Blue Springs is the largest of the springs feeding the St. Johns River and, with a year-round water temperature of 73°, it provides a winter home for a number of manatees. If you would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of Florida’s commercial attractions and enjoy a bit of Florida’s natural beauty, pay a visit to Blue Springs State Park.
iFiles [iOS - $3.99] is the Swiss Army knife for iOS file management. You’ll be amazed at the things you can do with this app:
- Copy, move, rename and delete files on your device.
- Create folders.
- Zip and unzip files.
- Upload photos from you device to photo-sharing sites.
- Share files with others via wi-fi or Bluetooth (iThing to iThing).
- Email files as attachments.
- Preview iWorks and MS Office files as well as PDF documents and most image formats.
- Print files using AirPrint.
In addition to its file manager functionality, iFiles is also a voice recorder, a web browser and an FTP client. It supports a growing number of online services such as Dropbox, MobileMe, Google Docs, Flickr, Picasa and more.
Set up is quick and easy. Actual file management is even easier. Swipe your finger across a file or folder to display the functions menu, choose the function and follow the steps. For example, swipe across a file name, choose the Move command, then select the folder you want it moved to from the folder list. Sharing between devices is just that simple too.
iFiles is an amazing tool with tons of features yet surprisingly easy to use. If there’s more than one iOS device in your family, this will make it so easy to handle files that you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.
Diigo, the bookmarking platform for researchers, has built a browser for the iPad. iChromy [iPad -free] has a funny name, but after spending the evening working with it, that name is sounding real good.
The first thing you’ll see is tabbed browsing – with real tabs. After years of tabs on desktop browsers, tabs at the top of the screen are second nature. I’ve missed them on the iPad, but no more. The address bar does double-duty as the search bar. And, all you do to bookmark a page is tap the star at the right of the address bar. It turns gold and this page is bookmarked. Tap the open book icon just to the right of the address bar to display your bookmarks.
Want to open a link in a new tab? Do a long tap on that link and a popup menu offers you options to open it in a tab, a background tab or add it to the offline reading list. The difference between a tab and a background tab is that the background tab opens the new page, but the browser stays focused on the current page.
Select some text on a web page and not only will you see the standard Copy command, iChromy also offers the opportunity to do a search based on your selected text. I love it!
Notice the glasses icon just to the right of the bookmark star? Tap it and iChromy will save the displayed page for offline reading. Tap the pages icon to display those saved pages.
The share icon displays the menu you see here. Yes, you can send a page to your Diigo bookmarks along with social networks. Tap the More button to find Evernote, Instapaper, Tumblr and other sharing options. With this browser, you can now actually do some serious research on your iPad.
I’m very impressed with this browser and quickly getting comfortable with its operation. One look at the reviews in the App Store shows I’m not alone. And, knowing Diigo, I’m sure this is just the beginning and this little browser will only get better.
Mission of Nombre de Dios
Miles Hancock was a native of St. Augustine, born here about 1841. He enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops in Jacksonville, Florida in March, 1865, and was sent to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Miles and his wife, Sarah, lived on West King Street with their daughters, Anna, Belle, Christina and Frances. He worked as a gardener and drayman.
Miles died November 15, 1886. Sarah applied for a pension based on his service in 1888. She passed away in 1890.
- Ancestry.com. U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865 [database on-line].
- Compiled Death Records 1800 – 1899, St. Johns County, Florida
- St. Johns County Cemetery Records
- Ancestry.com. St. Johns, Florida, United States. 1870 U.S. Census Population Schedule. [database on-line].
- Ancestry.com. St. Johns, Florida, United States. 1885 U.S. Census Population Schedule. [database on-line].
- Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885. St. Johns County. Ancestry.com.
I’m a big fan of Susan Branch and Girlfriends Forever is my favorite book. The VW convertible caught my attention, but the book’s purpose grabbed my heart. The book is a celebration of friends.
We spend most of our time focused on the family, but friends are just as special. And, think how much fun creating your own book can be. The hangouts, hot dates, hair-dos and heartaches combine with fads, photos, food and a bit of current events to document your friends at every stage of your life. What fun you can have with this project!
Susan’s book is full of ideas for design and content and today’s technology offers additional opportunities. For example, a photo collage in print is hard to caption but a digital project allows you to tag photos with names, dates and places while maintaining the collage design. And, using Facebook as a research tool, try posting an old photo tagged with friends’ names. It could help you reconnect with them – and find that name you forgot.
Just writing this post has brought all kinds of memories flooding back from birthdays in the backyard to favorite records played at slumber parties. No source citations are needed here – just names and dates and places. The result will be a fun project for you to enjoy and a fascinating treasure to pass on to future generations.
Who remembers Bobbie Brook’s shirtwaists?
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is near.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is near.
Now that we’ve looked at the major components in WeRelate, it’s time to see how all this can come together for research and collaboration. We each have our own research style, so I’m throwing out a list of ideas that you can choose to incorporate into your style or adjust to fit it.
- Do you want to get your feet wet, but are afraid of inadvertently deleting something important? No problem, experiment to your heart’s desire in the Sandbox site. This is a duplicate of the main site created just for users who want to practice something before they put it in place on the live site. There’s also a Sandbox page in the Help section used to get you comfortable with the wiki editor.
- The Surname in Place pages (example: Barker in Chattooga, Georgia, United States) make a great place to not only document useful resources, but also maintain your research log and todo list for the group.
- Follow the links at the bottom of any page to other pages associated with this one. My Surname in Place page links to the Barker Surname page, the Chattooga County page and the Barker in Georgia page. A little browsing in these related pages might hook you up with others researching your family or places.
- Your own User page is a great place to bookmark WeRelate pages associated with your research. Not only does it make it easier for you to move within the platform, but it lets other researchers see at a glance which families and places you are researching.
- Watch pages related to your research. Just click the Watch link in the sidebar (shown as Unwatch here) of any page. In this example, you can see I am watching this page. Click on my username in the sidebar and you will be taken to my User page. This is a great way to find – and be found by – research cousins. Also, when you watch a page, you will be notified when anyone makes a change to that page.
- Take advantage of the growing number of portals and research guides available within WeRelate. You’ll find research guides covering a broad range of topics – from ethnic groups and historical events to cemeteries and sources. Check both the watchers and contributors (by looking at the page’s History) to find possible collaborators.
- As you discover research resources online, add them to the appropriate place pages or research guides so others can find them too. Every addition adds value to the entire community.
- You can use article pages to include additional content related to your people and places. One group has included pages as a notebook for a significant family or to provide analysis of their research.
WeRelate offers a tremendous amount of flexibility, adjusting to your research style rather than forcing you into a style you may find awkward. The toughest adjustment is learning the wiki editor, but even that will quickly become second nature. Few platforms offer the potential to connect and collaborate like those found here. So what’s stopping you?
See you on WeRelate!
verb [ trans. ] (usu. be curated)
select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition) :
both exhibitions are curated by the museum’s director.
cu•ra•tion |kyəˈrā sh ən| noun
Oxford New American Dictionary
This term has been popping up a lot lately and each time it is related to news. There is so much information being published daily that there is now a need for curation. News organizations are pulling in Twitter feeds, photos and personal blog posts to broaden their coverage of breaking news. Remember that awesome aerial photo of the Endeavour shuttle launch? Stephanie Gordon took the photo while flying to Florida and posted it to TwitPic. Just about every news organization in this country used the photo. [Many - but not all - even gave her the attribution she deserves.] Recently an enterprising young reporter for the New York Times was covering the tornadoes in Alabama. Because of the destruction, he found the only reliable way to send his reports from the scene was texting updates to Twitter. By pulling in his live feed and other on-site sources, the New York Times was able to provide real-time updates on their web site.
Closer to home, we are all curators of sorts in the collection of blogs and news sources we follow in our news reader. I know I’m not the only one who organizes Google Reader into topic folders and uses those folders to prioritize what I’m going to read first when time is short. Google Reader – and the Reeder app on my iPad – are still the best tools I’ve found to process large amounts of information quickly, but I’m now using the “star” button to save items I want to read at my leisure so I can fully enjoy them. And, since Flipboard gives me the ability to pull just my starred content into the app, I am reading those articles in an environment that gives them the design attention they deserve.
In the genea-verse, we are fortunate to have several curators pointing us to the best articles from the community each week. Their weekly posts offer links to great reads. In addition, many of us have become curators as we tweet links to articles we feel are of interest to all family historians.
Twitter never ceases to amaze me. You can create a Twitter account just to provide a custom stream of curated content. Or you can collect content using a saved search or by building a custom list of specific Twitter users. The apps that pull content from Twitter take advantage of each of these capabilities to give readers just the content they want. And, all this information is being distributed in real time – landing in your reader within minutes.
Although we have some impressive curators, we still don’t have a desktop reader providing the appropriate reading experience. Instead of just presenting the tweet’s contents, the mobile apps follow the links to the articles, photos and videos, bringing them all to us. And, not only do they present them in a very visual format, they also provide a view of the article at its original site. As someone who devotes effort to presentation as well as content, I’m thrilled to see that effort delivered to the reader and not stripped as in so many news readers.
In addition to Flipboard on the iPad, the Pulse app [iOS and Android - including NOOK Color] offers a magazine-style experience on smart phones and tablets. At this point, the best desktop experience comes from Twitter’s new web interface and the growing number of paper.li newspapers being published by members of the genealogy community. Hopefully, that will change soon.
News readers will continue to play a significant research role by processing large amounts of content quickly and efficiently, but these beautiful reading apps combined with curators pointing us to the best content allow us to relax and enjoy a delightful reading experience. All I need is a crossword puzzle and this would be my perfect alternative to the Sunday morning newspaper.
Blogger continues to have issues as it upgrades the platform to their new interface. At the same time, WordPress offers bloggers a growing number of features to improve both the blogging and reading experience. Is it time to make the move to WordPress?
Yes, I’m a big WordPress fan. I moved to WordPress from TypePad several years ago and find more reasons every day to love this platform. WordPress comes in two forms – the hosted version at WordPress.com and a self-hosted version you install and manage on your own. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but the basic WordPress functionality is the same.
WordPress.com offers a free account with 3GB of space, hundreds of themes, and a comment management system second to none. If you need more space, your own domain name or a custom theme, you can add those features at a very reasonable cost. WordPress.com is owned and operated by the same people who design and maintain the WordPress platform so updates are frequent and painless.
When you choose to host WordPress on your own site, you have more choices for themes and plugins, but you must also maintain the system yourself. WordPress has a one-click update system that is truly amazing, but not all themes and plugins are maintained at the same level of professionalism and can cause issues. When hosting yourself, you’re responsible for both the maintenance and troubleshooting efforts.
Both versions of WordPress offer some impressive options. In addition to blog posts, WordPress has a platform for static pages allowing you to create a complete web site using only the WordPress platform. Look at the top menu bar here at the Gazette and you will see a hierarchical system of pages discussing research resources, my family history and resources related to my book [The Future of Memories - $2.99. Get your copy today!]. Even the blog posts have an organizational system that you can use to give readers easy access to content written months and years ago. I’ve used WordPress categories to organize content by topics. The Inside the Gazette menu in the right sidebar gives readers quick access to the archives associated with each category. At the bottom of each post is a list of tags associated with the post. Click on any tag to find other posts assigned that tag.
The workarea is totally customizeable. You determine which components appear in the space and how they are arranged. If you prefer to have the Tags box above Categories, go into Screen Options and drag it where you want it. In the editor itself, you can quickly go from the visual editor to HTML by clicking the tab at the top of the toolbar.
Both versions have impressive media-handling capabilities, can post content via email and there’s a very nice iPad app for editing and publishing on the go.
So, the big question now is how hard is it to move. WordPress can import content from Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Posterous and several others. My experience moving from TypePad to WordPress was quite painless. The biggest issue is incorporating the new functionality – like categories and tags – with your old content. That will be a manual process, but one that can happen at your own pace. And, your original blog stays functional until your WordPress blog is just the way you want it. For that matter, unless you’re paying for additional space or functionality, there’s no need to shut the old one down at all. Just post a note telling everyone you’ve moved and give them the link to your new blog.
Concerned about learning a new system? Yes, WordPress has a longer learning curve that Blogger, but there’s some impressive help to get you started. Click on the Help button at the top of the editing screen to display context-specific help along with links to other topics. The tutorials in Learn WordPress.com offer a good overview of the entire system and WordPress.tv has a huge library of videos covering everything from basics to advanced topics.
As your family history grows through your blogging efforts, consider the advantages WordPress can offer for organizing and maintaining your posts to give each one the attention it deserves. As you gain experience and confidence in your blogging skills, you may want to move to a platform that gives you more flexibility. Take a look at WordPress. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.