The Latest Technology for Genealogists Dick Eastman October 20, 2007
A Look at Devices to Expand or Simplify Genealogy Research Digital cameras, portable scanners, PDAs … Just a few of the new technologies available to modern genealogists. Today’s Discussion: The Latest in Genealogy Tools
Genealogy Tools? • Most tools not designed for genealogy, but they work well for multiple uses. • Recommendation: Do not purchase a tool exclusively for genealogy work: Make sure it’s multi-purpose!
Tools for today’s discussion • Laptop computers • Handheld computers • Scanners • Digital cameras • GPS • Communications Devices
Laptop Computers • Take your computer to the courthouse! • Laptop computers are not new… • What is new: POWER!Today’s laptop could be your only computer!
Example: Today’s Laptop PCs Toshiba M3 • 1.86 GHz CPU • 80 GB hard drive • 512 MB RAM memory • Built-in CD-DVD/RW and wireless networking • Windows XP • 5 pounds • Price: $1849.99
Lower-priced Example Compaq M2000 • 1.6 GHz CPU • 40 GB hard drive • 256 MB RAM memory • Built-in CD-DVD/RW and wireless networking • Windows XP • 6.5 pounds • Price: $529.99
An Even Lower-priced Example Wal-Mart, Staples, best Buy and others sold laptops on “Black Friday” for $399!
Ultra Portable Example Asus R2H • Roughly the size of a VHS tape • 7” screen • 900 MHz processor • 60 GB hard drive • 768 MB RAM memory • Wireless networking • Windows XP • 2.4 pounds • Price: $875 to $999
Tiny Can go with you anywhere Limited functionality Limited storage (but improving) Handheld computers
Genealogy Software for Palm OS • GedStar • Pro - $29.95 • Plus - $19.95 • Basic - $13.95 • My Roots – $24.95
PocketPC Handhelds • Excellent PDAs • Generally more powerful than Palm • 8 to 256 MB RAM memory • Better communications • Hard drives may be added
Some PocketPC computers have keyboards! • Hewlett-Packard Jornada
Genealogy Software for PocketPC Handhelds • My Roots - $24.95 • The Pocket Genealogist • Basic Edition $20 • Advanced Edition $35
The Pocket Genealogist • 3-Generation Screen • Parents • Current couple • Children
The Pocket Genealogist Individual Information Clicking on tabs across top of screen moves to other screens
The Pocket Genealogist Events Clicking on Event type allows editing of different Events
The Pocket Genealogist Individual Notes Full support of text notes, up to maximum size of available storage memory
Scanners The big news in scanners is prices… …falling like a rock!
Watch for Bargains! • Hewlett-Packard Scanjet 4600 Recently available for $29.94 (after rebate)
Moving up a Bit in Price Adds Features • Canon LiDE 35 • Recently available for $49.99 (after rebate) • Self-powered • Handles larger documents
Prices Vary Widely Hewlett-Packard Scanjet 5550c will produce higher quality scans. Has a built-in sheet feeder Not very portable Price: $299
My Recommendation • Plan to spend $50 to $100 for a good general-purpose portable scanner but more for a high-resolution desktop unit. • Do not be mislead by specifications, such as “dpi.” Quality is difficult to measure!
Not All Scanners Are For Your Desk Visioneer SXP1001-DB • Travels with you • Color or black-and-white • One sheet at a time • Price: $179.95
A Handheld Scanner! QuickLink Pen by WizCOM Technologies, Ltd. • Scans a line of text at a time and converts to text by OCR • Easily transferred to PC, Mac, Palm, or Windows CE • Price:$139.95
Digital Cameras Big news in digital cameras: • More capability • Lower prices
What’s New in Digital Cameras? More pixels! • Typical example: Minolta Dimage S414 • 4 Megapixel CCD • Price: roughly $200
What’s New in Digital Cameras? More pixels! • Nikon D70 • 6.1 Megapixel CCD • Price: $899.99 +
Image Storage • Early cameras • Stored images in memory • Required cables to copy to a PC • Today’s cameras store images in: • Flash Memory cards • Floppy disk • Memory Sticks • Mini-CD
How About Batteries? • Early cameras and some modern ones used expensive rechargeable batteries • Many now use penlight cells • Disposable ones are easily available • Rechargeable penlight batteries are also available • Don’t be caught with dead batteries at a critical moment!
Removable USB Drives • Also known as Jump Drives or Flash Drives • Store from 16 megabytes to four gigabytes or more • Prices vary from $3.99 to $150, depending upon storage
Removable USB Drives • Can be found in all sorts of devices
GPS Global Positioning Satellitesystems • Identify your locationany place on earth +/- 10 feet • Popular in aviation, trucking, boating, fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities • Why would a genealogist use GPS?
To Find Cemeteries! • Locate a cemetery on the U.S. Government’s geographic names information service at: http://geonames.usgs.gov/ • Note cemetery’s latitude & longitude • Enter coordinates into GPS • Drive to the cemetery!
GPS Prices • …vary from $90.00 • (at Wal-Mart)
GPS Prices • …to $899 • (also at Wal-Mart)
GPS Prices • …to more than $2,000 • In this Lexus • NOTE: The cheap ones work better for finding cemeteries!
Another Option: Use a PC! • Delorme Earthmate • Simple to use • Inexpensive at $65 • Requires a laptop or handheld computer
Advanced GPS Tools • Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) • USGS TerraServer Maps
Maple Grove Cem., Bangor, ME • From GNIS • Longitude - 68.81017W • Latitude - 44.85446N
Maple Grove Cem., Bangor, ME • From TerraServer • Longitude - 68.81017W • Latitude - 44.85446N
What Other Electronics Should You Take to the Cemetery? • Walkie-Talkies! • Prices vary from $20 to $75 per pair • Suggestion: Do not buy the cheapest models as you will be disappointed!
Wireless Modems • Full wireless modem capability via laptop card • Surf the Web, search online databases, send/receive e-mails, and more • DSL speed! • $60/month, unlimited usage
Handheld Wireless Combine a handheld PDA with a cell phone! This unit contains my complete genealogy database of 3,000+ persons!
Handheld Wireless It also functions as a high-speed wireless modem with a laptop PC. $39.95/month for unlimited high-speed EDGE data service.
Now you can... Check an online database while you are still at the courthouse Do genealogy searches while riding a commuter train Send/receive e-mails at any convenient time
Summary • High-Tech devices are becoming commonplace in American life • Many devices are useful for genealogy and other uses • Prices continue to fall