• Technology
  • May3

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    Notability App Screen ExampleI was about to write up a post on the Notability App for iPad as a useful note taking and annotation tool. Then I started to peer about and saw a few resources already out there that will give you a good idea of the features and possibility.

    Before I link to those resources, I’ll just add a couple of points below. (I know there are a few negative ones here, but don’t let them scare you off.)

    1. First, Being a fan of Evernote, I tried using their Penultimate app which is billed as a “handwriting app.” While it has some very nice features and is free, the lack of any ability to type is a deal breaker for me when it comes to note-taking.

    I have a fairly neat handwriting in real life, but on a tablet there is a point when handwriting sloppiness kicks in and typing wins. Notability’s ability to include typewritten text means win.

    Tactical iPad Cover
    2. In the Notability app, I find selecting objects is sometimes hard to do and takes me many finger mashes. Also, even though I have the long slender fingers of an artistic 19th century consumptive, for the life of me I cannot get the Page Up/Down to work most of the time – especially since my iPad is usually in a Tactical iPad Cover.

    3. Following on that – for any note taking app I would strongly recommend getting a tablet stylus to use for screen drawing. I find using an index finger to draw on an iPad both tiring and cumbersome in general. When it comes to annotation of documents and drawings, a pen is even more useful for clarity and accuracy  in selection.

    The jury is out on my finding one that I love, but I CAN tell you that Slim Jim jerky snacks are not the answer.

    4. Various types of media can be added to any note, including photos (from your library or take one on the fly), web clips, sticky notes, and figures. I tend to use figures most often when taking notes. My work usually has me identifying things by type and I like to use various colors and shapes to do so.

    However, I find the figure creation and editing features a bit annoying. When you create a figure it is done in a separate page from the active note page and then is inserted when you press Done. I find that disconcerting, and adds another step to the process since you then have to move the figure to where you want it and often resize it. Also, creating even a small figure means a giant rectangle of whitespace is inserted along with the figure. I am not sure what the value is in that.

    5. Audio notes: Nice in the field when you are walking through a location.

    Q. Postings online have various prices listed – as of this writing, the app is a steal for $1.99.

    So, now: On to two video recommendations that each do a nice job of going through Notability features:

    For a more genealogical slant on the app, check out Using an iPad for Genealogy Conferences – Notability, posted by Jennifer Patterson Dondero. (Visit her site at http://www.jpgenealogy.com)

    While there is some overlap, I also recommend Notability on the iPad from EdTechTeacher on Vimeo. They have a TON of useful videos out there, so be sure to click on their username and shop around.

    Notability on the iPad from EdTechTeacher on Vimeo.

  • Apr10

    12 Comments

    Anyone who has scrolled through website logs know that all kind of odd things are being thrown at servers on the Internetz daily. So, it was not a particularly surprising thing that I noticed a distinct uptick in WordPress login attempts on my self-hosted blog a few weeks back.

    (I am, perhaps naively, assuming I didn’t black out, fly to Romania, Turkey, the Phillipines, and Guam and try to login from each location.)

    Usually when I see these fun activities I look around the Googles and see if some new vulnerability has reared its head or just if others are reporting similar things in their logs. Until today, I have not really seen any others talking about an increase WordPress login attempts so I just kept any eye on things and let the cat roam the server room.

    I still don’t see any chatter out in the world at large, but this morning I received a message from one of the hosting companies I deal with: Read More | Comments

  • Mar18

    2 Comments

    Last summer in my blog post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home I described a nice find when I looked up my grandmother’s home in the Czech Republic using Google Street View and then found a matching photo in our family albums.

    Aaand, we’re back in The Republic again!

    First, thanks to a distant cousin, Pavel Vanac who sends me all sorts of links and information on our shared Vanac lines. He has been looking for all the Vanacs and descendants and is hoping to have a reunion one day in Prague and I really hope I can attend.

    For this year he has scaled back the idea to an online reunion – which may be difficult since I have only a tiny bit of the Czech language in my brain. (We normally communicate using Google Translate between us – which has sparked some fun confusion on both sides.) But I am still looking forward to that!

    Back to the story here – Pavel sent me a small photo over the weekend with the message: Read More | Comments

  • Mar8

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    At lunch today I spent some time getting research resources ready for a reading binge if time presents itself over the weekend. (One can hope.) Here’s a couple of really quick tips in case you have been in the same boat as me:

    Tip1: I have found several ebooks on Project Gutenberg and The Google Books that I wanted to add to my library for later perusing.

    Oddly, some books on Google cannot be added to your online library – some are only downloadable as an eBook. Between those books and ones from Gutenberg, I thought it would be nice to add them to the Kindle app on my iPad. Read More | Comments

  • Jul5

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    1886 Marriage Record Detail: Joseph Vanac and Antonie Straka, Zamlyni, Czech RepublicI have begun to keep track of my Czech family homes listed in records I find on Actapublica. Here are the first – 4 of which found in a 1886 single marriage record for my great-grandparents Vaclav Vanac and Antonia Straka.

    Each location still has the original home in place – although the Zamlyni home has been added onto or had portions replaced. (See my previous post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home for a family photo matched to the Predmir home.)

    I am hoping that as I find more records on Actapublica, mapping them will give me a better picture of the local emigrations that occurred, as well as provide a nice tool to show to the rest of the family.

    Also, using the rich text functionality of Google Maps markers I can include links directly to the original records right on the map. This one marriage record, for example, has 3 different family homes listed in it: the Vanac family in Luckovice #34, the Brousilova family in Pisek #6, the Straka family in Zamlyni #3 and the Komanova family in Dobsic #8.

    (Pisek #6 has three potential results and needs further research – all have been added to the map for now.)

    Finally, Czech folk: Please excuse my not using the diacritics for these location name in this post.


    View Czech Family Locations in a larger map