Today, I attended the Pima Air & Space Museum with a Boy Scout troop. It was amazing to see just how many planes they had. If each aircraft could speak, it could tell its own story of the places it flew, the battles it fought, the people that piloted (or navigated, gunned, maintained, etc.).
There was a P-51D that was particularly interesting. On its side was recorded the planes that it had downed:
Besides the 7 German & 1 Japanese aircraft there was a symbol that I didn’t recognize (#6) and a U.S. flag:
What if you could talk to your deceased ancestors?
What would you like them to tell you?
Now there is a fun way to bring your ancestor photos to life and let them tell their own stories in their “own” voices. Crazy Talk Animator lets you add realistic animations to your photographs and record your own dialog. The software takes care of moving the mouth on the photo and synching it with what you said.
Here is a short video sample that I created with the 15-day trial version of the software. I hope the watermarks don’t distract too much from the effect. I did this after playing with the software for about 2 hours.
I showed this to my boys ages 9-13 and they thought it was cool. Saying that something dealing with family history is cool doesn’t happen every day.
Which ancestor’s photo would you like to bring to life? What would you have them say? Do you think that talking family history photos could be of any value in sharing your family history?
GenPerfect is connected and social.
In my first GenPerfect post I mentioned that you could add living members to your database via Facebook. Lately my third cousin has added me to two closed Facebook groups for common ancestors: Thomas Tucker Family & William Henry Dollar Family
Members of these groups include living descendants of a common ancestor. Messages include the lineage of members back to the common ancestor as well as photos and digitized documents. What if GenPerfect could be pointed to these groups? You could see the list of your messages inside your genealogy software on the dashboard. The messages could be parsed and the mini-lineage added to your database citing Facebook as the source. Any photos added to the group would be imported as part of your media collection. GenPerfect would even allow you to update your Facebook status without leaving the application. You could configure the software to automatically prompt you for a Facebook status update at key moment such as when you add a photo or document or when you enter a conclusion and close out a research project. You could choose to post these to a group or your wall.
Similar to updating your Facebook status, you could also choose to tweet from inside GenPerfect. When prompted to update your status, you could choose to also post to Twitter.
By selecting a photo, some information in a database, or a research project and clicking a “Quick Post” link, a blog post would be assembled ready for you to edit and post to your blog. All without leaving GenPerfect.
Where Family History meets Design
Online Family History Trends
This infographic provided by Archives.com shows trends and growth in the family history industry. The full report and infographic can be viewed on the Archives.com blog.
I have so much appreciated all the comments that came from my first post about GenPerfect. I so wish that such software already existed. Here are more ideas that are part of GenPerfect for me.
Dashboards are all the rage in the world of enterprise software. A dashboard shows important and interesting information on a single page. It can contain statistics, charts, links, and more.
Here are a few samples of dashboards:
What better way to have GenPerfect greet you than with your own customizable dashboard?
Any dashboard must be customizable as different users will want to see different things. Each section in a dashboard is often called a widget (or component, gadget, part) and surfaces a view into some data (or grouping of data) found in the system. Links often take the user right to the details so the user can get more information or enter values.
What widgets might I want available in GenPerfect:
I grew up in Utah, have a brother-in-law that worked for WordPerfect, and used WordPerfect in high school and college before Microsoft Word became the dominant word processing software. So when I tried to put a name to all the ideas about what the ideal genealogy software would look like to me, GenPerfect was the perfect name.
I am sad that I missed RootsTech 2011, but am excited to see that it has stirred up ideas and there is a spirit of innovation that seems to be sweeping through the genealogy/technology community. Some are having discussions about a new data format to bring GEDCOM into the 21st century and make sure it plays well in the online world of collaboration and social networking. One place you can find this is the BetterGEDCOM Wiki and another is the e-mail list for the FamilySearch Developer Network (FSDN).
Much of the recent discussion on FSDN has been around the main sticking points of the data model and whether the structure should be people-based or record-based. As a developer, I often want to jump down into the details of the problem and gnaw on it until I figure it out. But lately I am changing. I prefer to look at it from a user’s perspective. Call it product management or User Experience (UX), but if in the end the data model doesn’t allow the software to do what I think it can and should do, then I think a great opportunity would have been missed.
So back to GenPerfect. What do I think it should look like? What implications does that have on a data model? As a user, what is my vision of the perfect genealogy software?