Backblaze Joins the Genealogy Gems Community

backblaze genealogy gems handshakeIn the last year I’ve moved from Earthquake Central (California) to Tornado Alley (Texas) and it’s been a bit of an adjustment, to say the least! Recently I presented a live webinar on using Evernote for genealogy during a tornado watch, with my husband fretting in the background. Not long after, we spent an hour in our shelter room during torrential rains, non-stop lightning, and nearby tornado touchdowns.

All this threat of danger and destruction has reinforced my decision to bring into our Genealogy Gems family a brand new sponsor. Backblaze is now the official back up of Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. Backblaze isn’t new to the genealogy space: if you’ve been to RootsTech, you’ve likely seen their booth. Backblaze is a trusted online cloud backup service that truly makes backing up all your most precious computer files super easy.

Many of you have asked me which company I use to back up my files. I’ve done my homework and Backblaze is my choice. The thought of losing my genealogy files is too much to bear. Now I can concentrate on keeping my loved ones safe through the storms of life because I know Backblaze is taking care of my files and photos! A few things to consider:

  • They back up ALL your files (or just those you select). Music, photos, data, documents, etc.
  • You have an unlimited amount of data storage on Backblaze.
  • In the event you lose data, you can download from any computer or have a hard drive FedExed to you.
  • For the price of a single average hard drive restoration (when it’s even possible), Backblaze could back up your computer for 50 years.
  • External drives are great, but if they’re sitting next to your computer, they would be lost in a natural disaster, too.
  • Backblaze serves both Mac and PC owners.
  • You can get started for free. And then it’s really inexpensive to have them continuously back you up. Only $5 per month, last we checked, or $50 for an entire year.

I invite you to visit www.Backblaze.com/Lisa and get all your files backed up once and for all!

What’s Your Computer Backup Plan? Better Than Mine Was, I Hope

Backblaze butlerNot so long ago, my computer backup plan against various calamities looked something like this:

  • Against flood: keep my laptop off the floor.
  • Against fire: grab my laptop in one hand and my youngest child in the other.
  • Against theft: hide my laptop under a different pile of blankets every time I leave the house.

 

No lie, this was my plan. You don’t have to tell me how terrible it was.

Fortunately, I’ve improved somewhat. I stash copies of important files in Dropbox. Older photos and files are backed up online and on an external hard drive. I started using cloud-based email.

But last week my laptop got sick. First it ran a fever, then shut down entirely. My computer repairman, usually an optimist, said, “Please tell me you have everything backed up.” I hesitated. He sighed.

That crash took three days to resolve and resulted in a prescription for a cooling fan and the dire news that my laptop is living on borrowed time. I was sternly instructed to back everything up, because in those three days I had discovered considerable gaps in my backup plan.

Fortunately, Lisa had just announced buy pain medication online legally Genealogy Gems’ new partnership with Backblaze. I figured if Lisa could entrust thousands of audio, video, image, text, communication and other files to them, I could do the same. So….I signed up for Blackblaze. It’s $5 a month ($50 a year). Less than I spend on Redbox movies for my kids.

It’s taken Backblaze a few days to process my initial backup of over 120,000 files. It’s running continuously in the background and will continue to do so as I work. Like a little data butler, waiting to tidy up after me and be there for me when I need it. Backblaze will even backup my external drives, too (“no extra charge, madam”).

It’s so comforting to have Backblaze that I’ve stopped hiding my laptop under blankets when I leave the house. Because I was still doing that.

If your backup plan needs a little help like mine did, consider Backblaze. It’s easy to sign up, it’s comprehensive and it’s just a few dollars a month. Click here to check it out: www.Backblaze.com/Lisa. Whatever your backup strategy, watch our blog for more on disaster planning and prevention.

How to Save and Open Genealogy eBooks and PDFs to Your Mobile Devices

Genealogy and iPadCliona in Ireland’s recent email question illustrates the point that not everything on the iPad is straightforward. But I’ve got an easy answer to her question that will make reading pdfs and ebooks on your iPad and other mobile devices a breeze:

“I bought your new book Turn your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse and I downloaded it to my PC straight away without problem. Ironically my problem came when I tried to download it to my iPad!

When I click to download the book to my iPad it downloads to the Safari Browser but I cannot find how to save it to iBooks or Kindle or anywhere else…I know I must be doing something wrong but I’ve looked on the Lulu site and they show that there should be an option to ‘Open In’ (at which point I should be able to specify, say, iBooks) but this option doesn’t appear in my browser. The only icons that appear at the top of my browser are the ‘book’ icon (bookmarks, history and reading list), the ‘cloud’ icon for icloud and the ‘forwarding’ icon which allows me to send to mail, Facebook etc., but not to iBooks…In short HELP please, before this drives me nuts.”

Here’s an easy way to add any ebook or PDF to your iPad:
  1. Get a free Dropbox account at www.Dropbox.com
  2. Install the Dropbox app on your tablet
  3. Create an “eBooks” folder in your free Dropbox account
  4. Save all pdf ebooks to the folder
  5. Open the Dropbox app on your iPad
  6. Navigate to the ebooks folder
  7. Tap the ebook you want
  8. Tap the “Open In” button at the top of the screen (folder icon with down arrow) and select Good Reader, iBooks, Kindle, etc.

Saving your ebooks in Dropbox also means they are easily accessible from all of your computing devices, regardless of whether they are PC or Mac. Sweet!

 

 

View-Master Toys are Going Virtual Reality

" The View-Master first appeared in 1939 at the New York Worlds Fair. My View-Master Model C, pictured here, was produced between 1946 and 1955. It was made from bakelite and was the first viewer to have a slot into which the reels were placed for viewing. Believe it or not, all reels made for any view master will work in any model from 1939 to present." Image by Jack Pearce, Flickr Creative Commons. Image used without changes; find it at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jwpearce/10725366513/.

” The View-Master first appeared in 1939 at the New York Worlds Fair. My View-Master Model C, pictured here, was produced between 1946 and 1955. It was made from bakelite and was the first viewer to have a slot into which the reels were placed for viewing. Believe it or not, all reels made for any view master will work in any model from 1939 to present.” Image by Jack Pearce, Flickr Creative Commons. Image used without changes; find it at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jwpearce/10725366513/.

Did you have a View-Master toy as a kid? Using these stereoscopic viewers (long before kids had cameras of their own), children could see pictures of any topic from Disney to dinosaurs to the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. According to a collector, whose image is posted here, “all reels made for any View-Master will work in any model from 1939 to the present.”

Well, this decades-only technology is about to get boosted into the 21st century. According to this news report, “Mattel is teaming up with Google on an upcoming virtual reality-based View-Master that is infused with Google Cardboard VR technology.”

“The Cardboard-based View-Master…will share some design elements with vintage View-Masters, but instead of dropping in a reel, you slide an Android smartphone into the unit. View-Master will work with a custom Mattel app, as well as any Google Cardboard-compatible app, of which there are now about 200 in the Google Play Store.”

Want to learn more about these great vintage toys–or share one with the next generation? Click here to purchase a View-Master Viewer and Reels and click here to purchase Collectible View-Master: An Illustrated Reference and Value Guide. (Thank you! Purchasing from these links helps support the Genealogy Gems podcast and blog.)

Did you know that nostalgia buffs (and anyone else) can search Google Patents for fun objects like the View-Master? Click here to see the original patent application materials for the 1939 View-Master, including a design drawing of that first model. Here’s a tip: if your ancestor ever applied for a patent, search Google Patents for his or her name! Learn more about Google Patents–and other fabulous and FREE Google tools you can use for family history–in the new, fully-revised 2nd edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke.

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