05 November 2011

Frustrations with Technology

My sister at our Mac Performa 450
     As a lifelong Mac user, I'm accustomed to software inequality. Small print reading "For Windows Only" and "Not Available for Macintosh" has been a common sight. Over the years however, as Apple computers have become more mainstream, things have vastly improved. Now most major software is available to me and my Mac. However, there are still areas of weakness, especially for niche markets such as genealogy.

     When I got started in genealogy, about nine years ago, it was difficult to find a software program for my family tree. I'd created my tree online at ancestry.com, but their software was for windows only. Many other mainstream genealogy software was as well. I finally found Reunion, a Mac specific program, which I love. Since then, more Mac software has been developed and Ancestry has come out with a Mac version. However, their Mac software is a version behind their windows software. Other companies, such as RootsMagic and Family Tree Builder have not developed a Mac version (and to be fair, Reunion does not run on Windows). Even outside of family tree software, Mac computers aren't given equal consideration. Want to transcribe records for Ancestry.com's World Archives Project? Better be running a Windows computer.

     Ironically, with the growth of smart phones and tablet computers, Apple has become king. Most phone and tablet apps are available first and/or only for apple devices and often only later become available for Android. I don't personally have either device, but I do have access to Android phones. Multiple times I found a neat new genealogy site online that has a phone app to go with it - but only for Apple. For example, Blurb.com has a new eBook feature, but it currently only works on iphones and ipads. And Ancestry.com came out with an iPhone app back in January, but only this week started beta testing their Android version.

     I wish that software and website developers valued their customers equally. I'd love to use their software, maybe give them my money, but I don't often have the opportunity to do so.

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