Notes from the past…


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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #16: Tech Toys

Genealogists love their technology toys! Which tech gadget do you appreciate the most?  How has this tool enhanced your family history experience? Would you recommend it to others?

Well, there’s the obvious: a computer, a combination scanner/copier/printer and a digital camera.

A smart phone is pretty handy, too. I have an iPhone 3G and have loaded a couple of genealogy apps: FamViewer for my genealogy database (you never know when you might need to check a name or date) and Genius Scan (uses the iPhone camera to photograph images or documents, then converts them to JPEG’s or PDF’s which can then be emailed to your computer (again, you never know when you might need to scan an unexpected find). FamViewer costs $9.99, Genius Scan is free, both from the iTunes store.

The camera on the iPhone 3G isn’t spectacular, but it creates pretty decent photos of headstones and the like. And I always have my cell phone with me, but not always my digital camera or computer.

My latest favorite tech toy is the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. I’ve only had it for a short time and had some problems when I first started using it, but those problems have been resolved and now I am in love! We have all come across valuable photos or documents that were either too big for a conventional home scanner or could not be removed from their repositories. The Flip-Pal solves those problems. It is small enough and light enough to be carried in a purse or backpack, runs on simple AA batteries, comes with a 2GB memory card and can scan and then “stitch together” large photos or documents. You can take it to your local library or archives, scan multiple photos, documents or newspaper clippings, then take it home, open the software with your computer and recreate and save all those images to your hard drive.

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.


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My new Flip-Pal Scanner: Problem Solved!

Flip-Pal ScannerA couple of weeks ago, I posted about problems I was having with my new Flip-Pal Scanner. I had been reading about this little jewel all around the genea-sphere, so I finally bought myself one for my birthday!

A few days went by before I finally had time to try it out… and almost immediately ran into problems.

I found it more difficult to use than was publicized and the end-product just wasn’t what I was expecting.

But help was just around the corner, and from an unexpected source!

Later that day, I got an email from Diana Thompson with Flip-Pal’s Customer Support Team. She had read my post and was offering to help. I returned her email with more specifics of the problems I was having.

It turns out that Flip-Pal‘s software needed to be updated. Simple as that! Diana walked me through the upgrade process and requested that I send her the “problem” images that I had obtained in my first scanning attempts so that Flip-Pal could evaluate them.

The Hill County marriage certificate that I rescanned stitched together perfectly after the software upgrade, and it only took about 5 minutes to complete the job!

I was already impressed with Flip-Pal’s scanning abilities and the implications for my genealogical research, and now even more so with the people behind the Flip-Pal. A win-win combination!