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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why I use Apple computers especially for genealogy

It is about time to explain why I use Apple computers for genealogy and all the rest of my computing. The obvious first question is why waste time/money/frustration with using a computer to do Windows 7 in emulation when I can be a "just as fast" PC for less money? The beginning response is that the Quad Core i5 iMac is a lot faster than even I need for my thousands of graphic files, videos, audio files and etc. But the real answer is that our family does graphics. My wife runs a graphic design company, I do huge composite 360 degree photographs and we are in the processing of digitizing literally tens of thousands of family history documents. If you add up all the options you need to do that level of graphics easily on a PC you can spend 50% or more than an Apple iMac. So granted, I am not your usual computer user and besides I really like Apple's OS X series of operating systems for the same reason I use FireFox instead of Microsoft Explorer and the same reason I like Google and not Bing.

Another plus for me is the integration of my iPhone with my iMac technology. I can use the computer to move my genealogical information, photos, scans whatever from the iMac to the iPhone and carry my whole work product around in my pocket. For me, the iPhone is liberating. I sync automatically with my office calendar, docketing system and E-mail. I can keep up to date with my clients' needs at any place (or time) I happen to want to work. I am no longer tied to an office or even to my computer. If I find out something about my family or my work I can instantly add it to my programs and then sync all of that to my computers from where ever I happen to be at the time.

If I have a question, I can do a Google search from almost any place I find myself. I even know most of the spots in Arizona where I can't get reception and can simply stop before leaving a service area if I need to communicate. So people look at cell phones as being like an anchor. I learned very quickly that they have an on/off button and I never turn my phone on unless I really want someone to call me. I can also keep up with the news about volcanoes in Iceland or earthquakes in Chile in between doing other things or while doing other things rather than spending time watching some mindless TV news anchor.

Genealogy is a data intensive activity. Information grows geometrically with the number of your ancestors and even more with the number of their descendants. There is nothing that justifies using raw computer power more than trying to keep up with a huge data intensive family. Especially if that family is spread all over the continental U.S. and make trips all over the world. Using the iPhone with my iMac and video conferencing, I can talk to and see my family in various parts of the country any time we can agree on a time. Far from splitting up my family, the electronic media, phones, computers, iPads, and all the rest give us a variety of ways to interact even if we cannot live in the same towns and even the same states. In all this the Apple products do this elegantly and with class.

That's just a few of the reasons why we use Apple products. Now, that said, I also use PCs daily and intensively. I choose to use Macs, I have to use PCs.

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