Use Your Ribbon For More Than Tying A Bow

In honor of Microsoft‘s announcement about the upcoming Office 2010, I thought I might talk about “the ribbon.” Office 2003 users may ignore this post if they wish, but 2007 and those waiting for Office 2010 should perk their ears.

Have you gotten a handle on the infamous “ribbon”?

Office Ribbon

“What’s the “ribbon?” you ask.  According to Wikipedia, “[t]he ‘Ribbon User Interface’ is a task-orientated Graphical User Interface (GUI). It features a central menu button, widely known as the ‘Office Button’. The Ribbon Interface has been introduced into Microsoft Office 2010.” In other words, its that strip of commands adorning the top of each program in the Office suite offering a changing set of buttons for tools as you select one of the categories at the very top of the screen contained in the tabs. The tab commands are relevant to whatever program you are using.

Office 2007 Image

You can minimize the ribbon with a click.

The ribbon and related functionality is, by far, the biggest stumbling block for users migrating from Office 2003 to 2007 or later. So, in an effort to help those still stuck in 2003 prepare for 2010, I thought I might share a link to Microsoft’s “ribbon” page, with overview of the ribbon and toolbars, a video demo of the ribbon, tools, tutorials, demos, interactive tour and more. If you really aren’t doing well with the ribbon using the “hunt and peck” method, you might try some of the helpful features Microsoft is offering. A nice overview, falling just short of an admission that the “ribbon” might as well be written in some dead language, based on the average user response to it.

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The Long Arm Of The Law – Anti-Texting Edition

LONDON - FEBRUARY 27:  A sign on the M25 orbit...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Makes perfect sense when you are behind the wheel – make sure that your fingers are not doing the talking. Not everyone shares this sentiment, however. It behooves lawyers to have the lowdown on the laws regarding driving while texting – to protect themselves when they are tempted and to be prepared for those clients who may have gotten their fingers burnt, so to speak.

Jalopnik offers quick and easy visual maps for determining how states are handling legislation regarding texting, which may not expressly or explicitly fall under cell phone driving laws or driver distraction laws. This is a barebones color-coded series of maps, which does not give offer links to relevant legislation. Furthermore, these maps are going to change radically as time (and laws) pass. But I was able to determine quickly from the maps that, while there is nothing yet on the books in Massachusetts, there is legislation pending. Enough to set me on the path to legislative research on the question.

The bigger point to be made here is that even though technology affords us the ability to singletask or multitask in new and exciting ways it does not grant us the license to do so at all times. We, the “drivers” of technology, need to engage it responsibly at all times. Sometimes, that means we need to “drop out of the fast lane” and, if necessary, hold off until tomorrow what should not be done today while driving on a car trip. That includes shaving, putting on makeup, and reading the paper too. Sheesh!

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BlackBerry Owners Are Social Too!

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...
Image via CrunchBase

Today marks the opening of MyBlackBerry, a new community site for BlackBerry owners offering a portal to online communication and collaboration among the pinstriped set. While it is not the first such site devoted to BlackBerry devotees, it is the first official site sanctioned by the BlackBerry bush, RIM. The “social” features of the site include individual profiles, community forums and application ratings and reviews.

Nice to see BlackBerry officially  getting hip to the online tip. If you need help deciding between that Blackberry Storm and Blackberry Bold, seems MyBlackBerry is the place to go.

Hat tip to ReadWriteWeb.

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From The Clever Tip Box: Save Twitter Info Using Tweetdeck and Evernote

Image representing TweetDeck as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

My problem with Twitter, which I am guessing is shared,  is that the information blasts past like leaves floating on a raging river, making it difficult to pull and save the wothwhile bits. Sure you can “star” tweets and then go back later to manually collect. But I saw this on Lifehacker this morning and think it is a fabulous tip:  send and save the valuable Twitter tweets using Tweetdeck and Evernote.

Tweetdeck is great for sifting through the torrent to find the gold in the first instance. Tweetdeck also allows you to email tweets via your own email client. Evernote permits notating via email – provided you are using Evernote’s universal capture system. You can then stream to RSS, your phone client or your desktop RSS reader. Automatic for the people!

Thanks Steve Ruble (East Coast Blogging) and Lifehacker for the nice suggestion.

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Zimmerman's Legal Research Guide Free and Online

Andrew Zimmerman, Director of Library Services at Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, has been compiling tips, tricks and tools for legal research into a “guide” over the past several years. He calls his guide, which started as a collection of notes and papers, a “work in progress.” Zimmerman’s “work in progress”, a/k/a “An Online Encyclopedia for Legal Researchers”, is now being offered online for free at LexisNexis InfoPro.  The guide offers alphabetical browsing by topic, as wll as keyword searching, and covers a broad range.

Just for fun, I hit the jump to “insurance.” Zimmerman offers this guidance in the first couple of introductory paragraphs:

Statutes, regulations, insurance department opinions, and other primary materials are published for all 50 states in the multi-volume National Insurance Law Service (NILS), or you can get them from each state’s statutes, administrative codes, etc. In addition, most insurance materials are available on Westlaw – either in the Domestic Insurance Compliance Materials database (MULTI-INS) or the individual state or practice area insurance law databases (see the Westlaw Database Directory or call Westlaw at 1-800-773-2889 for assistance).

The leading insurance law treatises are Appleman’s Insurance law and practice (Matthew Bender) and Couch on Insurance (West). Appleman is available on Lexis (INSURE;APLMAN). Couch is available on Westlaw (COUCH).

There are some full-text secondary source materials in a Westlaw insurance databases, notably materials by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and law review articles. To find insurance-related articles, search Westlaw’s INSNEWS database or the appropriate files in the Lexis INSURE library. Alternatively, you can search the abstracts of the Insurance Periodicals Index (Dialog File 169), which probably covers more periodicals.

The Davis Library at the School for Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (formerly the College of Insurance) in New York City is an excellent source for insurance-related materials. They do research and document delivery for students, faculty and members of the Insurance Society of New York; non-members can use the library only by coming in person and purchasing a day pass. For more information, visit the Library’s Web site or call the Library at 212-815-9263.

Ad you can see, the Guide also offers links to related materials.

I appreciate Zimmerman’s (and LexisNexis’) evenhanded recommendations regarding materials available on Westlaw – it encourages the feeling that the Guide is offering an objective  snapshot of where to find information. And while the entry is simplistic from the point of view of a veteren insurance law practitioner, I would find  entries on unfamiliar topics a great starting point for research in uncharted waters.

Thanks Andrew and thanks LexisNexis for another useful research tool at the right price!

Hat tip to Ross-Blakely Law Library blog

Zimmerman’s Legal Research Guide Free and Online

Andrew Zimmerman, Director of Library Services at Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, has been compiling tips, tricks and tools for legal research into a “guide” over the past several years. He calls his guide, which started as a collection of notes and papers, a “work in progress.” Zimmerman’s “work in progress”, a/k/a “An Online Encyclopedia for Legal Researchers”, is now being offered online for free at LexisNexis InfoPro.  The guide offers alphabetical browsing by topic, as wll as keyword searching, and covers a broad range.

Just for fun, I hit the jump to “insurance.” Zimmerman offers this guidance in the first couple of introductory paragraphs:

Statutes, regulations, insurance department opinions, and other primary materials are published for all 50 states in the multi-volume National Insurance Law Service (NILS), or you can get them from each state’s statutes, administrative codes, etc. In addition, most insurance materials are available on Westlaw – either in the Domestic Insurance Compliance Materials database (MULTI-INS) or the individual state or practice area insurance law databases (see the Westlaw Database Directory or call Westlaw at 1-800-773-2889 for assistance).

The leading insurance law treatises are Appleman’s Insurance law and practice (Matthew Bender) and Couch on Insurance (West). Appleman is available on Lexis (INSURE;APLMAN). Couch is available on Westlaw (COUCH).

There are some full-text secondary source materials in a Westlaw insurance databases, notably materials by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and law review articles. To find insurance-related articles, search Westlaw’s INSNEWS database or the appropriate files in the Lexis INSURE library. Alternatively, you can search the abstracts of the Insurance Periodicals Index (Dialog File 169), which probably covers more periodicals.

The Davis Library at the School for Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (formerly the College of Insurance) in New York City is an excellent source for insurance-related materials. They do research and document delivery for students, faculty and members of the Insurance Society of New York; non-members can use the library only by coming in person and purchasing a day pass. For more information, visit the Library’s Web site or call the Library at 212-815-9263.

Ad you can see, the Guide also offers links to related materials.

I appreciate Zimmerman’s (and LexisNexis’) evenhanded recommendations regarding materials available on Westlaw – it encourages the feeling that the Guide is offering an objective  snapshot of where to find information. And while the entry is simplistic from the point of view of a veteren insurance law practitioner, I would find  entries on unfamiliar topics a great starting point for research in uncharted waters.

Thanks Andrew and thanks LexisNexis for another useful research tool at the right price!

Hat tip to Ross-Blakely Law Library blog