TMG-L Archives

Archiver > TMG > 2000-09 > 0968246984


From: Christopher Brooks <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Point of Reference
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 09:29:44 -0400
In-Reply-To: <200009060559.e865xoh30020@lists5.rootsweb.com>


Mary Lou Bailey wrote:

>Also agree with Don's philosophic concerns and feelings here. Some of the UFT
>folks call themselves "UFT refugees", but I've begun to feel like a "TMG
>refugee", grappling with features from another program that I chose to leave
>behind when I switched to TMG. Although I think there are some instances in
>which things like the roles may enhance TMG, I'm moving with caution on
>adapting changes into my dataset under an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
>and keep it simple philosophy. Many of the "extensions" or "enhancements"
>have been made, in my opinion, to accomodate our new group of users, and make
>it possible for them to import their datasets. I'm not sure yet if they add
>significantly to an established TMG dataset.
>I would be interested in whether and how other long time TMG users are using
>the new additions.

As a three-time beta tester and a TMG zealot, I was excited to see Roles
added. I've altered somewhere around 800 sentences so far, almost all
marriage events, to incorporate roles. This is a positive -- we can now
generate, from a single event, dual sentences like "John, of Woburn,
married (3), Hermione Cuthbert of Reading, widow of Edward Smith" and
"Hermione, widow of Edward Smith, married, as her 5th husband and his 3d
wife, John." While my examples are playfully constructed, the feature is
proving invaluable in my research in early New England, where multiple
marriages and surnames are the rule rather than the exception.

There is a technical price to be paid for this capability, and I suspect
also for other new capabilities I haven't yet tried - short place names,
for example. (I haven't yet figured out why I need to modify my place
names. This seems to be a UFT accommodation rather than a TMG enhancement
.) After some hours of entering new data with complex, Role-defined
marriage sentences, I run the internal Repair utility and find that it has
corrected 200 dangling citations. Since I've never had a *single* previous
instance of a dangling citation in my three years with TMG, it's apparent
that this outcome references changes in the database structure which have
occurred to accommodate the UFT data structure.

Bob Velke has always maintained dataset integrity as the sine qua non
(absolute prequisite) for any and all wish list enhancements, so I know
that my data remains safe, and trust that all that's needed is to modify
the Repair utility lexicon and/or report screen in 5.0. I'm sure that
nothing has actually been broken that TMG had to fix. But it is a bit
disconcerting, and points out just one of a number of new dimensions to
which original TMG users must now adapt. As beta testers know, each time
you fix or add something, you break or at the least complicate other things
in the code.

There's the acculturation/absorption aspect as well, which we're tiptoeing
around. :-) Many list veterans seem to have gone to ground. I would expect
a gradual reappearance as people begin to feel less like "TMG refugees,"
and as the questions focused solely on UFT diminish with time. Certainly
the level of TMG knowledge is missed. "Have you looked in the manual?" is
less helpful as a response than the accumulated expertise of dozens of
veteran users.

Finally, there's the "complexity" aspect. As each new feature or
enhancement is added, whether at the behest of UFT or TMG users, the
learning curve will grow for people who are new to computers and/or to
genealogy software. A program which has often been labeled -- unfairly, IMO
-- "hard to learn" and "complicated," is not going to be seen as any less
complex with the addition of these features. I don't envy Bob the dual,
conflicting challenges of making the program more feature-rich and flexible
while at the same time making it more intuitive and marketable.

The most immediate impact of 4.0a to me is the overwhelming volume of
messages on this list. I'm reading them in digest format, but 8 or 9
digests a day has me contemplating whether to unsubscribe. Given a
manageable volume, I'd rather be trying to pick out newcomer questions I
can readily answer. :-)


Christopher Brooks
Franconia, NH


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