Today I received another newsletter from Software MacKiev about Family Tree Maker; I’ve copied it below for those who haven’t received it yet. A few highlights (slightly edited for clarity from a previously published version):
- While TreeSync®, the feature that enables syncing a FTM tree with an Ancestry.com tree, will be phased out sometime soon, that won’t take place before the new syncing technology that will replace it is available, even if that’s somewhat after 31 Dec 2016.
- Owners of FTM 3 and 2014 (the last Ancestry editions) can get near final builds of the free updates now if they want, and Software MacKiev has made it easier to get them through an online Replacement Center. The final builds of the free updates will be officially released soon, but users who are having stability or performance issues might want to go ahead and request the download link through the Replacement Center. What about everyone else? Personally, I’m using the latest release, but I have a copy of my tree from the last Ancestry release backed up just in case I eventually come across a problem. I also pay careful attention to make sure all the changes I make are saved and keep good backups along the way. So if you feel comfortable working with beta or pre-release software, then go for it; otherwise, if you’re not having serious issues with your current version, then perhaps you should wait a little longer.
- Jack Minsky mentioned news about plug-ins in the opening paragraph but there was no news related to plugins in the newsletter. Reached for comment, Jack clarified that this was from news of a Mac plugin coming soon that was not ready for release at the time that the newsletter was mailed, so the story was pulled but mistakenly left in the introduction. Jack explained that the plugin architecture which had until now been only for Windows editions, has been build into the Mac editions too. So that means it’s now possible for Mac FTM users to look forward to having these too — as soon as those plug-in publishers are convinced to make Mac editions.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of FTM 3 from Ancestry.com in 2013 for serving as a beta tester.
The newsletter follows.
I have some news for you on year-end plans, plug-ins, and those free updates.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO FTM AT THE END OF THE YEAR?
As it gets closer to the end of 2016, we’re understandably hearing this question a lot. After all, it was initially announced that there would be no Family Tree Maker support after the end of next month. But that was a million years ago back in December 2015 when it was also announced that the brand wouldn’t continue at all. All that changed 7 weeks later on February 2nd of this year — the day Ancestry announced that they’d decided after all to sell this wonderful old brand to us. And that together we would be building on what Ancestry had started, including creating a new sync technology together.
So relax. TreeSync® will not stop working at the stroke of midnight this December 31st. And though it will be retired at some point in the not too distant future, before that happens, there will be new syncing technology available to replace it. It’s already well into development and we will be starting outside beta testing in the next few weeks. And that means syncing as we know it for FTM is going to live on into 2017 and beyond. So if you’ve been worried about what happens at the end of the year, well you can just stop worrying. Syncing, Search, and Shaky Leaf hints are all here to stay.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE FREE UPDATES?
When we happily adopted FTM earlier this year, we set out to create free updates that we could wholeheartedly recommend to all current users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3. That work is still in progress, but if you’d like to get your hands on a copy and you’re OK with a near-final build, then you can have one any time. Even right now. Just head on over to our Replacement Center (see Getting a Replacement Copy, below).
So, should you get the latest build right now then? Well, it depends. The improvements are mostly in stability and performance. So if FTM is crashing or has slowed to a crawl with large trees, then have at it. Same if waiting is driving you crazy, or you usually download interim updates anyway. But if, like most users, your copy is working just fine, we still suggest waiting for the final build. To be notified as soon as the updates are ready, make sure to sign up for the mailing list at www.familytreemaker.com. For more info on the updates see “Free Updates Coming Soon” below.
JUST THE BEGINNING
We are having the time of our lives in our new role as publisher of this most beloved of family history brands, and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s coming next. To make sure you are the first on your block to get the latest Family Tree Maker news, sign up for the FTM Mailing List at www.familytreemaker.com. And stay tuned. This is just the beginning.
Jack Minsky’s Signature
FAMILY TREE MAKER®
Topics of Interest (see below)
• How to Get a Copy of FTM
• Getting Technical Support
• Getting a Replacement Copy
• Free Updates Coming Soon
• Family Tree Maker Home Page Links
HOW TO GET A COPY OF FTM
As you probably know, we have published updated versions of Ancestry’s latest editions which we call FTM 2014.1 and Mac 3.1. You can find out how to get a copy below. Where you go depends on what Family Tree Maker edition you currently have:
• Users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3 – Free updates are coming soon. If your copy is working well, just hang in there and sign up for the FTM Mailing List at www.familytreemaker.com to be notified as soon as the updates are available. If, however, you are experiencing crashes or the application has slowed to a crawl with really large trees, see “What About That Free Update” below to find out how to get an interim update sooner.
• Users of older FTM editions – No matter how old your copy of FTM is, or whether it’s running on Windows or Mac, you can download an upgrade for $29.95 (vs. $69.95 regular price). Click here to take advantage of this limited-time upgrade offer today. You’ll also be presented with an option to purchase a hard copy on CD ($10) or our new natural wood USB drive pictured above ($14).
• New users – If you have never owned a copy of Family Tree Maker before, you can download a full edition from our online store for $69.95 by going to www.familytreemaker.com and clicking the Store button. You can purchase a download with or without a hard copy on CD or on a USB drive. And on startup, you’ll get an offer for a 14-Day free trial you can use to search all US records on Ancestry.com.
GETTING TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Software MacKiev is now supporting all versions of Family Tree Maker for both Mac and Windows, though Ancestry will continue to assist us through the end of 2016 and beyond.
Where to Get Technical Support
Companion Guide. The first stop for learning how to use features of Family Tree Maker is the Companion Guide which contains step by step instructions for everything you might want to do. You can open the guide from the Help menu while running Family Tree Maker.
Knowledge Base. We have hundreds of helpful articles posted on our support site on a variety of topics that will be of interest to all users, and can help solve problems. To get to the knowledge base, just go to support.familytreemaker.com.
Support Requests. If you don’t find what you need in the Knowledge Base articles (at support.familytreemaker.com) just click the link for “additional support” at the bottom of the page and you will see the Technical Support request form. Typically we’ll be getting back to you by email in 2 days or less.
Live Chat. When you file a Support Request (see above) between the hours of 9am and 6pm EST (7 days a week), you will have an option to have a live chat with an experienced support agent. This can be very helpful for urgent issues or those that require a discussion rather than a single email.
Facebook Group. There is an excellent unofficial but very active Facebook group called “Family Tree Maker® Users” which you might want to consider joining. They have many very experienced users who are generous in sharing their time and wisdom to help other users solve problems and learn new tricks.
Replacement Copies. We have set up an online Replacement Center which is always open. The Center provides free replacements for those with FTM 2014 or Mac 3 and later, and discounted upgrade replacements for older editions. If you are a registered user and find yourself needing a fresh copy, then have a look at “Getting a Replacement Copy” below.
GETTING A REPLACEMENT COPY
For any users needing a replacement for FTM 2014 or Mac 3, we have set up a completely automated online Replacement Center. Whether you’ve had a hard drive crash, are moving to a new computer, or just need to reinstall FTM but your activation code doesn’t work anymore, you can use the Replacement Center 24 hours a day to get a fresh copy. Here’s how:
Getting a Replacement Download
1. Go to support.familytreemaker.com.
2. Click “for additional assistance” at the bottom of the page.
3. Click the Replacement Center tile.
The Replacement Center checks that you have a copy of FTM 2014 or Mac 3 registered with Ancestry and then provides you with a free fresh link by email. You will also be given an option to purchase a backup disc for $10 or our new natural wood USB backup drive for $14. Note that what you get will be a full free-standing installer, so it won’t be looking for your old copy, a disc, or anything else.
You will also notice that the replacement copy installer doesn’t ask you for an activation code. That’s because we don’t use them. Why? Well, we don’t like them ourselves, so we decided a long time ago we weren’t going to torment our customers with them. Instead, we use this old-fashioned thing called the honor system. It’s been working pretty well for us for more than two decades now, so don’t expect us to be changing that any time soon.
FREE UPDATES COMING SOON
When we happily adopted FTM earlier this year, we set out to create free updates that we could wholeheartedly recommend to all current users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3. That work is still in progress, but if you’d like to get your hands on a copy and you’re OK with a near-final build, then you can have one any time. Even right now.
That’s because a couple of months ago we started making the latest interim builds of FTM 2014.1 and Mac 3.1 available for free from our Replacement Center for any registered FTM 2014 or Mac 3 user. And since then, when anyone has come to us with a serious issue that’s fixed in the new editions, we have sent them there to get a copy right away.
Why so cautious? Well, because this is a very complex product. And because we feel an awesome responsibility in dealing with what often enough is literally decades of a user’s work. So we are taking the time to get it right – to ensure that when we release final builds of Family Tree Maker 2014.1 and Mac 3.1 they’re as ready as they can be to meet that high standard.
So, should you get the latest build right now then? Well, it depends. The improvements we’ve made are mostly in stability and performance. So if FTM is crashing or has slowed to a crawl with large trees, then have at it. Same if the waiting is driving you crazy, or you usually download interim updates anyway.
But if, like most users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3, your copy is working just fine, and you like being conservative about installing updates, we suggest waiting for the final build. This is, after all, not a new version. It’s a patch. That’s why it’s free. And if you don’t think you need it right away, then you probably don’t.
Having said all that, by all accounts, the builds we have placed on the Replacement Center are stable and safe to install. They have already been downloaded by a few thousand FTM 2014 and Mac 3 users, and – so far so good. Most are reporting that crashes have all but disappeared and actions with really large trees that previously took minutes, now take just a few seconds.
If you’d like to try out the latest build of FTM 2014.1 or Mac 3.1 right now, here’s how:
GETTING THE LATEST FTM UPDATE BUILD
1. Go to support.familytreemaker.com.
2. Click “for further assistance” at the bottom of the page.
3. Select the Replacement Center tile.
If, however, you’d prefer to wait, just sign up for the FTM Mailing List at www.familytreemaker.com and we’ll notify you and everyone else on the mailing list as soon as the final build is ready. Promise.
FAMILY TREE MAKER – HOME PAGE LINKS
Almost everything you will need to know can be found on our Family Tree Maker home page.
Home Page: www.familytreemaker.com.
Links on the home page include:
FAQ – Find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Feedback – Let us know what we’re doing right and what to improve.
Report a Bug – Tell us what you think needs to be fixed.
Suggest a Feature – What you would like to see in our next edition?
Beta Tester Signup – To help us test upcoming editions, sign up here.
If you have questions for us, please first read our FAQ as we’ve tried to answer the most common ones there. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, please send your question through our Feedback Form which you’ll find on our FTM Home Page (see above). Thanks!
© 2016 The Software MacKiev Company. Family Tree Maker is a registered trademark of The Software MacKiev Company. Ancestry.com and TreeSync are registered trademarks of Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
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