Part Three of Computer Upgrade – Software Audit

Continuing my preparation and evaluation before upgrading my laptop, here is Part 3 – Software Audit.

As part of evaluating what I need to upgrade my laptop, software is my next consideration.  Not only the software itself but also any customization or configuration that may need to be copied to the new computer.  Since I typically only use my home computer for social networking sites and genealogy, I don’t have a lot of software that I use.  But what I use is important and deserves some thought and planning.

Genealogy Software
Database – For my genealogy database, I use Legacy Family Tree.  When I first started I used a couple different programs.  I finally settled on Legacy.  I don’t remember specifically what it was that made the decision for me but I have been a Legacy user for around 10 years and I have been very happy with it and don’t plan on changing.  The only thing that has ever made me slightly consider changing is that I have a tree on and Legacy is not “syncable” with my ancestry tree.  Since I don’t use my ancestry tree as my “working tree” but more for “cousin bait”.  Definitely a keeper.

Utility – I also use Clooz, which is a document analysis program.  It is a little hard to explain and it was a little hard to get started with but I really like it and will definitely carry it forward.  As part of my electronic file organizing I have some documents that I also need to get entered into Clooz.  I have found it a great resource for helping with brick walls, and I have a few that Clooz may help be break through.  Definitely a keeper.

Utility – Another utility that I use quite often is a little freeware program called Transcript.  It is basically a split screen that allows you to load an image file in the top screen and transcribe the text in the bottom screen.  Sounds simple but boy is it a nice utility!  Definitely a keeper.

App Interface – I use the Families app to view my database on my iPad and my iPhone.  The app does not read the Legacy file directly but has a program that is installed on the computer that syncs the database file with the app.  Definitely a keeper.

Cloud Software
As I discussed in Part One, I use both Dropbox and Google Drive to manage my cloud storage.  Both of these will need to be installed on the new computer.

Office Suite Software
I definitely need office suite software on my new computer.  My current laptop came with the Starter Edition of Microsoft Office.  I find it hard to use, but at the time I assumed that between that and Google Docs would get me through.  Not the case.  I even tried Open Office but it really didn’t fit my needs.  For the new laptop I will need a full blown office suite.  This preference probably comes from the fact that I use Microsoft Office quite heavily at work, so I’m used to having it at my fingertips.  I don’t want to pay for a version that will be out of date in a few years so I am considering Microsoft Office 365, which will also give me access to Office on my mobile devices.  

PDF Software
Just as with the Microsoft Office software, I am used to using Adobe Acrobat Standard daily.  Although many programs and websites allow you to save files as PDFs without having the Standard version, I also combine multiple types of files to create PDfs and like to do page numbering, etc.  I will continue to use this going forward.

Image Software
I use image software all the time.  I tag, crop and edit photos and documents.  I currently use Picasa but it can sometimes be a little quirky.  I am considering purchasing something along the lines of Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I can probably have that added to my new laptop configuration at a discount.  I am going to plan on working this into a new laptop.

One thing that I currently do not have installed is a mapping software.  This would be used, for example, to query county boundaries during different years.  I should probably take a look at something like AniMap.  I have also recently seen a couple webinars covering using KMZ files from The Newberry Library.  This also deserves a look, more research and feedback is needed here.

Although bookmarks do not really fit into software, I am going to eliminate using bookmarks within my browser(s).  Without some user exporting and importing bookmarks are not shared between browsers or devices.  I “lose” bookmarks all the time.  Going forward I am going to have a links file.  This will be just a text document with all my links that will be saved in the cloud.  So I’ll be able to access my links from anywhere.

I’m sure I missed something but these items are my major concerns when upgrading.  Looks like I have a pretty clear path on most items, I just need to decide on what I’m going to use for mapping and imaging.  That seems pretty manageable.

The only thing left to consider is the actual make and model of the new laptop. But since I need to get busy organizing my files I won’t even look at that yet.  By the time I have everything filed I’m sure there will be new models out.

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