Giving Thanks – From The Studio

Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditi...
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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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Google Wave Thanksgiving Giveaway Or "Pay It Forward"

Google Wave
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Hello there Studio Readers. Guess what? I have Google Wave invites. Are you interested? Send me an email on my Contact page and tell me why you want one and the email address to which you would like the invitation sent. First come, first served. Come on in – the water’s fine!

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Google Wave Thanksgiving Giveaway Or “Pay It Forward”

Google Wave
Image via Wikipedia

Hello there Studio Readers. Guess what? I have Google Wave invites. Are you interested? Send me an email on my Contact page and tell me why you want one and the email address to which you would like the invitation sent. First come, first served. Come on in – the water’s fine!

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Collection of On-Line Resources for Writers

Pens and their marks
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“I” before “e” except after “c.” Sometimes, one needs a little refresher course on usage and grammar and, yes, even spelling. If you qualify, then consider heading over to this comprehensive list of writing resources compiled by David Stoner at the Writing Workshop. Stoner includes general resources, rhetoric, style guides, grammar guides, dictionaries and lexicographic resources, genre-based resources, literary terms, mechanics, writers groups and much more. While some of the resources may not appeal to you and your particular writing style, there definitely is something for everyone here.

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Google + iPhone = Free Legal Research!

iPhone user? Lawyer? Or simply interested in the law? Remember last week’s Studio post about Google Scholar’s Advanced Search and legal authorities?

Run, don’t walk, to Jeff Richardson’s great post at iPhone J.D. about using Google Scholar on your iPhone to track down free legal resources. Richardson discusses how to access, set up a bookmark to Scholar search for a specific jurisdiction and other tips, with screenshots and examples of how the results will appear. Check out his take on the new Wexis killer and take Scholar out for a legal spin.

Digital Curation Or Horder Syndrome?

The news du jour is all about curation. Digital curation, that is. I have noted a higher than average concentration of writing on this topic over the past few days. Clearly, people are interested in it. And that makes good sense to me.

What is digital curation? In its broadest sense, curation is the act of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts. Libraries and museums are excellent real world examples of curation. Digital curation refers more narrowly to the process of establshing and developing long-term repositories of digital assets, per Wikipedia’s entry on the topic. Good luck finding a more concrete explanation than that.

I will try to provide one. For me, digital curation is the gentle swirling of the prospectors’ pan while looking for lumps of gold among the gravel. Through this blog, Reader shares and various social media posts, I attempt to act as a digital curator – I spend my on-line time scanning readers, blogs, tweets, and other content for interesting information that may be useful to me and to people who subscribe to my content. I am a human curator and, hopefully, I provide a shortcut to better information through my blog posts and other social networking channels.

There are other ways to secure curated content. You can employ web tools that automate the process of material selection. The best of these automated offerings will attempt to “read” your interests and respond accordingly.  Google Reader has recently incorporated a setting called “magic” that purports to sort the mountains of content and push the news most likely to be of interest to you to the top of the pile. Feedly, the fantastic add-on for Firefox and now Chrome, does the same and takes it a step further by presenting the content in an easy-read format with precise controls over preferred sources. Lazyfeed, another Web tool, reads your tags and content from various media channels and funnels back to you the most relevant blog entries from across the ‘net. my6sense,an iPhone application, utilizes an algorithm called “digital intuition” to interpret your reading and sharing habits and feed back the content you are most likely to find compelling.

Other services, like MeeHive, Regator and Collected, organize and present the information in logical streams so that you can “cut right to the chase” of the particular news topics you are interested in.

For me, services such as these are a necessary antidote to the out-of-control flood of barely curated content flowing through Twitter and other social media sites. Apart from my few trusted resources, I find it difficult to use Twitter as a news source, particularly since I have no control over the arbitrary content choices  within the stream. The search function helps, but does not assure me that the “curator” is up to my standards. Time spent clicking on links and verifying the validity of the sources is better spent diving right into trustworthy content. As more and more content is generated, all of us are going to need proper curation to save us from web horders.

The list of helpful tools cited above is not exhaustive. It does offer a starting point for anyone interested in separating the wheat from the chaff. Rest assured the number of digital curation tools will be expanding – web experts such as Steve Rubel have taken the position that the future of the Web is digital curation and services that direct the flow of relevant information that is absorbed quickly, easily and smoothly. Rubel’s reasoning is that web denizens are “attention strapped.” I would describe it more as overstimulated. Effective digital curation is the cure for the overwhelm.

Do you have tips, tricks or tools to help you sift through to the diamonds? Please share with the class in the comments!


Pimping Chrome For The Social

Yes, apparently it is Google day in the Studio. And, yes, I said “pimping.” What else would you call customizing with Chrome? With the growing number of add-ons and extensions coming to a Chrome developers’ version near you, my indoctrination into all things Google is nearly complete. Mashable has a great list of social media extensions for Google Chrome, Google’s agile web browser, and you can read it here.

 You must be running a developers’ version of Chrome to use them. The extensions include a Gmail checker, a couple of Twitter extensions, a mini bar, a Google reader gadget, and a Facebook notification checker. Nice cross-section of tools for budding Chrome-heads. For more gadgets and extensions, head over to ChromeExtensions for a more complete list.  

For almost two years now, I have been a heavy duty fan of Firefox, but as my browser has become more overburdened, the quickness of Chrome is heady and compelling. Now you can pimp your speedy Internet ride and keep tabs on all things social via Mashable’s add-on list.

Now That I Have Wave, What Do I Do With It?

I have been having a “deja vue all over again” experience. It is the experience of hearing people say “gee, now that I am on Google Wave, what do I do with it?” The hype has been focused on Wave’s deployment as a killer collaborative tool. But how exactly do you get-to-done with it?

I haven’t yet been able to scare up a real project on Wave affording an opportunity to really put its collaborative forces into play. But I swear by its potential. And now I can point Studio readers to an excellent “how to” guide by a true Google Guru, Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, discussing how to manage a group project in Wave.

Gina’s post focuses on her ongoing project – writing a book aptly named “The Complete Guide to Google Wave.” While the book isn’t being written in Wave, it is being managed in Wave. She lists various tricks and tools she and her co-author employed, including shared tags and saved searches, how to reply to a blip below or in-line with it, or how to edit the blip, how to mark a reply private, how to playback a wave, and a list of helpful gadgets and bots (those crazy add-ons that make Waves exciting with multi-media goodness).

Gina also points out that adding Google Gears to your set-up isn’t necessary but helpful for securing more complete functinality. Installing Gears and a developers’ version of Chrome were the first tasks I undertook following my invitation to Wave and I do recommend it for new (and existing) Wavers. 

If you are like me and haven’t yet been able to put Wave through its paces for a real, honest-to-goodness task, check out the Lifehacker post to cull some tips and tricks secondhand. And if you are on Wave already, feel free to add me to your conversations – I would love to chat – I’m

More Free Case Law, A La Google

You may remember a while back a post here in the Studio about legal reporter and article results in Google Book Search. You can also pull case law results from Google Scholar Advanced Scholar Search. As can be seen from the search page, results cull legal opinions from federal and state courts and legal journals.

Maybe you don’t know what Google Scholar is? From the site:

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research.

Features of Google Scholar

  • Search diverse sources from one convenient place
  • Find papers, abstracts and citations
  • Locate the complete paper through your library or on the web
  • Learn about key papers in any area of research

There are date restrictions on the case law. While the Supreme Court material goes back to the 1700’s, federal and state case law begins in the 20th century.

More free and legal here in the Studio.

Hat tip to BeSpacific.

Oxford's Word Of The Year

I’ve heard of Nobels, Pulitzers, Oscars, Grammies, Emmies and Tonys. But what’ s this? An Oxie?

The New Oxford American Dictionary has just announced its Word of the Year. Who knew? And guess what? The new word has to do with technology and social networking! Apparently, social media is on the minds of staid old dictionary publishers too.

The “Oxie” is presented to the 2009 WotY winner  — “unfriend.”

“Unfriend” is a verb. It means to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site. This is to be distinguished from “unfollow” which means to stop subscribing to someone’ s posts on a blog, microblog or aggregation site. “Unfriend” is deeper-rooted. It suggests the severing of a more meaningful connection, such as can be found in places like Facebook and MySpace.

Senior Lexicographer at Oxford U.S. Christine Lindberg explains the choice:

“It has both currency and potential longevity…. In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

“Lex-appeal?” Now why didn’t that word make the cut?

You might be interested in some of the runners-up. Here they are, by category:


hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory

paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone


freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Politics and Current Affairs

Ardi(Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009

birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate

choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother

death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed

teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)


brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations

green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations

ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles

Novelty Words

deleb – a dead celebrity

tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Check out the Oxford post here. And Hat Tip to Resource Shelf.