Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Apple Computers and genealogy -- all things great and small

My earliest attempts to use computers for genealogy began with an Apple II with a primitive program that was entirely text based and used a dot matrix printer with fan-fold paper. I remember that I ended up re-entering my entire file a number of times either due to data crashes or to incompatible upgrades. The amount of information about each individual and family was minimal, but the promise of organization and convenience was worth the effort to keep entering data. Eventually, and coincidentally, Apple introduced the Macintosh computer in 1984 and I really began to see the promise of actually doing my family history on a computer and GEDCOM version 1.o was released the same year. Doing genealogy on a computer, for me, dates officially from 1984. Personal Ancestral File 2.0 was released in 1985 and eventually, released for the Macintosh.

Eventually, because of the limitations of program availability, I moved from using a Macintosh to using a PC especially after the Personal Ancestral File version for Macintosh was discontinued.

Now, fast forward to 2010. I am presently using the latest version of the Macintosh, an iMac with a 27" high resolution monitor. I also run my genealogy programs on my iPhone and now, on an iPad. Coming full circle, I am also beginning to keep my data in Apple based genealogy programs like MacFamilyTree and Reunion. After years of working on PCs, it is like coming back home for me. I have always unabashedly been an Apple enthusiast. Although I am completely accustomed to the PC/Windows environment, I still return to the real Apple operating system when I want to do some serious work.

I will write my impressions of the iPad in the next few posts, but this post is kind of an introduction to the world of Apple computers. If you have ever wondered why there is always such a big media commotion whenever Apple releases a new product, it is probably because you haven't used one. For example, my wife has used Apple computers all along, she never really went over to using a PC very much, and then only for genealogy. Recently she was using a PC based program to enter a large amount of genealogical data for a client (she runs her own computer business) and was becoming extremely upset with the programs (and with Windows). I showed here Reunion on the Mac and she instantly loaded all her files into the program and abandoned the PC (I probably should have done this a long time ago but she was still using Personal Ancestral File until recently).

Anyway, now we are back to using Macs entirely, even though I am using several PC/Windows based programs for my own data. I am running Windows on a Macintosh. Goodbye PCs, I can't say I am sorry to see you go.

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