New Solo Tech Columnist AT Solo Practice University

 

 

 

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I just love Solo Practice University – an online resource for solo and small firm lawyers that covers everything from wills, estates and trusts and construction law to how to run your law practice and, my personal favorite, leveraging technology to make your work bigger than your size. I am on the faculty there – I completed a course a while back on using Google in your law practice. And I just started writing a monthly technology column at SPU called, appropriately enough, “Solo Tech.” A lot of my content will be similar to what you may see here, with a solo practice bent. Check out my first article at the link here. And thanks to SPU for letting me step up on my tech soapbox!

Do Lawyers Have Their Heads In the Clouds?

cloud

Sometimes, as a heavy duty user of cloud tools and a vocal advocate of same, I take for granted that others have the same awareness of and comfort level with them as I do. Not necessarily so, it appears. Less than a year ago, Citrix published a study that revealed that most people were a bit confused about the topic. Their blog post reporting on the study posted a few somewhat humorous highlights, such as:

  • 95% of those who think they’re not using the cloud, actually are
  • 3 in 5 (59%) believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud
  • 40% believe accessing work information at home in their “birthday suit” would be an advantage
  • More than 1/3 agree that the cloud allows them to share information with people they’d rather not be interacting with in person
  • After being provided with the definition of the cloud, 68% recognized its economic benefits
  • 14% have pretended to know what the cloud is during a job interview

So, how do lawyers measure up against the more general population of cloudless masses? The ABA conducts a Legal Tech survey every year, the actual results of which I admittedly don’t read because the multi-volume set is a bit pricier than I would like to fork over. So I tend to depend on the reviews and reports by those more in the legal tech know than I, such as bloggers Bob Ambrogi and Nikki Black.  I encourage you to hit the links to get more details on the results of the latest survey. But I can summarize for you that attorneys’ use of the cloud has grown significantly over the past year, with the  larger percentage of respondents assigning the greatest importance to time and billing and case management applications. Interestingly, though, the top four most used applications by lawyers are not legal-specific apps but are consumer apps – Dropbox, Google Docs, iCloud and Evernote, in that order.  As it appears, lawyers are ahead of the curve on cloud awareness and adoption. Yay, us.

But maybe you need a bit more information and guidance on the cloud and what it means to you as a lawyer. Well, I have the goods for you. Or, rather, MyCase – a cloud-based case management software company – has them, in the form of a nice slideshow. Check it out and be informed!

Legal Tech Thoughts From A Relative Luddite (Guest Post)

Christopher G. Hill is lawyer, Virginia Supreme Court certified General District Court mediator and owner of the Richmond, VA firm, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC, a LEED AP. Chris authors the Construction Law Musings blog where he discusses legal and policy issues relevant to construction professionals. Additionally, Chris is active in the Associated General Contractors of Virginia and a member of the Board of Governors for the Construction Law and Public Contracts Section of the Virginia State Bar.


First of all, thanks again to my pal Martha Sperry for the great opportunity to post here at The Advocates Studio yet again (this is my fifth guest post and the fourth cross posting between the Studio and Construction Law Musings). Please check out my other posts relating to my solo startup, social media and my use of the cloud once you’re done with this article.

Also, be sure to check out Martha’s great post on the iPhone 5 and productivity at Musings. Martha also adds some great thoughts, practical advice, and a bit of humor to the Guest Post Friday lineup.

Now, on with the show. . .

You are probably wondering about the title of this post. If you’ve read through Musings, or any of my other posts relating to the use of the cloud or tech here and elsewhere, you know that the “cloud” and other computer and web-based practice tools are a big part of my solo construction practice. So, why the “luddite” comment?

Despite the fact that a wise lady once told me that “there’s always someone who knows less than you,” I am constantly surprised by those who come to me for advice on social media, blogging or even tech related stuff. I have never seen myself as a computer or tech whiz by any means. While computers have never been scary to me, I remember when a great home computer was an Apple //e and the mouse was an innovation. In short, like many of us lawyers (particularly those over 40) I’m muddling through just like you are. That said, necessity has been the mother of invention.

You are reading the thoughts of the owner and only employee of my law firm. As such, when I’m not at my desk, no one is. When I went solo over 2 years ago now (who knew time could fly so fast), I needed to simplify, lower overhead and make myself portable. I also didn’t have time to learn a lot of new stuff.

On the marketing side, I sent out announcements by actual snail mail (who knew that the post office could still help out a lawyer?), but to do this I pulled my Outlook and Gmail contacts to send to the mailing service. I was able to “take” my construction blog with me, continued with the blog and social media efforts, and started meeting with folks in real-time (partly because contractors don’t really take to “virtual” meetings).

While my marketing is a seriously blended web/on the ground mix, my practice management is as paperless and cloud based as I can make it. For me, this is where the tech rubber meets the road. When I started my new firm I grabbed a Clio account, imported my contacts and started to store .pdfs of my documents on Clio’s cloud based system. Since then, Clio (among other cloud based systems) has gotten more feature-rich and easy to use, adding online credit card processing and easy one click billing.

The reason I like the cloud for this sort of thing has little to do with my love of gadgets (though that does have something to do with it) but with the need to assure client service by having access to my files from anywhere with a safe internet connection (read, not Starbucks). I can pull up my Blackberry Playbook tablet, hook to Clio through my bridged Blackberry Curve (really, I’m not kidding, I don’t own an iPhone or an iPad) or laptop and review a document while out of the office. I also don’t like to have any more paper than I can help because of the clutter and space issues with my one office setup.

Other tools I use? A ScanSnap S1500 scanner that allows me to scan to both my docked laptop and to Clio directly, Backblaze for offsite backup and, as a second failsafe a GoFlex hard drive that constantly backs all of this stuff up all help keep my practice running. I also use Google Apps for e-mail and occasional collaboration.

In short (yes, I know it’s too late for that), I see no reason to jump into the cloud full force unless it makes your practice easier and makes it easier to keep your clients happy. The telephone (not “smartphone”) is a great tool for actually talking to clients and potential targets. E-mail, Twitter, text messages and other uses for cell phones are great, just don’t forget that all of our clients are real people and that tech for techs sake is not necessarily the best way to serve yourself or your clients.

There are a ton of great tech tools and gadgets out there, just be sure to use the ones that help and jettison those that don’t.

Thanks again to my pal Martha and I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Everpurse: Wireless Charging Bag for your Mobile Device

Time to stump for another great Kickstarter project. This one is called the Everpurse. I know and you know that we smartphone users are likely going to run the battery out on that iDevice or Android or Blackberry or whatever smartphone of choice you carry.  What with all the reading, emailing, calling, texting, GPS’ing, Instagraming, Facebooking, tweeting, and gaming you have to fit in, invariably the battery will fade. I know mine does.

Have you ever used one of those battery cases? You may not mind the extra bulk but I finally had to give up – most smartphones are designed to fit well in your hand and the powered cases invariably throws that all out of whack. Are you one of those people that prefer to keep your device naked? After using a ton of different cases on my iPhone and Android phone, I finally gave up and have gone “naked”, risking scratches and drops for a better grip and feel. Do you carry your device in a bag at times? Do you have a small purse, large purse, briefcase or backpack that you dump the phone into?

Well, the Everpurse can address all of these “first world issues” in a very stylish, very clever way. The smallish bag, only slightly larger than the phone itself, can charge your phone on the go, without wires, bulky batteries, or special cases. It is essentially a wristlet-style purse with a built-in battery pack for wireless, magnetic charging capabilities. Drop your phone in the Everpurse and the phone will charge from the pack nestled inside an insert in the bag. The battery is 2500 milliamps and apparently can fully charge  an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S twice before needing a recharge. Not sure what it will do with an iPhone 5, but the Kickstarter page confirms that it will, in fact work with the 5. Other devices, like various Android phones, may also be supported, but Everpurse says it will announce compatibility closer to production.

The battery-pack must be charged itself through an AC adapter, but it can do that wirelessly as well. Recharging the purse takes about six hours. Right now, all that is being offered is the small clutch;  while the black one is fairly androgynous, the founders are talking about making a more obviously masculine option. Leather currently sets at a $159 Kickstarter donation, and fabric is available for $129. With less than a month left to fund, the Everpurse project is well on its way to becoming fully funded as currently there is almost $80,000 pledged. Plus, of course, my $100+ bucks.

So, I assume you know how Kickstarter works, but in case you don’t, it is a crowd-funded site for inventions, projects, tech gadgets, music, art and other creative endeavors where creators can advertise what they would like to do, how much money it will cost to do it and offer up shares or merchandise in return for successfully reaching the funding goal by the deadline. I have participated in two Kickstarter projects and they did fund and I did receive some cool stuff. So I am hopeful that the project will fund and everything will go according to Hoyle (whoever he is) and in about six months, I will get me a very cool Everpurse and forget about dying phones for the rest of my life.

Sure, I can buy a battery pack from $50 to upwards of $150 and drop it in my purse. But then I would have to fiddle with wires, return it to the house to recharge and invariably forget it. With the Everpurse, I will take the purse and phone into the house, and drop the little back on its wireless charging mat where I am unlikely to forget it as it may also hold my money, keys, etc.

Kudos to Liz Salcedo for coming up with the great idea and her handy husband for figuring out a way to make it work. I just love technology that incorporates great design and solves every day problems. Make mine orange.

Stop! It's Gadget Time!

 

We are right at the start of CES, the consumer electronics show, where all the big and small manufacturers of tech toys trot out some of the stuff they are working on in order to get the tech press all excited. Being that this is a tech blog and that I do have a keen fondness for electronic whiz-bangs, I felt I should at least make a mention that the show is going on and point out a few of the cool things that have been unveiled thus far.

First up, my personal favorite non-Apple computer manufacturer: Lenovo. They have been very busy developing a couple of new tablets, a smartphone and, get this, an Android 4.0 Smart TV. How cool is that? It’s a whopper at 55 inches. The Idea Tab S2 10 10-inch tablet is very light and thin at 1.1 pounds and docks with a keyboard, making it look a bit like a MacBook Air.

My favorite camera manufacturer right now, Fuji, has an exciting new addition to its Finepix X- line – the X-Pro1, which apparently is mirrorless, but sports the same cool retro looks as the X-10 and X-100.

And the affordable tablet for kids, targeted at poorer communities around the world, is finally making its tangible debut. The OLPC XO 3.0 tablet will be $100. It’s rugged and can be charged with a hand crank or a solar panel. One minute of cranking gives you ten minutes of run time. I would love that on my iPad! But you won’t be able to buy one: the XO 3.0, like the XO laptops, won’t be sold directly to consumers or parents. OLPC will sell the tablets in bulk to countries who want to ensure their children have computers, and won’t produce units until orders come in.

Along the same green power lines is a solar powered Kindle cover called SolarKindle. Seems an obvious must have for beach reading. And, it even gives you a built in book light!

Many of these products are available now (in other countries) or coming soon, so hopefully the wait won’t be too long. And there is still more CES to go, so who knows what fun stuff is yet to be revealed. I’ll be watching for the shiny.

My Tech Gadget Holiday List For 2011

I’m a little worried. My husband has been silent about Christmas gifts this year. In other words, he hasn’t asked for any guidance at all. Which could mean something really good. Or really not.

Everyone can benefit from a little advice now and then, and maybe he might take a peek over here in the Studio, so I thought I would give him the subtle clue of a list of awesome tech toys I wouldn’t mind seeing under my little Christmas / Hanukkah shrub. Here goes:

1. Wacom Inkling

I love art-related gadgets and this one promises to be the best combination of tech and craft – simply clip the receiver to your regular paper or sketchbook, use the special pen and record your every stroke so that you can upload into your computer for storage or further refinement. While I love my Wacom tablets, the Inkling promises greater freedom of movement akin to actual sketching, so that you are less hampered by the medium and able to better express the art. Stores hundreds of images in the receiver before you have to upload to your computer. Export your sketches with layers directly from the Inkling Sketch Manager software into Adobe® Photoshop, Illustrator(CS3+), Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (2011+) or Autodesk Sketchbook Designer. Or save your artwork in PG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG & PDF. At $199, its almost affordable. Can’t wait to sketch up some caricatures with this baby.

2. Sonos Wireless HiFi

An oldie, but a goodie that I have been eyeing for a few years. The Sonos system allows you to wireless stream music all over your home. The system is zoned, so that you can play different music in different zones or spaces. With the Zoneplayers and Controllers, you can set up your music any way you want, attaching the player to traditional speakers and amps as a replacement to your traditional audio media players or serving as a standalone media / speaker system. With the wireless, remote Controller, you can then walk around your home and make changes to the music in any space in which you have access to a Zoneplayer. Stream your stored music or access one of the streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody, or MOG. Endless music. So cool! Now my kids can listen to Bruno Mars downstairs while I rock some Charlie Parker upstairs. Prices range, depending on your set up. But you can get Zoneplayers starting below $300 and controllers starting below $200.

3. Kindle Fire

Yes, I know it’s the poor cousin to the noble iPad, but I have to admit, I’m intrigued. At 7 inches, it is easy to grab and store, but big enough to make your media look good. And that is what Fire’s all about – media. Read your Kindle books, watch Amazon Prime Movies, browse through digital magazines, and listen to your Amazon Music library. Plus, it has a snappy Amazon-crafted Silk browser and a neat UI based loosely on Android. Grab email and load up some apps – while you can’t easily get access to the entire Android Market, you can get a nice selection via the Amazon App Store. Full color, touchscreen, fast dual core processor, games, free cloud storage, document management and a book lending library. That’s a lot for $199 – a VERY competitive price. Think of it as 8 hardcover books – same price, much lighter and able to carry a whole lot more than that! Yup. The Fire would make a lovely stocking stuffer indeed.

4. Livescribe Echo Smartpen

This is also not such a new product, but a great update on a old standby. And, as you can tell, I have a fondness for digital writing implements. The Echo smartpen is more about note taking than scribbling. The uber-cool pen records both audio and handwritten notes in real-time and can link the two together so that you can easily retrieve the audio at a particular point in the written notes. You have to use Livescribe’s proprietary notebooks, but you also get a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening in, password protection for security, and an OLED display to show name of the Smartpen and definitions of the hand written words via built in applications. USB connector, built in microphone and speaker, and up to 4 or 8 GB of built in memory. That’s a lot of notes. You also get the Livescribe software, a digital text conversion program, and online storage space for notes. Customize your pen with a horde of apps, running the gamut of games to productivity. Prices start at $150.

5. Fuji Finepix X100

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to shoot film, first and foremost. With the declining supply of decent film cameras and places to develop the stuff, I have had to migrate over to digital, defaulting to the camera that is always with me – my iPhone. But I seriously drool over this gorgeous, retro-looking but advanced-feature laden beauty, the Fuji Finepix X100. Perhaps it is because it looks and feels so much like the film cameras of yore, perhaps it is its unique dual viewfinder (both optical and electronic), its crystal clear lens and manual and automatic shooting modes, or the clear quality of feel when you heft it. Or maybe it is the stunning image quality this beauty reproduces. There is no doubt that the X100 is for me – classic film camera style with modern cutting edge results. Can be had for under $1,200.

6. Asus EEE Pad Transformer TF101

It’s a tablet, no, it’s a laptop, no it’s a tablet! When you can’t decide whether you want the efficiency of a tablet or the functionality of a laptop’s full keyboard, check out the EEE Pad Transformer. It’s two gadgets in one. More of a high end Android-powered offering, this pad has a great feature set and excellent flexibility. Big Tegra 2 1.0GHz dual-core CPU and Android 3.2 Honeycomb O.S. with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgradability. And, for you iPad haters, Adobe Flash 10.2 support. Here’s the gimmick – a full QWERTY keyboard as well as touchpad input with Polaris Office. Extra long 16 hours of battery life, web storage, two USB ports, SD and Micro SD card readers and 3D stereo. Dock your mobile keyboard and it looks and feels just like a laptop. Or drop the keyboard and go tablet-style. Why choose? The Transformer looks and feels great. It knocks a Benjamin off the basic iPad as well – more money for apps. Starting at under $400 for the 16GB model.

7. Galaxy Nexus Smartphone

I really can’t complain. I have a couple of great smartphones already – the iPhone 4 and the LG G2x. But I have to admit, the recently released Galaxy Nexus is more than a little tempting. With the cleanest, purest version of Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a sleek hardware package care of Samsung, this phone is a beauty. The Galaxy Nexus has an HD Contour display, Super AMOLED 4.6 inch 720p screen, a 1.3MP front camera, a 5MP low-light optimized rear camera with flash. A 1.2 GHz dual core processor keeps things moving along. I admit, as a user of two fantastic phones, the Nexus’ greatest appeal is the pure Ice Cream Sandwich experience. If you are similarly interested, you can pick up a Galaxy Nexus from Verizon for $300.

8. VuPoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner

Moving into the realm of practical, I love the idea of paperless and a nifty gadget like the Magic Wand scanner can get you there. This portable bar allows you to scan by simply passing the reader over the desired paper and to store the image on the onboard Micro SD card. Format is JPEG and interface is USB 2.0. Selectable scan widths up to 8.5″ and color or B&W selectable. Available in small, regular size and Bluetooth-enabled. The little display shows your settings, number of stored scans, capacity of your card, battery life, and resolution. There are scan and error lights as well. There is also a Microsoft file stitching program on board for larger documents. And, best of all, it comes in colors! Make mine red. All that and under $100. Hard to beat – it fits nicely in that stocking.

9. B&W C5 In-Ear Headphones

My wish list would not be complete without something from my favorite speaker makers, Bowers & Wilkins. This year, they released these gorgeous C5 earbuds and I wouldn’t mind a pair of my own. Noise-isolating, comfortable and sonically awesome. Hands-free on your iPhone. These are the phones for critical listening – I wouldn’t recommend them to the heavy rap or processed pop crowd. Balanced and beautiful. Feel good and sound good, the B&W way. Consider these a replacement for those diamond studs – they will set you back around $200.


10. AppleMacBook Air (and throw in an iPad 2 while you’re at it)

Hey, it’s a wish list, right? Why can’t I have my aluminum and glass cake and eat it too? I love my first gen iPad and year+ old MacBook Pro, but who wouldn’t want the latest and greatest the finest consumer gadget design firm ever has to offer? Sign me up for a 13.3 inch MacBook air and a 32 GB WiFi / 3G iPad 2, please? I promise I will be good for the next 12 months!

Well, that’s it. Not too bad, right? It could have been worse. I could have asked for my own private island, a Premier League football team or a pony. It’s all about the perspective. Happy holidays from the Studio – hope your season is filled with happiness, joy, light and fellowship. And a few shiny new gadgets. Peace out!

Last Minute Predictions for 2011

‘Tis the time of year for predictions and resolutions. As I am not a New Year’s resolutions kind of gal (I try to resolve at will during the course of the year), I will try my hand at a few predictions. As this is a tech blog, I will focus on a few predictions on tech developments to come in 2011. Bear in mind that I am by no means a tech “expert”, but I am very well read on the subject – as my tech blogs and social connects keep me pretty informed on what is happening. Couple my voracious reading with a penchant for pattern recognition, and maybe I might get a few of these right.

Over the past year, web interaction, particularly social web interaction, has moved increasingly to our mobile devices. If you consider the iPad and its tablet progeny mobile (many tend to run mobile OS, although not exclusively), then I predict mobile computing will only rise significantly in 2011. Cutting edge adopters are leading the way in exhibiting what can be accomplished with smartphones and tablets. The justifications for preferring a traditional laptop to these more pocketable devices are dwindling. I see the real driving factor behind the trend to be professional adoption of these devices. I myself have stopped carrying my keypad mobile devices in favor of ‘Phone and ‘Pad for business and personal use. As the options increase (read: Blackberry’s Playbook and the myriad Android and Windows-powered units, as well as a possible WebOS device or two from HP), these form factors will likely take over for mobile users. And mobile use itself will only increase as devices become more able. Sort of like a feedback loop, with each end feeding the other. More devices and users, more uses and better apps. Breeding more users and more devices. Etc.

Another trend I predict in 2011 is the rise of niche social networks. This is not to say that Twitter and Facebook will fade away, nothing of the sort. These giants will continue to be giants but a sizable piece of the action will shift to niche networks for specific purposes. Sites like Amplify for reblogging, communication and conversation, Storify and curated.by for curation, apps like Instagram for photo sharing, and communities like Quora for (mostly) knowledgable questions, answers and information gathering are becoming hot properties and will only get hotter. Lawyers – take note. If you are interested in sharing your expertise, don’t get left out of the opportunities that sites like Amplify and Quora offer – a ready audience lurks there looking for information, particularly of the intelligent variety.

And consider the lure of group buying – it is hard to ignore the success of Groupon. Why? Well, my sense of it is that the same motivations that are driving Groupon to unprecedented valuation are behind the forced changes in the legal industry. Every one loves a deal, and a deal usually represents the marriage of value and price. If the buyer believes he or she is getting the best value for the best price, its a winner. Group buying via the social net offers just that – a tangible cut in price on valued items. Look for more group buying apps and communities and consider how you can leverage these sorts of opportunities in your own professional pursuits. And keep an eye out for more interesting e-commerce developments in the near future.

I foresee even more migration to the cloud, objections and security concerns notwithstanding. It just makes sense. While not everything may become cloudworthy in the immediate or near future, I believe that professionals and non-professionals will move more and more of their data to that unified location, accessible from anywhere and not necessarily limited by the size of your local storage. This will be facilitated by the integration of unique applications to cloud storage sites, making your data more maleable and useable in unique ways. And SAAS will become more attractive as the tech behind web applications improves.

Finally, like the exponential increase in tech wonders that have rolled out across the latter part of the twentieth century, the convex tangent curve of tech development over the next year + promises to rise more sharply still – keeping people like me glued to their favorite news delivery sources.  Whatever comes, I have no doubt it will keep us wide-eyed with wonder. Happy 2011!

Hot Damn! My Own iPhone App!

By George, I think I have finally done it! After splitting time between my Windows and Mac machines and iPhone, I finally got an Ad Hoc version of my very own, personal, AdvantageAdvocates iPhone app working like a charm! The app, created with the web tool AppMakr (link here) and aptly called Advocate, brings together all of my content streams in one nicely-designed package. If you enjoy Studio tech posts, Advocate tech article shares, my tech tweets and mobile app reviews, then this App’s for you! And it’s going to cost my favorite number: free.

I went through this process in order to complete the exercise of completing an app design, rather than to make a developer name for myself. When I ran into snags (and there were a few), I used AppMakr’s support forums and kept them apprised of glitches. To their credit, they responded beautifully, fixing issues and clearing the way for Luddites such as myself to finish the product.

Wanna see some screen shots? Here is the icon on the page:

Here is the splash screen:

Here is The Studio blog feed:

If you click on a link in that view, this is what you will see:

The little arrow above the image is the actual audio link to the NPR broadcast, preserved from my blog post! Click and the audio plays! (can you tell I am all excited?)

This is my Studio Tweets screen:

There are sharing links from each individual entry in all screens. This is the sharing link from a Tweet:

Studio Web includes my shares from Google Reader. I have a huge Reader library and like to share the great stuff I find in there. It is always articles with a legal, tech and/or professional bent. It’s like having your own personal tech / pro research assistant reading and pulling the cool stuff so you don’t have to.

An individual share entry looks like this:

The Studio apps button has all of my mobile app reviews from MobileAppOfTheDay. Here is the individual app entry for today (you would scroll down on the app screen to get all of the images and review):

It works flawlessly and really looks pretty darn great. I used my own artwork for the header image, icon image and splash screen, but AppMakr allows you to browse the Web or your own hard drive for images to use, with helpful tips on how to size them properly.

No one can say that creating an app for a mobile device is a quick and simple process. But I have to say that it can’t be that bad – if I can do it, anyone can do it with a little tenacity. AppMakr certainly makes the job a whole lot easier.

Stay tuned to the Studio for information on when the App goes live in the App Store. Next stop: Android App Creator!

The 2009 Holiday Wish List

Last year, I posted my holiday wish list in the hopes that my husband someone reading this blog would take note and respond accordingly. Readers who have slogged it out here on the Studio for more than a year may recall that my list for 2008 included a Flip Mino HD, an iPhone 3G, a 30″ Gateway monitor, the Wacom Cintiq tablet, the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen, the B & W Zeppelin iPhone / iPod speaker dock, the Plastic Logic eReader (still not out and available for the 2009 holiday season), the WildCharge wireless charging pad for small electronics, the Sentry Safe hard drive, and the Canon EOS 50D.

So maybe I was a wee bit ambitious. The list of “haves” versus “have nots” is decidedly skewed in favor of the latter. I did get a Bose Sounddock, which is pretty cool. And right after Christmas, I bought myself the iPhone as a present. Later in the year, I got a serviceable Fuji digital camera, opted to forego the Flip in favor of an upgrade to the iPhone 3GS, and still gaze longingly at the other gadgets whenever I get the chance.

So in the spirit of “if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed-try-try-again,” I am going to put my 2009 list right out there. Who knows? Maybe Santa is a Studio reader.

Here it is, Martha’s WishList for 2009:

1.  Apple MacBook Pro

Yep, it isn’t cheap. But it sure is pretty. I have finally come around to realizing that I really need two completely different systems running herein the house. Perhaps it is the fact that I have fallen for the iPhone’s beautiful simplicity and design chops and am looking for a similar experience in my desktop / laptop. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with my slick Lenovo. I just feel that I should experience all worlds in order to make a completely informed decision on the perennial geek question: who makes the better system? The 13-inch would be just fine for me.

2.  LG BD390 BluRay Player

As I spend pretty much all of my limited visual down-time watching movies, I have been getting more and more interested in BluRay players. From my research, this bad boy packs in an awful lot of features into its sleek black box. Streaming Netflix, YouTube and CinemaNow video (ondemand new release movies) wirelessly, and magically able to sniff out any visual media on your own home network, there is little this player can’t do. You can find it online for well under $300, which in my book seems a pretty cool deal. You listening, Santa? It’s cool AND cost conscious!

3.  Sony Bravia XBR KDL-40XBR6 40″ 1080p TV

If you are going to hook up a fancy player like the LG, you really need to have the proper viewing device. This slim profile 40″ set is the maximize size I can fit into my allotted TV screen space. I went to Best Buy to look at these sets and I can tell you that, to my eye, Sony has the most nature, best picture with the least artifacts. This particular set probably has more on it than I need, but this is a WISH list after all. I can’t wait to watch The Matrix in BluRay on this cool surface! Until the OLED’s get large and reasonably-priced enough, this one will do just fine.

4.  PowerMat Wireless Charging Station

Last year, it was the Wildcharge, this year it’s the PowerMat. You lay out the mat, equip your devices with the appropriate case, battery door or dock and simply place the device on the mat and voila! wireless charging! It comes in either a Home/Office or Portable version for charging on the go. Losing all of those proprietary chargers and cords littering my kitchen countertop is a beautiful dream and the PowerMat charger can get me there!

5. Plastic Logic Que

I still want this, and now it has a name: Que. Sleek, lightweight, with a gesture-based interface, Que is going to be sold through Barnes & Noble’s e-store. It will have 3G and Wi-Fi capabtility (at least as rumored). It is really being marketed as a business-savvy document reader, but that won’t stop me from downloading the recent best seller from B & N to view on its sexy “shatterproof” capacitance based touch-screen. Now, it just needs to come OUT onto the market. C’mon 2010!

6.  Motorola Droid

I am definitely a tech groupie so it doesn’t bother me this current darling of the mobile computing world to my list. I would love to check out Droid’s Google-y goodness, particularly Google Maps Navigation, despite all that macho male marketing bull-crap (yes, I just said “bull-crap” on my respectable legal tech blog). I like its looks and have been dying to try Android. I only wish I could justify a second personal phone on a completely different carrier, but maybe Santa can work a little Christmas magic!

7.  Microsoft Windows 7

I have been having a bit of a disagreement with my husband IT guy about upgrading our Windows-based computers to Windows 7. I really would love to do it, and not just because I like being a tech guinea pig. It’s faster, lighter, and more stable than its predecessors and I have heard nothing but good things from people I trust on this subject about the new system’s chops. I hear upgrading it can be a bear, though. Maybe I should just replace every computer in the house with pre-installed Windows 7 systems! What a concept!

8.  Touch Sensitive Rubik’s Cube

You know the famous line “All Work And No Play ….” etc. I have no interest in being dull, so I am throwing in this highly awesome touch sensitive Rubik’s Cube. I was a huge fan of the original low-tech version back in high school and used to be able to solve the thing in under 3 minutes (I have since lost my chops most likely due to the excessive amount of other less fun content crowding my overtasked brain cells). I think I could spend way too much time on this, but I do need something to fill my stocking.

So that’s it for this years modest list. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good gadget!

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Giving Thanks – From The Studio

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Even hyper-active, tech, legal geeks need to pause for a moment to ponder all that there is to be Thankful for. I am thankful, in the global sense, for my family, friends, health, and happiness. In the Studio-relevant sense, I am thankful for the means to stay up to date on my subject and the venue to share my interests with you. I am thankful that there are readers out there like you (yes, YOU) who take the time to to read my words and hopefully learn something new and maybe even push you on a slightly different trajectory than you may have been riding prior to our encounter here. I am also thankful that there seems to be a never-ending supply of subject matter on my topic of legal / tech due to the tireless efforts of very creative innovators who are constantly pushing the envelope with new tools and discoveries.

I hope all who celebrate the holiday have a happy and safe time of it. I hope that all who do not celebrate the holiday still take a moment to remember all there there is to be thankful for.

With kindest regards,

Martha – The Advocate

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