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New RM, Old issues

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#41 texas_nightowl


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:48 PM

I came into this thread having been on a bit of a break from genealogy and RM5 for a few months. I specifically came back to the boards today because I was considering the holiday sale and going ahead and buying RM6.

Honestly, at the moment, I'm ready to chuck RM out the door completely and back track to my previous program...FTM2005 or start my shopping over again.

I have had concerns about the Black Hole Tracking System for a while...specifically after I managed to run into an issue in RM5 that had been reported in RM4 and apparently is still not fixed in RM6.

On top of that, when RM6 was announced, I checked in and it appears that much needed changes to managing Places has still not occurred.

I'm hardly a power user...only been here 9 months...have less than 20 posts...still learning the program and Alansogd...while your post about adding features to sell to more people is well taken...however...I want a program that works...works the way it is supposed to...and fixes bugs. I want a program that works.

I dont use nine tenths of the RM facilities...and from my reading of the Forum entries from other "Power Users" they are to a degree a bit like me; ie they have specific areas of interest and just want to see these work as originally promised, or work a bit better.

I dont think you need to be a Power User to say - "could this application remember the size and position of where I left this dialog so that next time I use it it will be in the same place on the screen and the same size". This is a basic, essential windows programming requirement.

Nor do you have to be a power user to say "I want to select and link more than one piece of multimedia at the same time", like I can do in every other windows program I run from a thousand other software vendors.

And if someone says to me "dont worry I have a better idea than an event copy and paste function called Shared Events" then I think it is reasonable that the new feature should do what a copy and paste function would have achieved OR carry a big warning notice telling me it is only a part solution so I could decide whether to use it or not.

Further, in one of my very first posts every on this board I deplored of the data entry system as compared to an *old* program like FTM2005. The excessive clickiness of RM does not make for happy or easy data entry. I switched to RM5 anyway because of some of the other features. But the pain of data entry still exists:

Genealogy becomes a time-consuming data-entry project. The focus should be on making things more efficient, not adding new features. Wake me up when all the fixes and real requests we've made over the years have been satisfied, instead of adding Internet publishing.

Finally...Mike M has a very valid point:

In 2012, companies that strive to make constant improvements and involve their users tend to succeed, and those that don’t tend not to.

I want RootsMagic to pull ahead and to succeed, and I don’t want to see users get frustrated. Especially me.

Honestly, if I came to the forums right now to research my potential purchase I would likely not buy. I would stay far, far away.

I'm certainly decided against paying the $20 for RM6.

P.S. And personally, I agree with Ludlow Bay's response to Renee's post. I found that more than a bit insulting.

#42 Serenity20061


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:07 PM

Ok, so I will probably get blasted for this response, but here it goes anyway.

I am new to RM6. Yes, there are features that I would like to see in the future. Yes, some screens require far too many clicks for data entry for those of us who are power users rather than the casual genealogy hobbyist. Yes, so other genealogy software applications do places feature better than RM6 or have an overall more modern appearance to the screens.

BUT... I have tried the other software applications on the market. Here are the positives about RM6:
  • STABILITY - RM6 works great, doesn't corrupt my files, shut itself down constantly, hit me with "program not responding messages" after virtually every entry, require that I compact the file after every 4 or 5 new entries, or cap out my CPU at 100% usage so that even the task manager won't come up and requires a hard shut down.
  • TECHNICAL SUPPORT - RM6 is the ONLY company I have encountered where the President and CEO responds to technical support questions. This tends to be one of the very first tasks that other companies hire someone else to handle and never look back (or contract out to a customer support company who reads off a troubleshooting scrip). It is a thankless task, but a necessary one and I was extremely impressed the the response time and assistance.
  • EASY TO LEARN - frankly, I would rather use a software than spend four or five years trying to learn how to use it. My time is much more valuable.
  • Webinars and how to videos are available and FREE - unlike a competitor product that requires you to purchase the webinars as a separate product, on CD no less, so you get to wait a week or more to get the answers to your question on how to use the software.
  • The Roots Magic To Go and now the new RootsMagic app were also included in the software without an additional charge. I like the ability to take my program with me via flash drive and be able to use it whereever I go.
  • The SQLite for RootsMagic website offers you the opportunity to be part of the development effort and contribute your ideas and suggestions. I am not a programmer, but a "SQL for Dummies" book was just a quick trip to the bookstore. And the website DOES have the RM table list with fields so you can look at the basic structure of the RM software and make suggestions on how to improve it.
  • GEDCOMS - Not all gedcoms are created equal - I learned this one the hard way after discovering that the website and software that I was previously using - which had date, place, and description fields for everything - merged the description and place fields in the gedcom files that it creates. The solution is to manually go in and correct the gedcom entries one at a time in the text editor. Oh joy! RM6 generates gedcom files that are capable of keeping the description and place fields separated.
  • AND NOT LEAST OF ALL - RM6 is AFFORDABLE. If you haven't shopped for genealogy software lately, get ready for some sticker-shock.

We are on this forum because at some point in time, we checked out other software and chose RootsMagic above the others. Every software has bugs that will annoy us every time we encounter them. Then, we tend to hyperfocus on the bugs. But I say, take a step back and look at the big picture. The grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, but you will find it is full of bugs over there too -- and THEY bite. (Just lose a database with 10 years worth of research, over 10,000 people, and all the accompanying data sometime and then come back and tell me you like that software better.)

#43 Vyger


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

And why would you get blasted, it's all true and fair comment.

We do use RM out of choice, personally sometimes I get a little frustrated when obviously missing functionality makes me reach outside the program. A lot of these issues could be fixed easily (IMO), I don't believe the Rootsmagician should worry about running out of a feature list as there will always be more to come so I do wish these gaps were closed more quickly.

All genealogy programs are databases, speed of use, finding and reporting data and making edits are extremely important issues to any user, not only "power users" whoever coined that phrase.

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach


User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.6.3, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5


Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here



#44 TomH


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:04 PM

Well said, Serenity20061, based on your recent experience. But do understand that some of the users who might be accused of carping are ones with teenage duration engagement with RootsMagic and its predecessor. They have long memories, and, for some it's a love-hate relationship. And there are a few who have a knack of getting under the skin of the RM person most present in the forum. It is also useful to recognise that RootsMagic Inc is not a lot more than a cottage industry - I have no real knowledge of the number of people involved but I doubt that it is much more than a half-dozen on a full-time or regular part-time basis. That you had direct assistance from the President is great, but also an indication of how thin the company is. His participation in this public forum and the message board on RootsWeb is significantly less than it once was, indicative of growing demands on his time from other aspects of his business, and a reason he brought Renee on board.

I must correct an impression you may have about the SQLiteToolsForRootsMagic wiki: it is independent of RootsMagic, Inc and does not participate in the development of the product. It was created by users who were inspired by RootsMagic's open database, wanted to accomplish things they could not using the application itself and hoped that their work might have some positive influence on it. I think that it has.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.

#45 Serenity20061


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:57 PM

I must correct an impression you may have about the SQLiteToolsForRootsMagic wiki: it is independent of RootsMagic, Inc and does not participate in the development of the product. It was created by users who were inspired by RootsMagic's open database, wanted to accomplish things they could not using the application itself and hoped that their work might have some positive influence on it. I think that it has.

I stand corrected, but I do love the wiki site. There are alot of great suggestions out there and other areas that I find really interesting that haven't been touched on other than in reference (the main areas I am interested in are the Research Management System, People Names, and Places). The SQLiteTools wiki is my very first experience with a Wiki environment outside of the occassional lookup on Wikipedia. Frankly, I find the wiki environment a little intimidating to use and am worried about messing something up if I go into "Edit" mode on a page. I tried finding a book on "Wiki for Dummies" during my trip to the bookstore yesterday, but no such luck. Will have to order one from Amazon.

I have been thinking alot about place names and the problems associated with historical vs current place names, searches, and heirarchies. I am playing around with some table configurations and that may do the trick and still be gedcom input/output compatible (although input compatible varies based on the original software that generated the gedcom). Once I figure out how to write a wiki page, I will be posting my ideas for comment and feedback. I am not going to try to write the SQL code for it. Those with more SQL coding experience will be able to write the SQL code for the tables easily, while I would spend months trying to figure out how to structure my statements correctly. I am just going to build the SQL tables with definitions for field, field type, content definitions, and relationships between tables. Right now I am reading a database design book and refreshing my memory on the rules of normalization.

By the way, have you ever looked at the ebook management software named Calibre? I was looking at the way the search and filtering works in the software and the potential application in a genealogy research management and database system - research log, correspondence, tasks, repositories, sources, media, places, and people indexes in particular. I think many of the gripes, wish list items, and functions that seem to be commonplace in all genealogy software relate to filtering and indexing issues. There are so many great examples of websites and software that do a fantastic job with filtering and indexing data. I believe that genealogy software tends to struggle with these basic functions because the foundation of all genealogy software is the antiquated and flawed gedcom model.