Here is Charleen Mullenweg’s second post on her experience at the Rootstech Genealogy Conference. Read about her previous experiences here.
After lunch Thursday, I headed for the expo floor. We had to get a certain number of signatures from different booths in order to get the Rootstech t-shirts, so I headed down there to grab some of them before my next session. This is where I ran into one of the few technical snafu’s of the conference: there was no time allotted between sessions for travel or visiting the expo floor. I had left lunch a few minutes early, but still got hung up at the FamilySearch booth, and at the booth for this wicked cool scanner called a Flip Pal (I’m seriously thinking about getting one since my last scanner just went belly up). The upshot of this is that I was very late to my next session, “Toy Story: Electronic Tools for Genealogists” presented by Sandra Crowley. Fortunately, the Rootstech swag bag offered up a full syllabus of each of the sessions, so I can still give you the skinny of the bits that I missed.
Sandra Crowley’s began by pointing out that while the information that we look for is essentially the same stuff our parents and grandparents looked for, the technologies and the methodologies are quite different. Sandra began with talking about laptops, or, if the user is looking for something more lightweight and portable, netbooks. She spoke about the various specs that each user must examine before choosing a model based on how the user believes they will be using the portable computer. The same applied for storage devices, which are becoming smaller and cheaper by the hour (it seems), and for tablet computers. She covered the three types of scanners that are available to genealogists – desktop, portable, and hand held – and the technical specs to consider when you want to buy one (big hint from me to you: a minimum 300 dpi is needed if you ever want to blow up the photograph later). Digital cameras, GPS devices, and smarthphones are all part of her toolbox. Sandra finished her talk after discussing the importance of connectivity, and the various options that users have if they’re denied an easy wi-fi connection. Warning, many of those aftermarket options come with lengthy contracts. I enjoyed this session immensely, and found her advice to be helpful, especially for non-technical users. She left her users with a helpful suggestion: visit the FamilySearch Wiki technology section for more helpful hints about the technologies that you can use!
Then I went to “Mobile Apps for Genealogy” by A. C. Ivory, of Find My Ancestor blog fame. A. C. recommended several apps in several categories, beginning with your basic genealogical tools for iPhone and iPad; he was particularly fond of Reunion (which only works with Macintosh computers), and included Ancestry, MacFamily Tree (also for the Macintosh), Gedview (only woorks with GEDCOM, no multimedia), Mobile Tree (only for LDS currently), and Traces of the Past (from FamilySearch.org). He covered educational apps, like the Genealogy Gems Podcast App (which I signed up for immediately, and have enjoyed), and an interesting sounding one called On This Day (which I haven’t signed up for yet, but I’ll let you know if I do). He then moved on to organization and storage apps, suggesting Research Logger, an app that manages to-do lists, the logging of research, and multimedia files, Dropbox, which works cross-platform, and has various apps associated with it, and Evernote, which allows you to access your docs and photos from anywhere. Finally, he talked about social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook that allow you to share your genealogy discoveries with others.
When I went to go to my last session of the day, “Enhanced Genealogy through Research, Documents, Organization and Sharing,” I ran into the second technological snafu of the conference. I found nothing wrong with Brandy Sacco’s excellent presentation, but we were not provided with a syllabus of the presentations before registration, and I was unaware that I was walking into a sales pitch for her product, Familyology. I ended up slipping out and going back to the expo hall to pick up some more signatures and check out some more products.
That evening, my mother and I went to the Night at the Planetarium event, hosted by brightsolid. We found this event to be a little disappointing – the venue was fantastic, and the movie offerings were a lot of fun. The event was billed as a dinner, but the food offerings were poor, and there were precious few places to sit while eating. The iced water and pink lemonade ran out by 7:30 on the second floor. My mother and I enjoyed the 3D movie about the Hubble telescope, and my mother even managed to snap a picture of me walking on the moon.
Thus endeth my first day of Rootstech – though it had enough packed into it that it took me until today to finish blogging it! I hope to take lass time on it in the future posts.