Looking for a Genealogy App for your Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad? I got some answers UPDATED

Here are my recommendations base upon testing and usage: Updated! 

Roots Magic 6 & 7 these are windows applications but can be run on MAC's via MacBridge (a customized version of Crossover) for 9.95. You will still need to purchase a full version of Roots Magic (for the license file key to use in MacBridge). Is MacBridge as good as the windows version? Sort of you can open your family information just like in Windows. the MacBridge application is stable. Someday soon Roots Magic promises a true OS X app. They have an iOS app but it is read only of your Family file so it is useless if you are away from your MAC, you can't add information with the iOS to your family file. 

iFamily is a great genealogy app for the MAC, it is easy to use and support importing of data via gedcom files up to version  5.5. iFamily for Leopard is a genealogy application for people who think differently. Whereas other genealogy software tends to emphasize the family unit, this software's focus is on each individual person. This distinction is subtle and is a feature of iFamily for Leopard. In iFamily for Leopard you can see at a glance whether an individual has more than 2 parents, more than 1 spouse or the number of siblings they had. Parent-child relationships may be natural (the default), step, adopted or foster relationships. Available for purchase since October 2006, iFamily has had more than 60 versions released, leading to a richly featured product that is stable and user friendly, utilized by a healthy community of users.

Pros: great support forum, customer focused.  Cons: no iOS application. 

Reunion is another really great app for the MAC, it is simple to use and has a Mac World Editor's Choice Award: Reunion is a genealogy software program — a "family tree program" — for the Macintosh. Reunion is also available as a companion product on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. The current version of Reunion for Macintosh received the highest rating for genealogy software in MacWorld, MacAddict, and Mac Home Journal magazines. Reunion also received a MacWorld Editor's Choice award. The latest release 10 (2012)  the upgrade price 49.95 (unless you are in PA then it is more)..

I bought this app because it was suppose to the be the best genaelogy app for the MAC (2009) , at the time it was now not so much.

Pros: Great user interface (UI) good documentation Cons: iPad app cost 15.00 and you proably shell out 100.00 for the mac app that you must have in order to use the iOS app. 

Mac Family Tree is a very visual applcation for the MAC.  I have been using this app since release 3  (now at release 7), the developers have made great strides in the user interface! The reports and charts are first class! Your family tree:

Easily enter and then visualize your family history. Be it creating reports, diagrams or browsing your data in the innovative 3D view called Virtual Tree - MacFamilyTree offers a solution for every task. Get an overview of where you hail from and maybe enthuse your relatives about exploring your family's past at your upcoming family reunion.

Pros: Great UI, activily being improved, very visual, resonable price for product and updates, iOS app 15.00, iOS app can import and export gedcom files.  New 7.x version is out and is a huge improvement over the original 6.x software stream 

Cons: Version 7.x for IOS does require that you repurchase the application. Issues with the current release importing and exporting gedcom files even from older releases, iOS app freezes up when using large family files (31 to 43 Mb) **note this has been fixed with the last application update for iOS **,  must have desk top version of software to sync data on the same WiFi network.  Syncing of data takes forever on large files or just plain crashes both sides. Tech support is germany, slow responses at times. Web site is confusing since they have multiple products. 

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When it is time to upgrade the SSD drive in your MacBook Air? what do you choose?

I love my MacBook Air but I run a lot of apps, music, movies, etc. I am running out of space on my 512 GB SSD. so what I am to do? well I started to look at upgrading my ssd drive (ok my MBA is a 2012 model, so its drive look like oversized memory stick).  So I started at OWC to see if I could find a 960GB SSD nope they did not have one. Next Amazon (I am a prime member), they had JetDrive 520 kit, 960GB on sale for 599.00 (down from 699.00) made by Transcend. Still a little to expensive, but they one in Amazon Warehouse Deals for another 50 dollars off. So I bought it. The kit includes:

  • Max Seq. Read: 495MB/s, Max Seq. Write: 427MB/s
  • Next-generation SATA III 6Gb/s interface
  • Free download of Jet Drive Toolbox SSD monitoring software
  • External enclosure is fully compatible with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and Hi-Speed USB 2.0
  • SSD upgrade kit included
  • Dual color LED indicator (Power, data transfer and USB 3.0/2.0 connection)
  • Operating Temperature 32F-158F
  • Repurpose original SSD into external SSD

It was so easy to clone my existing SSD to the new one with my old favorite app Carbon Copy Cloner, it took just under an hour to do. The kit even can with the required screwdrivers to remove the bottom cover and remove the existing SSD. Quick swap out of the SSD's put the bottom plate back in place. Boot up my MBA and wow I have a screaming new machine with almost double the storage place! I have repartitioned into 3 drives, 1 running Mavericks (479 GB), 1 for all of my virtual machines (379 GB) 1 for Beta testing OS's (100 GB) currently Yosemite. 

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Running Windows on MAC OS X (Yosemite at the current time) Updated!

Ok most people folks know I am a Mac user ( we have 1 Macbook Air, 2 Macbook's 3 MacBook Pro's). That said I have the need to have access to windows (for testing web sites I create in Rapidweaver, and some genealogy applications). So what is the best way to run windows on a MAC? well I have tried them all so here is my take:

1. Bootcamp, allows a use to setup a seperate disk partition on you MAC (intel based only). This work well execept you must reboot you MAC to get to windows to run.

2. Parallels application (uses the virtual machine method) is a good product (I have been using Parallels since release 5 current release is version 9.x) it allows you to launch windows with in OS X.  The current release is version 8 it supports Windows up to Win 8.1. The product support is good. Cost of the product is about 80.00 with release upgrades for 50.00 (49.99). Why are upgrades needed ? As Mac OS X is upgraded so also must Parallels. Other costs? Yep you must purchase a fully licensed copy of windows to install as a virtual machine. Parallels has better performance in OS X. It works best on Mac's with lots of ram and disk space. Win 8.1 runs very well in Parallels 9!

3. Fusion (VMWare product)  application ( uses the virtual machine method) is a good product as well ( I have been a beta tester for a couple of releases) it also allows you to launch windows applications within OS X. The current release supports Win 7 with Windows 8 in testing. The technical support at times is lacking since VMWare first released Fusion.  in the latest release that supports Mavericks has been performing pretty well . That said it is now stable.  Cost of the producy is about 80.00 with release upgrades for 50.00 (49.99), why are upgrades needed? As Mac OS X is upgraded (new releases) so also must Fusion.  Other costs? Yes you must also purchase a fully licensed copy of the windows operating system to install as a machine. Fusion performance on MAC OS X is good (at best lots of crashes have been reported).  The more ram and hard disk space you have on your mac the better.

4. Virtual Box (Sun Micro/Oracle) is an open source application (zero cost) that also uses the virtual machine method. Virtual box runs well on MAC OS X an allows for windows application to be launched from within Mac OS X. it supposrts  Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD. VIrtual Box also requires a licensed copy of the guest operating system to be installed. Support is better than Fusion  and requires about the same amount of ram and hard disk space as Parallels and Fusion.

5. Crossover  application is unique it actually installs it's own version of windows that has been optimized for MAC OS X (it also is only supports Win 95, Win XP, Vista, Server 2000, Server 2003). It uses what Code Weavers calls the bottle method (from the Wine origins). Applications are install via one of two methods via Cross tie application from with in Crossover (Codeweavers have lots of applications ported to run already) or via the standard exe file or cd rom method of installation. Pre configured applications (bottles) install all of the required windows apps and services as part of the installation process. Costs flexible from 39.99 with 1 month of support (no telephone support email only) to 59.99 12 months of email support with one free phone support incident.  Performance is great! New version is release 13.70 it has been running great.

I have tested each one of these applications on several different Mac's in many different configurations. Good luck and I hope this helps out. 

Update:

Crossover has been updated to 13.70 and runs much better on 2009 and later Intel Mac's (including MacBook Air products). So if you have to run windows apps give CrossOver a try.

 

 

My Review of Bluetooth Headsets for iPhone UPDATED

I have a few more bluetooth headsets that I have been testing for work.

1. Jabra Motion UC+ it has great sound quality ease of use is very good. My only complaint is how it goes over the ear, if you wear glasses it does not work well and is uncomfortable to use. The Jabra comes a USB to Bluetooth dongle included, over all the Jabra Motion scores a 7 out of 10 on my this rocks scale.

2. Plantronics Voyager Legend, Another good sounding high end headset. It is also an over the ear design that seems to work slightly better if you are wearing glasses. Very easy to install on to any bluetooth enabled device.  The Plantronics Voyager Legend scores an 8 out of 10 on my this rocks scale.

3. SoundID Six, okay these folks for some reason have gotten out the headset business ( I am so sad) this product is just the greatest headset for a iOS device ever created! it gets a 10 out of 10 ( but since I can't buy a new one anymore or get my repaired I will give it a 5 out of 10 in reality). 

4. Sennheiser Presence. is my newest most worn bluetooth device it has the greatest sound, easy to wear with my glasses.   it now takes the top spot honors 9 out of 10. the only thing I could wish for is a custom ear mold piece like I have on my SoundId 6 then it would be perfection. Ok I can have one made for around $80.00 (USD) if I send them my headset in with my order (3 weeks turn around). 

5. VXi VoxStar  UC is another contender it comes with accessories for ear buds for in the ear placement, over the ear, behind the head, over the head. This makes the VoxStar a RockStar. None of the other headsets offers this flexibility! The VoxStar is light and very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It comes with a USB Bluetooth Dongle for pairing with you MAC or PC. It also works my Avaya phone, OneX Client (downloadable software off vxicorp.com website) Skype (downloadable for windows off the website), etc. Over all this headset also gets a 9 out of 10 due to its unique design (if they had Skype software for MAC I would have given them 10 out of 10) all of the for around $170.00 bucks (VXiCorp and Blue Parrott are the same folks, I did not know that). 

I hope this helps items 1, 2, and 4, 5 also work great with my laptop and Avaya IP based telephone set! 

  

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Let's talk iPhone 5 Battery cases UPDATED

Ok I am what I consider a iPhone power user, my phones is on 7X24 365 days a year. So I have always used some form of battery case. I have used 4 on my current iPhone5:

One I purchased when I was staying at a hotel in Las Vegas at a booth in the hotel's shopping area working on a project (un named brand) it is a 2000mAh battery with a cool little kick stand. Cost was $150.00. It has served me well. I go through at least 2 batteries per day. The re-charge time is about 6 hours.

Battery from the Sands

Next comes the Mophie case that I paid about $85.00 for at a best buy machine at an airport I was passing through, the juice pack has been great as well but lasts half as long and still takes 4 hours to recharge. I have been a Mophie fan for years on IOS devices. Mophie.com

Next comes a Juice Pack Plus (trademark for Mophie or so I thought) that I purchased via ebay from proudparents2005. This was a horrible idea. The unit was defective out of the box and the seller would not replace it. Told me is was my iPhone 5 that was the issue because they never have had a unit fail. the included instructions did not match the unit I was shipped. I tested the unit on 2 iPhone 5's and it did not work on either one. they battery case was so tight on the iPhone 5 you could barely remove the case without damaging the iPhone itself.  I just ate the cost of $35.00 and moved on.

ProudParents2005

In my search fro the perfect battery case I found a product from iBattz that is just great for me. it is the Mojo Refuel Removable Battery case, that is right you can actually change the batteries in the case, they use the i9300 3.7v 2200mAh Li-ion battery. I got 2 i9300's with the case, plus I bought a 3rd one. So far this has been the best solution! the case comes with a red or silver side bezel, usb charging cable, headset extension cable for plugging in you headphones to the iPhone5 ( I bought an extra cable for like $11.00 just in case I lose one). the instructions are dead on simple. I even sprung for an external battery charging device that I can plugin to recharge the batteries once I swap them our of the ReFuel case.  The basic cost is about $90.00.

iBattz case

What you want your own iBattz gear click the link below.. Also their customer support is excellent! 

 ibattz website I 

So once again this is just what I have found works for me. Your mileage may very. I am going to be putting video on youtube on how I am doing with the Mojo ReFuel case.  I have been using my iBattz for over a year now I have 5 i9300 batteries. I still love it. I have had to replace the back cover and that's is it.

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