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2014 Donald R. Snow

My Freeware Corner Notes are printed in our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group monthly newsletter TAGGology and posted on my Family History Class Notes webpage , sometimes with updated information there.

This is a short note about how to download and work with the RootsTech 2014 syllabus materials that were just uploaded to their website Saturday, 1 Feb 2014.  This week, 5-8 Feb 2014, is the big RootsTech 2014 meeting at the Salt Palace and they already have over 10,000 people registered to attend.  I think they expect that number to double on Saturday when they have the Family Discovery Day for LDS, most of which is free, but you have to have tickets to attend and I think those are all gone now.  The just-posted notes for all the more than 250 RootsTech classes are at  and they say they will only be there for a short time from now until after the conference.  You can download the notes for any talk or you can download the entire syllabus by clicking on the AllSessionFiles button.  If you download the large file, it takes a few minutes and you think your computer isn't working, but eventually you get a zip file with each talk in its doc, docx, or pdf format.  Unzip the large file by opening it and copying all the folders to another folder.  You will see that each set of notes is in a separate folder named for that session in coded format.  The note files in those folders are named beginning with the session code, then the name of the presenter, and then further identifying information.  You can manually move the note files out of their folders and last year I did that all manually and it took me several hours.  When I saw that they are the same way this year, I looked for a freeware program that would do all that automatically and found one.  It's called SUCTION and will move all the files out of their subfolders and into one folder and delete the old folders.  SUCTION is available from .  Download and run it.  It's even portable, so it doesn't need to be installed on your computer and you can even run it from a flashdrive, if you want.  When run, it opens a small window with a couple of icons.  Click on the little file folder in the upper left corner of its screen, navigate to your folder with all the 250+ RootsTech folders each containing one file, and click.  It goes through all the subfolders and pulls out the files and deletes the old folders so you have all the files in one folder.  Works slick and is quick.  The note on the RootsTech 2014 screen says the syllabus notes will only be available for a short while, so if you want them, download them soon.

The topic for my Free Corner column this month is Internet browsers. Browsers are the programs you use to read websites on the Internet.  We use them everyday and don't even think of them as freeware, but they are.  The Internet has changed our way of life and it is surprising how much time we spend finding and reading things from it.  Each browser operates in a different way and for what you want to do online you may find one works better than others.  For example, I find that some don't work well when I want to copy parts or all of a website to save as a separate file to put into Evernote. So for this month I am discussing some of the major browsers and things to consider about them. There are hundreds of browsers, though most of us only hear about 4 or 5.  These are all free and they don't interfere with each other, so you can have several on your computer, so when one doesn't work well on some website, copy the URL and paste it into another one and try that.  You have to set one as your default browser, but you can have icons for the others on your desktop.  To set your default browser in Windows 7 click on the Start button > Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Your Default Programs, and select the browser you want.  You can download any browser program with any other browser by just going to the right website.  After downloading a browser, you need to install it, except for the portable ones that can be run even from a flashdrive.  Most browsers now have what are called Extensions that you download and install to do additional tasks, e.g. there is one that you can click to have the search terms highlighted in the results you find.  People have written thousands of extensions now for diferent browsers.  For further information about a browser go to its Help section which you can get to on the Help button (usually at the right end of the top-left menu) or else by pressing the F1 key.

Here are links to a few articles, lists, and reviews about browsers.  These may help, if you have additional questions. -- dotTech reviews of freeware - very helpful and completely searchable for info on freeware -- Top 10 Reviews,2806,4838,00.asp -- PC Magazine reviews of browsers,2817,2365692,00.asp -- PC Magazine Browser Wars (Chrome, IE11, Firefox) -- CNet list of major web browsers -- ZDNet review of the top 5 browsers -- PC Advisor browser reviews (UK) -- Gizmo's browser reviews -- PC World - Which Browser Should You Use? -- TechRadar - Which Browser Should You Use

FIREFOX -- Download from - Current version is v 26
It claims to be fast (and I think it is) with rapid rendering (showing) of the webpage.  It has a pop-up blocker and most browsers do too now.  Firefox has tabbed browsing allowing many tabs open at once so you can be logged on to many websites at once and, again, most browsers have this now too.  This helps for going back and forth among websites.  Firefox is easy to set up toolbars and customize them, e.g. the Google Lite toolbar has an icon to click to highlight the search terms in the search results.  Firefox has Google search integrated into its toolbars, so you don't need to go to the Google website, just type your search term in the toolbar.  On my settings for Firefox I have it set to always ask me each time where I want my downloads to go so I can send them where I want.  I put most downloads into a folder called Downloads on C, but some I put elsewhere.  Firefox has a nice way to print from websites and I always use Firefox to print my Family History class notes since it has an easy way to set margins and size and whether and where I want the page numbers, the URL, etc.  I use a pdf printer program so I can see exactly what it will look like and then print any hardcopy stuff from that.  Then I have an exact copy to print again later or to look at on my computer or send via email.  All of my FH class notes are online so I need a browser to print them and other browsers don't allow the settings to be made as easily.  I use Firefox regularly, but not as my default browser.

INTERNET EXPLORER (IE) -- Download from (You probably already have this on your Windows machine since it comes with Windows) -- Version 11 is the current version.
This is the browser that most people start with since it comes with Windows and is installed automatically.  Most websites work with it since so many people use it, but as I recall a year or two ago, more people now use Firefox.  FamilySearch was having problems recently running in IE and they were advising you to try Firefox or Chrome.  I really haven't found much that IE does differently that I need, so I almost never use it now, but I do keep it on my machine just in case.  Some browsers now have an "Internet Explorer" option that allows you to look at a website in the other browser, but as though you were seeing it in Internet Explorer.  Many people, including me, stopped using IE several years ago since they hadn't updated it and that's the one that most viruses and other problems were being written for.  The browser companies have to keep updating their products all the time since hackers find ways to use things you wouldn't even think about in order to get into your machine and take it over and cause problems for you or download viruses.  In short, I seldom use IE, but do keep it on my machine.

CHROME -- Download from
This is Google's browser.  Chrome has caused me so much grief and trouble that I'm only going to mention it without saying much.  It used to work fine on my desktop computer, but started bringing in viruses and other problems, so I deleted it last year.  Now when I try to download and reinstall it, it won't run and I've spent several hours trying everything I can think of to get it to work again.  The only thing I'll say about Chrome is that you can now buy a Chromecast device which looks like a large flashdrive and which plugs into your big-screen TV in an HDMI port and is powered from a USB port or else from a wall socket.  This device works with your home wireless network and allows you to show on your big-screen TV what you see in the Chrome browser on your computer.  The computer has to be within 15-20 feet of the TV, but not connected to it with a wire.  With this device you can show stuff like Netflix, hulu, etc., but only programs that are in Chrome or have Chromecast capability.  They call it "casting" to the TV.  The Chromecast device costs $35 and I bought one at Best Buy and have it installed on my laptop with an older version of Chrome.  The Best Buy salesman told me that Google is trying to make Chromecast work so it will "cast" anything on your computer screen to your big-screen TV.  He said that when they get that worked out, you will be able to update the software on your Chromecast device.  We'll see.  I was hoping that I could use Chromecast for my Family History Update classes that I teach in my home so I wouldn't have to use an HDMI cable connection from my laptop to my big-screen TV, it won't run some of the programs I need.  BTW, Chrome works on my laptop, just not on my desktop.

OPERA -- Download from -- Current version is V 19.
This is the browser I use for my default browser on my computers and for most of my Internet browsing.  I use it because it is fast and I like the "speed dial" format of its home page and most of the things I need it does well.  It has only a very small fraction of the browser market and there are a few websites that don't work well in it, but the vast majority do, and it has never given me problems.  It is written by a group in Oslo, Norway and they update it regularly and I have it set to update itself or to download updates and then ask me when I want to install them.  I have the websites I go to most often, including Google, on my speed dial homepage so when it opens I can easily click to get where I want to go.  As all the others, it has tabbed browsing and when you click to open a new tab, the speed dial menu opens immediately.  The speed dial menu has a thumbnail picture of the websites you have on it, so you can see at a glance what you are looking for.  I just counted and I have 14 thumbnails on my speed dial menu and can add others when I want.  The thumbnails can be moved so the ones you use most are at the top and for me the top few are Google, FamilySearch,, and my class notes webpage.  I have a few extensions downloaded for Opera, e.g. Clearly, which makes webpages more readable by eliminating ads, etc., and the Evernote Webclip program, but I seldom use that since I prefer to just copy and paste the parts that I want into Evernote.  Opera allows me to set the font so websites are more readable with a larger and bold font and that helps for my tired old eyes.  When I come across a website that for some reason doesn't work the way I want in Opera, I just copy the URL from the address bar at the top and open Firefox or another browser and paste it in there.

In the past I have used a few other browsers such as Safari and Avant, but have stopped using them for various reasons.  I should probably read again all the websites I've given at the top of this and reevaluate and see if I still want to use Opera as my default browser, but it's working fine for me now and I don't want to spend too much time looking again.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your own Internet browsing.  Good luck. 

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