Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Long and short

We have been at this since 2009 (2010 conceptualization of the Thomas Gardner Society, later Inc.'d) and have watched the changes while continuously diving (some use trolling) into the huge bucket (seas and seas, in a sense). Along the way, we would find sites that stood out for various reasons. In some cases, they had lots of overlap of surnames being researched.

But, speaking of changes? Lots of these disappeared or seriously changed. In many cases, saved links became more than stale. Good example? The 'rootsweb' case a few years ago. After an initial launch by working on ancestry, we branched out and did our own thing. This approach ended up with a huge amount of stuff to be refactored at some point. Along the way, we pulled out material into posts with the intent of publishing, again, at some point.

We got a chance to write a few articles related to our work. The Gardner Annals grew out of that. BTW, Volume V is still being put together.

In any case, the web has been central both from the view of offering access to information and from the presentation side of things. Through time, additional stuff just came out daily. This was one reason that the Margaret study made progress. And, things did structure. WikiTree is an example of that. Too, the NEHGS now has a package and has linked to prior attempts which was a nice choice.

Anyway, in browsing after being off doing other work, for awhile, we ran into some old links. They still worked. You see, that is remarkable. You know how much the web software has changed over the last ten years? We have some technical discussions going in that regard and have taken to GitHub for a development view. Our portal is one mode for interface, albeit slowly coming along.

Going forward, we'll see two types being even more bifurcated. Setting aside the arena of website development (as, this has morphed several ways, to boot) and the browser wars, the world of the device provider has seen remarkable change, improvement somewhat. Now, those little things can run serious apps. And, the industry, in part, has worked to allow development with minimal technical knowledge. Yes, mind-boggling, as one company claimed that they had no serious software folks. No, the common user could just develop.

Want a parallel? Notice how the amateur has influence on genealogy? In fact, want me to take you down the paths of the internet and show you where there are problems both in the data and in its support structure? Everywhere, we are seeing this old/new dynamic. Nothing new there. But, it's more critical in computing. As we review the changes since '95, we cringe when we see the impact of choices made. At those decision points, we could have made other choices. No, we run along and, then, think that coping with consequences allows our talents to come forth and our smarts to be demonstrated. Not.

From time to time, we run into the work of some who are trying to have more sustainable ways. That is always nice to see. And, we want the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc.'s approaches to be of the more wise sort, albeit not much attention has really be applied to the necessary study and discussion.

But, getting back to sites, we'll look to getting back to having our own list. Many have tried this. In fact, it's a business model, somewhat. That is, folks make money doing the work; even if, many times, there are lots of issues (won't name them as it's obvious that the internet is a mess).

So, today's addition:
  • Ole Larson's Folks - ran into this early. It disappeared for awhile and came back. Now, there's a new look. 
  • Humphry's Family Tree - gosh, thirty-seven years of research. Like the site which comes from a comp sci view. 
Speaking of comp sci, we ran across a youngster who appreciates minimalism. He's not into genealogy, yet, however his custom/manual approach appeals. Much to discuss. 
  • Project Nayuki - really liked the clean work that comes out of the crafting the code (HTML/CSS/JS). As well, from the comp sci exposure (2007-2012), there is a great understanding producing results to be studied. In fact, his examples across several languages are the type of thing that a self-starter ought to really appreciate. 
As well as old/new, we need to look long, as well as, short. That latter has been the blinders; but, that can be seen as true with business, in general, many times.

A timely metaphor: biological perturbations, such as the latest virus, need continual attention; so too the world of the computational? You bet. People will be the focus (taming AI, for example) several ways; genealogy/history is a natural attribute of the more aware (not using woke) approaches.

Remarks: Modified: 03/18/2020

03/18/2020 --

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