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How Safe Is Your Neighborhood? March 27, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in family.
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This is not going to be a pleasant experience so brace yourself. This is about finding out information that you really don’t want to know about your neighborhood, but trust me this is important and worth doing. Thanks to technology you are now able to perform a search for all registered sex offenders in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Yes, I know that this is a disturbing topic but it’s something all parents must be aware of.

So, for those of you who can handle it, here is a powerful tool that will help you learn how safe your neighborhood is and could possibly ensure the safety of your family and their friends.

Family WatchDog is an excellent service that works like google maps where you enter your address and it generates a map showing the location of each and every sex offender in your area. It will list the total sex offenders that appear on the map as well as those that aren’t mappable for whatever reason. Here’s the map results for my area in Alpharetta, Georgia:

The red squares are where registered sex offenders against children live. Burgundy squares indicate where they work. Yellow squares indicate rapists and blue indicates Sexual Battery offenders. Clicking on any square launches a new page with a great deal of information of the sex offender including their name, aliases, address, map of their location, convictions, Description, and a photograph. It’s all starling information, especially the closer they are to your home.

If offenders do not appear on the map, the LIST tab is another option to view this information. This is what it will look like:

Clicking on the name will launch the same detailed web page with all the information registered with that offender.

The Offender addresses dropdown list gives the option to list the unmappable offenders for more details.

The Recent Address Changes reveals the offenders who’ve been on the move and changed addresses.

The Get Free Alerts will send you email notifications about any of the offenders that you flag.

The send map to a friend lets you share information with anyone you believe needs to know about a specific offender.

Summation:

I’m not doing this for sensationalism or to generate blog traffic. I promise you that I would give anything in the world if we didn’t have to deal with these types of things in life. I’m the father of three small children so my number one priority is protecting my family. I know that there are many other parents who feel the same way and that will appreciate having this service and the valuable information it provides.

I have to add that everyone in life deserves a second chance in life. I believe in our justice system, despite all its faults and problems, it is the best in the known world. While I believe that MOST of these offenders will commit sexual crimes again in their lifetime, I do not believe that ALL of them will do so. Please do not condemn everyone in this registry automatically. People make mistakes and these individuals have certainly made the biggest mistakes of all, but we should never just give up all hope on anyone without first giving them the chance for rehabilitation. Many of them will actually become contributing members to society. However, it makes sense to keep informed of where these individuals are located especially in relation to your neighborhood and schools.

Family 2.0 December 30, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in family, social networks.
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Even your relatives aren’t safe from the social networking and web 2.0 fever that is spreading across the globe like wildfire. It makes sense when you think about it. Why wouldn’t we use social networking technologies to keep in touch with family members, document family history an dmanage hectic schedules to make life easier? We use it for friends, customers, vendors and even perfect strangers, why not with relatives?

After inspecting the following sites it became clear that each one brought something unique to the family table. While some offered far more features, they still lacked some critical features that the others included. It is perplexing that these sites don’t seem to be studying the competition much. It would make sense if they examined what everyone else was doing just to ensure that they themselves weren’t leaving some important feature or option out.

Here are the core components that a family social networking site should include: News, Family tree, address book, calendar with appointment notification (iCal compatible), list manager (to do lists, shopping lists, gift lists, recipes, etc.), blog/wiki for family history and stories, Photo Album, Live Chat and message board. Obviously, there are many more features available, but these should be the minium available for any family network site. Another critical element is the ability to have multiple logins for each family member with different access levels. Most of these sites only provide a single login and access level!
Here are some of the best sites and tools available for free today. See the Family Site Feature Comparison Matrix to compare all of these sites side by side. Note: The matrix is a work in progress that will be updated on a regular basis as sites and services change.

Famundo appears to offer the most features with their free version which is ad-supported as well as their premium $9.99/month version.
They actually offer their premium version for free to organizations such as schools, churches, etc. Here is Famundo’s comparison matrix between Famundo, Cozi and some others.


MyFamily is from the same folks from ancestry.com which gives it a strong advantage over all the others when it comes to geneology. This is important because it can exchange information with the massive ancestry database. Their new site has a lot to offer.

KinCafe has a much more pleasing interface than famundo but nowhere near the amount of features. Still, many will prefer the less is more offering here. It does offer a family tree maker online.


http://famiva.com offers some unique features the others do not such as their map tool that shows where everyone is located. They also have a family network diagram that shows how everyone links together in a different way than their family tree does. They also offer blogs where you can embed video and images.

FamilyCrossings has one of the best looking sites and easiest interfaces. Here is a Virtual Tour. They offer 6 core features with the free account and 15 features for the $10/month premium account.
The free features include: News, Photos, Calendar, Address Book, Live Chat and Gift Center. All in all a great site.


AirSet is a newcomer offering all of the standard features with a nice look and feel.


Cozi only has a meager set of features such as a calendar, shopping list maker and the ability to send text messages to family members.

Geni has a powerful and elegant family tree maker online. It includes photos of family members and contact information. It truly needs ability to connect, search and download from an ancestry database of some kind.


www.ancestry.com
is the famous geneology site. Great place to research family tree information. Some searches and information are free, but most aren’t.

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