Buyer beware: why dazupu asked for my database?

In early October when I was shopping for a new home (software) to move because I wanted to get out of Family Tree Maker that I’ve been using since 2003. Geni has very clean look/feel to it but I wasn’t too impressed (no particular reason – won’t accommodate Chinese names mainly .. ), when the same friend who suggested Geni mentioned dazupu that uses PGV, I did just that. I checked it out. The site runs very slow and not well organized: 乱乱哄哄地 in noisy disorder. When I found an US phone number on one of the pages I decided to give it a try. Peter Huang (中华大族谱协会理事长, 黄秉聪), one of the founders answered on the second ring.
I was very thrilled, interrupting him numerous times and he couldn’t wait to explain to me what his organization is all about. We both were excited.
One of the six founders of the site, four are in IT.
They ran seminars in China, training people to use PGV. Those trainees would go out and charge a fee [he mentioned a specific figure but I don’t remember now] to train other users. During one of their meetings held in China, Peter proudly said that the creator of PGV John Finley called from his home in USA [couldn’t be there due to having a child (?) sorry perhaps I didn’t have my hearing aid, so not too sure].
Yuan Shikai’s granddaughter [or ?] gave him/them her family tree and they’ve updated it
I explained my problems or expectations:

  1. Most of all, I want the application/software to have separate fields accommodating zi 字, hao 号, etc.
  2. The Alias field from FTM became junk in PGV
  3. Built-in lunar calendar/Gregorian convertor

At end of our hour long conversation, he said he’ll give me permission to look at Yuan Shikai’s family tree (there’s at least one marriage between the Yuans and my branch), and I should add him to mine too.
That was Oct 6, 2011.
Oct 7:

May I have an user name and password in order to visit your site?

I added him immediately. Few emails later, he asked to be added as Admin:

GEDCOM 是PGV和目前许多谱系软件通用的记录谱系资料的文件如您需要我帮助,可能要从您的系统上下载给我看看,或把我的户口改为Adm,让我进去处理。我的Dinner Time 是19:00-20:00.

I granted him the right. He went in and made name change, asking me if this was what I wanted.

Hmmmm … Not really! What I wanted is to have a solution for zi, hao, etc. Not superficial change. Actually I had it all worked out already – users in the forum were very helpful and patient to help me.

Oct 9,

Hi Peter, did you download my family tree? Have you figured out if there is a way to import Chinese properly from FTM into PGV? Thank you.

I heard nothing from him. I didn’t feel very good about someone have a run with my very private data, like inviting a stranger into my home and suddenly s/he just disappear inside my home. I wanted to truck him down.

Oct 11,

Hi Peter,
I haven’t heard back from you and don’t know if you’ve downloaded my family tree data. If you did, please delete it completely from your computer or anywhere that you’ve uploaded or distributed. This database is very private, I do NOT wish to have it distributed and or used in anyway, privately or publicly. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

He finally replied

Sorry for late respond. I have not check my Emails for couple of days because I was busy on others tasks during last weekend.
I did not do any more works on your case yet since last Friday.
I will delete your file completely from my computer if I can’t resolve your problem this week.
Please remove my account in your system also.
Hope you will find solution to resolve the problem.

Oct 12

我已完全刪除您的資料,只提取了其中這一小段做研究—我已下載了NJ Star。

I did visit YSK’s tree once but it didn’t seem to be carefully noted, lacking citation, a far cry from the few family trees that I’ve seen. Beside, YSk’s genealogy is all over the internet. The details of the son who married into my family is very limited, I had more on him – granted, maybe the lady who gave Peter the tree isn’t the direct descendants.

Oct 16, 2011

If you have any luck with the importation, pls let me know, I can (or you can) share it on the PGV forum. It’ll benefit anyone who seeks the answer. Thanks.

I haven’t heard from him since.

Over all, my brief experience dealing with Peter and dazupu wasn’t a good one, very disappointing. He didn’t understand my two problems, which didn’t require the solver to be inside my private database, did it? Adding zi and hao is on the developer side, and the importation should be rest on the Family Tree Maker instead my private database?

其实我的俩个问题都不需要他们进入我的数据库: 加添字,号等等是不需要进我的网站, 输进输出乱码是不是应该去FTM 找答案? 大族谱为什么不仅要全权进入我的数据库,下载我的数据放在他们的电脑上?

I really didn’t understand why did he need to have full access to my data, and copied it into his computer? Throughout my troubling days learning to use PGV, all the people in the forum never ever asked to have that kind of access.

I would assume if they’ve big plan, have a committee, charging fees off a free ware, etc. shouldn’t they be one of the developers of the project? Am I the only one demanding or dreaming of having the zi and hao fields? You can’t be serious?!

Manage GEDCOMs and edit Privacy 管理家谱文件

From the Admin page, go to Manage GEDCOMs and edit Privacy 管理家谱文件

  • GEDCOM file
  • Configuration file ‎- see the detailed image above right
  • Privacy file
  • SearchLog files ‎
  • ChangeLog files

Nov 2, 2011

To get to the GEDCOM and the privacy configurations, log in as Admin. At the top of the page, click on the “Admin” link. On the Admin menu page, click “Manage GEDCOMs and edit Privacy”. There are other ways to get to the same place, but this one is pretty clear.

To edit the GEDCOM configuration, click “Edit” on the line that says “Configuration file” and then gives you a file name that includes your GEDCOM’s file name. Don’t forget to save any configuration changes you make.

To edit the Privacy configuration, do the same thing, except you click “Edit” on the line that says “Privacy file”.

You’ll need to set things up so that a login is not required to view information on dead people. If you do that, the HTML link should work just fine.

In the GEDCOM configuration, “Access and Privacy” section, set the option “Require visitor authentication” to “No”. Set “Enable Privacy” to “Yes”.
In the Privacy configuration, “General Privacy settings” section, set the option “Show dead people” to “Show to public”.

Along the way, I met people who are genuinely nice, helping me without asking anything in return while others asked for my database but offered no help at all. What is he doing with my database?

Report: Close Relatives Report


Choose relatives:

  • Parents and siblings
  • Spouse and children
  • Direct line ancestors
  • Direct line ancestors and their families
  • Descendants
  • All

In Report, Shutao’s as of Nov 2 2011: change the font to Arialunicid0 which supports Chinese. The other two fonts dejavusans and helvetica don’t.

Nov 3, 2011

On your local PC, edit file “reports/individuale.xml” using a plain text editor like Notepad. This is part of the set of PhpGedView files that were copied (probably using FTP) to the file erver to make the PhpGedView installation there. Line 2 of this file is:

Change this line to:

and then save the file as ANSI text.

Next, copy that edited file to the directory “reports” on your file server where the PhpGedView installation lives. This should replace a file already there.

That’s it.

I have no idea why this particular report was restricted to logged-in users. It’s possible that the report might want to access some privacy-restricted individuals, but it should be able to handle that, and produce a meaningful warning message.

Yes, the links are good forever. If you make changes, the next time someone calls up the report, they’ll see the changes.

Nov 2, 2011

Please give me another link to an HTML report for a dead person. This must be a person who was born more than 120 years ago, or who is recorded with either a date or a place of death. People are also considered to be dead if they are listed as being cremated or buried with either a date or a place of burial/cremation.

I saw the same thing with the PDF report, but the PDF report’s format is all messed up. That’s because the PDF report generator doesn’t know how much space the Chinese characters take up on the paper. There’s not much we can do about this.

Yes, I see the Chinese characters for parts of the report. I also see garbage for some of the Alias names. These must be the names you originally entered into Family Tree Maker with the help of the NJS package. As I said before, NJS is using a special coding system which results in proper display of Chinese only when NJS is able to intercept what other software running on the PC is trying to display.

NJS is running on the PC, and not on the seerver. The PDF report is being created on the server before it is sent to the PC, so NJS can’t do its magic.

I’m afraid the only recourse for you is to stop using Family Tree Maker altogether, and to stick with PhpGedView for everything. You will have to re-enter everything that was originally entered into Family Tree Maker with the help of the NJS software.

Nov 1, 2011

You need to get the server, not the PC, to store the information in “real” Chinese characters. This means that you have to input the data into PhpGedView without using NJS.

The way you have things set up now, NJS running on your PC is transforming your input and what PhpGedView running on the server is seeing and sending.

Current situation:
(you inputting Chinese on PC) –> (NJS on PC) –> (special NJS codes) –> (PGV on server) –> (special NJS codes) –> (NJS on PC) –> (you seeing Chinese on your PC)

Desired situation:
(you inputting Chinese on PC) –> (standard codes) –> (PGV on server) –> (standard codes) –> (anybody seeing Chinese on any PC)

The “standard codes” here are UTF-8. The NJS documentation says that it uses UTF-8 internally, but it doesn’t say anything about being able to send those UTF-8 codes to an external web site (such as PhpGedView on the server). If you can get it to do that, then you’re already halfway there