Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Amazing Things I Learned This Last Weekend

My "Techie Friends" all look at me like I just crawled out of a cave...and that's exactly how I feel.
I knew I was a little behind on all this social media stuff and I never have been much of a computer wizard.  In fact I have been known to use a few swear words and threaten to throw my computer out the window when it wasn't doing what I thought it should.  I use the same approach with my son.  It doesn't work with him either.

I'm much more comfortable when the printed word comes with pages I can actually turn and maybe a little dust on the cover.  I've been spotted sitting amongst the stacks at libraries and bookstore. I've even been locked in a library when it closed because I was so absorbed I didn't hear the closing announcement.

So imagine the shock and surprise my family and friends are experiencing these days.  I have not only embraced this brave new world...but I've dived in head first and am in danger of drowning.

I had no idea just how far behind I was.  Don't blink in this "techie" world...or you're doomed.

It all started when my husband wanted to update his phone.  He found we could get new Droids, both of us, a two for one deal.  I was perfectly happy with my little flip phone that did nothing but make calls and text.  To tell the truth, I would have preferred if it had no text feature.  I hate texting...I'm all thumbs, and not in a good "texting" way.  However, my hubby wanted his new phone and I thought what the heck, it might have some cool genealogy apps.

That was the beginning of it all.

I learned how to take pictures with my new phone.  Cool.  I text a lot more too.  The best app my phone has?  Find a Starbucks.

Then this last weekend I went to RootsTech.  A Genealogy conference that focused on the technological aspects of genealogical research.  The teachers and vendors there taught us all about a multitude of wonderful technological gizmos.

One of the best classes I attended was, of course, my friend Tami Glatz's class about Cool Tools to Enhance Your Online Research.  I'm a little biased of course, but I really do think she gives a heck of a class.  Her class was full, so I must not be the only one with that opinion.

Lisa Louise Cooke also gives a wonderful presentation.  I have attended about five different lectures of her's now and they are always very informative and send me home with huge to do lists.  This last one was on using Google Earth.  I never dreamed of the inventive way she uses this product.  Amazing.  I (and about 70 other people) ran out of her class to the book store vendor and grabbed up her book The Genealogist's Google Toolbox and her two DVDs Google Earth for Genealogy and Google Earth for Genealogy Vol. II.

My only complaint with Lisa Louise Cooke's class was that the conference put her in a small room that only set 72 people.  I had seen Lisa lecture last June at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree and knew she could fill the "big tent" that seats more than 200 people.  I'll bet next year she'll be in the big room.

I also went to a class on Using Your Android Phone for Genealogy and Family History given by David Lifferth and Michael Helmantoler.  I will never look at my phone quite the same again.  I learned how to geocode my photos taken by my phone and a ton of other stuff.

If you didn't make RootsTech this year you really missed out and you should plan on attending next year.

I gave Tami a run down on the things I learned this weekend and even though she had taught me most of it she was still pretty amazed. Here's the list.

I learned to Blog, and Tweet.  I learned to tether my phone to my PC to gain access to the Internet.  I learned about FourSquare, Lulu, the Cloud, and Dropbox.  I learned more about Second Life and the genealogical things you can do there (I even attended an APG meeting in Second Life (SL).  As already mentioned I learned about more Google Tools such as Google Earth and Google Reader and I learned about Geocoding.

Some of amazing people I met or got to know better include:  Lisa Louise Cooke, Anne Roach (who deserves a big hand for putting on such an great conference), Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Lisa Alzo, Thomas MacEntee, A. C. Ivory, and last but certainly not least is Dear Myrtle.  Most of these people have their own terrific blogs and the easiest way I know to get to them is to download Tami's Relatively Curious Toolbar.  She has a little icon you just click on and voilรก you're there. (It's free try it out).

Keep watching this space...I interviewed Louise St. Denis from National Institute for Genealogical Studies today using Skype and I will post that interview sometime this week.  She gave me a great gift to give to my readers.  You'll have to check back to find out what that is.  So until next time...

1 comment:

  1. The fact that you're using a blog to share all the new things you learned shows you aren't as behind as you think you are. In fact, you sound quite hip talking about how you use your phone and whatnot.

    Looking forward to hearing about the "gift" you have...