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!”