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View Full Version : The smallest, cheapest, meanest machine to run Reunion


Tim Powys-Lybbe
26 February 2006, 12:21 PM
I regularly go to libraries and record offices for genealogy. I would like to take Reunion with me but my new Mac Mini is not very portable. Is there any machine that cost less than a Mini and is portable and will run Reunion?

Graphics and sound are not important.

Tim

SGilbert
26 February 2006, 12:33 PM
The Mini is the least expensive NEW mac, but, you'll need a laptop. Check ebay for a used iBook; likely a 13".

Reunion will run on 9 or X, but you'll likely prefer X; so look for a "white" iBook.

Bob White
01 March 2006, 04:44 AM
If you don't need to update information while on the go but just need to access the information that you already have, you might want to look into getting a Palm and using either Gedwise or My Roots software. The cheapest Palm will run either very well and will fit in your shirt pocket.

Otherwise, what SGilbert said.....

dcosten
01 March 2006, 11:32 AM
Is there any machine that cost less than a Mini and is portable and will run Reunion?

Apple Store has $699 12-inch G4 iBooks, refurbished, in their Special Deals/Apple Certified section.

When it comes to Apple products, refurbished does not mean the same thing as refurbished with other manufacturers - Apple stands behind these machines and treats them (and you) as if they were brand new - if you have a problem, it's covered the same (and if they can't fix it, they'll replace it with the closest machine possible).

That's a little bit more than you were asking for, but that's an extremely good deal on what is basically a new iBook. If you don't see any today, just check back - they are constantly updating the store.

update: just checked this morning, they are still available, ship within 24 hours, and have free shipping.

Keep in mind that April 1st is a month away, and Apple is going to roll out a ton of new/updated products. You might be able to get some really good deals then if you want to pass on the iBook (and who knows, maybe the fabled Mac Tablet will rear its head).

Tim Powys-Lybbe
01 March 2006, 06:37 PM
The Mini is the least expensive NEW mac, but, you'll need a laptop. Check ebay for a used iBook; likely a 13".

Reunion will run on 9 or X, but you'll likely prefer X; so look for a "white" iBook.

Thanks for that, I'll look into the prices.

Tim Powys-Lybbe
01 March 2006, 06:43 PM
If you don't need to update information while on the go but just need to access the information that you already have, you might want to look into getting a Palm and using either Gedwise or My Roots software. The cheapest Palm will run either very well and will fit in your shirt pocket. That is the sort of machine I had been thinking of, but it sounds that there is nothing like that that will run Reunion. I only bought a Mac to run Reunion as I like the program so much - and used to use Generations on a PC. So I'm none to keen to going down the route of transferring data every time I go to a library.

Come to think of it, can the changes in Gedwise or My Roots then be transferred back to Reunion without typing them in? (When I was looking around for an alternative to generations, the only program that would take the files was TMG and certainly you could not go back again.)

Tim Powys-Lybbe
01 March 2006, 06:46 PM
Apple Store has $699 12-inch G4 iBooks, refurbished, in their Special Deals/Apple Certified section...I like the sound of that approach but I live in England so I'll have to check if the English Apple Store do this too. Importing anything can get some fearsome duty charged on it. Thanks.

dcosten
01 March 2006, 07:53 PM
I like the sound of that approach but I live in England so I'll have to check if the English Apple Store do this too. Importing anything can get some fearsome duty charged on it. Thanks.

They should have similar deals there, and like I said, if you can wait a month, don't be surprised if Apple finishes their Intel migration and releases a lot of new products - in which case a lot of PowerPC hardware will flood the market.

A lot of 12" iBook and PowerBook users have been waiting for an Intel-based machine in that size, and if they do come out with one (fingers crossed), you'll see a lot of used machines show up as well (and some of those can carry AppleCare, or you can purchase it if it's within a year of the original purchase I believe, although I'm not %100 certain).

ttl
01 March 2006, 09:11 PM
So I'm none to keen to going down the route of transferring data every time I go to a library.The advantage of getting a laptop (iBook, recent model used PowerBook, or a potential soon to be released new model) is that you could probably do away with your mini and keep all your Mac activities on the portable.

STEVE
02 March 2006, 09:24 PM
That is the sort of machine I had been thinking of, but it sounds that there is nothing like that that will run Reunion. I only bought a Mac to run Reunion as I like the program so much - and used to use Generations on a PC. So I'm none to keen to going down the route of transferring data every time I go to a library.

Come to think of it, can the changes in Gedwise or My Roots then be transferred back to Reunion without typing them in? (When I was looking around for an alternative to generations, the only program that would take the files was TMG and certainly you could not go back again.)

I took the path of least resistance and most utility. I have a Palm m515 running My Roots. I Transfer a GEDCOM from Reunion to My Roots. I have the keyboard for the Palm, but find it easier to do my research work outside of My Roots. My Roots is actually very easy to keep notes in, make changes, and find any and all records that have been changed. If I run across something casually (talking to someone or whatever), or have a sudden idea I want to make a note of, certainly My Roots is more than capable. But when on an actual research trip, I like to collect copies and annotate my work in ways that time has made comfortable. My notebooks are set up for this sort of research and help my memory as well as providing a "trail of evidence" which you can't always get with electronic media. Any number of times, I've gone over old notes and suddenly seen something that never made sense before. The chances of this happening with electronic media is MUCH less in my experience.

So, My Palm and My Roots have definite uses (not the least of which is using it as an instant memory aid that is with me ALL the time. Something none of my other tools can do), as do my portable, my base station and my notebooks. Each excels at some certain portion of my genealogical work, and I try to use them that way. But... the Palm will stand in for the portable which will stand in for the base station or the Palm and the notebooks are not necessary to do good research. BUT, The palm is instant, the portable is more able, I type faster on the base station, and my hand-written notes and collected paper copies make me feel comfortable. So, you just do whatever works for YOU. It will be different for each researcher.

Best of luck, STEVE

Tim Powys-Lybbe
04 March 2006, 05:12 AM
I took the path of least resistance and most utility. I have a Palm m515 running My Roots. I Transfer a GEDCOM from Reunion to My Roots. I have the keyboard for the Palm, but find it easier to do my research work outside of My Roots. My Roots is actually very easy to keep notes in, make changes, and find any and all records that have been changed. If I run across something casually (talking to someone or whatever), or have a sudden idea I want to make a note of, certainly My Roots is more than capable. But when on an actual research trip, I like to collect copies and annotate my work in ways that time has made comfortable. My notebooks are set up for this sort of research and help my memory as well as providing a "trail of evidence" which you can't always get with electronic media. Any number of times, I've gone over old notes and suddenly seen something that never made sense before. The chances of this happening with electronic media is MUCH less in my experience.

So, My Palm and My Roots have definite uses (not the least of which is using it as an instant memory aid that is with me ALL the time. Something none of my other tools can do), as do my portable, my base station and my notebooks. Each excels at some certain portion of my genealogical work, and I try to use them that way. But... the Palm will stand in for the portable which will stand in for the base station or the Palm and the notebooks are not necessary to do good research. BUT, The palm is instant, the portable is more able, I type faster on the base station, and my hand-written notes and collected paper copies make me feel comfortable. So, you just do whatever works for YOU. It will be different for each researcher.

Best of luck, STEVE

Many thanks for all the above: I'll give it a whirl to see how the prices stack up. My experience in the past, though, is that GEDCOMs do not transfer to and from Reunion without corruption. But the real advantage of a very mean and cheap machine is that I would be able to know what was on my database - I too often get into a library amd wonder if something I have found is of relevance or not, there are too many people for me to remember them all.

Tim

Rod Hagen
15 March 2006, 12:02 AM
Its worth noting that you don't really need anything as new or as flash as an iBook or Powerbook to run Reunion effectively.

I operated for many years with a PB1400 - one of the nicest notebooks that Apple ever made IMHO and available very cheaply second hand .

A PB1400, 3400 or G3 model has more than enough power for this sort of application, and can easily be connected by ethernet to your mini to transfer the data. So if you don't want to spend money on an iBook or PB G4 (I have a 12" G4 these days, which I love dearly, but don't really need its power for running Reunion!) , take a look at some of the "classic" black bodied PB's from the late 1990's .

Mind you, I reckon the most useful device I have when working with documents in the field is actually a digital camera. I used to cart a scanner with me wherever I went, but a mid range digital camera with at least 3.2 megapixels and a nice large memory card does a marvellous job as a portable document recording device.

Much faster to use than a scanner , or entering data into a pda or computer, too.

Cheers

Rod

Tim Powys-Lybbe
16 March 2006, 06:25 AM
Its worth noting that you don't really need anything as new or as flash as an iBook or Powerbook to run Reunion effectively.

I operated for many years with a PB1400 - one of the nicest notebooks that Apple ever made IMHO and available very cheaply second hand .

A PB1400, 3400 or G3 model has more than enough power for this sort of application, and can easily be connected by ethernet to your mini to transfer the data. So if you don't want to spend money on an iBook or PB G4 (I have a 12" G4 these days, which I love dearly, but don't really need its power for running Reunion!) , take a look at some of the "classic" black bodied PB's from the late 1990's .

Mind you, I reckon the most useful device I have when working with documents in the field is actually a digital camera. I used to cart a scanner with me wherever I went, but a mid range digital camera with at least 3.2 megapixels and a nice large memory card does a marvellous job as a portable document recording device.

Much faster to use than a scanner , or entering data into a pda or computer, too.

Cheers

Rod

Thanks for recognising that I really am looking for a cheap machine, the Mac Mini was an extravagance as I do not use it for my core tasks, they are on a completely different sort of machine that I had bought a year or so previously. So I don't wish to pay for two new Macs in a short time.

I do not know but I presume that machines such as a PB1400 use OS 9 or earlier. Do Reunion databases transfer easily from OS 10 to the earlier OS?

You are quite right about a digital camera. Some libraries do allow them and they are considerably cheaper than the high photocopying charges most libraries make.

The principal use of the small mac would be to tell me what I have on my database. I regularly find in the libraries some old references and wonder if I already have that person in my files. I can no longer remember all the people, some of many cunturies past, that I have already covered.

Al Poulin
16 March 2006, 09:26 PM
I do not know but I presume that machines such as a PB1400 use OS 9 or earlier. Do Reunion databases transfer easily from OS 10 to the earlier OS?

The PB 1400 may be the oldest and cheapest, but not the smallest or lightest machine in your sights. Note that ethernet is not built-in; you would need a PCMCIA (or PC) card for that. And the CD-ROM drive is removable, so not necessarily in a machine available for sale. In general, the further back you go in Macintosh laptop models, the more your project takes on the flavor (flavour?) of a hobby. A PowerBook G3 may be a simpler choice. To learn more about various models, you may find that
http://www.lowendmac.com
is a good resource. Also at that web site are various e-lists to which you could subscribe including: PowerBooks (pre-G3), G-Books, and Mac UK.

Note what Systems and OSs run on the PB1400. To support Reunion 8, OS 8.6 and QuickTime 6 appear to be the best match. And quoting from a questions support page at:
http://www.leisterpro.com
"Yes, the family file format is the same for both versions of Reunion 8. So, files created with Reunion 8 for Mac OS X will work on Reunion 8 for Mac OS 8.5-9.2 and vice versa."

Have fun,

Brooks Wilson
17 March 2006, 06:27 PM
Al brings up really good points. I'm not sure how much you're looking to spend, but I see refurbished G3 iBooks available online for around $400.

It's what I'm using to take to my Family History Center and it's great. Plenty of power to run several applications at once and runs OS X no problem.

Brooks

Tim Powys-Lybbe
17 March 2006, 07:05 PM
The PB 1400 may be the oldest and cheapest, but not the smallest or lightest machine in your sights. Note that ethernet is not built-in; you would need a PCMCIA (or PC) card for that. And the CD-ROM drive is removable, so not necessarily in a machine available for sale. In general, the further back you go in Macintosh laptop models, the more your project takes on the flavor (flavour?) of a hobby. A PowerBook G3 may be a simpler choice. To learn more about various models, you may find that
http://www.lowendmac.com
is a good resource. Also at that web site are various e-lists to which you could subscribe including: PowerBooks (pre-G3), G-Books, and Mac UK.

Note what Systems and OSs run on the PB1400. To support Reunion 8, OS 8.6 and QuickTime 6 appear to be the best match. And quoting from a questions support page at:
http://www.leisterpro.com
"Yes, the family file format is the same for both versions of Reunion 8. So, files created with Reunion 8 for Mac OS X will work on Reunion 8 for Mac OS 8.5-9.2 and vice versa."

Have fun,

Many thanks for the above information, particularly about the lack of Ethernet in early PBs. More for me to add to my search for that small mean, cheap machine.

theKiwi
17 March 2006, 11:01 PM
Well apart from I'm in Michigan, USA and you're in England, down in my basement I have lying unused exactly that PowerBook 1400 with CD and floppy drive, Ethernet port added to it etc.

Send me an eMail directly rogerkiwi@aol.com if you want more information.

Roger