Do you realize you can control your Windows Vista system with your voice? Of course you can! While I was aware of it, I must admit that I had forgotton about this particular functionality until reminded the other day by Lifehacker. They link to the Vista for Beginners (probably the vast majority of Vista users qualify) weblog, which walks you through setting up your system for voice recognition with advanced options. The blog entry goes through adding new speech profiles, managing those profiles, adding vocabularies, changing existing vocabularies, changing the language, working with speech dictionaries, audible cues and how to dictate in other applications. Lots of good information with screen shots that will enable you to turn your computer into a voice-recognizing, dictation-enabling, virtual secretary! Talk on!
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Sage, condensed and practical advice in the March 3, 2008 issue of the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly from Suffolk Law legal writing instructors Julie Baker and Lisa Healy: good citations are another step towards good advocacy. Download the article from SSRN here. Never mind the arcane intricacies of the Bluebook, just make sure that the citations you use and how you use them enhance your arguments rather than detract from them. Ms. Baker and Ms. Healy offer three most excellent suggestions on how to accomplish this: (1) use a consistent citation style, which will telegraph competency and care in your writing and your analysis; (2) make the citations you use count, by avoiding string cites and focusing on the most recent case from the highest court discussing your point; and (3) to the extent possible, keep the actual citations out of the text itself to promote a more fluid read. The authors suggest putting the case name in the sentence and the citation at the end. I would go that one better: put the citation in a footnote. Not the usual convention, I know, but think about what a nice smooth polish that would put on your paragraphs!