Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Anna Naughton

Congratulations to Oliver and Eva Naughton on the birth of their daughter, Anna. I'm not exactly sure when Anna was born but, based on Eva's Facebook page, it had to be between February 10th and February 11th.

Eva sent me the above photo on February 28th with the note, "I hope this photo of Anna is ok, we haven't organised ourselves yet with regard to photos but will get to that job soon enough hopefully. This photo was taken the day Anna came home from hospital, she's three days old in it - she is a whole two weeks now and growing all of the time!!! Give our best wishes to the family."

Best wishes to you, Oliver and Eva!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Relationship Finder 2.0!

Those of you that attended the Mullen Family Reunion in Ballina way back in 2008 might remember -- in addition to the huge Family Tree displays -- an Excel application that I put together called Relationship Finder. It looked like this:

It was pretty simple. It allowed you to enter two names on the Mullen Family Tree and then displayed the relationship between the two people (e.g., "Hannah Davies is the fourth cousin once removed from Paul Mullen"). Neat, huh? Well, not really. For one thing, it was trapped in Excel and required a desktop or laptop to run. For another, I couldn't distribute it to the Family without constantly sending out updates whenever the underlying database of family names changed. Well, all of that is a thing of the past with Relationship Finder 2.0!

I often toyed with the idea of turning Relationship Finder into a web application, but I never got serious about it until I had a conversation with Marc Slovak, the future father-in-law of my son, Andy. (Andy and Rebecca are getting married in August!) Marc and I were waxing poetic over the wonders of the iPad when, at one point, I mentioned something about some day writing an application for it. Marc (who knows a thing or two about web programming) told me about a book called "Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript". Since I happen to be married to the Director of the Cranbury Library, it wasn't long before I had that book in my grasp. Now, I've never held a true programming job in my life, but I've always liked to program. I can honestly say that I've written functioning programs in Assembler, Fortran, Cobol, PL/1, Basic, Pascal, APL, Lisp, Perl, AWK, C, and C++. With Relationship Finder 2.0, I can now add Javascript to that list. And with the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), it should format itself to whatever device you're using, be it a mobile phone, a tablet, or a full-size monitor. Below is a screen shot of what it looks like on my iPhone:

And here's a shot of what it looks like on my iPad:

It's not rocket science but, hey, it allows me to bring the Family Tree around with me wherever I go. But more important, it allows me to distribute it to the entire Mullen Family! There are over a thousand names on the Mullen Family Tree and I just know that there are a ton of errors waiting to be found and corrected.

So, click on this link and check it out. It's easy to use and should be impossible to break. It doesn't have a whole hell of a lot of bells and whistles, so just click away to your hearts content and explore the Mullen Family Tree. But, when you find an error or omission (and you will), you must report it by sending an email to me at

Tada gan iarracht ...