Wednesday, March 03, 2010


How many items of household equipment do you have? Every tool, every appliance has its own set of features / settings / possible uses. When people bemoan the fact that they don’t utilize nearly all the elements of a particular computer program, I think of my old non-electronic sewing machine. Came with a box of attachments which looked interesting but … I never used more than a couple of them -- the good old zipper foot, and, on occasion, the button-holer. The quilters and tailors among us probably got a lot of use out of some of the other gadgets, but did you?

The same goes for software. I have been playing around with Pages, my Mac word processing program, and am still discovering new features (it helps to get together with other users and trade tips). You can create tables with simple sorting capabilities, without resorting to elaborate spreadsheet programs. I enjoy importing scanned graphics and digital photos into text with simple “copy and paste” commands. AND those graphics can be enhanced with shadows or frames. Then, too, I just started using the “comment” feature, which allows me to insert temporary notes to myself as I work on a document.

In Reunion, the Mac genealogy program, I find new things all the time. There is a Log which allows for quick notes to oneself about future research; there is the Multimedia button, for importing illustrations; also there are many ways to customise displays and printouts to suit specific needs. Every such genealogy program has special applications -- we only need to discover them!

One thing I have learned is this: don’t be misled by the labels. My printer driver, for instance, has a button for “Layout.” Inside this is a menu which includes choices of print quality.
Doesn’t seem intuitive to me. So try everything, even when it doesn’t seem logical.


A thought for the day: starting in on a new project, genealogical or otherwise, I sometimes discover an earlier attempt: a printed outline, memo to myself, or serious plan of attack. (Totally forgotten, of course) From now on I am going to DATE every such piece of writing! It would be so helpful to know when a particular idea first came to mind -- and how far I got with it. It might even save some needless duplication.


Don’t forget the new NBC series, “Who Do You Think You Are?” The first program airs March 5.

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