FTM 2012 Surprises?!?

Well it has been a bit more than a month, now.  I am still using Family Tree Maker 2012; but I must admit that a LOT of the luster and shine has worn off. My initial enthusiasm and excitement has been significantly enhanced with personal experience and tribulations.

Genealogy WarningAs you may or may not know, in my day job I am a engineering process improvement consultant.  And, my greatest area of involvement, dare I say strength, is software engineering, design and implementation.  Simply stated, I worry about making it possible for engineering endeavors to be implemented successfully, reliably and predictably.

Enough for the advert (you may read more on another site of mine if you like)– now back to Family Tree Maker 2012.

Sadly I must report to you that the 2012 version of FTM software is astonishingly buggy and unstable.  The most bizarre encounter I have experienced thus far involves a required upgrade patch, one without any identifier, that causes the software to become totally non-functional even “invisible”.  No error messages, no warnings. The patched version of FTM2012 simply ceases to function without leaving a trace; the desktop icons are there, you simply click and nothing.  If this were open source software, a solution would be discoverable; but sadly such is not the case with FTM. I have scoured ancestry.com and the web only to find that others have experienced similar joys and similar success to mine in finding answers. In other words, there’s a lot of web ranting about FTM 2012 to be found but not much else.

In an effort to stabilize my environment, I have installed and patched FTM on a standalone Windows XP PC. I also have built installations in Windows 7 and Windows XP on Virtual PCs running under Linux in Oracle VirtualBox and the problem is always the same.  All I ever get is a disappearing release of FTM.  Although happily, I have figured out some interesting and fast ways to build Windows Virtual PCs on my Linux hosts.  The only viable solution I have discovered with FTM, however, is to ignore the FTM 2012 required patch.  Now every time I run FTM 2012 I watch the dire warnings as I select the unacceptable options, by FTM’s report, all of this in an effort to keep FTM moderately functional.

So if you are considering buying FTM 2012 consider my small tale of woe.  If it were not for the ancestry.com media synch functionality, I would have placed FTM 2012 along with my $40 in the dust bin of failed software a few weeks ago.  But for now I’ll run it minus its critical and required updates, in hopes that the folks behind the development of this software stumble upon a workable and stable solution.

On the other hand, maybe Ancestry.com will release its database API (Application Programming Interface) and allow other software groups an opportunity to provide a reliable solution… I can hope.

Update #1: 15 May 2012

Well I added 2 GB more memory to my Win7 install to see if FTM2012  (after the ‘patch’) might simply be hung up due to lack of memory.  I guess it still might need more memory; but with 3GB of memory, the situation remains the same.  FTM (updated) continues to hang and freeze without any notification as to why or what is wrong.  Oh well…

Update #2: 15 May 2012

I tried upgrading to a more “robust” version of Win7, Win7 Pro.  Aside from using up 5 additional hours for upgrade and testing, nothing changed.  FTM2012 still hangs up without any report or notice after I run their ‘required’ update.  I know several folks say that the software works for them; well, I certainly wish I were in the ‘working’ group and not in my special user category.