Edit PowerPoints On Your iPhone

Diminutive as the iPhone may be in comparison to the average desktop or laptop, there is no denying that this particular phone in the hands of clever applications developers can result in a near full-size experience. Take, for example, Documents to Go’s new Premium version (iTunes link) – it now allows you to edit PowerPoint presentations on your phone! This newly-added ability makes DTG’s application the first to permit mobile manipulation in all three of Microsoft Office’s main programs – Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While the price isn’t cheap ($14.99), anyone who regularly travels and presents may find this suite an excellent addition to their mobile office toolbox.

Having just presented a PowerPoint show at the Boston Bar Association, I can easily envision the need to edit a presentation arising at the last minute, perhaps in the absence of an available laptop or desktop. Although I haven’t tried this new version (I have the Word and Excel program on my phone), I may just spring for the new Premium version to try it out.

Hat tip to Just Another iPhone Blog.

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There Really Is A "Day" For Everything

Mark your calendars: March 31, 2010 is Document Freedom Day. What exactly is Document Freedom Day? Well, despite the somewhat silly name, the day does serve a useful purpose – to educate regarding and promote the use of open standards and free document formats across the Web. This purpose serves you because adoption of open standards ultimately results in a Web that is more user-friendly and accessible. While the process of opening up the Web in this regard is a bit “techy” for the average lawyer, any Web user can get behind the idea of open sourcing and freely accessible information. Gotta go get my “I ♥  Open Source Docs” pin right away!

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Fried Battery. New iPhone

Sorry, Sanitation People
Image by Aoife city womanchile via Flickr

As you may or may not know, my 32 GB iPhone 3GS fried out on Saturday morning in a blaze of glory. An overworked battery was the cause. I was off-line, in the mobile sense, for approximately 48 hours. While retro-computing had its benefits, I now know just how much I really depend upon the mobile web. Try it some time, you might amaze yourself.

While I am saving my serious soapbox rant against Apple and its customer service until I can do it proper justice, I wanted to at least post my new iPhone main screen. Now that I have been forced to upgrade to the latest OS (and lose my tethering 😦 ) I can get a hold of some applications that previously were unavailable to me. So, without further ado, here is the current iteration of my home screen (subject to change at a moment’s notice, of course):

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Managing Your Twitter Lists With A Power Tool

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

ResearchBuzz alerted me to a cool new Twitter list management tool: ListiMonkey (link here). ListiMonkey allows greater precision in creating and monitoring keyword searches by designating a Twitter list as the search base. ListiMonkey will then send the results to your specified email address at designated intervals. This works for your own lists as well as other public lists – a very handy feature if you trust the list curator. Updates to the service now make it possible to specify keywords you want and keywords you don’t want.

Of course, this slows down the real-time benefit of a Twitter search a bit, but it does increase the validity (and anti-spamminess) of your results. Plus, it brings the results straight to you.

Read the ResearchBuzz review here.

Have you used ListiMonkey? Any thoughts or comments on its effectiveness?

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Sobering Social Media Numbers

Facebook's homepage features a login form on t...
Image via Wikipedia

WSJ‘s tech blog Digits ran this article yesterday (link here) regarding conversational use of social media sites by adults. Author Jennifer Valentino writes that 30% percent of adults use social media sites for quick conversations, with relatively regular updates on at least a weekly basis. Seventy percent of adults are spectators – viewing these updates on a regular basis. Forrester Research surveyed more than 10,000 adults and, although the cut-off age was 18, more than 70% of those responding were over 30 years old.

The number of social media citizens is growing rapidly – nearly 60% of those online visit social media sites and maintain profiles. A mere 17% of internet users avoid these hangouts, and that number is dwindling.

Is there any doubt where your peers and potential clients are hanging out?

Hat tip to Resource Shelf

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To The Google Scholar User: Buyer Beware

Image representing Google Scholar as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

Here is a bit of common sense from real life example: when using Google Scholar for your legal research, use care in making sure that versions of a case match. Legal Writing Prof Blog has a post about an attorney preparing a brief for filing who noted a discrepancy in the footnote numbering between the official Wisconsin Reporter version of a case and the Google Scholar version. The Blog quotes the attorney’s findings as follows:

The source of the discrepancy quickly became apparent.  In the official version of the case (as in all official versions of Wisconsin cases), the filing of a petition for review in the Wisconsin Supreme Court gets noted in the caption with a footnote placed at the end of the name of the party that filed the petition.  The symbol for this footnote is a dagger, not a number.  Google Scholar, however, designates this footnote with a number (in this instance, the dagger became “1”) and renumbers the remaining footnotes accordingly.  Where there’s more than one footnote attached to the caption – e.g., Ellsworth v. Schelbrock, 229 Wis. 2d 542, 600 N.W.2d 247 (Ct. App. 1999) – Google Scholar shifts the footnote numbers even more:  in Ellsworth, the caption has two footnotes, so the numbered footnotes shifted by two as well, making footnote 1 in the official version into footnote 3 in the Google Scholar version.

My thinking on the proper role of Google Scholar is this: the greatest cost in using the paid databases is the time spent poking around looking for the main cases on a point of law. Once you have identified those cases, the costs of pulling them down out of the paid databases is relatively inexpensive. I see Google Scholar as an effective (but not sole) tool for the former task. When writing an appellate brief to any court, I would not feel the slightest bit comfortable relying on Google Scholar’s version. At that point, I would be pulling the actual cases from the paid databases. While these sources are far from infallible, they do have a longer track record with respect to accuracy, as well as complete citations and the ability to Keycite or Shepardize, a must for briefs to be filed in any court.

So there you have it. Use the free resources with your eyes wide open to their possible shortcomings, and you should not go far wrong.

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Google Wave Review – GP Solo Technology eReport

I admit that I am a bit late on breaking the news on this one, but I do want to link to my article reviewing Google Wave that ran last month in the GP Solo Technology eReport published by the ABA. Already, the information appears a tiny bit dated, but that’s just the speed that the Web travels. Check out some of the other great articles too, you might recognize a few names and certainly will pick up some good information!

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Wikipedia, Redux

Further to my earlier post about Wikis and Blogs as sources for legal authority and judicial citation, here is a great link to the Harvest Christian Academy’s page entitled “Lose Your Wikipedia Crutch.” The page lists 100 places to go in search of information on a variety of topics, arranging the places by type such as Library & Reference, User Contributed, Encyclopedias, Science & Math, Social Studies, Fine Art, Language & Literature, Technology, Question & Answer, General and Miscellaneous. If you just aren’t sure about that Wikipedia entry, why not try one of the alternatives listed in this article to jump-start your search?

Also, in the spirit of healthy competition, Google has announced its own user-contributed-content encyclopedia, Knol. The tagline is “a unit of knowledge.” According to itself, a “knol” is an authoritative article on a specific topic. From the site:

Knol makes it easy for you to write and share your knowledge with the world. Knol offers:

Ease of use
All you need is an account, a name and a desire to write and we’ll take care of the rest.

You specify the level of collaboration you want with the community. Your knol, your voice.

You can connect with other experts in your area of interest to share and grow knowledge.

We value and promote authorship. Great content will be visible on any search engine.

Sharing your knowledge with the world is rewarding for everyone.

It was launched on July 23, 2008 and appears to still be in beta form. There is still plenty of room for good “knols” contributed by all of you bursting-with-knowledge sorts.