This evening has been an experience in disappointment and frustration, albeit mild ones, in the Great Cosmic Scheme of Things.
Waiting for my daughter to get off work after I finished my Spanish Literature class this afternoon, I sat in her office (the waiting room of the Mathematics and Statistics Department at the university), got my computer out, and did my e-mail and Twitter. I saw tweets about World Vital Records offering a free 6 months. So I thought, this sounds good, I'll sign up. I called and got signed up. Nowhere in any of the information, and at no time when I was talking to the very nice young lady on the telephone, was I told that this free 6 months consisted in anything less than full usage.
Well, it does consist in something less than full usage. I signed on tonight and searched on my great-grandfather Oscar Packard. Some links were returned. When I clicked on the links, I either got an external link (to Footnote.com for a census image citation, for example) telling me that I could sign up for a Footnote subscription or buy a single image for about 2 and a half bucks; or I was redirected to a screen within World Vital Records urging me to sign up for a paid subscription. I did not get access to images on World Vital Records with this free trial. So I know that there was an article about an Oscar Packard in the Logansport, Indiana, Pharos-Reporter, but I can not yet determine whether this was "my" Oscar Packard or not. Could I at least get some sort of abstract of the article in my search, so that I could make at least a good guess whether this was my guy or not?
That's a disappointment. And since I have not been able to fully test drive the complete functionality of World Vital Records, so that I really do not know whether what they have would be in any way useful to me, I'm not sure I'd sign up for a paid version. For one thing, if I got the paid version, would I be able to access the census image from Footnote as part of the World Vital Records subscription, or would I still have to buy a subscription to Footnote, or at least pay the two and a half bucks for the single image? I like full disclosure when someone wants to induce me to sign up for something, and I do not feel like I have been given full disclosure here.
I'll poke around it some more -- maybe there is a workaround. A citation would be helpful, so I'll look for citations. There is not a full citation to the newspaper article, but there was a citation to the census information. If the World Vital Records result comes from a free database, such as one I uncovered for an Oscar Packard (not mine) from Find A Grave, you are given access to the complete information and the images, through a redirect to that website. The convenience of having the links to a variety of free databases concentrated in one place might be worth money to some, but not to me. I am familiar with many of the free databases, have most of them bookmarked, and can do that sort of search for myself. I really don't feel a need to pay a third party to be a gateway.
And if anyone can demonstrate to me that I have a misimpression, do say so. I'd be happy to learn what I may not know about how to benefit from this free trial.
The frustration came from Ancestry.com, for which I do have a paid subscription. I went to access an image, and since I use Mozilla Firefox, I got an error message saying that I would have to use Internet Explorer to view the image. That has not happened previously. The last time I searched on Ancestry and found images, just a couple weeks ago, Mozilla Firefox worked just fine. Is this somehow related to Amazon.com having gone public (that is an IPO I would like to have got in on . . . if I could have afforded it . . .)? At any rate, it is just a bit irritating. When they have something that works just fine for the greatest number of people (who use a variety of browsers), why all of a sudden should that change to a more restrictive stance, requiring the use of one specific browser? I like choice as much as I like full disclosure, and I don't like my choices limited, especially when they were previously unlimited.
I will grouse loudly and mightily, but I will grudgingly use IE on Ancestry from now on.
But can anyone please tell me how to turn off that d----d annoying popup that comes up on every page, sometimes multiple times, asking me if I want ActiveX to operate?