• Technology
  • Nov12

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    This is at best a step removed from genealogy, but is a very useful trick if you are a Google Chrome user. Have you ever visited a web page and had the same page load over and over even if you know it changed?

    I recently was updating a site I maintain and had this happen when I was testing how my changes looked. After making my changes, I clicked Google Chrome’s Refresh button and… still got the same page with old info.

    So, I then held down the Shift key while clicking refresh, which is supposed to clear any cached files for that page then load the page from scratch. And… *sad trombone*… same page, old info. That is not supposed to happen, Mr. Chrome.

    The caching problem can happen for various reasons, either due to poor web design or a recalcitrant web browser. You could go into the browser’s Tools –> Options and clear ALL of the cache. But, that’s annoying – like emptying out your entire refrigerator because some cheese went bad. (Or another, more valid, metaphor.)

    But, whatever the reason, I am now reaching deeper into my bag of magic tricks and sharing a nice easy but likely lesser known fix in The Google’s Chrome browser:

    When you really want to start a page from scratch in Chrome, use the following keystroke to open a Developer Tools panel on the right side of the page:

    Google Chrome Developer Tools panel <CTRL><SHIFT><I>
    for the Apple folks among you.

    I won’t go into any detail here, but you’ll notice there are a lot of things to play with in this panel – including a way to see what cookies are related to the page.

    RIGHT-Click the Refresh Button
    Once the developer tools panel is open, go over to the usual Refresh button at the top of the page and RIGHT-click on it. You’ll see a drop down menu that doesn’t normally appear there!

    Simply Left-click “Empty Cache and Hard Reload” and you will get the latest page loaded and ready to go.


  • Oct28

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    Countries of Ancestry Chromosome ChartUpdated: November 9, 2015

    For anyone who has been a customer of 23andme, their Countries of Ancestry (CoA) has been a terrific tool in the toolbox.
    Alas – it is going away. You have until November 10th, 2015 to use the tool and even more importantly – Download yer data!

    Put it in the calendar folks.

    Today’s the day your 23andme folks should go out and 23andme – Get the latest Countries of Ancestry Data for all of your profiles there. While 23andme is promising new tools, surely it can only help to have this data in your back pocket for later.

    Also, Bonus tip: In addition downloading your own matches at 23andme itself, you can use the DNA Gedcom.com site to download the CoA data for ALL of your matches! (It is a free tool but see Donate button at bottom of page.) The download process can take awhile, as you provide your 23andme login, it reaches out to get all of the CoA files for you, then places them in a download location.

    DNA Gedcom estimates 30 minutes to an hour for the process, but it took about 20 minutes to download the CoA matches for all 3 of my 23andme profiles, so that is a pretty good speed. Especially considering my wife has an Ashkenazi great-grandfather, so LOTS of matches.

    To reiterate: GO GET YER DATA NOW – who knows how many other users are planning to download today? Could be some bottlenecks ahead.

    Below is part of the original announcement from the 23andme community forums:

    As part of the updates and transition to the new 23andMe, many features will be undergoing significant changes. While we are working to transition customers to the new site, some changes will have an immediate impact on the customer experience in the current 23andMe site, including Countries of Ancestry.

    To provide some context for this change, we wanted to share a number of key principles behind the updates to the 23andMe site and features, including:

    * Simplifying the features and site experience
    * Adding new tools to help customers get the most out of the service
    * Reducing barriers to customer engagement, connection, and communication
    * Maximizing trust and participation by ensuring that users clearly and explicitly opt in to all information sharing

    In consideration of these principles, while some aspects of the feature will be incorporated into the new site, Countries of Ancestry will not be available as a standalone tool in the new 23andMe. The following features of Countries of Ancestry are being removed:

    – The ability to view and download the segments you have in common with members you are not directly sharing with, including public or anonymous DNA Relatives matches.
    – The ability to select any profile you are sharing with and then view and download this same information for that profile.

    In order to conform to our stance on customer privacy, starting on November 11, 2015, Countries of Ancestry will no longer be available. Up until this date, customers may continue to access the web interface and download.



  • Jul3

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    A quick post for today – and not a directly genealogical one, but a very useful one in my opinion.

    Whether genealogy-related or not, I’m sure you all have had a time when you needed to move a whole bunch of files from one place to another. Or, perhaps you wanted to move some files at some regular interval?

    Did you want to only move these files if they were newer? Or perhaps put them in a folder automagically named to include the date or other information? Then I have the tool for you!

    I have used this nifty little Replicator utility from Karenware.com for many years now, and it is terrific.

    Of course, one could write a command line batch file to do some of the functionality of the tool, and then set up a Windows (or Mac) task to run at certain times. But, have you used Windows task scheduler? Harumph. I’ve had to completely delete functioning tasks and recreate them from scratch at odd times after a previously functioning task decided to stop working.

    Or one could even drag and drop files and folders by hand between two windows – but what happens when the copy or move fails for some reason? Was it because of disk space, or you hit escape or cancel by mistake? Who knows?

    Karenware ReplicatorReplicator makes it all much easier and includes a graceful exit for problems with logging that will give you a clue to what happened. And it is free. Click here to visit that site for more information and to download the tool.

    Note: For whatever reason, there is a slightly newer version 3.6.9 available over on Cnet, although I am not sure what changes were made from the 3.6.8 version on Karenware.com.

  • Feb14

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    I was playing around with massaging my 23andme me DNA match data at lunch, and always find it interesting how far flung we all end up. I have 1,053 matches in 23andme’s “Countries of Ancestry” tool (previously aka Ancestry Finder), which is populated with answers your DNA matches provided on the location their grandparents came from

    Of the possible 4,212 grandparents, 1,508 locations were “Not Provided”, and 891 were listed as “United States.” The cousins range from 3rd to Distant.

    My maternal grandparents both came from small towns near to each other in Czechoslovakia, my paternal grandmother came from County Offaly in Ireland, and my paternal great-grandparents also came over from Ireland. All ended up in New York City.

    I can take the paper trail back to the early 1800s on most of my ancestral lines, so it is interesting to see various hotspots in some countries. Obviously, people travel, so my having one match with 4 grandparents from Iran, for example, doesn’t mean I have Iranian ancestry – someone in my line (or a descendant) could have traveled in that direction in the distant past.

    But, I am left wondering with so many Russian, Ukranian, and Scandinavian grandparents listed – did someone head down to the Czech Republic from there, or the other way around. Vikings? (One can hope.) Hopefully one day I’ll find out!

    In any case, the real reason for my post – below is a fun way to view these matches using Batchgeo mapping. I created a spreadsheet that counted up all the grandparent countries, then pasted the data into their page. After a few tweaks of the advanced settings – Voila! A map of the locations using color to indicate the grandparent counts by country.

    View Ancestry Finder Grandparent Country Matches in a full screen map

    Interestingly, when I mapped my wife’s matches in this way, I noticed that she has more matches with grandparents from Poland and Russia than she does the United States! Considering she has no known Polish ancestors at this point, and all of her emigrant ancestors are at great-grandparents and several beyond that, that is kind of interesting. (As I mentioned, I have 3 emigrant grandparents, and 2 emigrant great-grandparents, yet I have more US grandparents in my matches by far. ) Are her Ashkenazi matches from her Russian great-grandfather’s inherited DNA skewing the results?

    I also am wondering if 23andme has published just how many people have been tested with listed ancestry from each country when looking at their entire database. If, say, many more people have been tested in Russia than in Croatia, is that large number of Russian grandparents in my matches’ results showing up because of the larger testing pool in that location, or via a true ancestral connection in my DNA? Hmm. To be continued, I suspect.

    Finally, one thing I noticed with the BatchGeo mapping tool – the grouping of results by color is kind of skewed, and there is no way I see to change it. For example, the lowest color coded grouping is “1-3” and my highest is “124-891” – I would like to even out those groupings to make it more honest to the eye.

    My wife’s map, below:

    View Map of 23andme Match Grandparent Countries – LT in a full screen map

  • Feb13

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    After many years in technology, I am probably what could be termed a “power user” in most facets of computing.
    Except Flappy Bird. Never played it, and now I never shall. :(

    Twitter Search Filters in Action But, if you fellow tweeters are anything like me, you may not be searching The Twitter for best effect. Did you know there are advanced filters available to search for things like images, news, videos, or sandwiches? (Well, maybe not the last one, but then I shouldn’t finish blog posts at lunch time.)

    As you can see in the image above, the format is not too difficult to grasp – and even works when searching from tweeter clients, such as Hootsuite.

    Twitter Filter MenuIf you aren’t keen on massaging search strings via keyboard, you can always search directly on the Twitter.com site proper. Once you search for a word, you should see clickable menus on the left hand side of the search results.

    The top menu filters by media content types, the next one to filter by “All people” or “People you follow”, and the last to filter by location using “Everywhere” or “Near you”.

    If that’s still not enough for you, then you must really, really like The Twitter. Click on Advanced Search on the first menu to find a form where you can get even more granular in your search efforts by limiting to phrases, particular accounts, or by emotion (using common emoticons.)

    Back to keyboard filtering, for those of the old school mindset: If you’d like a handy dandy set of search examples, see the table below.

    Twitter Search Filter Table
    Table Source