iPhone Envy? Visual Voicemail and Transcription for the Apple-Impaired

Yes, its the iPhone again. One of its features that gets me excited is visual voicemail. Of course, you can get this great feature without having to shell out hundreds to ATT. Visual voicemail affords a visual interface that allows users to view audio voicemail messages by text list or to read transcriptions of the voicemail. I know that I often let voicemails linger as I don’t always want to take the time to access, listen and then listen again while I write down everything I missed the first time. So, visual voicemail is a winner feature for me.

Ken Purdy at Lifehacker reports on free visual voicemail services and paid transcription services. Purdy focuses on YouMail and MessageSling and includes lots of great screen shots of what your visual voicemail and transcription will look like with these services.

There are otherS offering similar services on the Web. From Wikipedia, these include:

Callwave Multi-Carrier Voicemail Desktop integration (No longer free version as of 9/16/2008)
GotVoice Provider of Voicemail to Text and Voicemail to Email services
Onebox Provider of Voicemail to Text, Voicemail to Email, & UM services
PhoneTag Provider of Voicemail to E-Mail services (formerly called Simulscribe)
Silent Communication Visual Voicemail Client for handset
Taridium – vendor of Unified Voicemail solutions for the enterprise
VoiceCloud Human transcribed Voice to Text services

If you are like me and like to read your information rather than hear it, check out these great apps! If anyone has a favorite, I would love to know.

You Can Tweet …. or You Can Tumbl-r

Twitter is so … 2007. If you need to be on the crest of the next great on-line social net, maybe Tumblr is your answer. Tumblr is another blogging site that is slightly less “micro” than Twitter. While it is missing some of the extra extras that traditional blogging sites offer, it does allow easy customization and the ability to share all sorts of media, such as video, links, photos, music and other recordings. Like Twitter, Tumblr is free. Unlike Twitter, you are not limited to 140 characters per post. Tumblr, with its easy sign-up and interface, seems a great option for those interested in beginning blogging. Try it out today!

Where Home Meets Office

Perhaps the greatest benefit to working from home is having complete control over your environment, right down to choosing office attire that compliments your bunny slippers. Last week I talked about greening the home office. This week, after seeing contract lawyer / legal writer extraordinaire Lisa Solomon’s treadmill desk (you gotta see it),  I am inspired to talk about “comfort-modding” your home office.

Thanks to Gizmodo, and a few other sites,I have a list of suggestions to help the home office warrior achieve maximum work-related comfort in the home environment. Granted, these suggestions are grouped around the concept of combining “bathroom” and “office.” Nonetheless, I believe the components may be used in other areas of the home to improve the work experience.

First, the Boom Arm Starbase workstation, which includes a swing arm for your laptop and built in cupholder:

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Next, the Loo Read (no relation to the Velvet Underground front man), a fold-away flat surface that can hover over your toilet or any seating area:

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Next, any office worth its salt(water) has appropriate environmental accoutrements to improve aesthetics and moral. Never mind that ficus tree – consider the Fish n’ Flush, which forks over half of its tank to serve as a fishbowl:

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Or you could “sink” your fishbowl in the sink, with the Moody Aquarium Sink:

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If your office and your water sources are close together, such as in, say, a bathroom, you could consider a Marine monitor, compliments of this MarineAV 70 inch lcd tv:

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Or, you could just sink that monitor into your mirror with the “ARCO” PC/TV/LCD:

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Sometimes you need to jot down notes in unlikely places, such as in the shower. Never fear, you can take down that number with the Shower Note Tablet:

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And you can dial that number with the Sonim XP1 waterproof cell phone:

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If you need overall design ideas, here is one toilet-based office space to get you started:

image And here is another, for the greener set:

image This one includes, among other items, an Xbox 360, 20-inch LCD TV, laptop, TiVo, refrigerator with beer tap, bike pedal exerciser. Wonder if the toilet composts.

If you are really REALLY into monitors, check this one out (Stefan Didak’s desk:

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Because YOU are your own boss, design professional, interior decorator, IT department, janitorial staff and office manager, YOU get to set your office up any way you want. Feel free to link in the comments to your own home office set up and share your ideas.

More Twitter Assistance

How do you follow? Who do you follow? When do you follow? For some help on these questions, check out buckpost at Twitterati and the entry on How to Follow 101. This how-to advice depends on how you view your own twitter use and primarily is based on number of follows/followers. Are you a “pragmatist” interested in avoiding becoming overwhelmed, a “happy go lucky” tweeter looking to spice up your life with some new conversation, or a “party-animal” looking for volume contacts to support a digital lifestyle or business? The article has some quick help for determining your intended use and suggestions for framing that use effectively.

How To Start Tweeting In Ten Easy Steps

I have received a lot of questions lately about whether Twitter really is a valuable tool for lawyers and how to get into the Twitter swing. I have posted before about the “why” and Darren Rouse at TwiTips has this guest blog entry from Aira Bongco addressing the “how.” Chock full of common sense suggestions, this list is applicable to the casual, personal twitter-er, as well as the professional twitter-er looking to gain business contacts. Check out the jump above and overcome those initial “why the heck should I be doing this” and “what the heck am I doing” thoughts.

Treo Pro Lives Up To Its Name

My Treo 750 must be sensing an impending change and has been acting up considerably. I still have questions about which phone should serve as its replacement, given my attachment to ATT. There is the iPhone 3g and the Blackberry Bold. But there is also the Treo Pro, the current top-o-the-line Win-Mo offering from Palm.

Treo Pro

Reviewers are liking this phone with good reason. Treonauts reports on PC Magazine’s article comparing unlocked phones and giving good marks to this beauty. Futurelawyer, a confirmed Palm fan, shares the excitement. Taken from the Treonauts summary:

Palm’s newest enterprise-centric Windows Mobile handset packs loads of functionality into a fairly compact design. The Pro can sync with up to eight e-mail accounts and comes loaded with a full copy of Microsoft Mobile Office. Add that to support for Wi-Fi, HSDPA 3.6, and GPS with turn-by-turn directions, and its appeal becomes clear. It does tend to be sluggish at times, though, and it has the same cramped keyboard as its Centro siblings.

I have no problem with the keyboard, which gives plenty of tactile feedback, although I concede I have moderate sized, dexterous fingers from years of guitar playing.

The upside for unlocked phones is that you are not limited to a particular carrier. The down side is the increased, non-subsidized price you pay for this freedom. The Treo Pro lists for $549, but you can score one for $449 through the Treonauts store.

If you are willing to pay the price for freedom, this model is a nice option for the mobile lawyer.

More Criticism Leveled At Poor Legal Writing

Wayne Schiess, a specialist in legal writing, maintains a blog at Legalwriting.net and has this quote from fellow legal writer Joseph Kimble:

Although lawyers write for a living, most legal writing is bad and has been for centuries; most lawyers recognized this failing from what they read, but still fancy themselves to be rather good writers, thank you; likewise, most lawyers strongly prefer other writers’ prose to be plainer, simpler, shorter, clearer, but they also strongly resist changing their own style (that’s the great disconnect); every possible rationalization for traditional legal style has been discredited; and the costs of our bad writing and funny talk—the time and money wasted and the public disrespect—are incalculable.

[Legal writing is] a stew of all the worst faults of formal and official prose, seasoned with the peculiar expressions and mannerisms that lawyers perpetuate.

Kimble, Joseph, Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language xi (Carolina Academic Press 2006).

Our dialogue is filled with harsh criticism targeted at poor legal writing. Let’s turn our attention to finding a cure.

Attention All Blackberry Users: TwitterBerry Review

I have a Blackberry Curve. You might know that. What you do not know is that I do not “twitter” on my Blackberry. I use TinyTwitter on my WinMo Treo 750. So, in an effort to avoid the appearance of expertise with respect to software that I do not routinely use or have never played with, I will turn you over to Darren Rowse and @cjharley (twitter handle) at TwiTip for a review of the TwitterBerry application. In a nutshell, Twitterberry affords a nicer interface for tweeting on your Blackberry while on-the-go than the mobile Twitter page. Twitter would make a lovely accessory for that nice Bold (now out on ATT) or that spankin’ Storm (soon to be out on Verizon). For more info, hit the TwiTip link above!

It's Easier To Play The Game When You Know The Rules

What would you say to being able to select a jurisdiction and litigation task and be presented with a checklist of the latest local rules and civil procedure applicable to the task? I would say “Yahoooooo!” Check out SmartRules, a service that helps you get the niceties all in order when filing in various jurisdictions across the country. The service covers the nation, and includes trial level and appellate in both the state and federal system. There are also Guides that cover pertinent topics in the higher traffic jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia and the federal district courts.

Basic service, which is free, permits access to codes, courts and forms for all civil trial and appellate courts. You can get subpoena guides for most jurisdictions and rule change alerts.

Premium service, which can be purchased by monthly subscription or with a one-off day pass, includes the foregoing as well as the Guides.

Tip-off about this great service compliments of the Technolawyer blog.

SmartRules™ – Local Rules & Civil Procedure – Latest updates!

It’s Easier To Play The Game When You Know The Rules

What would you say to being able to select a jurisdiction and litigation task and be presented with a checklist of the latest local rules and civil procedure applicable to the task? I would say “Yahoooooo!” Check out SmartRules, a service that helps you get the niceties all in order when filing in various jurisdictions across the country. The service covers the nation, and includes trial level and appellate in both the state and federal system. There are also Guides that cover pertinent topics in the higher traffic jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia and the federal district courts.

Basic service, which is free, permits access to codes, courts and forms for all civil trial and appellate courts. You can get subpoena guides for most jurisdictions and rule change alerts.

Premium service, which can be purchased by monthly subscription or with a one-off day pass, includes the foregoing as well as the Guides.

Tip-off about this great service compliments of the Technolawyer blog.

SmartRules™ – Local Rules & Civil Procedure – Latest updates!