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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Internet Sites and Programs I Can't Live Without

I guess there is a cultural phenomena about naming the top ten, the top forty or one hundred or whatever. I have even been guilty in the past of writing a top five, top ten or some other number for a blog post. But recently, I began to think about the programs I couldn't live without. OK. I realize that the title to this post is a hyperbole, but given what I do every day, there are certainly some websites I use more than others and what I do would dramatically change without those particular websites.

As you can guess, these websites mostly relate to genealogy. So let's get started with the list.

The first thing I do in the morning is turn on my computer and look at the over-night's accumulation of email. I am up by 6:00 am or so and start out right away working. I use a Google email program called Sparrow to review and read any email. This is an interesting situation. I am aware that the program has been "discontinued" but it still continues to operate with my Gmail account etc. so I am loath to abandon it. But I am in the process of moving over to Apple's Mail program. Changing over to a different mail server is not easily done.

I use three different browsers, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, depending on what is working well that day.

The next step in each day's review is to review the status of any comments or other messages on all my blogs. Sometimes, just reviewing my mail and looking at the blogs takes a couple of hours, especially if I get bogged down in correspondence or phone calls. I subscribe to more than 200 other blogs and websites so I use as a reader/organizer so I can go through the nearly 200 blog posts I review every day, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Now, it is time to start writing on the day's projects. The blog posts are written directly into Blogger. This usually takes a couple of hours, sometimes spread out during the day depending on my teaching schedule. For example, this next week, Monday through Sunday, I am scheduled for 21 one-hour classes.

If I need to write anything more formal, I use Microsoft Word. I sometimes use Word as a scratch pad for stripping out formatting and other tasks.

For posting photos to my blog, I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit the photos and then upload them to Blogger. I use Evernote for keeping lists etc. I use Skitch for screenshots for my blog etc. I regularly use for sending files.

All of my presentations are done in Microsoft PowerPoint. This take a great deal of my time if I am scheduled for classes that cannot be done live.

Of course, I use Google search constantly. I also refer to for references almost daily and to Wikipedia for quick information. I am constantly using Adobe Acrobat to open, read and create PDF files. I keep in contact with family and the rest of the world through Google+, Facebook, Twitter and text messages. I find myself on frequently for product info and purchases.

OK, now to the genealogy end of things. I am constantly on, and I am still getting used to and the new partner website, I currently have only Apple Macintosh versions of my genealogical database programs in active use. I realize that some of the Windows programs are very good, but I am tired of switching back and forth between operating systems. I do maintain a PC with Windows 8 to keep in touch with the Windows world.

I use the Internet Archive,, regularly. Here are a few of the other websites I use frequently:

Library of Congress --
Google Maps
Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Google Images
Dragon Dictate (the Mac version of Dragon Naturally Speaking)

OK, so I just realized that the list could go on forever. I use whatever program or website I need at the moment to do whatever job or task I am doing. I use dozens, perhaps hundreds, of websites and programs during a week's worth of work. I guess I have become fully integrated into the computer.

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