Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Computer Management!

If you've been following my blog the past couple of days or weeks (even months for some perhaps), you are aware then I just purchased a new computer. It was delivered and set up for me last Friday and since then, my life has been a zoo!

I've been trying to add in software I used on the other computer, rebuilding my e-mail address book, keeping up with my incoming/outgoing e-mails, maintaining my blog, adding new software I couldn't put on the other computer as well as my normal day-to-day stuff like watching the two little grandchildren, cooking the main meal of the day for the family and often, being the one getting stuck with cleaning up after cooking supper too. (The latter, although there is a 15-year-old here who is supposed to at least "occasionally" wash dishes and clean up after supper but often just happens to forget about little tasks like that!)

One bit of software that I got loaded in here on Sunday was my Family Tree Maker program. I have four family trees I have been working on for the past 8 years - on a computer - and as such, had a lot, and I do mean A LOT of data on them too. I had saved four of the trees about a year ago to cd with some help from my next door neighbor's son so yesterday I thought I would try to get that data from the cd's and placed into the program on my computer so I could be able to return to it and work on it easily then - doing additions, changes, etc., to them.

Boy, what a hassle that simple little project is becoming for me!

Try to comprehend what is meant by the words "export" and "append" with respect to a family tree and a cd in the D drive and what do you think they mean? Export, to me, would mean taking whatever data you are working with and sending it elsewhere - don't 'cha think? "Append" indicates to me that you are taking data and adding it to previous information or files. But, apparently I do not think quite the same way as whoever designed this aspect of working with family trees!

I do know -learned this the hard way a couple years ago - that if I "export" my files -either to put them online for all the world to view and use - in the process of doing that one must create a "GEDCOM." And, a GEDCOM is a file that is supposed to be compatible with virtually all family tree type software and with the area online where you can submit these files.

However, what the creators of the GEDCOM don't tell you is that if you do build one of those things and ship it to the great family tree database in cyberspace, that the little old GEDCOM will take any data it finds that give an indication of the person's age and it will obliterate it for the big database in cyberspace. It also doesn't tell you that it will ALSO go directly into YOUR computer, to YOUR files there and it will obliterate the same data there too!. Years of work entering dates of birth, marriage dates, etc., will be wiped out in one fell swoop! And it will create a lot of ranting, screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth and a very blue air in the area where you have your computer and these files stored too! Trust me on that - I know from first hand experience!

And, suppose another member of your family is working on family tree stuff too and would like you to share what data you have in your files with him/her and you follow their simple instructions to export that data to your other family member. Well, it will do the same thing to your files in that action too! Wipes out any dates that the programs perceive to indicate a person who could still be alive today!

Now, what sense does that all make? Be darned if I know! I can understand when you publish your tree online that to protect the privacy of some family members who don't want the world to know how old they are or when they got married, that it obliterates that data there - not a problem. But, for that software to double-back and dip into MY FILES and remove the data I worked long and hard to gather and enter there - well that is just plain WRONG and non-sensical. Also very mean-spirited too on the part of the person who developed that part of the software in my opinion!

But anyway - it seems I can't figure out how to move the data I have saved on my cd here of my family trees over to the computer and the program waiting to receive it.

It appears that now I am going to have to print off copies of each tree (saved in rich text format) and manually re-enter all that documentation to FOUR, not one, not two but to FOUR family trees! At least one tree has well over 1,000 people named in it, another has almost 700 family members and the other two have close to 1,000 people in them as well! It could be YEARS before I complete this task at hand now! After all, it took me 8 years to get it in there to begin with.

Of course, a lot of that time was spent in research mode too - but still, that's a lot of work all apparently going down the drain because of lack of simple instructions in how to reload data in to the trees when you purchase a new computer as well as their obnoxious behavior in obliterating some of the user's valuable data too!


And, with all that said and done - before I sign off - here's the Bushism for today!

"The fundamental question is, 'Will I b e a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' I will be, but until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective." - Wayne, Michigan; June 28, 2000.

Gee- that almost sounds like it could apply to me and my family tree issues, doesn't it? Will I be a successful author of four family trees by having to re-enter all this data, search for missing birthdates, marriage data,etc., etc.,...

Time will tell and be the master now, won't it?


Vic Grace said...

I get mine Friday. I hope it won't be traumatic, at least I don't have any family trees to worry about. Mostly I am worried about all the data I have from doing the local library's books. The worst scenario is I will have to go down there all the time to do them instead of working at home.

PS I always have to do the word verification twice on your site so I have started copying what I typed because sometimes it disappears.

Smalltown RN said...

Oh that sound like such a task....I commend you for doing it...anything that complex with regards to programming downloading and the sorts is my hubbies department. I don't even want to go there....

TomCat said...

Dang! I commented to this yesterday, and Google ate it. :-(

Have you checked the documentation on that horrid program?