My personal review of SpaceX's Starlink - "high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in remote and rural locations across the globe"

Starlink arrived just over two weeks ago on my doorstep with the promise of better internet speeds, better reliability, and a smaller monthly bill. I was on the waiting list for more than a year. Was it worth waiting for?

Starlink

Yes, mostly.

I live two miles north of the city limits. Two miles too far to enjoy 940Mbps internet speed (at $75/month). When we built our house we planned for cows, chickens, a big garden, and a bright night sky. But that came with a price. For five years now we've paid $164.97 a month for internet speed of 20Mbps. That's not a typo. 20. That's 920Mbps slower for $89.97 more.

So as soon as I learned of SpaceX's announcement of Starlink, I put down a $100 deposit and signed up. They promised "high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in remote and rural locations across the globe." I didn't know what their speeds would be, but it had to be better than 20Mbps.

Twenty days ago I received an email with this subject line:

Your Starlink is ready! Confirm your order in the next 7 days

Their high-pressure email worked:

You have 7 days to confirm your order by clicking "Manage" on your Account Page otherwise your deposit will be automatically cancelled and fully refunded. Upon cancellation, you will lose your place in line.

The one-time hardware cost of $599 was expensive. I paid an additional $133.56 for the flashing mount, pivot mount, and ethernet adapter. The recurring monthly cost is $110.

Inside the box was the base, the router, the Starlink device, and a 75-foot cable.

Starlink2

Oh, and the instructions:

Starlink3

These were literally the instructions. Three pictures: 1) put the Starlink thing in the base, 2) connect it to the router, and 3) run the Starlink app. It couldn't be that simple. So I tried it, and was blown away. It actually worked. I just put the base near the driveway, pulled the cord through a window, plugged it in and in minutes I was connected.

After a few days of playing and running speed tests, I knew I had to keep this permanently. The most difficult part of the process was drilling the hole through the roof, then through the second roof that the first roof was covering, pulling the cable through the attic, fishing it down the right wall, and into my office. Mounting the device to the roof was pretty simple.

Starlink6

Here is my typical speed test before Starlink:

19.9 Mbps down, 6.87 Mbps up

Here is my typical speed test with Starlink:

80.52 Mbps down, 14.00 Mbps up

This is at 1:15pm. Earlier in the day I see speeds beyond 200 Mbps. So it's not in-the-city speeds, but it's incredible compared to what else is available.

The "mostly" part of this article relates to speeds in the evening when everyone in rural Idaho is home using their own Starlinks. Between about 6:30pm to 10:30pm, speeds slow down to between 10-20 Mbps. It's usually not a problem unless I'm watching YouTube TV, my wife is streaming music, and kids are working on homework (or so they say). Then it buffers a bit. It's probably a bit too slow for me to trust hosting a live evening webinar with it. All other times, it is wonderful and fast and so much less expensive. Starlink says this will continue to improve as they deploy more of their satellites.

One other thing I've worried about is the snow. We've had five feet of snow on the ground here in the past. What will happen to my internet connection when any amount of snow is on top of the Starlink? Starlink thought of that too:

Starlink7

Do I recommend Starlink? Like the great Judy Russell says, "it depends". If you live in a place where high speed internet is not an option, and you have a clear view of the sky, then this is a great choice. If you travel, you might even enjoy the "Starlink for RVs". If you already have a fast internet connection, this won't give you anything more. Well, except for some really cool technology.

Learn more at https://www.starlink.com.

Learn more Tech from Geoff at https://familytreewebinars.com/geoffrasmussen.


New TechZone Video - 3 Time Saving Tips for Gmail by Marian Pierre-Louis

New TechZone Video - 3 Time Saving Tips for Gmail by Marian Pierre-Louis

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar members a new, short ten minute or less TechZone video just for them! This Friday enjoy "3 Time Saving Tips for Gmail" by Marian Pierre-Louis.

3 Time Saving Tips for Gmail

Don't spend so much time on email! Learn three tips that will get you in and out of your email quicker.

_WatchVideo


About the Presenter

Marian Pierre-LouisMarian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research and solving brick walls. Marian is the host of the Genealogy Profoessional Podcast. She has also produced and hosted 100 episodes of Fieldstone Common, a history podcast. Marian is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars where she produces online genealogy education classes. Once a month you'll find her as the evening host of Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

See all the webinars and videos by Marian Pierre-Louis in the Legacy library.
 
Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 1,451 classes in the library 
  • 5,537 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year.


Google Maps Timeline - privacy concerns or great history tool?

I just found this article that I had written a couple of years ago but hadn't published yet. Here goes...

Google Maps Timeline

When I first saw it, I was shocked. I felt exposed and even a little betrayed. Then the genealogist in me kicked in and I did not feel so bad. If you use a smart phone, and have not intentionally turned off the location history settings, my guess is that you, too, will be in for a surprise when you visit www.google.com/maps/timeline for the first time.

Google Maps Timeline is a service that tracks where you have been … well … where your phone has been. It shows the route that you took to get to the grocery store and back. It displays the exact times that you were on the move. It even guesses the names of the buildings you entered.

Without any effort on my part, Google Maps created a timeline of my movements. So far today, I have traveled 42.3 miles. I began at my home at 602 Syringa Place in Caldwell. Apparently, it took me exactly 16 minutes to go the 9.4 miles to get to the job site where I checked to see if the basement was leaking from last night’s rain. Thankfully, they’ve now sealed the cracks. It shows that I was there from 8:17-8:26am. Yep. Next, I traveled 20.6 miles, which took 29 minutes, to see Dr. Kammer in Nampa. My wife has been telling me to get my hearing checked, and so today, I did. My appointment was for 9:15am, but Google Maps Timeline shows I arrived twenty minutes early and that I left at exactly 10:21. It did not catch that I stopped off at the car wash between departing the doctor and arriving home, but it does show the precise route I took. I made it home in time for my staff meeting with eight minutes to spare. Isn’t this incredible?

Timeline1

The private citizen in me might think that Google knows a little too much about me and where I’ve been. In fact, for the first time right now, I’ve adjusted the dates in the upper left and learned that Google knows my every move dating back to July 2013. I had no idea!! In the wrong hands, I suppose this data about me could be dangerous. I am certain Google uses this to target me with relevant advertising. And good thing I’m an honest, faithful husband because I would not mind a bit if my wife got ahold of my Google Maps Timeline.

With the right intentions, just think how powerful this data is. Oh to have an every minute accounting of my ancestors’ movements. While that is not possible, in a way I now have a digital journal – a day-by-day history of my personal travels. On October 26, 2014 it shows I was in Tokyo enjoying our genealogy cruise. On Saturday, October 19, 2013 it reminded me of the seminar I presented to the Anchorage Genealogical Society. It shows my arrival at the airport, the trip to the hotel, the walk to the conference center, lunch at TGI Fridays, and to my astonishment, it even had a picture I took of the standing ovation I received at the end. How it linked that in to my timeline is beyond my understanding, but fascinating!

Timeline2

I’ve hesitated for years to jump on the get-my-teenagers-a-cell-phone train (I did get them a “dumb-phone”), but this may be the thing that convinces me to let them have a smart phone. Although I trust them, I sometimes would enjoy having a minute-by-minute accounting of where they really are. Did they really rake the neighbor’s leaves like they said they did? Even more practically, where were they standing when both my 16-year-old and my 14-year-old lost their phones this winter? It was only after the two feet of snow melted and after we filed an insurance claim that we found the phones. And if one of us were really living on the edge, I suppose that Google Maps Timeline could help establish an alibi.

If you have read this far and have not yet visited www.google.com/maps/timeline, you must either really love my writing or you are nervous about what you will discover. If the privacy thing is just too much for you, Google makes it simple to turn off or pause your location history. Visit https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3118687 for instructions. For Android users, go to Settings > Location > Google Location History to turn it on or off on your phone. For iPhone users, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

So…what do you think? A little too much information or a fantastic history tool? What did you find when you checked your timeline? Or when you checked your husband’s timeline? Hopefully you confirmed it really was him who drove to the flower shop on Valentine’s Day. Otherwise you might have a secret admirer.


Legacy 101 - The Different Views

Legacy has many different views that you can work off of and which one you choose is personal preference. Each view is customizable so that you can tweak it to your liking. How to customize the different views will be covered at a later time.

The Family View - To me the Family View feels like a Family Group Sheet.  You can see the husband and wife along with their parents and their children. You can navigate through the generations by clicking a name that you want to put into the main view. To edit someone, double click their name.

2a(click image to enlarge)


The Pedigree View - Some people prefer to work off of a view that looks like a Pedigree Chart. To put someone into the anchor position, double click their name. To edit someone, right click on the person and select Edit.

2b(click image to enlarge)


The Descendant View - This view is set up like a Descendant Chart with generation numbers (based on the anchor person) to the left. You can customize the columns to show the information you want to see on each person.

2c(click image to enlarge)


The Chronology View - This is a comprehensive timeline of your ancestor of interest. You can add in historical timelines so that you know what events were going on that might have affected his life. Again, this view is very customizable.

2d(click image to enlarge)


The Index View - This view shows everyone in your file.  You can sort the list by RIN (or User ID), Given Name or Surname by using the buttons at the top. Like the Descendant View you can customize the columns to show the information you want to see. To edit someone, double click their name.

2e(click image to enlarge)


The Name List - To see the Name List go to VIEW > NAME LIST. This is a great view to use if you are editing a lot of people.  If you create a Search List, it will look exactly like the Name List and it works in the very same way. Like the Index View, you can sort this list by RIN (or User ID), Given Name or Surname by using the buttons at the top. Over on the right you will see six tabs where you can do all of your editing.

2f(click image to enlarge)


The Marriage List - To see the Marriage List go to VIEW > MARRIAGE LIST. If you are working off of the Marriage you can edit each person or their marriage by using the buttons at the bottom of the screen. You can sort this list by MRIN, the Husband, or the Wife using the buttons at the top. If you are using Gender-Neutral Terms this will be Left Spouse and Right Spouse.

2g(click image to enlarge)


Legacy has different views so that our users can find one that makes the most sense to them. These views are used to see your data and to navigate., however, with the exception of the Name List all data entry is done on the Individual's Information screen.

2h(click image to enlarge)

 

View a Compilation of all Legacy 101 articles

 

 Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.


5 Ways to Use Trello for Genealogy and Family History

Thanks to guest blogger, Lisa Alzo, for this post.

Have you ever wished for a whiteboard in the cloud where you could generate ideas, organize your research tasks, or storyboard your family history writing?

Then, say “Hello” to Trello—a free project management tool to help you streamline your genealogy projects, tackle your "to-do" lists, and improve your workflow. I have been a fan of Trello for several years to organize my work and personal research projects. In this post, I will share with you five ways to use Trello specifically for genealogy and family history.

Trello graphic

Getting Started
The first step is to set up a free Trello account at https://trello.com.  Once you have registered, you will be taken to the Trello “Welcome Board.”  You will see a brief tutorial that will bring you quickly up to speed on Trello’s system of boards, lists, and cards. Trello’s customizable notecards enable you to view any project in a single glance, share it for easy collaboration, and set it up to sync on multiple devices to take your work with you wherever you go. It is like having your own virtual whiteboard.

Trello for Genealogy and Family History

The uses for Trello are endless—from collecting and organizing ideas to setting up group projects with multiple collaborators.  There is no limit to how many boards you can create. Below are five easy ways you can begin using Trello immediately for genealogy and family history.

1. Create a research plan. Trello provides a way to visually organize your genealogy research tasks.  Create a board for each main surname you are researching. Then create three lists for “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” Other lists could include a specific research task (e.g. “Check FamilySearch,” “Correspondence” or “Source Citations.”   You can also add due dates, checklists, comments, attach files, and set reminders. Other board suggestions include a cemetery board to organize the family gravestones you photograph, or a “mystery photographs” board for those unidentified pictures you come across. Becky Jamison, who blogs about her family history research on the Grace and Glory Blog, is an avid Trello user and has recorded a video with some great ideas for project boards.

2. Storyboard writing projects. One of my personal favorite uses of Trello is to outline and storyboard writing projects. I create boards for articles I am working on, book projects, and family history profiles. Since I can attach an image to each card, this is an excellent way to create a visual storyboard for each writing task. I also like to use the available Power-Ups—a way of incorporating additional features and integrations that are adaptable to your project needs. Enabling Power-Ups on boards allows you to access important information from other apps such as Calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive and others (Read more about them in the Trello User Guide). Free accounts get one free Power-Up per board. My favorite Power-Up to use is the one for Evernote because it helps me to bring over my research materials (notes, saved web pages, etc.) into Trello.

3. Outline and plan blog posts. If you blog about your genealogy research, Trello is a great tool for managing your editorial calendar. For my blog, The Accidental Genealogist, I usually start a blog post outline in Evernote and then attach it to a card to expand the idea. If you write your posts using Google Docs, you can start a draft with Google Drive directly from Trello and compose the article. You can also attach a Drive folder to the card to access the image assets for the post. Using due dates can help with meeting deadlines.

4. Create a travel itinerary. Whenever I travel to a genealogy conference or go on a research trip, I use Trello to build a board for it. I actually save a blank board as a template and then I can customize it for each trip. I make lists for airline and hotel reservations, daily schedules. For conferences, I also create lists for registration information, syllabus files, presentations, and expenses (I can attach images of my receipts right from Evernote). When the trip or conference is over, I can simply remove that board so that it is no longer in my active board list, but I can always go back to refer to it at a later date.

5. Collaborate on research, writing, or other group projects. Trello is the perfect tool for collaboration. You can add members to specific boards (they will need a free account). This is a good option if you are working with another family member to research a specific branch on your family tree, if you have a co-author for a book project, or for members of a genealogical society. If you are a fan of Mondays with Myrt or the other Google Hangouts co-hosted by Dear Myrtle and “Cousin Russ” (Worthington), they use Trello as their planning tool.

Be sure to download the free Trello app to all your mobile devices (you can even work offline and sync your boards later). There is a small learning curve, so start with a small board and then add more features as you need them. If you are a FamilyTreeWebinars.com subscriber, check out my webinar “Your Whiteboard in the Cloud: Trello for Genealogists” for more tips and project ideas.


How to Crop, Resize, and Highlight Census Images for Genealogical Use

2016-12-09_11-11-58

Legacy user, Scott Langworthy, has written up some instructions for manipulating census images to make them easier to read. He has kindly offered to share them here with you. Before downloading the document, here is a summary of how this can benefit genealogists.

IrfanView is a Free Photo Viewer which has many surprising capabilities, some of which I use all the time in my genealogical research and using Legacy Family Tree software.

When IrfanView, I can take a downloaded Census Image from Ancestry (for example), and do the following as needed to provide me with a finished Jpg photo.

  • I can Crop the excess part of the image. Getting rid of black or white that is surrounding the image we want to preserve.
  • I can use the Color Corrections Menu off of the Image Menu, to adjust the Gamma, and Contrast, to eliminate some of the noise, or to darken, or to lighten the image making it easier to see and interpret.
  • I can use a little trick in that same menu, if I first highlight the area where I want a nice Highlight Yellow area, and then use the BLUE Color Button and shift it down all the way to -255 thereby turning the selection in question, YELLOW and yet still see the underlying Black Text.
  • I can use the Resize menu off of the Image menu, to resize the full size image, in order to reduce the size in MB, to something smaller, but yet still zoomable to read details. This helps keep File sizes down, which can make the Legacy Database Images unwieldy.

There are other things this free viewer program can do, but this alone makes my simple editing work fast and allows for fast flow in getting the info, and moving on to the next image.

Click here to download the step-by-step, illustrated instructions.

Thanks Scott!


Learn Microsoft Word for free!

The recent Getting Started with Microsoft Word class by Thomas MacEntee has gotten such rave reviews that we've decided to keep it free - indefinitely!

Getting Started with Microsoft Word

Here's what people are saying:

  • "Absolutely fantastic webinar. I've used Word for years on lengthy documents and learned so much today that will help me. His webinar was better than all the books I have on how to work with Word."

  • "Awesome! I knew some of these tips, but Thomas has added so much more. Thank you. My Word editing will go much faster and smoother. :)"

  • "Excellent webinar!! I've been using Word for 30 years and learned new things I didn't even know were possible (or never took the time to investigate), especially the Styles and Format Painter. I look forward to watching the rest of the Word webinars. Thank you for doing these."

  • "I almost didn't sign up for this "Getting Started with Word" I have used Word for years and years. But I hoped for a few tips. OMGoodness. I got way more than I expected. Thomas made it seem so easy. He never talked down to us. He genuinely wants us to learn. He repeated the process (steps) after demonstrating. Great teacher. Great webinar. Thanks Geoff and Thomas"

  • "Thomas never disappoints. He made using Microsoft word look so easy. The examples he provided were easy to follow. He made sure the viewer knew how to do it themselves when they left the webinar. One of the best I have watched. Thank you!"

This first introductory class provides answers to many of the most common yet frustrating challenges for every day Microsoft Word users. And as the reviews above point out, Thomas makes it easy for everyone to learn.

First in a Series

Getting Started in Microsoft Word is the first in the new Microsoft Word Series that was created specifically for FamilyTreeWebinars.com subscribers. The series will teach you everything from Formatting Basics, to Understanding Headers and Footers, to Creating and Using Templates - and much more!

Enjoy the free class on us!

We know you're going to get a lot out of this class! We're convinced that you'll like this class so much that we think you might even want to sign up for a membership

Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 322 classes in the library (465 hours of quality genealogy and technology education)
  • 1,385 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.

Subscribe


Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging

  Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging on Legacy Family Tree


Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Advanced Tagging

Did you know that if you RIGHT click on the tags in the Family or Pedigree Views it will bring up the Advanced Tagging screen? It saves you a few clicks.

If you have your tags labeled on the Advanced Tagging screen, if someone is tagged on one of the labeled tags and you hover your mouse over that tag you will get a little popup with the label. This is great if you forget what Tag 5 was.

  Advanced Tagging


Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.

 


Tuesday's Tip - Attaching Document Files

  TT - Attaching Document Files


Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Attaching Document Files

I write up case studies and proof arguments using MS Word. I also have a One-Name Study and using Excel spreadsheets to analyze my data is very important. I link these documents to Legacy's Media Gallery (which media gallery depends on what the data is).

I can open the Media Gallery, double click on the linked document, and the document will open and I can edit it. When I am done I simply close the document and the Media Gallery automatically has the most current version (Legacy links to the documents, it doesn't embed them). This saves me time because I never have to leave Legacy to open Word or Excel separately. It is important to me to keep all my genealogy information accessible in one program, Legacy.

There are individual media galleries, marriage media galleries, media galleries for locations, sources, source detail, mailing addresses, event addresses, repository addresses, and To-Do tasks.

For example, you can find a media gallery easily by looking at either the husband or the wife profile. See the media gallery highlighted with the red box below. When they gallery contains media the icon becomes colored.

MediaGallery2


When you click into the media gallery it looks like this:

MediaGallery


The different types of media will have different icons. The icon above is for documents.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.

 

 

 


Tuesday's Tip - Using Trees

  TT - Using Trees

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Using Trees

Adding unlinked individuals to your file is a great way to capture people that you "think" are related but you aren't quite sure. You can add them as an unlinked individual and then you treat them just like anyone else in your file. You can add their family members and you will create a separate tree for this family group. If you ever find the connection you can simply link them to the main tree and all of the members of that tree will be linked.

Here is a screenshot of the trees in my One-Name Study. A One-Name Study inherently has a lot of unlinked individuals but with any luck you will find family connections and start linking people. This is actually a small ONS file because Glaentzer is a rare surname. You can see that my ONS file has 229 separate trees all in one file. I can use the scroll bar to see them all or I can print a list. You can also see that I can tag all of the members of a specific tree which is very helpful. I can also tag the "anchors" of each tree. Legacy has so many cool features.

  Trees

 

To reach the Tree Finder screen, choose Trees on the View tab of the Ribbon bar.  The first time this screen is displayed, Legacy builds the list.  When you return to this screen in the future, the same list is shown (for speed reasons).  If you have added new trees or just want to make sure that the list is up-to-date, click the Refresh button.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.