Monday, January 22, 2007

Geni and Tech Talks

If you're reading this blog, you're probably in the loop enough to have already seen the beta site. If you haven't seen it yet, it is definitely worth a look. It is basically a web 2.0 app for building a centralized pedigree for everyone. In that sense, it is similar in nature to what other players like the LDS Church,, and have been working on. It does seem to be fundamentally different however in that they have done a great job of incorporating social networking and viral marketing concepts into the site. The site is also focused on living people to start with. They've done a good job with the usability. It is definitely designed for ordinary people. I found it interesting that they chose to write their site in Flash. We made the same choice for the work we've been doing on Our decision was driven by our belief that the end user experience would need to be very rich including lots of multimedia, animation, etc. I would guess that the guys at chose Flash for this same reason.

On another note, the LDS Church CIO, Joel Dehlin, recently sponsored the first LDS Tech Talks. The basic idea is to provide a forum where those that are technically minded can interact with the Church on technology issues. They are trying to leverage the large community of people out there that are anxious to contribute their talents to improve the Church's technology. Read more about it at the LDS Tech website or on Joel Dehlin's blog. I wasn't able to go to the tech talks but my inbox has been flooded with all of the buzz and positive feedback it caused.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

SnapGenie Meets Genealogy

I've been playing with the beta of the new site. One of the interesting tools there is a feature that let's you narrate your way through a stack of images. It does a pretty good job of making it easy to recreate the experience of thumbing through a stack of pictures with your friends and family. I wondered how it would work to thumb through a stack of artifacts about an ancestor. Here's a really quick example.

I think if the application had a way for me to zoom in on my ancestors name or something else of interest in the records (like Microsoft PhotoStory) it might not be a bad way to share the information.

Check out the beta. It is free and has some interesting elements.