Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tech Tuesday - Best Technology?

I often get asked, "What's the best" X, where X can be camera, computer, cellphone, monitor, etc.  I usually ask a few questions about how they intend to use the item in question before making a response, because when it comes right down to it, the way you plan to use a gadget influences which particular one will be best for the purpose.

Photographers have a saying, "The best camera is the one you have with you."  Sometimes this really is the bottom line!  If you have a great laptop at home, but only a smartphone on an outing with you, then your best computer at the moment is the smartphone in your hand, not the laptop at home.  Technology is only good if you can access it.

When I look at purchasing a new piece of gear, I usually do my homework.  I look at what models are available that have the features I want or need.  I look at reviews for each of the options.  I look at various sellers for price and other options.  You've probably seen reviews for products that have a grid of models vs. features, and check marks to show which models have which features.  Sometimes I make my own grid with the things that are important to me.  This is exactly what I did when I bought my first digital camera, and it worked.  I was quite happy with my purchase for several years.  When that changed, it was not the failing of the product, it was a change in my needs that drove me to upgrade.

What's the best scanner?  Depends on what you want to scan.  Does it need to be portable?  Do you need large format?  Figure out what your needs are, then comparison shop.  What's the best genealogy software?  It'll take some research to find out!  Which has the best source citation?  Which has the best chart output?  Fortunately, you have a great genealogy blogging community to help.

Tech Tuesday – Have you stumbled upon a piece of technology or new Web-based application that would be of interest to your fellow genealogy colleagues? Post at your blog on Tech Tuesday and show us the ins and outs of this technology and how it can benefit the genealogy community.  This is a new series suggested by Donna Peterson of Hanging with Donna and in the past there have been many iterations of this series: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) blog Narations as well as The Family Curator by Denise Levenick.  (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers!)