Is it a Tablet? Is it an eReader? Apple Is Dangling the Fruit


Image by The Pug Father via Flickr

Last week was all aflutter about whether Apple’s large order of 10-inch touch screens from a Taiwanese manufacturer was intended for a tablet / netbook, with mock-ups of what was thought to be the end result. Then, someone started positing that the screens were meant for an eReader to go head to head (or toe to toe) with the Kindle. CNET published a story on this “about face” last Thursday. The rumor started with Apple writer Andy Ihnatko postulating that he had heard from someone else that someone else had seen truckloads of books (“actual, real, honest-to-goodness-paper-bound books) being delivered to Cupertino. The idea is that these books are being scanned for an eReader library. Ihnatko wouldn’t even rank his information as a “rumor” but merely “an interesting story.”

Interesting tale, given that Kindle and the iPhone have recently teamed up to offer a reader app.

Mea culpa – I am one of “those” rehashing this “interesting story” cum “rumor” soon to be “complete and honest truth” about the eReader, a phenomenon I have seen happen time and again on the Web. Like a telphone tag game on steroids, no one really knows what will actually happen at Apple within the next year or two, including people at Apple. Nonetheless, we, the audience are hungry for the next big thing and Apple never fails to disappoint.

Whatever the future holds, I am sure we will soon be treated to another interesting and innovative product from Apple that costs way too much money.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

WordPerfect 5.1 Still Getting Some Love


Image via Wikipedia

The Advocate loves all things tech, especially new and cool tech, but there are just some things that stand tall in the evolutionary process and pass the test of time with flying colors. I was, still am and always will be a fan of WordPerfect. Ross Kodner at Ross Ipsa Loquitur talks about how there are still legals out there using this “venerable and venerated” word processor. Kodner notes that the stripped down processor works just fine with XP and even with Vista operating systems. He includes a link to a site offering updates allowing it to run under these systems. He also believes that the “soothing blue background” hoists him over his writer’s block and unlocks the precious flow of argument or prose. All you need is a floppy disc and a drive to bring back the magic.

I remember how much I resented when I changed employers and had to switch from WordPerfect to Word. I was so unhappy that I was thrust into a program that didn’t afford an ability to get behind the scenes in my document and easily modify its structure. And Kodner has a point: the more bells and whistles word processing programs get, the more stumbling blocks stand in the way of the writing process. There is something to be said for simplicity. Even paper and pen have their place in the modern practice – remember, once upon a time these tools were considered high tech too.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How Nice: TechCrunch Nod to JD Supra

I jd-supralove JD Supra. Its implementation, its content, its super-nice crew, Its wide-ranging contributors. And, JD Supra is the embodiment of my favorite concepts: legal and free. I have flown the flag for JD Supra in previous blog posts. Today I stumbled upon a post at TechCrunch, a highly respected general technology blog, also applauding the service. Leena Rao posted Law 2.0: JD Supra Frees Legal Content, opening JD Supra up to a whole new audience.

What do I love about JD Supra? Massive variety of legal content uploaded by firms, attorneys and others connected with the legal profession. Their own content, generated in the course of the actual practice of law and then shared to the general internet audience, no strings attached. It is a great way for practitioners to advertise their talents and for readers to access practical, legal knowledge.

Rao compares JD Supra to the paid services of WestLaw and Lexis, but I respectfully disagree with the comparison. Although the Big Two have made some strides, I find that both of these services are woefully lacking in providing a user-friendly collection of forms. JD Supra fills this gap for free! JD Supra streams on Twitter and also has a Facebook application. To say JD Supra is way ahead of Westlaw and Lexis in their particular domain is an understatement.

I will never pass up an opportunity to applaud JD Supra. Tech-savvy attorneys are already hip to its benefits. Glad to see that others in the general tech community are opening their eyes as well.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Can Wikipedia Teach Students How To Write?


Image via Wikipedia

Not content to be the favored reference source for students just learning how to research, Robert E. Cummings at Inside Higher Education has suggested that Wikipedia might just be the proper training ground for students as writers. In his article Are We Ready to Use Wikipedia to Teach Writing?, Professor Cummings explains his process for assigning the preparation of a Wikipedia entry for his composition students, including education regarding the “discourse community” and the “five pillars of Wikipedia.” The students then write contributions to existing pages and review the response from the Wikipedia community. Students then consider their own responses and then draft an essay on the experience of writing for this larger audience.

Professor Cummings explains that this type of assignment offers a crash course in understanding one’s audience, the experience of critique, the exercise of choosing a topic that might be of value and interest to the larger community and a better sense of modern “real world” writing.

Hmmm. Perhaps some of the learnings described by Professor Cummings might have some value for law students as well. Understanding the broader audience, dealing with critique and topic (or argument) choice and a sense of “real world” writing. Granted, legal writing is its own animal, to a large degree. But such an assignment – the opportunity to write for a widely recognized resource with a vast audience – has to afford some tangible measure of what it will be like to write for bosses, clients, peers and courts further on down the line.

Of course, students writing for students’ number one research source does seem to present a circular argument for Wikipedia use, now, doesn’t it?

Hat tip to the Legal Writing Prof Blog.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A Timely Release: 2009 ABA Legal Technology Guide

Naba-tech-guideever fear, newly-laid-off-firm-lawyers-baffled-by-all-the-technology-decisions-facing-newly-minted-solos. The American Bar Association has just released The 2009 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide: Critical Decisions Made Simple. The guide addresses the options for computers, peripherals, software, support tools, services and other areas vital to modern practice. Reviews and product overviews, step-by-stp instructions on making tech decisions, analysis of operating systems and case management applications, billing systems and document management, tips for the wireless office and protection from security threats are all covered. The guide costs $84.95 for non-members and $54.95 for members of the ABA Law Practice Management Section.

Along with the very reasonable tuition to the soon-to-be-launched Solo Practice University, you too can be a cutting-edge lone legal wolf for not a lot of change.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

PDF to Word Update: Now Freely Available Free Of Charge To Everyone

Just got an email from the fine folks at Nitro. They wanted to let me know that this nifty PDF to Word converter that I was gushing about last week is out now available to everyone! Whee! Go check it out and see what you think. If you have a moment, stop back and comment about your experience with it here. I have yet to stump the thing myself.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

pdf-word

Talk To Your Computer – Without People Looking At You Funny

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Keep It Simple Stupid, Bluebook-Style


Image via Wikipedia

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sorry, You Can't Have It: Communist Manifesto Purchased by The British Library (Not on eBay)


Image via Wikipedia

Interesting tidbit of research news from the Resource Shelf: The British Library has acquired what is believed to be the only copy of The Communist Manifesto, master work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to be held by a national library. This is a complete first edition, believed to be the only one, and this volume is only one of 30 first editions in any condition to have survived.

In this modern world of Kindles and iPhone readers, the thought of this very rare book in tangible form makes my “spine” tingle. Yes, Virginia, there is a print version!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sorry, You Can’t Have It: Communist Manifesto Purchased by The British Library (Not on eBay)


Image via Wikipedia

Interesting tidbit of research news from the Resource Shelf: The British Library has acquired what is believed to be the only copy of The Communist Manifesto, master work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to be held by a national library. This is a complete first edition, believed to be the only one, and this volume is only one of 30 first editions in any condition to have survived.

In this modern world of Kindles and iPhone readers, the thought of this very rare book in tangible form makes my “spine” tingle. Yes, Virginia, there is a print version!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]