Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gedcom Viewer on my oh so expensive Tablet

When I was at RootsTech in Salt Lake City, it was suggested by a presenter that a tablet or smart phone owner could use PDFs generated from genealogy software to successfully do research. I was dubious but I spent a morning in the hotel creating the PDFs, loaded them on to my tablet, and took off for the library.

Talk about a frustrating experience! Trying to use the PDFs was like dragging an anchor around behind me while trying to figure out where I needed to dive into library resources. I don't walk around remembering all of the family details for nearly 2,000 people in one database alone. You have to open and close lots of PDFs to find the info you need to be able to decide if a given library resource is what you need. With the PDFs, unless you have a great memory, they are completely useless.

I went poking around on the web today, and low and behold, there are gedcom viewer apps. I downloaded ezGED Viewer by Source Quest, Inc. The next step was to load a gedcom on to my tablet. I'm lucky enough to have picked a tablet that has USB ports (ASUS), which means I can just attach a wire and download the file from my laptop to the tablet...sorta like using a wire or adapter to download photos from a digital camera or a similar device.

When I opened the viewer, I had to pick a gedcom to display, and then select an icon: Individuals, Families, Reports, Sources, Database Info, or Change GED. The icon labels suggest the type of display you can expect to see and they are accurately labeled. The ezGED Viewer is a free download and very easy to use. If you check it out, you'll see that it's getting well deserved high marks from other users.

I've got to say that had I known enough to download this app while at RootsTech, I would have had a much easier (and more productive) session at the library, because you really can get at your information. In my defense, I had had the tablet less than a week when I went to RootsTech and I was still trying to integrate it into my life...Actually, I'm carrying it around with me everywhere still trying to integrate it into my life...And justify the outragous amount of money I spent for what has been heretofore a unnecessary toy!

The upshot of all of this...the ezGed Viewer has been the first thing that I've seen that might make having a tablet worth while and cost justifiable.

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