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

Friday, July 9, 2010

What I do? Meme and why

I first read about this idea for a genealogy meme (or chain letter?) in Dear Myrtle's blog. She says she got the idea from Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers and it looks like it was probably his idea. Good idea, Tom. Although, I am not sure I agree with the designation as a meme. As defined by Princeton University's WordNet, "A meme is a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes" On the other hand, a typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to induce the recipient to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to as many recipients as possible. Tom's request is a little bit of both. Anyway, since the genealogy blog community has precious little contact other than through posts, I agree that we ought to share our collective knowledge, whatever you call  the method of sharing. Here is Tom's list:

* Hardware:
* External storage:
* Online storage:
* Backup:
* Firewall:
* Virus protection:
* Spyware:
* File cleaner:
* Printer:
* Phone:
* Mobile media:
* Music player:
* Car audio:
* eBook Reader:
* Browser:
* Blog:
* RSS:
* FTP:
* Text editor:
* Graphics:
* Screen capture:
* Social media:
* Social bookmarking:
* Social profile:
* URL shortener:
* Office suite:
* E-mail:
* Calendar:
* Accounting:
* PDF generator:
* Genealogy database:
* Genealogy tools:
* Other tech stuff:

The most glaring omission from the list is any reference to an operating system, which I assume he meant to include in the hardware section. I don't really care that much about hardware, it is only a tool to run software. If I need to do something that my present computer does not do or run software not supported by my present system, I upgrade to new hardware. Since, as you will see below, all of my computer usage is integrated with several business entities, we buy new hardware all the time. For example, I will shortly be upgrading to an iPhone 4.

I know I cannot cover all of that in any one post and I will have to turn it into a series. It will probably take several posts to cover the items because I have reasons for using or not using almost everything in the list. First of all, and from a technology standpoint, I am securely in the Apple Macintosh computer camp even though this particular post is being written on an HP Laptop. Some of the items on the list are more or less irrelevant to Mac usage. I have also been involved heavily in technology and specifically in computers since about 1975 (actually earlier) and I have my own "meme" that I have inherited from literally thousands of other techs throughout the years. I spent years doing onsite computer support and setting up networks and still help people with hardware issues from time to time.

Now on to the first item on the list: Computer Hardware in which I also cover operating systems.

I currently use, either directly or indirectly, about six computers (not counting my huge computer network), three of them are Macs and three are PCs. Between my wife and I, we are involved in about six different businesses including a law firm, a graphics design business and others. All of these entities are essentially computer based. My law firm alone employs about 65 or so people and has a huge involved computer network with online access. My genealogy work has, from the very start, been heavily computerized and technology involved. I have tens of thousands of documents gathered from hundreds of sources including family photos. Manipulating all of the graphic material I use takes a lot of storage and computer power which often drives the addition of faster hardware. I do not become attached to anyone computer or operating system, because of the frequent upgrades. The six computers include two iMacs, 1 HP PC, 1 generic PC, and an HP Laptop with a 17" screen. We also have an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod, and a whole lot of other devices.

I will move on in the next post, or so, to more specific hardware issues as they relate to genealogists.

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