The New Website

HTML5_Logo_256I’ve been working on upgrading the web site on and off for about a year. The original goal was simply to build a test site for evaluating several new features that are part of html5. Specifically I wanted a simpler way to post video and the html5 “video” tag looked like it was it. Unfortunately there were some browser compatibility issues that has delayed the process. Although these have not completely been resolved, the current versions of the major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari) support enough of the html5 features (including the video tag) that I’m moving ahead.

So there were five things that I wanted to accomplish with the revised website:

  1. Use (test) html5
  2. Update look and feel (new colors and layout)
  3. Find an effective and simple to use way to display image galleries
  4. Make the site more interactive or at least less static
  5. Have the site address more of my interests

Not all of these objectives have been met yet, but I decided to go ahead and make the new site live. Not all of the content from the old site has been converted and included in the new site and some of it may never be included. If you would like to see any of the galleries or other content from the old site, it is still available here.

I will be adding additional content from time to time, so check back later to see what’s new. There’s a What’s New block at the bottom of the home page.

Genealogy Books

BoydAJNeedhamGenealogists are always thinking that they are going to publish a book about their genealogy research. They have the mistaken opinion that it will be of interest to other people. Of course the only other people that are at all interested are the very few other genealogists who are researching the same family. The problem with publishing a genealogy book as that as soon as you do you will stumble across a new fact that makes some aspect of your newly published book wrong. Now you have become the worst thing in the world to a genealogists–someone who has published erroneous work. Somehow, those erroneous facts are always picked up by other researchers and treated as facts. They seem to spread like wildfire and you will always know that it is your fault for having published a book before the research was complete.

Of course, with genealogy the research is never complete. This is why all serious genealogists have one or more partially finished books somewhere on their computer. Or, as in my case, a completely finished ebook that I’m afraid to release because I don’t want to be responsible for spreading incorrect histories. I know this will happen, because I only finished the book less than 3 months ago and just last week I received an email from someone who had found an error in my on-line genealogy. Of course this error is also in the ebook.

I did publish a hardcopy book several years ago. It was a gift to my Dad on his 95th birthday. I haven’t found too much stuff that was in the book that is actually wrong–just a few things, but I know a lot more information now than I did then. I’m glad I did it, because my Dad really enjoyed the book. Another thing that I learned from writing that book is that it forces you to double check and verify your facts. So writing the book is a good thing because it aids your research. There’s nothing like writing something down that other people are going to read to make you want to be sure it’s correct.

Why Blog?

tom-avatarI used to think that people who had their own blog were narcasistic or at least had an inflated ego. Why would they think that people wanted to hear what they had to say. Well, I suppose this blog is evidence that my thinking has evolved somewhat. Having had a personal web site for nearly 10 years (does this in itself indicate an inflated ego?) I felt that it needed someway to have more interaction between the website (me) and the people who visited it. Actually I have two websites, one is devoted entirely to genealogy (more about that in a later post) and one is just family stuff. I do a lot of volunteer work and on occasion I felt that it would be helpful to have a web presence that addressed that activity. For example, I produce a TV show for the local community access TV station. The show simply records and broadcasts speakers at the Newton Free Library and this results in my interaction with the speakers. I also do web site development, for non-profits here in Newton and for a couple of artist friends. Anyway, I thought that I could build a website that addresses that aspect of my life.

So now, I’m looking at a multifaceted web presence that addresses my interests in 1)Digital media (web sites, video and photography), 2)Genealogy and 3)My personal life, It just seems that this was the time to add a blog to that mix. It’s not important to me that anyone actually read the blog. I think just writing stuff down is a good way to organize your thoughts and to examine the rationale behind those thoughts.

This will be irregular posts about whatever I’m thinking about. Occasionally I will  have posts about genealogy,, my family in particular. Sometimes the posts will be about family events or my personal travels. Sometimes I will want to talk about political events or people. Maybe I’ll have links to other blogs or on-line articles that I find interesting. I suspect that it will evolve overtime or, I’ll just get bored and ignore it. We’ll see.