Thursday, January 16, 2020

Presence and such

The internet has changed things tremendously, as we see with this last holiday season where bricks and mortar continued to suffer at the hands of the ease (and such) of the virtual shopping experience. Then, we see how the internet has adapted to the facility of mobility. The Economist, recently, looked at how the internet's offerings have changed how we get news; and, there is a wide gap twixt what the older folk do to, and how those younger, get their information.

Many societies are in the midst of trying to figure out how to obtain a balance in regard to presenting their information or to finding what they need, in a manner that allows generational peace and harmony. We are considering our options and will venture along a few paths this year. First, though, let's review what we have now.

  • Main site - This is our main collective of information, having started in 2010. It has gone through several iterations that parallel the changes in the general mode. Except, we are hosted on a server rather than using the cloud. There is a lot to discuss about the requirements for this type of presentation. 
  • Context blog - This started early, jointly with the main site. It serves several purposes including providing a timeline. One huge aspect of computing derives from its ability to handle time and coordinate between disparate groups with ease. Somewhat, one might add (next bullet), more problematic than we would like to think about. Currently hosted via Google, we are considering bringing this under the umbrella of our server (however it may be configured in the future).  
  • Technology blog - The internet is a mess. We have tried to present the discussions over the period at each major decision point. This blog helped. Too, it's based upon one of the most-used internet resources, however we've kept a minimal presence for several reasons which the blog itself will be used to discuss. Though using WordPress, it's based on our own server (as an aside, shared server - and, somewhat virtual).   
  • Portal (to truth) - As mentioned in this blog post (Gardner's Gate), the internet has accumulated lots and lots of stuff about 'all things Gardner' for quite a while. Before the www, we have the various communication schemes going on that allowed people to have access and to do things.  
  • Facebook - We are using this, mostly, for notices. Many times, links to blog posts are pushed up. As well, lots of groups have established themselves on FB. So, we can do a lot more and do it better. Time and energy are two major constraints. Actually, the most prevalent ones. 
  • WikiTree - The Thomas Gardner page is being edited with our help. We have established Thomas and Margaret as husband and wife and parents. We used Dr. Frank to have threads from then to now. Lots have added their ancestors' information, however there are many holes. We need to do, at least, five generations
  • PInterest - We just added another pin. Mostly, this was experimental. There are other options. So, the discussion will be ongoing. 

Need to add in GitHub. One thing that the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. will not do is buy into some service without consideration of pros and cons. Too, these will be documented. This might cause a bit of delay, but the future, to be secure, demands this. And, we are trying to provide interesting technical work for those who might be available or who want to learn about the ins and outs. GitHub is one of the facilities where developers hang out. Whatever processes we come up with for work management by a group will use GitHub, or something comparable.

Future alternatives would include other types of media than what we have addressed so far. However, let's look at a picture. In our post on Houses being Homes, we suggested that one could use Salem for some very good experiments. Given that many pieces of property were in the same family for year, we could follow that thread. Also, we could do modeling (next) of sorts that would provide more information that one can get now. It turns out that the Gardner family has lots of examples. We can branch to other areas, such as Nantucket, Maine, and even west.

Let's take Salem, though. We already mentioned with regard to Thomas' grave. It is missing. We could model with with the facilities of virtual-reality tools. At the same time, augmentation would allow us to present historical information in interesting ways.

All of this would take work. However, the cloud and other computing facilities are there. Some of the technology being developed for gaming would be apropos. Some of this has been on the table for discussion for some time. Of late, discussions about the Downing-Gardner-Bradstreet house bring the topic to fore. I am referring to Ann's house. It was featured in the Streets of Salem blog: First-Period Fantasy. This would make a very interesting case for a historical deep dive. So too would the 1st house put at Cape Ann by Thomas' crew.

BTW, part of the technical focus would be to get the younger set involved. With respect to learning, we have an endless set of things to do. Some are harder than others. But, there is nothing that would prevent anyone with the motivation to contribute their effort.

Remarks: Modified: 07/31/2020

07/31/2020 -- We will start to address issues of the future in the next issue of Gardner's Beacon (Vol. X, No. 1).

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