needed to do research on and was able to put a personal history twist on the whole tour. Sorry PC users: Reunion is Macintosh software. The staff over at LeisterPro told me they has no intention of making Reunion available for Windows users. I can understand that. There are more lots of genealogy apps for PCs anyway, but Reunion is the king of genealogy software for Mac users.

The Reunion iPhone app works in conjunction with the Macintosh version. It allows you to keep your entire family at your fingertips. Or, if you prefer, you can save only the individuals you know you’ll be working on while out of town.

Since we are planning to visit my husband’s relatives, I decided to install the free “Ancestry” app. It came out in January but Ancestry and I have a love-hate relationship so I put it off until now. Sure enough, I had a bear of a time getting it to work. But, I have a hard time getting Ancestry.com to work on any device.

Ancestry likes my money, but whenever I try to sign on it doesn’t like my account information. Genealogists are very familiar with the question: “What do you mean I don’t exist?” Well, Ancestry, it seems, tries to re-enforce this age-old question every time I try to log in. I have to reset my password every time. I get a lot of password reset requests from the members of the Heycuz.net website, and I can totally identify with them due to the problems I have had with Ancestry. With all the money I’ve spent on Ancestry over the years, I expect them to say “Oh, here she comes again, cha-ching $$$$” and bend over backwards to open all the doors for me, but they still make me jump through hoops just to sign on.
Well, its working now and I’m excited to show Steve’s uncle some records that are easily viewable on the app. In fact, I can see them better on the app than I can on my Mac’s Firefox browser. Specifically, I am going to show him the Passenger ship records of his grandfather arriving in America and the census records that shows where he worked before he opened his restaurant.
Cell phone mobility has made a huge impact on our daily lives,  but genealogists tend to take a while to integrate the new tools into their research arsenal.The whole reason I even got into genealogy was due to this fact. I was trying to convince my mother–who’d been doing genealogy her entire life–to get an email account. I figured I’d show her all the information that was available online and pulled up the old GenWeb site.
She gave me a name and I put it in and found a list of people doing research on that name. I posted a query and amazingly within minutes I had a response. It turned out to be my father’s uncle’s daughter-in-law, but that’s another story. My mother’s eyes lit up with all the information available on that one website alone. So, I figured I was successful and soon she’d be emailing me daily. It didn’t turn out that way immediately. Instead, she sent me boxes of her research and a small note:

Happy Hunting, 



Eventually, my mother did go online and ended up subscribing to Ancestry and buying me a subscription too. The cost of Ancestry depends on a number of factors including what databases you want access to. I had a worldwide access, but it turned out to be a waste because of the limited records available in the areas I was interested in. But the prices averages about $30 a month, which seems to me to be a lot of money to spend on a hobby.But there are some free areas on Ancestry.com so you really don’t have to subscribe at all. Since my mother bought it for me, I feel compelled to continue the subscription. 
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseYou don’t have to have Ancestry, or an iPhone, to take advantage of mobile technology. There’s an entire website dedicated to mobile genealogy where you can find apps for your specific device: iPad, Palm, Kindle, Android, Windows Mobile, Laptops, Blackberry, Symbian, Newton, and on and on… So, hit the road Jack, but head on over to MobileGenealogy.com and get some research apps before you do.

NOTE: This is my second post toward my commitment to NaBloPoMo to write one post a day in September. Although I have not followed their prompts for writing topics, I still think its a great program. Have you signed up yet?

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Self-Deprecating Advertising? Really?

Advertising sure has come a long way since I went to school. Recently, my husband and I were snickering ourselves silly when we saw a television ad in which the announcer actually said “Call 333-3333* and We’ll Pick Up the Phone.” In 2002, TrendSpotter reported an upswing in Self-Deprecating Advertising. A water bottle company issues an undesigned, plain bottle with only the words “Another Bloody Bottle of Water.” A handbag designer gets a lot of buzz when they portray their product as barf bags.
But, I wonder if Microsoft Windows Phone 7 $500 million dollar advertising blitz really knows the message their sending. PC World interprets the point of the ad as the phone that will “save us from our phones” and will get users “in and out and back to life.”

Sure, their marketers might have you believe that there’s a “HUGE” problem with self-involved Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone users who have dropped out of life. But will these users actually consider buying a phone who’s advertising message is “Hey, the Windows Phone 7 is so boring you won’t be distracted?”
I mean, Really?

*not the actual phone number

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Guido the Geek Performs Hit on Twitter?

President Barack Obama talks with White House ...Image via WikipediaWhen White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted his Twitter account had been compromised, a host of feelings popped up for me. Having had one of my websites hacked a while back, I thought well if a site as huge as Twitter could have left its guard down what had happened to me wasn’t that bad. It could happen to anyone. The thought of such “huge” people as Gibbs and Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown‘s wife Sarah getting hacked goes to show how wide spread technology crime has become. Still, don’t you find the media’s attempts to describe technology a bit funny? I do. In a New York Times article — Twitter Is Hacked Tuesday Morning – NYTimes.com — the writer states:

Other attacks, including the first worm to strike the iPhone, launched in November 2009, also paid tribute to Mr. Astley. In rebel-Web parlance, clicking to see Mr. Astley is known as being “rickrolled.” Twitter has since disabled @matsta’s account.

I love that description “rebel-Web parlance.” ROTFLMAO.
The article also suggest a mafia-like cybercrime organization, which elicits in me visions of Guido the Geek completing a hit on Twitter account holders. Is there really a “cybercrime organization?” Well, sort of. There are a few groups who’s sole purpose is to steal identities. That’s what the Justice Department‘s division of  Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property define as cybercrime organizations. If there is a Cybercrime Mob, is there also a “Godfather?”
I know its not funny to those who were infected. The matter might appear less humorous to me if I’d visited twitter that day. Yes, I have a twitter account, but rarely post any tweets simply because I can’t write sentences that short. And, by the time I think of something to say, the subject is too old to comment on. I also don’t read tweets off of the website. Like many, I use an app (I prefer NAMBU) to keep up with those I found interesting enough to follow. However, I can go weeks without even firing it up. But, now that I know there’s a cybercrime mob, you can bet I’m going to follow @guidothegeek so I can keep up with them.

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