Thursday, October 17, 2013

Technology SIG 10 October 2013 - Notes

It is an absolute delight to work with the members who have attended our first two Technology Special Interest Group meetings. Their thirst for learning about technology and their enthusiasm is infectious.

For our second meeting we met with members of the Mac Special Interest Group with our main topic of discussion being Tech Gadgets. We endeavoured to look at and discuss a range of tech gadgets but our discussions often meandered to other Tech subjects. We agreed that these diversions were good because they discussed items of interest to those in attendance.

As promised I am circulating some notes with tips, resources and links discussed at our meeting last week. These items may be of interest to other members who could not join us.

All members are welcome to join us for our monthly meeting on the second Thursday at 1:30pm in the Society rooms.

1. Answers to questions  from previous meeting
A free tool that will allow one to clip part of a screen on a PC running Windows XP is

The site where the Mac Group's gadget man buys many of his tech toys is

2. Main Topic: Gadgets
We looked at gadgets in a number of categories and discussed how we use them:


Members use these types of cameras for taking photos of people, headstones and artifacts. They are also used to photograph documents and books in repositories.
  • Point and Shoot - Advantages - light, easy to use, idiot proof, and many have image stabilisers
  • Camcorder
  • SLR - Heavy and cumbersome but with great image quality
  • 4/3 - A bit smaller than an SLR, has good image quality.

    TIP: When purchasing cameras buy one which allows use of the Macro feature (super close up for small items) without a flash.

Phones and Accessories
Members wanted to know what differentiates a smartphone from a tablet.

Phones have screens up to about 5 inches in size.  Tablets have screens from 7 inches up in size.

Tablets and phones can be used for similar functions although size will influence how easy it is to use them.

Members suggested that a free Mirror app and a free Torch app are useful additions to one's collection of apps.

The iPhone to iPad connector kit ($39 Apple store) facilitates transferring photos.

Battery extenders, available for iPhones and Androids help you use your device longer and extend the time until you have to connect to your battery charger.

The Camscanner app (for iDevice or Android) enables one to scan images to one's phone or tablet and was highly recommended.

Never pay full price for a iTunes Card. Jackie suggests using to search for bargain iTunes cards.

If you want to get the maximum life out of your tablet get biggest capacity you can afford when you buy a new one.

Members discussed the pros and cons of using non-branded ink cartridges. The Kiosk outside Kmart in Hornsby has good prices on cartridges and is prepared to give a discount when asked.

Recording Devices
We looked at two small battery operated recorders for interviewing relatives or recording talks (but ask the presenter's permission first). 
A tablet or phone's recording app can be used for this purpose or one can record into the Evernote app.

We discussed the various types of scanners: Flatbed, Sheet feed, Wand, Flip-Pal, Slide Scanners and their uses for various purposes. Those who had used the Flip-Pal mibile scanner sang it's praises. members were reminded that the Society has a Flip-Pal. /

Storage Devices
Various storage devices were discussed with members being reminded about the frailty of USB sticks. The purchase of a portable hard drive was recommended as a good investment. This blog post from James Tanner was mentioned as suggested reading for those wanting to get value for money.
Western Digital and Seagate were mentioned as reliable brands.

3. New resources/sites
Biographical Database of Australia
The new Australian publication Family Tree Tracker Magazine (available from newsagents) has articles on software, hardware and howtos
Family Tree Maker User Blog has useful tips for FTM users

4.Topic for next meeting
Favourite Apps  14th November 2013 at 1:30pm

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