Month: September 2010

Another genealogy community website – Sirius Genealogy 2.0

Yesterday I received an email about a new website called Sirius Genealogy 2.0. The email said, in part:

Sirius Genealogy 2.0 (SG2) is pleased to announce that we have completed our transformation from a simple blog, into a complete online community for Amateur & Professional Genealogists. The old blog has been shut down and a new membership site has been launched and is publicly available. Membership is FREE! In addition to the general community atmosphere, SG2 has developed numerous Google Gadgets, Web Tools and other services to assist genealogists in their mission. Many more eliciting tools are on their way!

New or Improved Features:

  • Live Support via Chat (just look for the icon in the upper right corner of the site)
  • Articles, Article and more Articles (Member contributions encouraged).
  • Headline News: Links to related news stories from around the world.
  • Message Forums: Read what members are saying.
  • Speaker Bureau: A place to find speakers for your next genealogy or history related event.
  • Events Calendar: A place to find conferences and educational opportunities.
  • File Library: Forms, genealogies and more.
  • Word Of The Day: A new genealogy related word to challenge you each day!
  • Abbreviation Of The Day: A new abbreviation to challenge you each day!
  • Web Tools: Cousin calculators, age calculators, Soundex calculators and more.
  • Google Gadgets for iGoogle and your web pages.
  • Social Activity Monitors: See what genealogists are posting on twitter.
  • Marketplace: Look for a growing number of products for this area.

Member Only Features

  • Contributions: Get your articles, stories, events and speaker profiles posted.
  • Comment and Rate: Comment and Rate just about any page in the site.
  • Shoutouts: Post your quick genealogical thoughts to the entire community!
  • My Account: A place to manage your membership.
  • Message Forums: Meet, greet, share ideas and success stories in the forums!

So, we hope to see you in our new community. Please sure to stop in at the forums to tell us what you would like to see in the future.

I went in to have a look, and there’s a lot to see. Some of the options I clicked on needed me to sign in, so I signed in using my Facebook account and created a profile.

My “Home State or Provence” [sic] is ‘Non-US’, which tells me what I most need to know about the site. It is USA-centric. At least Non-US is at the top of the drop-down list, rather than at the bottom as it usually is.

I can see that this kind of thing might be useful. It seems to me that I have too many sites to keep track of as it is without adding another one that is unlikely to contain anything of immediate interest to an Australian.

I wish them all the best, whoever ‘they’ are.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Week 38 – Second Life

Week 38: Investigate Second Life ( a 3D virtual world community. Check out the presentation What is Second Life? ( This learning tool has all the appearances of a video game, but there actually are vibrant genealogy social communities and discussions within the network. Genealogy Wise maintains a group of Second Life genealogists ( and a calendar of upcoming discussions. You do not have to join Second Life for this challenge. The goal is just to give genealogists exposure to this type of genealogy learning tool. If you have a blog, you may jot down your impressions of Second Life if you wish.

I gave Second Life a go a few months ago. It’s a very rich environment, with lots to do. Some members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) were holding meetings and other activities there, which is why I decided to check it out. Most of their activities take place in the United States, which is far away from where I am.

It’s a steep learning curve, though, which I decided I could’t afford the time for, so I stopped playing with it. Now it’s time for another look.

So in I went. Luckily the program remembers my id and password.

Second Life arrival

That’s me in the centre foreground, in the jeans and singlet. As far as I had worked out previously if you want alternative clothes you have to buy them. You make up your name when you sign up, and mine is rather unimaginative, as you can see. I thought that if I didn’t use my first name I wouldn’t know when people were talking to me, and I might forget my own name! Oh well.

As you can see, I belong to a group called Just Genealogists. And that’s what we are. There are meetings and parties, and I don’t imagine I have been conspicous by my absence. I think I used to get emails when notices were posted, but I must have worked out how to turn them off after I gave up on Second Life.

I appear to be in a hotel foyer, and I can see other people, and I can also see the conversations they are having. They are fairly uninspiring conversations. One of these people seems to be doing rather complicated dance moves.

So far all I have managed to do is to walk forwards and backwards a bit, and I’ve found a list of gestures I can perform. When I shrug or look embarrassed I look like a silent film star, with those exaggerated gestures.

Let’s go outside:

Second Life outside

Hmm. Obviously I’m not supposed to walk from place to place.

Let’s change my appearance:

Second Life appearance

Actually I have quite a lot of choice here. I didn’t figure this part out before. I can make my singlet longer or shorter, and looser or tighter. I can change the fabric, colour, and fit of my jeans, and create new ones. Skirts, jackets, shoes… I could become a real little dressmaker!

Here’s what I came up with after more than a few minutes:

Second Life outfit editting

I can’t figure out the shoes so I’m staying with chunky.

I could spend hours on this, creating outfits, but I’m not going to. You get the idea. At least I don’t have to traipse around in a singlet.

I’d show you a map of the place, but it’s taking too long to load. Bring on the National Broadband Network! There’s a teleport button so perhaps I don’t have to walk, which is a great relief as my aim is a bit dodgy.

The map also showed events, so I presume I can teleport there and join one. If I knew when I genealogy-related one was happening I could go there at the right time and join in, provided it wasn’t the middle of the night in my timezone. Events are rated PG, Mature and Adult.

I don’t know how popular Second Life is in the States and Europe, but in Australia I am the only person I know that has ever even dabbled in it. Perhaps the speed is the problem. It takes so long for a map to load that it seems I am stuck in whatever location I start off in. The only place I can go to quickly is ‘Home’, which looks like the edge of a castle and has a lot of strange people dressed for a fancy-dress ball:

Second Life Home

It’s all a bit weird and takes some getting used to. I can see how you could spend hours here, wandering around and finding things to do.

Recently the APG Board approved a new Chapter in Second Life. Perhaps I will join.

Sydney 2000 Olympics, 10 years on

Harbour Bridge during the Sydney 2000 OlympicsToday is the 10th anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. It really doesn’t seem that long ago. The radio has been full of it all week, and the TV today.

I have nothing but happy memories of the two weeks of the Games, and the two weeks of the Paralympics afterwards.

Earlier in the year when the hoopla was gearing up I thought the best to do would be to escape from Sydney. My husband, bless him, knew better and went into the draw for tickets. And what tickets they were! The last day of the swimming finals, the football final, some athletics, some volleyball, and some diving.

The working population of Sydney was encouraged to take holidays if possible to reduce the demand on the public transport system, so I opted to ‘work from home’. I think I actually did some work, too. Mostly I was watching, or listening, to the Olympic Games. I remember sitting in the computer room with my laptop dialled in to the office with the TV on in the next room.

An added benefit of holding the Games on the east coast of Australia was that we could watch them on TV in real time without having to stay up all night, and I did more Olympic TV watching than I ever have before. Or since.

Olympic crowdsThe atmosphere in Sydney for the few days leading up to the Opening Ceremony and the weeks of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games was amazing. Everyone was happy and friendly and proud. The place was full of tourists and we were happy for them to be here and proud of our city. It is difficult to describe the vibe. The many people who decided to get out of Sydney missed out on something very special.

We attended the Opening Ceremony Rehearsal the night before the Opening Ceremony itself. It was absolutely incredible! We were so proud to be Australian that night! We’d all been a bit appalled by the blow-up kangaroos on bikes at the Closing Ceremony of the Atlanta Games and we were almost holding our breath to see what they would come up with.

It was spectacular, from the moment the stock horses came thundering into the stadium.

Man from Snowy RiverThe Aboriginal welcome ceremony was moving and very real.

There was floating sea creatures, lawnmowers and garden sheds, tap-dancers with Blundstone boots, and we loved every minute of it. The whole night was exactly the same as the actual Opening Ceremony except that there were school children marching around and assembling in the centre instead of athletes, and the cauldron wasn’t lit. The kids were so happy, and we cheered them all on.

We got 4 tickets to a Volleyball game because my brother-in-law used to play representative volleyball at school. My mother won 2 tickets to the same game, so we were able to give my sister our 4 tickets for 2 of the children to go, and my husband and I used Mum’s 2 tickets.

The diving, which is one of the few sports I’d always liked to watch on TV, is better watched on TV. We were seated down the other end from where the action was and could see very little.

Athletic heats Day 13

We enjoyed the day we went to the Athletics so much that I had my first experience of eBay looking for more tickets. I got 2 tickets to one of the Finals sessions from someone in the United States, and they arrived by courier only that afternoon. We were a bit late but not too late. We were sitting very close to the front, surrounded by Americans.

This is the Women’s 200m Final:

Women's 200m Final

Here is the USA 100m relay team going around after winning the gold medal:

4x100m men's final

Earlier that day we went to the Football Final. We call it soccer in Australia, and I had never been to a soccer game, or watched one on TV, in my life. Cameroon was playing Spain, and most of the crowd, or certainly the Aussies in the crowd, were cheering for the ‘Roonies’. When there was a 2-all draw after extra time we were treated to the spectacle of a penalty shootout. The Spanish looked very tense, and the Roonies were casually lying about on the grass. The Roonies won and it was very exciting!Cameroon

I had never really understood the need to actually be at the game until that day. The noise and excitement of 120,000 cheering people is something I will never forget. I can even understand the attraction to soccer, although I would never admit this to my Rugby League Fan husband.

We’d also done the Swimming Finals that day. The 1500m Men’s Final was won by Grant Hackett, but I was really hoping that Keiran Perkins would win again. At the end the teams came out and the Aussies

Olympic flame

All I remember about the Closing Ceremony, which we watched on TV, was Peter Garrett and his SORRY T-shirt, and the Greek chorus in Athens.

And then life went back to normal. I went back to work in the office. The trains went back to their normal schedule.

The Paralympics were famous for the enormous school groups that sang the Australian National Anthem at gold medal ceremonies. I went twice and had a wonderful time. My company gave us a night in the corporate box for the athletics, and we saw Louise Sauvage win a gold medal. At least I remember it that way.

Except for finals you could drop in and out of any event, and I did. I can’t even remember the names of some of the sports now. The most exciting is definitely the wheelchair basketball – those guys are maniacs!

I have a lot of great memories of the Games. I’ve kept all the guides from the newspaper, and the DVD of the Opening Ceremony. I’ve got an album of photos, tickets and other paraphernalia, and I’m sure I still have a couple of T-shirts.  I also have a dark orange Sydney Olympics DrizaBone that I have never worn since.

It was a great time in our history and I’m so glad I was here to see it. Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!

Carole and Keith in the Olympic Stadium

All photos taken by Carole Riley and Keith Bassett.