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February 2015

My Four New Frontiers in 2015

by Marian Pierre-Louis

2015goalsAs the New Year rolls around many people start to think about resolutions. I don't bother with resolutions anymore. I'm more interested in setting goals that I can break down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This year my goals are taking me into four new frontiers. It makes me feel like I'm on a Stark Trek voyage headed into uncharted territory. It provides a sense of adventure, fear and excitement.

My four new frontiers are software programs which I am committed to learning in order to push myself ahead, get organized and achieve my goals. They include Adobe Photoshop Elements, Evernote, Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Legacy Family Tree software.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

This is a bit sad to say but I bought Adobe Photoshop Elements way back in 2012 after Geoff's Rasmussen's "Organizing and Sharing Digital Images" webinar. I've been a user of Adobe Photoshop my entire adult life but I purchased Elements because the regular PhotoShop lacks an easy organizer section that is drag-and-drop-based like Elements.

I've had every intention of getting organized since then but it hasn't happened. I started a few times but never carried through. The problem is I wanted to organize all of my existing photos into the proper directories with the proper names and that's what held me back. It's a monumental task. This time I've decided to get started tagging my files so that I can find them and worry about organization later. The decision has been liberating and I've made great progress. I started my journey into this frontier just before Christmas. I knew if I was going to achieve this goal I would have to start right away. I got started by watching Geoff's webinar (link above). That webinar and my own software are Elements 10 which is a bit out of date. The current edition is Elements 13 which is now quite different. I may or may not upgrade later in the year. I'll decide that later.

Evernote

Every time someone mentions Evernote I feel like I am letting Lisa Louise Cooke down. I know I should have an account by now. I know it will help me with my genealogy research and everything else I want to keep track of in my life. And how many times have I heard Lisa speak on this topic encouraging all of us to try Evernote? Even worse, my brother uses it constantly and always sends me links from his Evernote account. I am determined to start my Evernote account before January 7, 2015 when Lisa presents "Genealogy on the Go with iPads and Tablets." While the webinar is not specifically about Evernote I know she will mention that word and I don't want to have to feel that shame again! This time I will be ready. If I am lucky I will find some time and go back and watch her recent "Using Evernote for Genealogy" webinar to help me get started.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

I've had my eye on the dictation software Dragon NaturallySpeaking for awhile. It seems that it has come a long way in accuracy since it was first released many years ago. As a public speaker and podcaster it is natural that I would want to use a software program that will take my words and put them to text without typing. When I found out that Dragon NaturallySpeaking can transcribe from an audio file (available in the Premium version only) then I knew I had to try this. My 3rd cousin has recently leant me the original manuscript of our shared great-great grandfather's diary. Wouldn't it be great fun to transcribe the diary by speaking it rather than typing it?  Luana Darby's recent webinar "Can You Hear Me Now? Voice Recognition Software for Genealogists" got me so excited about the possibilities of this software that I bought it that same day.

During the webinar Luana showed that Dragon could also be used with the Legacy Family Tree software. And one of the regular webinar attendees shared that she has been using Dragon extensively with Legacy. I've already made contact with this Legacy user and plan to pick her brain further to learn how I can use Dragon to operate Legacy without typing!

Legacy Family Tree software

Many of you are probably surprised that I've included Legacy Family Tree software amongst my list. Yes, it's true that I've been using Legacy Family Tree for a few years now. But I don't really know how to use the program properly. I am only doing the simple tasks that I can easily figure out on my own. This year I am committed to digging deeper and really learning how to use the features that are available. I'll be writing about that journey here on this blog and I hope you'll join me for the ride and help me along the way.

The New Frontiers

The four new frontiers that I've chosen to explore - the software programs that I am committed to learn - will help me get organized and become a better genealogist in 2015. If I go boldly forth without fear I will be able to organize my photos so that I can find them, capture notes and photos on the go and make them available in the cloud, be able to more quickly transcribe using my voice and finally, organize my genealogy properly within my genealogy software program. Now it's time for me to watch some webinars and get started!