Today’s post is going to be one of those me-talking-to-you, linkless versions of “my story.” Since I began composing this article on April 9—one day too many past that fateful deadline of April 8—I don’t dare include any online research results. It might be too risky.
I saw this train wreck coming for miles. In fact, if a day were a mile, I’d say I saw it heading my way from well over the state line.
When the thought hit me that I’d better get moving and do something about this imposition on my placid Luddite existence, my IT consultant (a.k.a. husband) was unavailable, out of state, speaking at a conference. Spring is, after all, our business’ busiest season. And while our business comes handily equipped with up-to-date computer equipment, my personal life does not.
Oh, I tried exploring the handy-dandy analytic link sent by the helpful Microsoft people—but who has time to sit and wait for a downloadable diagnostic to go through all its paces, when you’re constantly running out the door to the next appointment?
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am the first place winner of the Only-One-Left award for Windows XP stalwarts.
Yes, I am still using a desktop computer run on Windows XP.
Worse, my genealogy database is an antiquarian edition of Family Tree Maker—the kind of extinct version displayed only in museums, because none can still be found in their native habitat. My pre-dawn-of-history FTM program will likely not take kindly to upgrading to a new operating system. The fallout of computer evolution: survival of the fittest—in business competition, if not in quality database programs.
I will now pause for a brief, five minute intermission so you may laugh at me.
What do you do when you have a database of twelve thousand individual records, each person’s entry chock full of fields of sourced notes which don’t take nicely to gedcom-ing over to some glitzy new genea-toy? Believe me, I’ve tried. It would take so long to clean up the mis-applied data that it would be more worth my while to scrap the whole thing and start anew.
I’ve scoured the Internet for information on the best new options for such programs. For that matter, I need only pay keen attention to Randy Seaver’s frequent and informative customer reviews on his blog, Genea-Musings, to keep up to date on all the various genealogy products now on the market—hyperlink not provided here for obvious connectivity reasons; you who manage to keep up with the times may take the self-serve route via Google™.
Or I could take the opportunity next June, while attending the upcoming Genealogy Jamboree sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society, to seek out the booths for Legacy, Roots Magic, and even Family Tree Maker, to give each shiny, brand new model a test drive.
I’m afraid the trade-in value for my old clunker wouldn’t fetch much, though. It is worth far more to me than it is to anyone else. I know how to harness and drive my horse and buggy—in an age when everyone else is talking gas mileage and EPA emission standards.
Does it come as no surprise that, after all such product research, I’m still undecided?!
For those of you seriously concerned about my sanity—let alone my cyber-safety—let me assure you that my IT consultant and I had a date last night to go out and schmooze the local computer salespeople, haggle over prices for the best models, and gain that air-of-superiority sense of control after walking out of the showroom empty-handed. The search has begun.
In the meantime, I’ve foresworn myself off Internet connectivity—at least on my desktop. Slow and steady is my mantra as I resume this hunt for the ideal replacement computer. There is so much to consider, especially for a near-extinct, word-driven species such as I, caught in an image-consuming world. I have no need for graphics-driven gaming capabilities. Just give me a system which powers my word processing program—and plays nice with my wave keyboard—and I’ll be content. Especially if it also allows me to still run my genealogy database.
I’m a historian, for crying out loud—not a futurist! Yes, history does repeat itself, and we do need to learn from the mistakes so graciously demonstrated to us by our unwitting ancestors. But I’m afraid I share a common snip of DNA with the ostrich: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.