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Bruce's Do Over Week 4--Preparing for FGS/RootsTech

2015 was our second time to attend both FGS and RootsTech–this year a combined conference in Salt Lake City. There were two major tasks for getting ready:

  • Preparing laptops and tablets with all of the software, tree files and conference syllabus materials.
  • Coming up with a plan for how to spend time at the Family History Library.

This article talks about how we prepared for this conference/library trip both from a technical and a research planning perspective.

Technical Planning

Laptop Security

The biggest part of the technical planning was ultimately laptop security, since we both have email and other sensitive information on our laptops, and would be spending time in airports and libraries–both of which have a significant chance of laptop theft. I’ve finally gotten to a point that I wanted to encrypt the disk drives on our laptops to reduce the severity of identity theft if a laptop was lost or stolen; if someone gets access to your email, they can reset passwords to bank and other web sites that you really don’t want someone to get to. But even long-time Information Technology professionals hesitate to do encrypt drives for fear that they will forget the password and won't be able to decrypt any of the files on the laptop. I decided that good backups were the order of the day, and started the process of researching and encrypting both or our laptop disk drives.

The process of selecting and implementing the encryption process is described on my business web site in Laptop Security–Encrypting Disk Drives. It turned out to be much easier and less time consuming than I expected.

Collecting Conference Materials

Getting all of the conference materials onto tablets turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected. For my Asus TF700T Android tablet, I ended up loading all of the PDF files that Kristin downloaded in to Calibre and then pulling them downloading them from our Calibre content server. We use the Calibre server to keep track of manuals for appliances, online magazines, and for pulling down newspapers (the niftiest feature by far in my mind). Getting the materials loaded early was important, as the RootsTech application wouldn’t download the materials directly to either my tablet or my cell phone.

I’m not sure how Kristin got the PDF files onto her iPad, but I gather that it was a frustrating process, and that she is not entirely sure how she did it.

Research Planning

I did not do as much research planning as I should have done. I primarily made an inventory of where I had looked for information on the brick wall people before, and decided that I would work primarily with the newspaper databases that I would be able to access at the Family History Library. That turned out to be a treasure trove, as I found a number of articles that will help me reconstruct a timeline that will in turn tell me where to look for a couple of vital records that I am persuing.

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