Monday, April 20, 2009

CGSSD Meeting Summary - "Spring Cleaning for Genealogists" with Dorothy Miller

I attended the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday, 18 April in hopes of learning a bit more about RootsMagic 4 and working with my dirty computer. I wasn't disappointed. The program description and speaker's CV are here.

In the first hour, I attended Pam Journey's RootsMagic class. This is the first time that I've been to this class. There were 11 in attendance, and 10 of us have downloaded and are using RootsMagic 4. Pam demonstrated downloading and installing RM4. Using an existing database, she briefly navigated through several menus. Pam worked down the Tools menu and changed the background colors and other program and database option features. Then she demonstrated using the RootsMagic To Go feature to a flash drive, which was easy to do. After demonstrating the Web Search, she finished up by showing how to add more buttons to the top Icon menu row using the "More Buttons" option on the Icon menu row. This was the most useful thing I learned, since I've been working in RootsMagic 4 for a month now.

Dorothy Miller presented "Spring Cleaning for Genealogists" in the 10:30 a.m. hour. She had a three page handout that covered some of her talk - I took lots of notes! First up was cleaning the outside of the computer hardware - tower, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. using "canned air", cotton cloths, WD-40 and Q-tips for specific equipment. Then she talked about the inside of the computer tower (turned off, of course) - use short bursts of the "canned air" to blow dust off the fan and vents (but don't spin the fans). Dorothy talked a bit about Defragging, reducing the Startip programs, deleting items in MSConfig, and removed unused or old programs (how many genealogy programs do I have? 8, 10, 12? hmmm).

She talked about how to save copies of your email outside of the email client, how to keep your email running smoothly, and archiving email folders using the email client. She recommended saving and organizing photographs using Picasa ( Dorothy talked about keeping your genealogy and fmaily history data usable and safe by using local database backups, backups to removeable storage, and putting databases in a remote location on a regular basis. Finally, she listed her "archival postulates" in order to prevent loss of information both short-term and long-term. These included:

* Keep copies of important digital documents on at least two repositories
* If a backup copy is made by a program, keep a copy of the software program installation disk or downloaded software
* Periodically migrate documents to newer versions of program that can read the documents (e.g., Wordstar > MSWord > MSWord 2007, etc.).
* Periodically replace repository with newer technology (e.g., CD in Safe Deposit box > Carbonite online).

This was a very useful and informative presentation. Dorothy is an expert in this field, and she has great experience and counsel. Much of her presentation was on PowerPoint, but she would switch to her computer folders from time to time to demonstrate something. Or, it seemed like she did - perhaps that was a PowerPoint presentation too because everything worked instantly, I couldn't tell!

1 comment:

Patti said...

Don't spin the fans? why not? I take my computer out to the garage and air it out with the compressor, trying to be careful of course. But I always spin the fans.