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Louis Kessler’s Behold Blog » Archive for 2012

An End of Year Evaluation - Sun, 23 Dec 2012

I’m not happy. It is unfortunate, but I feel I’ve dropped the ball this year with Behold, and let both users and myself down. It started off great, with Version 1.04 released in January after a flurry of activity that followed the 1.0 release just a couple of months earlier. For the next few months, I was ...

Behold Reviewed in Internet Genealogy Magazine - Sat, 1 Dec 2012

The Dec/Jan 2013 issue of Internet Genealogy magazine includes as its title article: “Genealogy Software Update – Six popular program reviewed”. Tony Bandy, a regular reviewer of genealogy software, provides mostly positive comments of all the programs in the mini-reviews in his 7 page article. The ...

Consistency Checking - Wed, 7 Nov 2012

The current release that I am working hard to get out will include two new major features: 1. Life Events, and 2. Consistency Checking. Consistency checking was one of the important things missing from Behold. I felt it was very necessary to have it prior to going further. Today’s article by Tamura Jones: ...

Michael Hait’s Perfect Genealogy Software Program - Mon, 22 Oct 2012

I just came across this: Michael Hait’s vision in his April 2, 2012 blog post. Well, let’s see how Behold is doing. The software would have two separate, but interconnected, modes: Evidence and Conclusion. Switching between the modes for data entry would have to be seamless, and there would have to be the ...

Genealogy & Family History Q&A Now Public - Tue, 16 Oct 2012

We got there! Even though it was only 58 days, it seemed like an eternity. But the Genealogy community showed its mettle and showed how much they want this Q&A site. First there there was the Definition phase where 40 sample questions were needed that would define the type of questions this site would ...

Reasons To Join the Genealogy & Family History Q&A - Sat, 6 Oct 2012

The Q&A site is 97% on its way to Beta. You’ve still got time to sign up and join in on the Beta before it starts if you hurry. Here’s some of the reasons the 256 committers to date have said they’re excited about the site:   Avid Enthusiasts and Prosumers (whatever that is) have said: "Great ...

It’s Time to “Commit” to the Genealogy Q&A Site - Sun, 9 Sep 2012

Two weeks ago, I posted about a proposal to create a new Genealogy Question and Answer site. Today, the Definition Phase of the proposal was completed. Now the new site is in Commitment Phase and is looking for people willing to commit to use it. If you’d like to participate (like me), I encourage you to go ...

Would You Like A Genealogy Q&A Site? - Fri, 24 Aug 2012

Where do you go now if you have a question about Genealogy? Is there one convenient place where you can ask a question and almost immediately get answers from people trying to help you? Before you read the rest of this post, if you feel you’d like to have such a site, then go right over to the Genealogy ...

Time To Shore Up The Spam Defences - Wed, 22 Aug 2012

I don’t know what they’re trying to prove, but for the last month or so, the Behold User Forum has been getting a spam attack. It started with a message every few days, slowly growing in number and frequency. Today I found six spam messages posted. I’ve been manually deleting the messages one by one, and ...

Responsive Web Design - Mon, 20 Aug 2012

So … a couple of days ago I posted my thinking about ways to make a mobile version of my website. A few hours later, I found Google Developers recommendation to use “Responsive Web Design” and I added that to the post. I concluded that I’ll probably use it. Now guess what was on my mind after that. Yup. ...

Six Ways to Make a Mobile Version of a Website - Sat, 18 Aug 2012

In 2008, I redesigned my Behold website to work well, look good, have unique features and be memorable. I’m still very happy with it, and the way I customized and integrated the forum and blog into the design is something I’m quite proud of. I carefully chose a fixed size width of 782 pixels that printed ...

Reassessing the Behold Road Map - Wed, 15 Aug 2012

Every so often, I take a step back and assess where Behold is. I always have my Future Plans that I am aiming for, but they occasionally have to be adjusted for new ideas, new trends and new objectives. A number of important things have been going on that are causing me to make small course corrections to the ...

Microsoft’s Sky Drive - Sat, 28 Jul 2012

About 5 years ago, I was very impressed when my best friend, who lives in Vancouver, sent me a link to his Picasa Web Album with photos of his trip online, a service provided by Google, I was able to view, comment on, and download the pictures, as were all the others he shared the files with. This was early on ...

Genealogy Cruise Program Now Posted - Thu, 19 Jul 2012

The provisional program for the Unlock the Past Cruise (February 10 – 19, 2013) is now posted. It looks like a terrific program with about 150 sessions in the four lecture theatres in the Conference area of the ship. The conference area is reserved for our exclusive use on this cruise. I’m personally ...

I Wanted a Camera with GPS, So I Got A SmartPhone - Fri, 13 Jul 2012

I’ve written recently that I’ve been looking for a new camera with GPS capabilities. For a genealogist, the ability to capture the location of the gravestone, ancestral home or workplace of your relative will help you many times over. First, you will be able to find your way back to it. And anyone you give ...

Defining Life Events - Thu, 5 Jul 2012

I’ve pretty well got the mechanism working in Behold. Now it's a matter of finalizing what life events I want it to handle. Now what the heck are “Life Events”? My idea are that they are anything in a person’s life that is significant enough to change that person’s life in some real way, Often these ...

Get the Core Right First - Thu, 21 Jun 2012

I was surprised a couple of days ago to get an email from a Behold user in Prague, who told me that Behold wasn’t sorting the Czech letters correctly in its Name, Place and other indexes. I was a bit surprised by this as I thought that Windows was supposed to sort Unicode correctly, and the exact sorting ...

Eliminating the Family - Sat, 16 Jun 2012

One thing that I’ve done to Behold’s Everything Report as I add the life events, is a sneaky little restructuring of how the family group is presented. Up to now, I’ve been following the traditional genealogy software way of presenting families. You have the father, the mother, their children and the ...

Whither GEDCOM X? - Thu, 7 Jun 2012

I’ve tweeted over the last few days of GEDCOM X’s announcements on its blog posts. I’ve followed its progress since Tamura Jones broke the news about it last December. I met Ryan Heaton, the employee of FamilySearch doing the most work on it, at RootsTech in February, and listened to his talks on the ...

Random Jottings from the Last 3 Weeks - Wed, 6 Jun 2012

I’ve not posted much on my blog recently, but that is not because I haven’t been doing anything. In fact I’ve been working very hard to find just the right way to get “Life Events” into Behold. I now realize this must be extended to grandparents, grandchildren, half-families and step-families. I made ...

How Source Based Data Entry Should Work - Mon, 14 May 2012

On BetterGEDCOM, I was asked the question how Behold would handle some simple source examples in a step-by-step manner. Rather than just answer on their forum, this is an important concept that I’d like to present here so that all Behold users (and others interested) can see what I’m planning. There are 6 ...

Family Tree Maker’s Individual Timeline - Mon, 7 May 2012

In DearMyrtle’s blog: Myrt learns about FTM 2012 from her cousin, includes a webinar in which her cousin Russ Worthington introduced FTM to her. What particularly caught my attention was his mention of an interesting feature in FTM 2012 (or any version since 2008) that I didn’t know about: An individual’s ...

Smart Genealogy Software vs Dumb Genealogy Software - Tue, 24 Apr 2012

Almost all genealogy software is dumb. That’s D-U-M-B, dumb! They accept all your data and then regurgitate it back to you unthinkingly. Junk in, junk out. Good stuff in, good stuff … well out, yes – but presented dumb-ly. There is nothing wrong with dumb genealogy software, as long as you expect nothing ...

How To Get A Developer To Fix A Bug - Fri, 13 Apr 2012

Doing so is easy. Just 3 steps. Tell the developer about it. If they don’t know about it, they won’t fix it. Get the developer to realize it’s a bug. This sometimes is very difficult. Most developers are stubborn, defensive, sure they’re right, and often quite belligerent in their beliefs. Keep ...

Life Events – Family Information You Can Really Use! - Wed, 4 Apr 2012

A few posts ago, I blogged about Family Group Sheets – Why and Wherefore? There I talked about how genealogists tend to use Family Group Sheets to organize and maintain their data, and how genealogy software programs have come to mimic that format. Behold has also been following the general idea of the Family ...

Ages are Weird - Sun, 1 Apr 2012

My implementation of determining a person’s age at an event (see my blog post: Getting Ages Right) has led me to the conclusion that ages are weird. Normal mathematics does not work on ages, and they can lead you to the wrong conclusion. For example, let’s say your grandfather died in 1980 and you know he ...

My Feedback to GEDCOM X - Thu, 29 Mar 2012

The GEDCOM X team has just put up a survey. Here are the responses I sent to them.   GEDCOM X: Request For Feedback: March 23, 2012 We'd love to hear your thoughts on some of the things we're working through right now at GEDCOM X. Just three questions.   What are the five most significant ...

Family Group Sheets – Why and Wherefore? - Fri, 23 Mar 2012

One of the basic tools all genealogists have always used, even before computers, is the Family Group Sheet. Basically, this is a page where you record the information about a husband and a wife along with their children. The idea was you would record all your basic information about a family on one Family Group ...

Unlock The Past Genealogy Cruise: February 2013 - Mon, 19 Mar 2012

I am going to be a presenter on a genealogy cruise in February 2013. This one is offered by Unlock the Past, a company that services the genealogy community in Australia and New Zealand. This will be the 3rd genealogy cruise Unlock the Past has sponsored. Previous cruises were March 2011 and November 2011 so ...

1000 Days at Stack Overflow - Fri, 9 Mar 2012

Today was the 1,000’th day I visited the Stack Overflow site where programmers ask and give answers to programming questions. I joined the site 3 years and 4 months ago, right after I discovered it and just a few weeks after it went live. Working that out, there has been an 82% chance on any particular day ...

The ALIA Tag of GEDCOM - Thu, 8 Mar 2012

Some tags in GEDCOM are misused, and the ALIA tag is one of the worst. Very often in a GEDCOM file you’ll find the following: 0 @I1@ INDI 1 NAME Thomas Jacob /Black/1 ALIA Jack /Black/This is definitely wrong. GEDCOM states: "Alias Names: One or two systems used the ALIAs tag for representing multiple names. ...

Getting Ages Right - Sun, 26 Feb 2012

Determining people's ages at events is fun. For me, it's again grassroots. I have to add low-level code and think though logic and develop algorithms to do it. Why not just subtract one internal date from another? It's not quite that simple. You have to figure out date ranges. Then you have to subtract the ...

Endless Possibilities - Tue, 21 Feb 2012

A wonderful software program doesn’t just get developed. It iterates and builds. It expands upon its concepts and enhances them. It refigures how to redo parts of itself based on the experience of its use and makes things better. It isn’t created wonderful, but it evolves into wonderful. You look at your ...

Sorting It Out - Thu, 16 Feb 2012

In my past life as a Computer Chess programmer, I became quite an expert in developing data structures, implementing algorithms and heuristics, and optimizing programs to the n’th degree. So doing something like sorting the events within a person in Behold shouldn’t have been much of a problem. It’s very ...

Literally Nothing From RootsMagic - Sat, 11 Feb 2012

There I was at RootsTech sitting on a panel with Bruce Buzbee of RootsMagic as we were both panelists for the Sources, Citations, Metadata session. Little did I know the pain his RootsMagic program would soon be causing me. That same day, Bart Brenner, one of the four Behold users I met in person at the ...

Behold Now Displays the Windows Compatible Logo (Finally!) - Wed, 8 Feb 2012

You must be patient when waiting for Microsoft, as I had to be. But at last, Microsoft has posted at its Windows 7 Compatibility Center confirmation showing that Behold has attained Compatible with Windows 7 status. I’ve been talking about getting a logo certification for quite some time. You do have to make ...

A Review of A Review - Tue, 7 Feb 2012

While I was at #RootsTech, I was surprised to find out that Tamura Jones did a review of Version 1.0 of Behold. I have said for a long time that Tamura writes the most comprehensive and accurate reviews of Genealogy software anywhere. Tamura has written full articles about Behold in the past:  Version ...

Final Thoughts and Random Notes from RootsTech - Mon, 6 Feb 2012

As I sort through my #RootsTech binder one last time before I file it on my genealogy bookshelf, I am reflecting on the happenings of the last week. Most of all, it was great meeting people face-to-face instead of just virtually. I especially enjoyed meeting my BetterGEDCOM group, my Behold users, other ...

RootsTech Eastman Dinner - Sun, 5 Feb 2012

#RootTech: It’s Sunday morning on the 5:55 a.m flight out of Salt Lake City to Minneapolis. There are a number of other RootsTech attendees on this flight as I overheard some conversations including the words genealogy and FamilySearch. I’m blogging from the plane and I’ll publish this post in between ...

RootsTech Day 3 - Sat, 4 Feb 2012

Last day at #RootsTech. It started with Tim Sullivan and his Ancestry.com panel of vice-presidents. This was live-streamed and well documented by others so I won’t go into the details, but I have a few observations. Tim seemed to be a bit disappointed that FamilySearch’s conference was one of the biggest ...

RootsTech Day 2 - Fri, 3 Feb 2012

As good as yesterday was, today was even better at #RootsTech. I didn’t expect much from the Keynote speaker Josh Coates. He was to talk about cloud computing. But from the moment he made his somewhat preemptive entrance, he was enthralling. The humor and the manner of his presentation was perfect. I’d ...

RootsTech Day 1 - Thu, 2 Feb 2012

The first real day at #RootsTech and it was chock full of stuff. So this will be a somewhat longer post. The day started with the Keynote by Jay Verkler. I won’t talk about what he said because it was all live streamed, so those of you who are interested can see it. But I should say I was much more impressed ...

RootsTech Day 0 - Wed, 1 Feb 2012

I’m now in Salt Lake City for #RootsTech 2012. The city is flat but there are beautiful mountains surrounding it and d’ere’s snow in d’em d’ere hills. But no snow in the city. The downtown streets are all very wide – 3 to 4 lanes each plus a parking lane – sometimes with diagonal parking - and the ...

RootsTech Day -1 - Tue, 31 Jan 2012

My sessions are planned and my notes are all organized in my one tidy black binder. My bags are all packed. Last check of all the feeds I follow and one look around the web for any latest news about RootsTech. Copied all my necessary stuff onto the laptop and I think I’m ready to go. Check the weather. ...

RootsTech: More Than Just Evolution - Mon, 30 Jan 2012

RootsTech chose the six finalists to their Developer Challenge. Behold was not one of the top six. The email stating the finalists was a private email to the entrants, and since I see that RootsTech has not yet published them, I don’t think I’m entitled to name them here. I’m disappointed. I’m ...

How to Find Me at RootsTech - Fri, 27 Jan 2012

I’ve already got a very busy schedule planned for RootsTech. There are a lot of people I’ll be looking for and will be trying to meet. Sometimes it’s very difficult to find the person you’re looking for among 3,000 people. So I at least am going to make it easier for those who want to find me, to find ...

Syllabi Before You Go - Thu, 26 Jan 2012

Whenever I go to a conference, I always first review the schedule and then make a tentative plan of what I'll see. Then, often there is an added bonus, and just before the conference, a syllabus comes out with more detailed information about each session. RootsTech did it right, and they have published an ...

RootsTech Friday Panel Discussion - Wed, 25 Jan 2012

I have now been confirmed as a panelist for the Friday Feb 3rd discussion panel at RootsTech. It will be at 4:15 p.m. in Room 257 and will be about "Sources, Citations, Meta Data". The moderator and audience will ask "intriguing" questions of myself and the other panelists. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to ...

Version 1.0.4 / Behold Demo at RootsTech - Mon, 23 Jan 2012

Version 1.0.4 includes a couple of bug fixes that were reported. I don't think I should make any more updates to Behold (except for any other necessary bug fixes) until after the RootsTech conference. Then I'll finish off 1.0.5 and start on the road to 2.0. I'm now scheduled to give a demo of Behold at ...

Version 1.0.3 Released - Sat, 21 Jan 2012

I was going to call this Version 1.1, because there's enough in it to give it that designation. But I decided to go with 1.0.3 because I'm still waiting for Behold's listing at the Windows 7 Compatibility Center (the delay is all Microsoft's). Changing a point version requires a resubmission of the test ...

I’ll Be At RootsTech - Mon, 16 Jan 2012

Yesterday, I registered and finalized my arrangements to go to RootsTech 2012 from Feb 2 to 4 in Salt Lake City. If there are any Behold users going there, please let me know. I'd love to get together with you and maybe we can have a lunch or supper together. If there's enough interest, I can put on an ...

One Thing Leads to Another - Tue, 10 Jan 2012

On November 28th, I decided it was necessary to order events in Behold by date. This required a bit of internal data restructuring to allow the sorting. Basically I was storing GEDCOMs by record (Level 0 in GEDCOM), but I had to now store it by event/fact (Level 1 in GEDCOM) within each record. This then ...

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