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Technology Mumbo Jumbo

RMC: Creating a Database and Installing TNG

Alright folks, today is the big day! Are you ready to install TNG? I do have to warn you, you will have to have some kind of webhosting. If you haven’t found one yet, you just have to be sure that they support PHP and MySQL, and if you’re paying for a webhost that doesn’t support them, you should probably switch. There are great options. I use Dreamhost, but have used others in the past. I believe Darrin has some recommedations at the TNG website, so check those out if you haven’t already!

Before we start, other then webhosting you will need at least one other program for installing. If you want to delve into customization, then I recommend a second program also for editing. We aren’t going to get into that today though. Today is just the nuts and bolts of getting TNG installed for the first time.

The program you’ll definitely need is an FTP program. I currently use FileZilla, but there are many free FTP programs out there that work just the same. If you’ve set up a webhost, they should have sent you a login for an FTP program.

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Ordering an Extract from Scotlands People

On January 10th, I ordered a marriage extract from the Scotland’s People website. It came in yesterday. So it took less time and money for a record from Scotland then it did for a record from New Jersey. Okay, a record from New Jersey two years ago. I haven’t ordered one recently to see if my luck holds up. I have one ready to go though, so this will be a good test.

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On the left, we have the scanned copy that I ordered from Scotland’s People on January 10th. It shows on the bottom that they printed out this page on the 21st of January. The postmark on the envelope reads the 23rd of January. I received it on the 1 February. So that means it takes about 11 days to process the request, 2 days for them to then send it out, and finally about 9 days for it to go across the pond and end up in Southern Maryland.

The differences in the images are minor. As you can see, the one on the left (mailed version) has the brightness and contrast up higher. It gives it the more xerox-y look. Sometimes it makes the fading ink easier to read, but not all the time. What is harder to tell in the pictures above is that the mailed version is blown up a little bit. I know it seems silly to say, since computer files can be manipulated, however the text is bigger without the pixelation that happens to the one on the right when I try to re-size it. The digital file is one resolution and that’s it. If you make any changes, you’re just compressing and stretching that resolution. I’m unsure if the Records Office in Scotland makes a copy of the original or prints out a digital copy from the computer. This could be the difference I’m seeing. By viewing the header on the digital copy, I do know that the images you view on Scotland’s People are the microfilms done by the Genealogical Society of Utah.

The big difference between these two is that the mailed version comes on watermarked paper with a raised seal. In the big scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal, however, I like to have “official” records for my direct line. That’s just a personal preference for me. I think the total cost of the record on the left was $19.15. The estimated cost of the record on the right (converting from pounds to dollar and then dividing the cost of the credits) is $1.95. So that’s quite a big difference, but just know that you have to buy at least 30 credits on Scotland’s People. That comes out to about $11.08 in American dollars, then I estimate about a $0.50 foreign transaction fee. Also be aware that it takes 5 credits to view an image on Scotland’s People and 1 credit to view a page of search results.

My strategy is to utilize the Family Search Scotland indexes, then I can be very smart about my search terms. Have you tried out Scotland’s People yet for your across the pond needs?

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Family Search or Scotland’s People (I wish, a genea-job would be so much fun.). I was not compensated for this article, I don’t expect compensation for this article. I like finding work arounds to my home bound problem. I just got off the treadmill, and went Scotland record searching. The internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

So I have Google+, Now What?

I have Google+

Now comes the hard decision. Do I use it for strictly family or do I use it for something else. Which by the way, only has 2 people so far. My long lost very helpful cousin, Grace and my big brother… who has been on Google+ for eight years already… Okay so that was an exaggeration. It’s not like yoau don’t know that when you read my blog. My brother is a computer guru, and I think he knows people at Google or Google tried to hire him once, something like that. He’s also the genius who when I complained about a frequent crashing of my family tree program, he answered “So write your own.” Yeah. Like that was gonna happen computer guru.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about my genius computer guru brother. He doesn’t read my blog anyway. He does visit the website though, and he pays for the domain, but that’s more like a history of the website story there.

I like the idea of using my Google+ as a genealogy networking thing that can eventually incorporate my family in also. However I was a little concerned that Google suggested I add Paris Hilton to my circle. It’s not like I have anything against Paris Hilton, because I certainly don’t. I love watching her aunts on The Real Housewives, I just don’t want to have her in my circle.

I know most have had this for awhile now. Either I’m slow to catch up to things or Google didn’t think I was cool enough to have it yet. The point is, I have it now, and I want to use it! So if you get some crazy lady adding you to her circle. That’s just me, adding everyone to my Google+ circle. Now excuse me while I go pretty up my profile with things like words!

For those who need an invite still, I have 150:

Tech Tuesday: New printer, Epson Stylus NX625

Epson Stylus NX625

I made a decision and stuck with it, not like that whole not renewing thing. (I may or may not have renewed it at 11:30pm last night. I’m weak.) After researching too many printers then I should have the other day, I finally found my replacement. I decided on the Epson Stylus NX625. At first I was going to get my first choice, but in the time I took to think about it and when I decided to get it, the website had taken it off sale. Having decided that happened for a reason, I went back to the drawing board and was going to get the Epson Stylus 420. Upon further review, I noticed that the 625 was actually only $20 more expensive and I knew I had $10 in reward points I could use. So I went with the 625.

Here are the things I like about it:

  • It set up wirelessly so easily. It gave me a little trouble but I ended up hooking it up temporarily with a USB and setting it up. Once it was installed, I unplugged the USB, set up the wireless and nothing could stop me! All my computers now print to the one printer and I can have my desktop off and print from my laptop. That’s a big thing for me because I like to shut off my desktop and use my laptop when I want to actually focus on genealogy.
  • The print quality is much better then my previous printer! I didn’t see anything wrong with my previous printer’s quality. However, the new one is much crisper and faster then the old one.
  • The paper loading is much easier. There is a paper tray on the bottom that pulls all the way out so I can load the paper. My old printer didn’t have a tray. You just kind of laid the paper in place and hoped it was correct.
  • Double sided printing. This is by far my favorite thing. I can print on the front and back of the paper without doing anything but clicking a box! It’s beautiful and marvelous and fantastic all in one.
There aren’t many but there are a few drawbacks so far:
  • The price of the color ink is a bit high for my tastes, but so far I think it’s going to last longer then the old printer did. So I don’t mind paying a bit more. The high prices are even for the high capacity ink. So I have a feeling it will definitely be worth it.
  • The SD card doesn’t automatically transfer pictures. I can manually do it, but before when I inserted my memory card into the reader, Windows would pop up and ask if I’d like to import pictures. So while this isn’t a deal breaker, it might mean I transfer pictures a little less.
Overall, I think I made a good purchase and I can’t wait to dig in and finally print out some things I haven’t been able to!
Note: I was not asked to write this review. I was not compensated by either company to write this review.

It’s time to research an Upgrade

In November of 2010 I wrote up a post about how much I loved my Kodak ESP Printer/Scanner combo. Well, the time has come to replace my printer. I’ve been telling my family it’s gone “Skynet” on me. (Sorry for the Terminator reference, I’m a nerd.) I’m also hoping to take advantage of the back to school sales around town.

When I say Skynet, I mean it’s going absolutely crazy. It won’t print, it barely scans, and it won’t let me do any of the “maintenance” to try and fix it. It basically does what it wants, when it wants. Including shooting paper out at me. So I’m just done with it. I’ve had it for a couple of years, and I’m curious to try a wireless printer so I doubt I put my all into troubleshooting.

My current Kodak ESP-3 from November 2010

Now comes the hard part of finding a replacement. I don’t want to spend over $100 and I want to get as close to $50 as I can get. Also, while I enjoyed the cheaper ink, I think I’m more open to going with another brandWhile it was cheaper then what my Mom pays for her laser printer, it does run out quicker. In fact, I blew through 20% of my new ink cartridges trying to get the printing problems fixed. So that’s another source of my frustration.

So here are the top contenders so far:

Epson WorkForce 520 All-in-One

I’m not too over the moon about the Fax option since I don’t fax. However a lot of the all-in-ones out there have a fax option. The ink is definitely more expensive then my Kodak, but I would hope it at least lasts longer. The Customer Reviews on seem to be luke warm for this machine, so I definitely wanted to see what else was out there.

Epson Stylus 420 Color Ink Jet All-in-One

I do really like this one. It has the memory card slot which is good because that’s the only way I remember to upload photos from my camera. It doesn’t have the unnecessary (for me) fax option. The Customer Reviews are mostly good. The only drawback people seem to be finding is that if one cartridge is empty it won’t print. That is quite annoying but I think I could learn to live with that if the ink doesn’t drain fast. Checking out the ink prices didn’t give me sticker shock either.

Kodak ESP 5250 All-in-One Printer

I like that I’m familiar with this brand and style of printer. It’s less of a learning curve for me. This one is more expensive then the other ones I was looking at but I’m positive that my Walmart carries the ink for it. However, I’m a little wary about how fast the ink was running out. Also, the out of nowhere, for no reason tech issues that popped up. I’m looking for a no fuss printer/scanner. Maybe I’m asking for too much?

Kodak ESP 7250 All-in-One Printer

For some reason, this is the front runner for me. I know I have a lot of criticisms for my last Kodak printer, but I think it’s different if you know going in. Switching brands means a complete learning curve. I know the quirks, I know the advantages. It’s like slipping on my fluffy pajamas in the winter time. I like the Wi-Fi capabilities. Supposedly I can print straight from my iPhone. That could be a nice feature if I ever take a picture on there worth printing. The Customer Reviews show easy network hookups. That’s a big one for me. We have a lot of computers in the house and all of them have had to have their own printers for some reason. (Yes, I’m a nerd who can’t figure out home networks, sue me! … Actually don’t sue me.) If even just my sister would be able to print from my printer, it’d be a big headache reducer in house.

Does anyone out there in cyberspace have a printer/scanner combo that they love? What makes a deal breaker for you? I think one of my deal breakers will be if they are available for the advertised prices in my local Best Buy.

I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies. Kodak’s twitter did re-tweet me after my glowing blog post about my printer in November. However, I wasn’t compensated before or after that blog. I am in no way obligated to any of these companies. Please don’t sue me, I have nothing for you to take anyway except my membership and a Diet Dr. Pepper. Neither of which I’m obligated to mention.



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