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Archive for the ‘Family Tree Maker’ Category

The Generations Network published a press release today regarding Spectrum Equity’s buyout. TGN CEO Tim Sullivan is quoted:

“Spectrum Equity has been an incredibly supportive and strategic-minded investor in our company for several years, so I am thrilled to have them acquire this majority interest in The Generations Network,” said Tim Sullivan, company President and CEO. “2007 has been the company’s most successful and profitable year to date, and 2008 looks even more promising as we grow our core businesses further, expand our global presence, and innovate with new products and services that help us realize our mission to connect families across distance and time. I appreciate Spectrum’s vote of confidence in our direction and vision, and I am excited to work even more closely with Vic Parker and Ben Spero to continue to transform this amazing and unique business into a truly great company.”

Buzz to follow soon I imagine.

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It has been one week since I installed Family Tree Maker 2008 from the replacement disks they sent me and things appear to be going much more smoothly. A couple of things need tweaking but my computer no longer runs like molasses on a cold day with it installed.

I was comforted to see the message installing Family Tree Maker 2008. I don’t know what all that beta stuff was about. Distant memories of former employment make me not want to ask. I know how messed up projects under deadline can get.

There was a warning about a file that failed to copy and a problem with the map in the places view. Their tech support lines were still pretty busy last week so I didn’t get the chance to ask someone about it. I’m happy, as long as things remain stable and nothing else pops up. I can get back to doing what I enjoy.

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According to a post today on TechCrunch, Spectrum Equity Investors is acquiring a majority interest in The Generations Network. TGN is the parent company of, among others, Ancestry.com and the folks who gave us Family Tree Maker 2008. (I wonder if this means they will be changing their version numbering system again.) There is talk of an IPO so if you are interested in some stock, better get out your wallet.

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My Family Tree Maker 2008 died. I know now that it was inevitable, but in the beginning everything seemed fine and I thought we could work it out. After installing the software from the CD, downloading and installing service pack 1, and doing some maintenance and upgrades, I thought we had made peace. However, after returning from being away from it for a week and a half, the software was no longer initializing. Worse than that, my computer took fifteen minutes to boot up and behaved very strangely. I spent the weekend tinkering with the computer, finally gave up and banished FTM 2008 from my hard drive on Sunday night. Glad to report that the computer is doing fine and has returned to her old self.

A curious thing happened though while uninstalling. The dialog box said, “uninstalling Family Tree Maker Beta.” So I called their customer service today to tell them they could eat their stupid software and see what they had to say about the fact that they sold me the beta with a 2008 label on it. The rep seemed to be either confused or in denial and insisted twice that I had downloaded the beta from their website. I am the one that is confused because the beta could not have been working after August 24. I had a moment of frustrated anger. I have been using a computer for twenty some odd years now and FTM since version 10. I have more sense than to download a beta onto a perfectly working MS OS, they are so rare after all. I learned my lesson a looonng time ago. I don’t think he believed me even after he pulled up the order proving that they had sent it to me but he cheerfully offered to send updated software. I’m playing along for now.

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I recently upgraded from Family Tree Maker 2005 to FTM 2008. Surprise! The new version is a major resource hog but what a stinky, muddy, goody-rooting hog it is.

Buzz abounds of its upgraded search capabilities enabling you to search various websites within the same window. Yawn, I can’t get excited about a “new” way to web search. Still the same info out there folks. One window, three windows, it’s still the same stuff. However, I finally got what I have been wanting for years, the ability to search the database by place name. 

My approach to research reflects my approach to life. You gotta get out there and present yourself in order to reap the benefits. I *like* going to courthouses, walking around in cemeteries and rooting around at the library.  Sometimes you meet interesting people. Sometimes you experience that lovely serendipity that doesn’t usually happen when you are sitting in front of a monitor. Place is important and you can’t get the feel sitting in the back room with the cat in your face.

The problem is that after ten years of accumulating data, it becomes difficult to remember all the surnames for which you should be looking when you plan a trip. Nothing is more disheartening than coming home and realizing that you have to go back because you missed something. FTM 2008 has a place view that shows a list of place names on the left, a map in the center and a list of individual names associated with that place name on the right. The list of individuals is expandable so you can view specific events. Woo hoo, a great trip planning tool!

One drawback is the old version did not have separate fields for place name and description, the new version does. After converting my existing file, I had to edit the place names list to move descriptive info to the new field. Tiresome if you have a big file. Fortunately the software identifies the unrecognized place names for you making it a little easier.

Another view to love is the family view. Everything you need is on one page: index of individuals on the left, family tree upper middle, family group sheet lower middle and individual info on the right. Good thing because it bogs down my computer and switching views requires a wait.

The publisher seems to know about the problems. Service pack one came out on September 7, just a few days after receiving the software. Service pack two is planned for October. I still get mysterious shut downs and error reporting messages that I end up cancelling because I just want to get on with it. I guess I will have to dig deep, upgrade my RAM and add FTM to my list of software that needs regular updating but hey, hogs can’t be fun to have around all the time.

screenshots

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