Barrister App. For Mobile Phones & Not Just for U.K. Lawyers

I stumbled on a post today from the Dallas Association of Law Librarians about a new service that will create and maintain an iPhone app for your law firm. The company is called Digome, LLC out of Nashville and the app is called Barrister App. Unlike some of the do it yourself options I have talked about here in the Studio, this app is essentially a content management system with a slick, iPhone, Android or Blackberry friendly face. The components include: Who We Are – the list of firm attorneys, contact information and practice areas; Where We Are – firm office or offices on Google Maps; What We Do – list of firm practice areas; Notifications – the key to communicating with clients regarding anything from appointment reminders to firm news; My Notes – user-generated notes, presumably pertaining to their legal representations; and, My Profile – where the client enters information.

 

 

You can use your own logo, but there are limitations on color scheme. Additionally, the app requires a log-in, which seems a bit counterintuitive and makes it more useful for existing clients than new ones.

But the company will do the heavy lifting for you, maintaining the CMS system and making sure everything runs smoothly. Pricing for the app is displayed on the chart below, with additional maintenance charges of 20% of the initial cost per year on top:

 

 

If you are a smaller player, you might want to skip to cost and make your site mobile friendly or use a Web app. However, if you are interested in keeping tight contact with your clients and facilitating the flow of information in both directions, Barrister App might be an attractive option.

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WestLawNext On Your Phone

Image from West

Back at the WestLawNext breakfast in March, one of the features promoted by the speakers was the impending introduction of mobile versions of WestLawNext. Right in line with their proposed timeline (they had said by the end of May), West’s LegalCurrents blog (link here) is reporting the improved availability of the new search interface on mobile devices (link here). West is touting the new interface as a unique “ecosystem” in which to interact with the WLN search tools. From the announcement:

WestlawNext Mobile mirrors the clean, modern interface of WestlawNext, with a primary focus on helping legal professionals resume their research while on-the-go. Through the mobile site, you can quickly and easily access research folders and read documents or notes, as well as perform new searches.

The site automatically detects whether you are accessing via mobile interface and directs you to the mobile version accordingly. Hit the link above for the mobile site, or click the link here for the iPad version.

Command Your E-Life By Voice

Now this is a great concept. Draft emails or text messages or update Twitter or Facebook with your voice.  Voice On The Go (link here) is a paid service that allows you to command these functions by cell phone, landline or Skype. You also can listen to email, thus taking away the incentive to engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel. Access your contacts and manipulate your calendar by phone. Make it so, Number One!

While there are applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android, there is no software to download and, from accounts, it appears quite easy to set up. The mobile apps sync with your on-line account and make it easier to use. VOTG  essentially offers voice control expanded beyond the basic capabilities of your phone to include most any task you might be tempted to use your hands for while driving.

Most types of email are supported, up to four total accounts. For corporate users, Outlook Web Access can be used. There is also an enterprise version. VOTG works with any wireless service. You will have to upload or enter contacts information, which might be an issue for those wary of the potential privacy issue. Their site explains their security and data encryption methods if you are concerned. Email is not push but timed, so there could be a delay in receipt of your audio.  It works with a wide variety of languages.

The monthly fee for use is $5.99. There are other pricing options, so check their applications for more information.

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t yet tried this service, so I can’t really comment on how effective it is. Reviews, however, are generally positive. If you are a mobile user that would value the ability to safely multitask by voice, Voice On The Go may be the way to go.

My Mobile Web Wish List

One of the predictions I shared with the fine folks at JD Supra and their readers is my belief that we are moving more towards a mobile web experience with our computing lives. I am no Nostradamus – I picked this vibe up from the heavy tech reading that I do and I also know my own personal computing habits and how they have changed over the past few years. Whether your “poison” is an iPhone, Android-based unit, Blackberry, Windows Mobile-enabled device, e-reader or one of those fabled tablet computers, we are pushing the little boxes to their limits and are looking for more.

So I thought I would put together my own mobile wish list for 2010. Things I would like to see happen with my own, personal experience and generally for all mobile computing whizzes out there.

First, and foremost, more voice-activated control over my device. Mobile means, well, mobile. Texting while driving is very very bad, we can all agree. So make the interface better – make it so we can easily, with the touch of a single button, start directing the phone with respect to search (already there), mapping, text messaging and emailing. And none of this half-assed voice control where you can get part of the task done but then have to hunt and peck, copy and paste. All this hullaballoo about a physical versus touch screen keyboard would all go away if we could get a better voice-based interface. Thanks, Dragon, for giving us iPhone users a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Next, location-based awareness. After a heavy-duty case of suspicious paranoia, I am growing to like the location-based applications. Obviously, common sense in using such applications goes a long way here. I would like to see more interactivity with these services. Granted there are lots of iPhone and a growing number of Android applications that employ them. But better integration and more features would be nice. I also see a great outlet for local business with these tools and hope to see more businesses employing the location services to encourage customers and clients. Integrating location awareness with your own Contacts list will push mobile communication further into the future – “gee, where is my client or brother-in-law right now? He should be here at our face to face.”

Mobile shopping – hooking up your payment information with your mobile phone so that you can use it to pay for goods and services. Its coming. We already have built-in bar code reader apps  that allow us to pull product and price information. There are a few companies working on mobile payment systems, most recently and notably, Square backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. This service will allow anyone to accept a card payment without pricey credit card arrangements with the swipe of a card through a dongle attached to a computer’s or phone’s audio jack. Pretty cool. Let’s see where it goes in 2010.

Let’s speed up the Web! While we already have 802.11 n out there, the iPhone is still using b / g. Why? Mobile means moving, which should mean fast. So let’s beef up the Wi/Fi and Bluetooth (3.0) in these little guys, so they can move with the best of ’em. And while “they” are at it, please, please, please, help those poor Blackberry users to get a better Web-browsing experience! I never use my Curve’s browser because it hurts far too much.

As more and more of the computing experience moves skyward, we will need the best access possible to the cloud through these mobile devices. Google, a heavy hitter in cloud-based tech, needs to do a better job making access to the cloud easier on platforms other than Android. Little, portable phones and tablets should be gateways to the cloud, offering free and easy ingress and egress.  Yet I still struggle with accessing Gmail, my reader subscriptions and cloud-based information on the iPhone. It needs to get better if cloud champions want to win the hearts and minds of the computing public.

The imminent Tablet explosion, heralded by the promised introduction of the highly-rumored Apple tablet, will certainly push the mobile computing envelope. It will be interesting to see what tricks hardware and software developers have up their sleeves to win the wallets and devotion of the tech masses. In short, I hope Apple makes its tablet affordable.

And, at least with respect to the iPhone, there must be a means for multi-tasking. The modern computing generation is not content with performing a single task at a time in a linear fashion. We need to have several jobs running, several irons getting hot in the fire, at any given moment. Why is it that the iPhone can’t or doesn’t provide the ability to do two or more things at once? I don’t buy the battery argument, as there are devices out there that can do it. Perhaps Apple is worried that multi-tasking would open the flood gates on the data-hoggish device and overwhelm poor, little ATT. But that still doesn’t explain why I can’t leave an app open and running while I compose an email. And, while I am at the rant, where the heck is my tethering, ATT??????

Maybe this last one is an impossible dream, but I am sick and tired of getting tied to multi-year contracts when I agree to buy a phone and use a service. Maybe 2010 will see some inroads in this regard. Maybe Google will shake things up a bit with its imminent Nexus One phone. Unlocked cell phones may become the new black of the tech world.

One can dream, can’t one?

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Bringing The Business Card Into the Modern Age

Beautiful Legal Card Designs from Business Card Designs

Beautiful Legal Card Designs from Business Card Designs

The business card. It has served such a multitude of functions over time. It is both an announcement and a reminder of your presence in a profession. The design of the card “clothes” you with a certain style. From the staid Times New Roman font on slightly textured creme stock to wild and funky holographic designs, the card says as much about you as your attire.

Now you can show the world your tech-savvy nature using virtual cards. Like everything else, technology has touched the modern business card and there are all sorts of new ways to announce yourself and remind your audience about your sphere of influence. There are different tools depending upon your own preferred methods of communication.

Of course, most people are familiar with the vCard, a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards are most frequently attached to e-mail messages, but can be exchanged in other ways. Short for Versitcard, vCards were  first developed as long ago as 1995. vCards offer the means for incorporating the sender’s information into your electronic contacts list and are still widely used today.

But why stop at the primitive vCard? There are scores of new ways to capture this information. The iPhone offers many free apps for keeping and transmitting business card information, including SnapDat, beamMe, FreeContact, myCard Free, BeezCard Lite, Handshake, Fliq, and Dub. Check out this article by Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable describing and comparing the various apps and offering screenshots. There are paid apps with increased functionality as well. Newcomer iBCard will allow you to transfer a very real looking business card via the iPhone’s bluetooth connection or email.

Contxts affords the ability to share business card information via SMS text messages. Cool! TxtID provides a similar service.

DubMeNow has a virtual business card app for iPhone and Blackberry with added support for LinkedIn.

Or you can create and maintain an on-line business card and virtual Rolodex with web applications such as SpartX. With Retaggr, you can create an embeddable card with links to all of your on-line outposts.

You can expand your web information presence with such personal streaming sites as OnePage, Google Profiles or Chi.mp. These options really serve as outposts for aggregating your on-line presence and do not really offer true business card functionality, such as the ability to store the virtual cards of others. However, if you are most interested in maintaining a single spot for all of your on-line activity where you can direct interested contacts, these sites are the way to go.

You can even Tweet your business card using twtBizCardto send, you just need to add #twtbizcard to a @reply!

Do you like to email your card, a la vCard, but want for something a bit more up to date? Try DropCard or WeaveMet – combining the power and ease of both email and SMS for a monthly fee.

Since business cards are as ubiquitous as cell phones, why not combine the two to create an instant virtual card network? MyNameIsE does just that. Taken from their site:

E enables you to collect your accounts – on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other network of your choice – in one spot, and share them in real life by using any mobile phone or Connector.

You decide which profiles you share: E allows you to make an online ‘business card’ for every occasion. This way, you’ll be able to share business info with business contacts, and private info with private contacts.

When you exchange your card via this service, you will automatically connect with your contact via all the chosen social networking sites as well. You can create different cards for different contexts, and set the desired connections accordingly. Use the phones’ internet connections or a proprietary device called, obviously enough, the Connector, to exchange information. Changes to contact information get pushed straight to your existing contacts automatically. This service looks absolutely fascinating to me and clearly seeks to push the business card into the future!

Bottom line? If you want to look modern and all techno-geeky like, consider some of these great electronic options to connect your card to the world!

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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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Proud Owner of First And Second Place

Interesting results in the smartphone sales arena for first quarter 2009: the Blackberry Curve 8300 series holds the top spot, ousting prior champ iPhone 3G. Two other BB models, the Storm and Pearl, were third and fourth place, respectively, while the G1 took fifth. Engadget reports on the stats here.

I am the proud owner of two of the championship model (one for corporate, one for biz) and one of the runner-up (everything else). I have given my thoughts on both of these phones in prior entries. There is no denying that the BB Curve is a workhorse of a phone. It rarely hiccups and handles my e-mail with aplomb, if not panache. But, when I reach for a phone, I instinctively pick up the iPhone, even with its keyboard flaws. The “face to face” or “finger to screen” experience is just that much more enjoyable and the ease of use is hard to beat. I still get stuck on some of the functions and menus on my BB.

I see the two phones as appealing to different market spheres. There is no denying that the enterprise loves the BB best. The fact that the Curve is available on so many different carriers may have affected this result as well.

Nice, though, to know that I am in good company in the top two!

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It's The Mobile Computing Showdown: Fruit Salad, Anyone?

Yes, it’s versus in a showdown worthy of the desert table at your summer picnic! The Apple iPhone decked out for business is coming soon to an ATT store near you. Not to be outdone, Research In Motion (“RIM”) is holding down its side of the salad bowl with the new Blackberry Bold, and there are rumors of a mysterious touchscreen version of their popular smartphone widely reputed by RIM fans and employees as the “iPhone killer.”

The iPhone, pictured here  is based on the form factor and design of the wildly successful iPod music player. The newest version takes a sizeable step toward the business market. The new 3G iPhone will employ tri-band HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), which approaches the download speeds of the Nokia N95 and the Palm Treo models. It also will include a GPS (global positioning system). A winner in the multi-media arena from the start, the higher speeds of this next generation iPhone will enable it to take advantage of new business oriented software such as Microsoft Exchange and its push e-mail technology. It also appears that Apple will be dropping the  price of its new offering significantly:  the 8 giga-byte version will be available for $199, down from $399.  The new iPhone, however, will not work with Blackberry Connect’s server technology, rendering it a less than desirable choice for the hard-core Blackberry fan and current Blackberry user.

On the other hand, the new Blackberry Boldis moving away from the clunky, pinstriped-suit demeanor of earlier models to a more stylish form factor informed in large part by the iPhone’s svelte physique. The new Bold will permit full page web viewing, management of multi-media files by Roxio’s Media Manager and wireless syncing via an iTunes utility to the user’s music collection on a PC. The Bold will be the first Blackberry to support HSDPA. Yet it remains solidly focused on its e-mail and business roots, per Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. I could find no reliable information on its anticipated cost, but estimates with a contract range in the $300 to $350 area.

While I have held an iPhone, I have never really considered it a business-oriented option and, therefore, have mostly ignored it until now. I have a Blackberry Curve, which performs admirably as an e-mail device, but is sorely lacking in most other areas. As an avid smartphone user (my device of choice right now is a Palm Treo 750), I look forward to checking out these new phones in greater detail – any device that can effectively combine work and play in one small package is a good thing!

For More please visit http://advantageadvocates.com

It’s The Mobile Computing Showdown: Fruit Salad, Anyone?

Yes, it’s versus in a showdown worthy of the desert table at your summer picnic! The Apple iPhone decked out for business is coming soon to an ATT store near you. Not to be outdone, Research In Motion (“RIM”) is holding down its side of the salad bowl with the new Blackberry Bold, and there are rumors of a mysterious touchscreen version of their popular smartphone widely reputed by RIM fans and employees as the “iPhone killer.”

The iPhone, pictured here  is based on the form factor and design of the wildly successful iPod music player. The newest version takes a sizeable step toward the business market. The new 3G iPhone will employ tri-band HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), which approaches the download speeds of the Nokia N95 and the Palm Treo models. It also will include a GPS (global positioning system). A winner in the multi-media arena from the start, the higher speeds of this next generation iPhone will enable it to take advantage of new business oriented software such as Microsoft Exchange and its push e-mail technology. It also appears that Apple will be dropping the  price of its new offering significantly:  the 8 giga-byte version will be available for $199, down from $399.  The new iPhone, however, will not work with Blackberry Connect’s server technology, rendering it a less than desirable choice for the hard-core Blackberry fan and current Blackberry user.

On the other hand, the new Blackberry Boldis moving away from the clunky, pinstriped-suit demeanor of earlier models to a more stylish form factor informed in large part by the iPhone’s svelte physique. The new Bold will permit full page web viewing, management of multi-media files by Roxio’s Media Manager and wireless syncing via an iTunes utility to the user’s music collection on a PC. The Bold will be the first Blackberry to support HSDPA. Yet it remains solidly focused on its e-mail and business roots, per Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. I could find no reliable information on its anticipated cost, but estimates with a contract range in the $300 to $350 area.

While I have held an iPhone, I have never really considered it a business-oriented option and, therefore, have mostly ignored it until now. I have a Blackberry Curve, which performs admirably as an e-mail device, but is sorely lacking in most other areas. As an avid smartphone user (my device of choice right now is a Palm Treo 750), I look forward to checking out these new phones in greater detail – any device that can effectively combine work and play in one small package is a good thing!

For More please visit http://advantageadvocates.com