Unoffical Family History Center (Workroom) - software

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dkcook2-p40
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Unoffical Family History Center (Workroom) - software

Postby dkcook2-p40 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:13 pm

In our stake we have a couple of unofficial family history centers (Also called family history workrooms or family history meetinghouse centers). Both of these rooms are under lock and key and have donated computers. There are six computers in one room with Win 2000 and three in another building with Win XP. Both rooms have wired DSL.

As best I can tell from reading other threads neither of these rooms can access the church corporate Symantec antivirus software solution or any other software unique to family history centers. Is this correct?

We are in Salt Lake so based on other threads it sounds like our chances of being designated an official FH Center is slim. Is this correct?

It seems to be more cost effective if at least the Symantec antivirus could be provided to rooms like this.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:55 pm

dkcook2 wrote:There are six computers in one room with Win 2000 and three in another building with Win XP. Both rooms have wired DSL.


We're being asked to phase out Win2000. Security patches will stop next year.

dkcook2 wrote:As best I can tell from reading other threads neither of these rooms can access the church corporate Symantec antivirus software solution or any other software unique to family history centers. Is this correct?


At least not from the Family History Department. If you approach some of the FamilySearch partners, they may give you a free license.

dkcook2 wrote:We are in Salt Lake so based on other threads it sounds like our chances of being designated an official FH Center is slim. Is this correct?


The old standard was a 30 minute drive. Last I heard, there was a moratorium on new centers in North America. They're focusing on other areas of the world.

dkcook2 wrote:It seems to be more cost effective if at least the Symantec antivirus could be provided to rooms like this.


I think the issue is whose budget is impacted. At this point the stake bears the total cost of any unofficial centers. Until there's a change in high level policy, I don't see a change in the financial policy.
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:30 pm

dkcook2 wrote:In our stake we have a couple of unofficial family history centers (Also called family history workrooms or family history meetinghouse centers). Both of these rooms are under lock and key and have donated computers. There are six computers in one room with Win 2000 and three in another building with Win XP. Both rooms have wired DSL.

As best I can tell from reading other threads neither of these rooms can access the church corporate Symantec antivirus software solution or any other software unique to family history centers. Is this correct?
Unofficial family history center computers only have available to them the same software and access to on-line programs as a private individual would have.

dkcook2 wrote:We are in Salt Lake so based on other threads it sounds like our chances of being designated an official FH Center is slim. Is this correct?
Probably so. The new FHC must be more than 30 minutes travel time from the nearest center.

dkcook2 wrote:It seems to be more cost effective if at least the Symantec antivirus could be provided to rooms like this.
If you are the one spending funds to acquire an antivirus program it most certainly would seem to be more cost effective if the Church provided that for you. The Church must budget for the cost of software licenses based on the number of systems the software will be installed. The decision to create an unofficial family history center is a local decision and funded with local budget funds. The Church does not know how many unofficial family history sites there are. Funding the license for one center seems insignificant. But multiply that by the number of unofficial centers and the budget required is quite large. The Church established criteria for creating new centers is to both provide necessary tools to do family history work while at the same time controlling the cost or budget expense for such operations.

There are quite good inexpensive and even free antivirus programs available. Some people would even argue that a number of the free programs are as good as or even better than the Symantec product. I do not want to start that debate again in this thread as it has already occurred in others so I will not make any recommendations.
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dkcook2-p40
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Postby dkcook2-p40 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:47 pm

Thanks for your reply -- good advice, A few follow up questions:

1) In both of these buildings we use DSL from Qwe..t. Can we use the antivirus solution that this ISP gives to it's customers for these workrooms -- I believe it is Windows Live?

2) Where WIndows 2000 is phasing out are we better to try and get donations for new computers or to upgrade to XP?

The specs on these six computers are -- [font="]Dell Optiplex GX1 (550-GX1) – x86 Family 6 Model 7 Stepping 3 AT/AT Compatible 130.6MB RAM Windows 2000 – sp4 Pro[/font]

I imagine I would have to beef up the RAM at a minimum.

3) As for family search partners -- yesterday I emailed Ohana Software and it sounded like they will provide licenses but I haven't finished the process. Any other partners that I might approach?

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:06 pm

dkcook2 wrote:1) In both of these buildings we use DSL from Qwe..t. Can we use the antivirus solution that this ISP gives to it's customers for these workrooms -- I believe it is Windows Live?


Read the terms of the license carefully. It strikes me as odd that you would get free use of a commercial product for multiple computers in a non-profit that way, but stranger things have happened.

Same goes for the free anti-virus. Make sure it's free for non-profit use.


dkcook2 wrote:2) Where WIndows 2000 is phasing out are we better to try and get donations for new computers or to upgrade to XP?

The specs on these six computers are -- [font="]Dell Optiplex GX1 (550-GX1) – x86 Family 6 Model 7 Stepping 3 AT/AT Compatible 130.6MB RAM Windows 2000 – sp4 Pro[/font]


I think you're better off replacing them. Even with more RAM, they'll never be that fast. It also resolves the cost of getting XP licensed. Look for used machines. I'm seeing prices in the $100 - $150 range + shipping for 3GHz.

dkcook2 wrote:3) As for family search partners -- yesterday I emailed Ohana Software and it sounded like they will provide licenses but I haven't finished the process. Any other partners that I might approach?


Which ones do you want to use? I've had feedback from RootsMagic that indicates that they will support unofficial centers. I'd suggest limiting the requests to stuff the users want.
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Postby garysturn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:38 am

dkcook2 wrote:In our stake we have a couple of unofficial family history centers (Also called family history workrooms or family history meetinghouse centers). Both of these rooms are under lock and key and have donated computers. There are six computers in one room with Win 2000 and three in another building with Win XP. Both rooms have wired DSL.


The greatest resource for these machines is the internet access. The Church is no longer supporting Windows 2000 but you don't have Church support in an unofficial center anyway so if the machines work on the internet I don't see a problem using them until they give you problems.

We are in Salt Lake so based on other threads it sounds like our chances of being designated an official FH Center is slim. Is this correct?


If you are in Salt Lake County, your patrons can access several of the same databases that are available through the FHC Portal at the SL County Library website, if they have County library cards. If you go to the SL County Website you can access some Genealogy Databases remotely with your card.

You can access these remotely:

Heritage Quest
World Vital Records
Newsbank
Access Newspaper Archive

You might want to bookmark this County Library page on your computers.

And from inside a County library you can access Ancestry Library Edition.
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:50 pm

GarysTurn wrote:The greatest resource for these machines is the internet access. The Church is no longer supporting Windows 2000 but you don't have Church support in an unofficial center anyway so if the machines work on the internet I don't see a problem using them until they give you problems.


Or June 2010, which ever comes first.

While there's no immediate need to replace them, I'd put it on the long-range planning list.
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Postby dkcook2-p40 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:44 am

Thanks for the advice on the Library -- that is a good resource.

RussellHltn wrote:Read the terms of the license carefully. It strikes me as odd that you would get free use of a commercial product for multiple computers in a non-profit that way, but stranger things have happened. Same goes for the free anti-virus. Make sure it's free for non-profit use.


I downloaded the terms and conditions for the OneCare product from Microsoft that Qw..st provides. I could see no restrictions for non-profits. You are required to create a Windows Live account but that doesn't seem like a big deal. The language is pretty vague.

Microsoft is doing away with OneCare later in 2009 and offering a free antivirus called Morro. I think I will try and install the Qw..st version to bridge the gap until the free version comes out.

I recognize this is not the best antivirus but it is better than nothing.

RussellHltn wrote: I think you're better off replacing them. Even with more RAM, they'll never be that fast. It also resolves the cost of getting XP licensed. Look for used machines. I'm seeing prices in the $100 - $150 range + shipping for 3GHz.


We will look for a generous donation in the next year or so or see if there is budget room to purchase used XP computers - good advice.

thanks, Dave

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Maintenance

Postby dkcook2-p40 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:30 am

It sounds like for these computer workrooms the stake is responsible for maintaining and updating these computers and that the Clerk computers are updated with LANDesk or Desktop 5.5 centrally.

Some of the items I imagine would need to be addressed regularly as part of maintenance for these family history workrooms (unofficial centers) are:

- Anitvirus definitions - update

- Windows update - set to automatic update

- Clean off old files (temporary Internet files) - Does anyone know of an easy way to do this or is the Windows "Disk Cleanup" function sufficient?

- Keep programs up to date (e.g. Drivers) - I know Microsoft does some of this but as I recall there are some programs that it doesn't cover.

- Occasional Defrag (use Windows defrag?)

Are we missing anything else on maintenance for these computers?

Some other questions I had with these computers as they are going to be used primarily for family history on the Internet:

Should we use Firefox instead of IE?

Should we be concerned on what the temporary files settings and Internet cache settings are - should they be set low so the computers do not get overwhelmed with temp files?

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Postby techgy » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:53 am

dkcook2 wrote:.....- Clean off old files (temporary Internet files) - Does anyone know of an easy way to do this or is the Windows "Disk Cleanup" function sufficient?


You might take a look at a product called WinTools (wintools.net). I use it myself and it does a wonderful of keep my own personal computer clean of junk everywhere. It's not free, but worth the cost.
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