01 December 2010

I love my new iPhone

So my husband and I recently bought new cell phones and we decided on getting the iPhone 3GS (because it is $100 cheaper than the new iPhone 4). I really wanted it because of the apps, especially the ones that could be used for genealogy. 

The first app I added (after Facebook) was the Ancestry.com Tree to Go. You can take pictures from your phone and add them directly to the tree. The photos that you've already added to your tree via the internet come out very clear on the phone as well. It shows events and research notes as well. My main use for this will be for reference if I'm out and about and the opportunity to do some research presents itself. It's also good for research trips so that I don't have to lug around my laptop. The downside is that you are not able to review your sources, such as census records. Ancestry.com does not have regular iPhone app either so that you can do searches on your phone. You can always go through the internet browser (Safari) though. I don't see myself doing a whole lot of research on it because it is a small screen. It is more for convenience sake and it's pretty neat since the app is free.

The other genealogy specific app I installed was the Families by TelGen Limited. It is specifically set up for a family tree from the Legacy Genealogy Software. I had to download a sync program to my computer, but once I did that it was very quickly added to my phone. My entire family tree at my fingertips! The photos looked great, but the most exciting thing was that all my sources, including images, were available! I was able to look directly at the birth certificates and other records added to my tree right on my cell phone! You can edit and make changes to the tree on your phone, including adding media, and it will sync back with the tree on your PC. Love it! This one was not free. It was $14.99 + tax, but it was worth every penny!

Two other apps I added that can be used for genealogy purposes were Evernote and an app called CamScanner. Both of these are free so that is a bonus. The CamScanner has a full version that you can buy, but right now I have only started using the "light" version. It basically turns your phone into a scanner. You take a picture of something (i.e. a document or a photo). It scans the image and you can either email it to yourself or upload it to Dropbox.com, Google Docs, or even Evernote. It has a couple of other options to upload to as well and the full version may have more. This is perfect for those family members who won't let you leave with photos. It would also be great for scanning documents in a library. I tested it on a photocopy I took of a book in a library. It came out great! 

I'm all set with all these tools to make researching easier... now I just need some extra time to do some research! Where's the app for that?

Wordless Wednesday

Arlene Rienerth, ca 1970's
This is a photo of my grandmother, Arlene. She passed away before I was born and I love this photo because it gives me a glimpse into her sense of humor.

Advent Calendar - The Christmas Tree

Oh, the Christmas tree... what a great place to start since setting up the tree and decorating it is what officially begins the Christmas season!

When I was growing up, we always had a real tree, though I don't remember how I felt about  the experience of having a real tree. I don't remember picking one out that we thought was perfect, driving it home, smelling the pine (a scent that I don't care for), and happily decorating it with ornaments. What I remember most about having a real tree were the pine needles... they pricked me as I was decorating, walking by, or if I just looked at the tree wrong. The tree shed its needles like a dog sheds fur. They were all over the floor, the furniture, me. It seemed to have a never ending supply of needles to drop on the floor.

I was responsible for cleaning them, which could explain my very fixed memory. I'm sure I didn't have to do so when I was younger, but I don't remember those times. I vacuumed after the tree was set up. I vacuumed every couple of days when the tree shed more needles... and then again... and then again... whenever a newly wrapped present was added... whenever the tree was watered...

After Christmas came the epitome of pine needles... when the tree was dried up and pretty much dead. It seemed as though the tree was attempting to get rid of every last needle before we could get rid of it! And there I was... vacuuming away.

Needless to say, as an adult, I do not buy real trees. It is all fake for me! I'm so happy pulling it out of its box and putting it up and I'm happy breaking it down and putting it back in its box after New Years. I am forgiving  when the wire branches sometimes poke me and when I still have to vacuum up relatively few "pine needles"!! I'm just grateful to have a non-shedding, scentless, never drying up and turning yellow tree. The cons of a fake tree are nothing compared to the magnitude of a childhood memory.

My beautiful well-loved fake Christmas tree in all its glory!
~ Just one little memory of Christmas trees... it had a bumpy start, but I love happy endings! ;)