Articles Posted in Office-in-Briefcase

I follow futurelawyer.com because he has one of the great sites for lawyers like myself who travel with an office-in-the-briefcase.  Here is an interesting blog for the end of the year.  No this isn’t a gadget or a piece of software.  But the “procedure” may come in handy.  Hopefully it doesn’t bowl you over with laughing too hard.

Regular readers of this blog know that I have dropped smart phones in various water graves; twice, in the toilet (don’t ask), and once in a swimming pool, and once in Tampa Bay. In each case, I did my best to dry them out, but, alas, they died a terrible death. Now, LifeHacker informs me that I could have dried them in a bowl of rice, which, because of its ability to soak up moisture, can save wet electronics if applied soon enough. Since my accidents, I have been a lot more careful with my smartphones, so I hope I never have to try this one out. However, if it happens to you, keep this one in your pocket just in case.

Testimonial: Rice Resurrects Even the Most Soaked of Gadgets – Cellphones – Lifehacker.

Frustrated with Google Reader, I began using and recommending Morning Coffee as a Firefox plug-in.  I still think MC is a good tool if you are only interested in looking at certain websites once or twice a day, or once a week.  However, for me that’s not flexible enough.

Thanks to Practicing Law in the 21st Century-A Law & Technology Blog, I have been directed to www.feedly.com as a plug-in to FF.  This plug-in is a great alternative to Google Reader, and combined with MC can give you flexibility in keeping track of what’s happening out there.  Basically it is a place to collate all of your RSS (or similar) feeds.d

Thanks to FutureLawyer blog, one of my favorites, I’ve been alerted to a nasty Microsoft trick.

If you are like me you use Firefox as your browser.  Until recently it was one of the best, if not the best, among several competitors to Windows.  The basic issue being security.

Well it appears, that Microsoft has silently added an “add-on” to FF.  And yes:

The worst part of this is that the add-on had a security hole, and Microsoft itself recommended removal. Microsoft agreed to assist Mozilla in crafting the disabling of the add-on; which is kind of like a burglar agreeing to help a homeowner clean up the mess he made. One would think that Microsoft has enough problems with security holes in Internet Explorer, without corrupting other browsers too (emphasis added).

Office Tab.

Do you (as you should) use Firefox as your browser?  If so, you are perhaps used to using tabs for opening multiple windows.  I’m told even Explorer does that now.  Also, Adobe and my favorite Nitro PDF also use tabs to navigate between documents.  Anyway, here is a potential useful tool for your Office programs to set up tabs.

I’m a confirmed WordPerfect user – it’s so much better than Word – but I understand people are forced to use Word.

Check it out:  Office Tab.

Office Tab is a small add-on which will bring tabbed browsing to Microsoft Office. Generally every new word document or excel worksheet or powerpoint slide we open opens up in a new window and this occupies a lot of space on taskbar and also its hard to manage all the windows. With this application, you can open any number of tabs in the same Office application window. This makes it easy to manage multiple things you are working on at the same time.

There are some drawbacks.  Even when using two screens it’s not possible to view two Word documents at the same time as it is without the tabs.  However, if you are using multiple Word documents for reference or to cut and paste to other documents it works fine.

Here is a neat website that allows you to calculate a deadline and due dates.  Not an application, so there’s nothing to install on your computer or iPhone or BB – and for the overhead conscious it’s free.

WolframAlpha.

There’s a free download which will allow you to have a widget in your Vista sidebar, or you can add to your Explorer or Firefox

For those absolutely needing an iPhone app here is an alternate – Law on My Phone.

Do you get .pdf documents?  Do you want to use the text from the .pdf document in other documents?  Do you want to edit the .pdf document?

I use PureText to copy parts of text for cut-and-pasting of small parts of a .pdf document.  PureText is free.  You highlight what text you want to copy and paste, click PT, and it removes all of the formatting and meta-clutter so it is easier to paste and edit into a document.   Or you can take a “shot” of a part of the document and insert it as a picture.

Here is a free way to convert the whole .pdf document to a Word or .rtf file which can then be manipulated.  (I stopped using Adobe a long time ago, it’s very expensive even for updates, Nitro is a cost-effective alternate to Adobe so you may also want to look into Nitro.)

PDF to Word – it’s free (currently).

Here is this month’s technology/software item to go in your office-in-a-briefcase.

Gwabbit.

gwabbit is an Add-in for Microsoft Outlook and the BlackBerry that finds, gwabs and adds contacts from your emails to your Outlook address book with a single mouse click!

Along with PureText, and CiteGenie, gwabbit add-on makes it easier when cutting and pasting certain types of information.

Jury instructions to include rules on use of new media

Recent incidents of jurors using new media during cases in civilian courtrooms in the States have led a military judge to rework instructions given to panelists in military courts-martial.

Army Col. Ted Dixon, a military judge who edits the military judges’ benchbook, said he’s not aware of any cases of a servicemember posting information on an ongoing court-martial while serving as a juror, but he’s aware of such events in the civilian world.

As a result of cases like these, Dixon said he’s been working on specific language addressing networking phenomena such as Twitter and Facebook that judges would use when instructing troops who sit on court-martial panels. Fellow judges have been providing him feedback and there seems to be a general consensus, he said.

Kent Harris, Stars & Stripes, 21 June 2009.

This week my technology item is PhoneTag.

PhoneTag is a fee based system to receive voicemails as a written email.

While on a business trip to Los Angeles in 2003, James Siminoff was out to dinner with friends. Before they could sit down, William had to sort through a 20 minute backlog of voicemails gathered during a day filled with meetings. Jesse commented to James, "Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just read your voicemail?" At the time, James was working with voice recognition technologies and had a creative idea on how to build a system that would enable people to stop listening to voicemail and READ IT. …and with that, PhoneTag was born.

A person calls and leaves a voicemail.  That voicemail is transcribed and then sent, along with a .wav file, to your email.

The fee ranges from about $0.35 for each voicemail up to $30.00 for a flat rate with unlimited voicemails per month.  The lower rates have a flat fee and then a cost for each individual voicemail over the flat rate mails.

For me this has value in several ways:  I don’t have to use minutes calling to check my voice mail, I don’t have to spend the time calling and checking voicemail, I get a written note of the call which goes into my client notebook, and I have a more permanent record of the call which goes into the case file.

You don’t get charged if the message is “unintelligible,” and the message still gives you the phone number of the person who called.

If you are a Vonage user, Vonage has the same concept.  They charge a flat 10 cents per voicemail.  So far I have found PhoneTag transcriptions better than Vonage.

Are you like me — you need to send or receive large files via email.  If that's the case — the law enforcement ROI, is a good example — here is a free, experimental way to transfer large files without having to send them by email.  Most email accounts have size limits on what can be sent as an attachment to an email.  I don't know yet if it works to a military computer.

JetBytes

 tip: Future Lawyer