Jift App Offers Combined Facebook, Google+ Experience

 

Is your time worth money? Do you dislike having to spend precious time attending to two social networks? Well, if your preferred soc-nets include Facebook and Google+ and you rock an iDevice, you might be interested in the Jift app. Jift is a unified iOS client for Facebook and Google+, allowing you to quickly shift between one or the other or use both simultaneously. The app’s stream combines content from Facebook’s and Google+’s home pages. Interact with comments, likes, +1’s and shares, and add content to the sites from the app as well. You can access a unified Notifications stream or shift left or right to get only Google+ or Facebook notifications. One check-in can reflect on both sites.

The coolest feature for me – the cross-posting / sharing ability – comes with the paid Pro version for $1.99, but also shows as a $.99 in app purchase in the free version. Haven’t quite figured that one out yet.

Personal information is stored locally and you log in within the app using OAuth.

If you want to streamline your browsing and sharing experience across these two social networks, then you might have to agree that Jift is brilliant. Nice way to condense that time wasting into one glance at the iDevice.

Advertisements

Another Reason to Love Google Drive & Gmail – 10GB Attachments!

 

As file sizes go up, the restrictions imposed by email services on file attachment sizes become more and more painful. I have bumped up against these limits on more than one occasion, with the net result of me not being able to email the desired file and suffering a bald spot where I was forced to pull out my own hair.

One of my reasons for touting Google Drive from the start was the ability to easily upload large (read 10GB) file sizes to the cloud. Well Google has done that one better: by integrating Google Drive into Gmail, you can now send 10GB file attachments from Drive using the email service!

If that wasn’t cool enough, Drive will make sure that recipients have the latest, up to date version of your cloud-stored document.

It is being rolled out slowly (unfortunately for me as I have a big file attachment to send right this minute), so check the new Composer in your Gmail to see if you have the little Drive icon down next to the attachments clip along the bottom bar of the compose window. You can also achieve attachment by pasting the Drive link to the doc right into the email. Gmail will check to see whether the recipients you designate in the “to” box have access to the file you are sending, and prompt you to adjust the file sharing settings within the email dialog. So, I definitely recommend you opt into the new Compose option if you plan on sending the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica to your friend via Gmail.

Yes, this is just one more reason to consider Gmail and Google Drive when deciding what cloud storage, communications, and file management system to employ.

Gmail blog.

myRight – The Online Legal Consult Site

 

You know how many lawyers offer that first consultation for free? Maybe you don’t want to go down to the lawyers office and get the goods. Good news – you may have another option as close as hand as your keyboard.

 

myRight, the invention of two law students, is intended to return the power to the people, as it were. By offering this initial consult via the web, the idea is that non-lawyers may be able to answer their own legal questions without the formalities of meetings and legal retention.

 

The site leads the user through a series of questions that narrow the issue and, hopefully, yield a useful answer. Basic information is provided along the way, towards that end. The site is obviously helpful to non-lawyers, but may also be helpful to lawyers looking to prepare their own consult scripts for various simple legal issues. Contributing lawyers are the potential profit source for myRight – lawyers can pre-pay for leads for when the legal issue gets too complicated for the basic level addressed on-site. There is a button at the top of the page for connecting with a lawyer, an explanation of the legal point below the questions and a list of related questions and links at the bottom of the page.

 

 

Apparently, there is something in it for LegalZoom too, the founder of which is a myRight advisor – if you find yourself at the end of the series of questions on preparing a will – you will be prompted to buy one from LegalZoom for 10% off the regular price.

 

I can hear traditional attorneys now, clamoring about the hazards of such a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But don’t write it off too quickly. Most legal problems can’t be solved by a simple 6 step questionnaire  myRight will filter out the few that do, empowering users to address the matters they can, while offering lawyers an opportunity to tap into the “I thought I could do it myself” community that pervades the internet these days. For lawyers, think of myRight as another option for reaching clients in this Brave New World.

BriefMine Promising Cheap Option for Access to Legal Briefs

When I think about where to find a brief, I immediately think Westlaw. But if you aren’t so much into the high price of access, there may be another option coming your way. BriefMine is a new web tool that offers an interface with a database of briefs tapped via natural language search. Right now, the private beta service can link issues with briefs across the country. Eventually, BriefMine promises to link the briefs to the legal opinions they yield.

There is a User page and a search interface. The user page is for tracking content and possible collaboration with other BriefMine users. Store documents within the Favorites Feed on this page.

The Search page is super-simple. It uses natural language search, employing the following syntax (from the site):

BriefMine Search query syntax:
• To search for the word “foo” in a document, simply enter text: foo
• To search for the phrase “foo bar” in a document, simply enter text: “foo bar” (in quotation marks)
• To search for phrase “foo bar” AND the phrase “quick fox” in different places of the same document, simply enter text: “foo bar” “quick fox”

BriefMine’s premise is that legal research can be brief-centric and built on the research foundation built by others. Why reinvent the wheel, right? While private beta is free, it appears BriefMine will eventually be a paid service, albeit with a much lower price of admission than Westlaw.

I can’t for the life of me get a description of their database scope, so I really can’t opine on what may turn up in response to your search and how comprehensive that results list will be. Obviously, the more docs in the database, the more useful. I would imagine BriefMine will be adding content as they go along and presumably will have a meaningful collection when the service becomes paid.

Find out a bit more about them in their promotional video, below:

Welcome Back to WordPress.com!

 

Well, almost three years ago, I bid adieu to wordpress.com to head out on my own. But I have been battling the hackers for the last several weeks and have gotten pretty tired of their continued efforts to infect my WordPress.org, self-hosted blog. So, here I am, back at the ‘com for the time being, hoping to avoid their slimy infectious ways. Stay tuned, as the new site is going to be under construction for a while. Unfortunately, I don’t have my back catalog of posts up yet, but I am working hard to get them all back up as soon as possible. Dirty, stinking hackers. The advocatesstudio.com URL should be redirecting you here, hopefully.

Ah well. That’s life on the Interwebs for you.

Someone’s Finally Tamed Pacer! PacerPro To The Rescue

Have you ever used Pacer to retrieve federal docket information? Did you enjoy the experience? C’mon, now, be honest. It pretty much stinks, no two ways about it. There is little doubt that Pacer – the massive on-line nationwide database of U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records, with 214 separate databases and an estimated trillion documents  – is sorely in need of a modern make-over. But I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath while the federal government gets around to doing that.

In the meantime, two entrepreneurs have taken upon themselves the massive task and have come up with PacerPro – a much more pleasing web-based skin and set of tools for anyone wishing to interface with Pacer. John Sanders, previously of Apple and Autodesk, and Gavin McGrane, an attorney, have quietly spent the past couple of years combining their legal and technical expertise to develop PacerPro, which makes searching Pacer simpler and, dare I say it, even enjoyable. Gavin and John kindly offered me the opportunity last week to watch PacerPro in action and provided me with the overview of the product, which launches today as a preview release.

PacerPro definitely leverages the Pacer databases, but changes how researchers interact with them. Pacer users are familiar with the form-driven search interface that makes creative searching incredibly difficult – it is nearly impossible to hone in quickly on the exact document you may be looking for in the traditional Pacer interface. But with PacerPro’s streamlined look and feel – with intelligent search fields for the Pacer search tool and a Google-like natural language interface for the archive tool that accesses all Pacer docs that PacerPro’s users have retrieved, results are easier to find, sort and scan. There are tools to bookmark cases under the My Cases tool, and the ability to store documents in folders so that you can find them easily at a later time and “sync” the documents with other users, via their email. Imagine – you can directly share a Pacer document with someone else electronically! Space-age!

What makes it even more space-age is the companion mobile iOS app – you can access your collected resources stored in PacerPro on your iPad. Even offline. Even while on a plane or in a courtroom. Very cool indeed.


The key features of PacerPro at launch include the following (taken from their press release):

  • Searching PACER – PacerPRO’s robust search tools’ capabilities include: Search across multiple courts simultaneously to find a complete set of records. Filter these results to identify relevant cases quickly. Save past searches.
  • Document Management – Once the relevant information is retrieved, users can bookmark cases for easy access.  PacerPRO automatically indexes the docket for quick and easy searches.  Electronic files make it easy to create and save collections of documents, reflect changes in the docket, and organize document collections.
  • Mobile Access – Entirely web-based, PacerPRO provides attorneys access to important case information anywhere at anytime.  And, thanks to PacerPRO’s iPad application, attorneys can now take curated docket collections offline — great for places where internet access is not always available, such as the courtroom, on airplanes, and at depositions.  No more delays while you update paper files.  No more lugging boxes full of binders stuffed with pleadings.
  • PacerPRO Archive – PacerPRO is in the process of compiling our own archival database.  The PacerPRO Archive returns results with simple, one-word or boolean searches.  We are constantly adding to the PacerPRO Archive. Archive searches are free.

No doubt, Gavin and John have taken on a pretty big task. But it seems they have risen to it with a nicely designed product that will help litigators or anyone neading ready access to federal docket materials interact with Pacer more easily and with a lot less pain, from pretty much anywhere.

The service is not free – the PacerPro online subscription will cost $25 month, which represents a special introductory price. The iPad app is also subscription based, at $15 a month. Plus your usual Pacer charges when you request a document, although archive searches are free. Remember, the archive is all documents that PacerPro users have requested via Pacer – the archive is a secondary database automatically created and accessible via natural language search. So, while it won’t be cost effective for the infrequent user, the time savings alone may be worth the cost for heavy Pacer users, litigators and anyone else needing regular, quick access to the federal courts.

I wish Gavin and John all the best with their application – they clearly have seen a need and filled it nicely. Looking forward to playing with PacerPro myself. You can find more about it at their newly live website at pacerpro.com. Or follow them on Twitter at @pacerpro.

ABA Journal and The Future of Legal Blogging

This summer, Joe Dysart approached me to ask a few questions about my thoughts on the future of legal blogging. Specifically, he was interested in the viewpoint of lawyers on the not quite as recent now Pew Research study showing a rise in interest in long-form blogging in the over 35 set, and a decline in long-form blogging among younger computizens. Never being at a loss for words, I was happy to talk about it. Joe’s article on the subject was published this month in the ABA Journal and I was quite honored to be included with some very well-respected voices on the subject of law and technology. Nice experience all around. Thanks Joe and the ABA Journal for the opportunity.

The photo session was a complete hoot. Jared Leeds, the photographer, asked if he could stop by during the summer to take a photo of me for the article. I said sure, and we met on a Sunday at my house. I thought he was going to snap a couple shots with his iPhone and be off inside of 15 minutes. Two hours and probably about 130 photos later (NOT on an iPhone), I felt like a complete ham. I kept feeling like I had to yell “makeup!” every so often. It was seriously hot and I have no air conditioning at my ocean side house, so we made good use of the fan – hence the windblown look. At first I dressed like a lawyer but Jared asked me to change into jeans and casual wear and soon enough, the guitar and my new old mid century orange chairs ended up in the picture. Not your usual corporate lawyer shot. All in all, it was a fun time.

Head over to the Journal at the link here and check out the article – do you agree that there continues to be and likely always will be a place for long-form blogging for lawyers and researchers alike? I know I do. Each tool to its purpose.

Mindreading Magic? Or Something More Sinister

Great video that drives home the point that you can never be too concerned about your Internet security.

 

I Have a Good One For You: Google Wave Resurrected – Rizzoma

So here I am, minding my own business, checking out the notifications filter folder in my Gmail box and all of a sudden, I get mention of a new comment on a Google Wave conversation I had participated in oh, about a million years ago. Naturally, my interest was piqued and I, of course, much like the proverbial cat smitten by curiousity, followed the link. To Rizzoma.

Rizzoma was an existing Russian company but, in 2010, they too became smitten with Wave and started work on improving it. They started private beta of their site in January 2012. Apparently, they began allowing import of existing Google Waves in February, 2012. And, to make it more Google-like, you can sign in with your Google ID, or a Facebook ID.

If you hadn’t moved your waves over by April 30, 2012, you are out of luck in saving that matter. But, you can certainly head over to Rizzoma and start a new wave if you are hankering for that old not-sure-whether-it’s-email-chat-text-messaging-social-network-sharepoint-bulletin-board experience of Wave. The interface is quite similar, but seems stable more stable, something Wave really wasn’t. Right now it is totally free and it’s open source – let’s hope they find a way to make money or they may be going the way of the Wave. Rizzoma did their research and found that Wave users were using it for business purposes, and have directed their efforts at becoming a decent business tool. Some other cool features of Rizzoma: the ability to @mention like Twitter; the ability to open access to any link, and the ability to reply and correct a message in any place of a document. Rizzoma sports a clean interface, with a navigation pane on the left divided into Topics, @Mentions and Public, a shortcut window on the bottom left. and  a larger content pane on the right. There are also sharing buttons for sharing topics from Rizzoma to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

In all seriousness, I always liked Wave and thought it could be a very effective collaboration tool, particularly for business users. I think Rizzoma might be onto something here – taking the best parts of Wave, making it more stable and usable and keeping the vibe going. Good luck to them for sure.

If you want to see a use case in action, check out the Rizzoma video – don’t mind the robo-voice, the video started out in Russian, but I thought viewers here might prefer the English version:

Crowdsourcing the Law? Apparently You Can, With Jurify

Seems a blasphemous concept, but how about getting top-tier legal resources from the finest legal minds for free? Jurify is looking to secure content from the best and the brightest lawyers to include on their site, offering in exchange recognition via direct attribution and inclusion on top ten lists by category. They are soliciting information from lawyers, double-checking its accuracy with other lawyers, and then offering the content to still more lawyers and the public at large for free or cheap. Up the Revolution!

Jurify’s brand new, slickly designed site, is the brainchild of law grads / lawyers Eric and Nicole Lopez who hope to change the way people access legal resources. They are so hip, they look like they are even using Instagram photos on their about page! So, what kind of content are we talking about here? Really anything – memos, blog posts, client alerts, white papers, videos, cases, articles, websites, news stories, training materials, sample briefs, sample forms, whatever. All tagged and searchable, with the ability to rate and comment on the content and awarded with Credibility Scores. What’s that? The Credibility Score measures a legal member’s level of engagement with a specific subject, generated via a proprietary algorithm. The algorithm factors include the type, quantity and quality of contributions, professional background and achievements. If you contribute quality content, the site promises to include you in lists that showcase your brainpower, presumably encouraging the public to choose you for more in-depth analysis. Oh, and you can even earn achievements, like little Foursquare badges. I want the Learned Hand badge – I have ALWAYS loved his name!

From their site:

Jurify is the home for top-tier attorneys and blue chip executives involved with the law. Created by experienced lawyers from global law firms who grew tired of the cloistered and outdated way law was practiced, Jurify is an invitation-only platform that channels the collective genius of the best attorneys worldwide to deliver high-quality legal resources in mere seconds.

Our content is contributed by carefully-screened attorney members who share without pay. These lawyers are rewarded withrecognition through direct attribution as well as placement in our practice-specific “Top Attorneys” lists. They also earn Achievements designed to showcase their accomplishments and provide additional validation to discriminating clients and employers in search of the best the legal world has to offer.

The site promises the mindware of the most accomplished practitioners, and invites viewer attorneys to apply for free membership, as inclusion in the site is invite only. I imagine they are pretty hungry for applicants right now – as it appears obvious the success of Jurify will depend heavily on getting quality material from a lot of quality contributors. While it may not be as attractive to busy lawyers already earning a decent living and finding it difficulty to piece two minutes together, I see it as a potential marketing tool for newer lawyers interested in getting their name out there. Which cuts against the promise of crowdsourced experience, but let’s overlook that small hiccup for the moment. There is also, as expected, a rather lengthy terms and conditions I recommend reading closely.

Jurify is indeed a novel concept. Can it take hold? In a world driven by social media, achievements and on-line recognition and promotion, maybe it could. I hope it does. Better access to legal help isn’t such a bad thing, is it? Check out their promotional video below and stop by their site. Let me know what you think – this is definitely a conversation-starter.