Ancestors on My Cell Phone

"Helen and Horses" (Helen Kjerstine Johnson, my Grandmother)
"Helen and Horses" (Helen Kjerstine Johnson, my Grandmother)

I find technology exhilerating, enervating, and sometimes just plain hysterical.

HTC EVO: "I see dead people." (And some living ones.)

A few months ago, I posted a bunch of images that I had had scanned by ScanCafe into a Google Picasa account. There’s a fairly new feature in Picasa where the software recognizes faces and you can tag them with names. As you go along, it learns what people look like, and starts to predict who is who. (This face recognition software is showing up increasingly. It’s also in iPhoto on the Mac.)

So, I tagged the names of a couple dozen ancestors and other relatives. All of them have been deceased for at least 20 years. Some of them for 90 years. What I did not realize is that Google would create contacts for these people in my associated GMail account.

Fast forward a couple of months…. Today, I got a new cell phone, the HTC EVO, a powerful micro-laptop if ever there was one. Since it runs on the Google Android operating system, one is encouraged to connect it with a GMail account. When I did, I chose the account with the Picasa photos. While I can add other GMail accounts, and get the wealth of my other contacts, I now have in my contact list my wife, my stepsons, and twenty or so … dead people.

“Who you gonna call? Ghost Busters!”