If you live and breathe Microsoft Office and/or Outlook and OneNote (and Publisher even) when it comes to correspondence, notes, presentations, biographies, etc., for your genealogy work, and you are a Windows user (or Mac with the appropriate Windows virtualization software) and interested in where Office is going, Microsoft has made the Office 2007 Beta 2 available for public users.
You can get it (and the free license keys) here: www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx
It’s got a radical new interface, and quite a few other things have changed. It runs okay if you are using it under a Mac setup with Parallels Desktop for Mac.
It expires on February 1st, 2007. Keep in mind, it’s highly recommended you don’t use this for “production” work, i.e., don’t install over your old Office, and don’t load and save documents you have created with older versions of Office without first backing all of them up. That said, it’s interesting to see where they are going with this – obviously they are going after more online-collaboration and business, but still, it’s interesting to look at it. Personally, it doesn’t offer me anything that I absolutely need – I’ve been using other word processors for my normal word processing, and for publishing newsletters, etc., I’ve been using Apple’s Pages, but I do like to check things out.
If you don’t want to go through with downloading it or ordering it by mail, you can read eWeek’s review of it.
I haven’t been paying attention – one of my favorite genealogy applications, Clooz, has left it’s 2.0 beta testing and has now been formally released. The author refers to it as an “electronic filing cabinet ” for genealogy documents and files, and that’s pretty much an apt description.
The 2.0 series had a complete rewrite – in “.Net”, meaning it requires Windows XP unfortunately. Among the significant updates – new templates, census substitutions (for those times you can’t find somebody in the census, this is a good way to document where they were around then), and map tracking/information/storage, and most importantly, GEDCOM importing.
One thing I thought was pretty cool, they’ve added what is basically a building history area to track buildings and land that were important to your ancestors – I’ve mentioned before that people are starting to get into doing research on places and structures.
Yesterday saw the release of Apple’s MacBook. I have one in my hands (and am in fact typing this from it). I got one of the last half dozen in the store, I believe.
This is sort of a review. I know, you are thinking what does this have to do with genealogy, but this is going to be my genealogy platform of choice for the next few (hopfeully several) years, and I’ll explain why in a moment (if you are interested in Macs, but have some Windows-only applications, read on, you’re in luck).
First, to get the technical stuff out of the way. It’s one of the cheapest (if not cheapest) Intel Core Duo notebooks with a 13.3-inch widescreen that you can find – starts at around $1099. I’m talking Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. Having an Intel Core Duo is basically the equivalent of having two processors/CPUs in the machine. The screen is wonderful – I’ve always liked widescreen displays because I tend to have a lot of stuff open at the same time, or what I’m doing would benefit from a widescreen in some manner, and on a laptop, having a widescreen is a spacesaver – it’s a little wider than a normal 12-inch display, but it’s not quite as deep. For my eyes, the 13.3 is about as small as I want to go for the time being.
Now then, if you are like me and are holding onto a few Windows applications – especially those related to genealogy – those of you who have been reading RandomGenealogy for a while know I’m cranky when it comes to genealogy applications – namely that I can’t do without applications like GenSmarts and Clooz, then you are in luck.
Yesterday I mentioned Google Notebook – looks like it’s available (if you have a Gmail account).
You can access it at www.google.com/notebook.
Features (From Google’s Site):
* Clip useful information. You can add clippings of text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook without ever leaving your browser window.
* Organize your notes. You can create multiple notebooks, divide them into sections, and drag-and-drop your notes to stay organized.
* Get access from anywhere. You can access your Google Notebooks from any computer by using your Google Accounts login.
* Publish your notebook. You can share your Google Notebook with the world by making it public.
ArsTechnica has a good rundown of the capabilities.
For those of you who use Yahoo! Notepad to store genealogy information online or when traveling, Google announced last week something similar, although with a few more features. It’s called Google Notebook, and CNet explained that it can do quite a bit more – including grabbing text and pictures, as well as going full screen, with drag and drop item placement/organization, as well as emailng the information to others. It does require a Google account and will be available sometime this week through Google Labs.
Excerpt from the article:
Mayer also led a demonstration of Google Notebook, which she said will be available on Google Labs next week. Notebook is designed to let people click a “note this” link in the last line of a particular search result and save the result information to a virtual notebook in a pop-up window.
People can also grab text and pictures from Web sites and paste them into Google Notebook, as well as make the notebook full-screen size, drag and drop items to reorganize them, and e-mail the notebook to others. The program requires a plug-in and a Google account.