• Technology
  • Sep25

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    A site well-known to genealogists has this dandy message about cookies that pops up across the top of one’s screen. Over. and over. and over. and over.

    I finally took a minute to look into it, and seems someone from their support forum helpfully mentioned to another (un-)interested party that when one’s browser has the “do not track” setting enabled, there is no way to stop the cookie message.

    She also suggested that their developers “would love to her feedback regarding this banner.”

    I have sent them the following message/request, and am also posting it here in a stand of anti-cookie message on all sites. LET US STAND TOGETHER AND EAT ALL THE COOKIES.

    Feedback message:

    Over the last few months I’ve found the “cookie warning” at the top of the page comes back over and over and is terrifically annoying. I see in the online support forum that someone said it is related to the “do not track” browser setting and that there is no way to stop the message if that setting is enabled.

    They also mentioned that the Developers would love to hear feedback, so here’s mine:

    1. Do Not Track is enabled because I want it to be.
    2. Every site and their grandmother’s site on the Internet uses cookies. It is a staple of the Internet diet.
    If someone doesn’t already know this, then the message is only going to confuse them – “Wait WHAT? THEY ARE TRACKING ME” the more uninformed paranoid might say. I doubt any of the uninformed are saying “Oh, They’re tracking me – GREAT I WAS LONELY.”

    If some crazy legal thing has occurred that is making such a message necessary, I would have to say there is probably a better way to implement it. I do not have this problem on any other site – when I do see cookie messages, they are always one-off’s, at least until I clear my browser cache. Which of course, ironically, clears out one’s cookies.

    So, Dear Developers,
    Please make the cookie message go away. Or at least send me some real cookies. Chocolate chip. no nuts.

  • Sep10

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    Hello, Fax!

    Posted in: Technology

    After several years of intermittent tracking down possibly related Tierney family records, I have not really gotten anywhere with transcription-type records from sites like Roots Ireland.

    Ce n'est pas ma famille.

    Ce n’est pas ma famille.

    I have little to go on in Ireland for that part of the tree. While Tierney is not too bad a surname to search for in the scheme of things, they are hide and seek champions. Also, my related McDonald and Murphy lines are really giving me a run for my money.

    And, after many attempts at triangulating relevant records on Roots Ireland, the money is running out.

    If you don’t have time for the long version of this story, feel free to scroll down to the tool tip section below…

    So, I’ve decided to start a different tactic – Instead of fussing with “credits” and the resulting, resounding sounds of  “ARGH!” rolling down my street as I realize I have purchased yet another completely unrelated transcription record, I will be ordering photocopy versions of original records directly from GRO Ireland at €4. a pop.

    While there might not be too much of a savings involved in this change, I will at least have original documents to look at and will avoid relying on possibly mis-transcribed records. That will make me feel a bit better at least. So will chocolate chip cookies.

    (To make sure I have the hang of the ordering process first I will start by tightening up the old tree by ordering original certificates for my relatively well-known Egan & Farrell lines near Ferbane in Kings County.)

    If you would like a quick primer on how to order certificates from GRO Ireland, visit their Apply For Certificates page. Of course, you’ll probably want to use the Civil Registration Indexes (1845-1958) on Familysearch to look for possible records to purchase first.

    Tool Tip – Hello Fax!

    Now, with all of that background out of the way – to the real purpose of this post: As I filled out the GRO order form, my Oxymoronic Genealogical Impatience™ quickly kicked in when I noticed that you can fax certificate applications into the GRO. Forget that crazy old postal mail thing. That’s 20th century stuff, man. FAXING – THAT’S WHERE IT’S AT.

    However, I do not own a fax machine at home any longer, and I can’t really start faxing Ireland from my company systems at lunch. (Well, I could, but you know, I’m the IT Director and that really wouldn’t be a good idea.)

    Then I found that hello fax is offering a deal if you sign up with your Google account

    In honor of our launch, get 50 free fax pages / month & unlimited e-signatures

    Within 5 minutes of creating the account I had sent off my first few certificate orders to GRO Ireland.

    In addition to Google Drive, you can also integrate the service with other commonly used services – not a bad deal for free. The only thing that is not entirely clear is how long the 50 free pages/month will last – we’ll see!

    Hello Fax Integrations

  • Jun13

    1 Comment

    I have been adding the basics of my family tree to the new Familysearch  – dig that new fan chart!

    Today I was working on one of my Czech lines, which of course contain all sorts of fun and exciting ácčěntéd characters. After I added my great-grandfather Vaclav Vaňáč and started to work on his parents, I looked up and realized there was an issue. Although the name shows properly in the “Vital Information” section of the main page, his name in the profile header mysteriously doesn’t contain the “ň” or the “č” – but still does have the accented “á”. Hmmm.

    I tried to send a message to the Familysearch support folks via their help center, but kept getting the error “Unable to create a case in our support system. Please try again later.

    Thus, wrote up this blog post to use when trying again later.

    Familysearch Missing Characters Capture

  • 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


    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