Tablet Buyer’s Guides by CNET & PCMag

If you’re looking for a quick guide to buying a tablet, CNet.com has a one that explains the features, differences, and pricing for tablets now on the market or about to be.  From there, you can find information on iPad, HP’s Slate 500, Dell’s Streak, Samsung’s Galaxy, Archos and similar products. For an additional guide you can check out PCMag’s Tablet Info.

Xobni – An Absolute Favorite PC Application

Without a doubt, Xobni is probably one of my favorite software applications.  While incredibly simple in concept, it provides a wealth of information about e-mail communications, social networking, received documents, and other information relating to what’s happening with my e-mail accounts.

Xobni allows you to track e-mail conversations and easily gives you a timeline of how the conversations went down.  With a large database of communications in the thousands, it is very important to be able to look up old client communications.  In fact, I just recently was requested to provide some detail of communications from 2-3 years ago in my capacity as corporate counsel.  The search for the communications, relevant attachments, and shared information took all of about 30 seconds and all of the information I needed was immediately available so that I could determine the content, dates, and to/from information that I needed in order to determine what privileges applied and to be able to print the communications for the requesting party.

Among other things, as you can see from the left image, Xobni also ranks your e-mail according to volume, times of receipt, and other statistical information.  Sometimes, it is critically important to remember who was part of a conversation, the context of the conversation, and what documents were exchanged between counsel and the parties.  Or, it may be that you need to locate an old motion that you wrote and need an alternate way to find it since you know that you e-mailed it to someone in the last year.  Aside from being able to assess of of the data mentioned above, this program also provides immediate contact information, including social network contact information and up to date data on postings.  Xobni works with Hoover’s Business Info, Facebook, Skype, Huddle and LinkedIn.

The limited shortcomings are that there is not an iPad or iPhone version at this time.  Integration between Outlook, Xobni, and my smartphone (iPhone) would make this a nearly perfect program, even though I would already give it a 10 out of 10.  However, should you be so fortunate as to have a Blackberry smartphone, there is more integration.

All in all, I think that this program is a must have for any small law office.  I highly recommend that you check it out.  It is worth noting that there is a free version and you can always upgrade to the premium version, which is what my office uses.  Just excellent all the way around.

Good Article in ABA Journal by Dennis Kennedy

A Legal iPad / Dennis Kennedy

Will the iPad Replace the Legal Pad ?

Click Here for Article

More on Dennis and his technology articles and blog can be found at http://www.DennisKennedy.com.

Trial Technology on the IPad – Readdle Docs Handler

After being in trial for several weeks on end, I have had the opportunity to review a number of apps through a ‘trial by fire.’  This review is just one of several upcoming looks at apps used in trial by my office.  One of the outstanding apps to have survived the ordeal was Readdle.  Readdle is a documents editor, organizer and reviewer.  What was particularly good about the app is the ability to easily organize exhibits, put them in a folder, and quickly review them during trial.  In one particular matter, I had about 1500 pages of exhibits and was able to easily flip through them, label them, and coordinate them with the hard copy exhibits in the parties’ binders.  The app is compatible with Rich Text,  Word (.doc) and Acrobat (.pdf) formats.  Truth be known, however, that it does not do well with pleadings done in Word and the highlighting function in .pdf is not the easiest or best out there.  If Readdle could easily convert .pdf files to an image file, like Noterize (which makes highlighting easy on such files), this would be a nearly perfect trial lawyers’ app.  The app works with Dropbox, e-mailing, MobileMe, GoogleDocs, and Safari.  Overall, this is a very good app with lots of potential.  I would recommend this to any lawyer who needs to review txt, doc, pdf files during trials, depos, or just in an everyday context.

Microsoft Office 11 for Mac — Looks Good

Office Mac 2011 is definitely an upgrade from the 2008 version.  Among other things, the user interface has improved dramatically.  The various tools and tabs on the ribbon are useful and intuitive.  In fact, I would claim that the Mac version is better than the Windows version.  I still have to figure out the ribbon UI in Windows and gave up long ago.  One of my favorite additions to the Office Suite is the “Notebook” template, which is very much like the Notebook offering made by CircusPonies.com, without any significant cost differential.  Most of the templates are more on the consumer side and I am looking forward to seeing if my Windows-based pleadings templates will be compatible with the Mac version.  Another key issue will be looking at the ease of being able to insert tables for exhibit lists, witness lists, or for demonstrative courtroom exhibits.  The Powerpoint program seems equally intuitive and the interface is clean and understandable.  Again, the templates are are little simplistic, but easily tailored to meet the needs of a trial lawyer preparing a presentation with use of video clips from a deposition, pdf exhibits, images, and interactive elements. The spreadsheet element of Office is what one would expect and offers a number of good templates, including invoicing, timesheets, and other useful tools for the legal profession.  Finally, I really like the smooth interface between SkyDrive and the Suite.  I have been using SkyDrive or its predecessors for some time and have enjoyed the remote accessibility to my files, especially during trials and travelling.  SkyDrive also makes it easy to share files with clients, which is becoming more important as cloud-based technology develops.  All in all, the suite is just one more reason to justify the transition to Mac as an office tool.  While many of us in the legal world are stuck on Wordperfect, this offering may just be the reason to finally break the chains so that lawyers can more easily interact with clients (most of whom use Word).  I give this new version of Office a 9.5 out of 10.  If there were templates for pleading, I’d give it a 10.  For additional reviews see, TechRadar.com and ZDNet.com.  For an article on whether it’s worth your time, money and effort to upgrade your present office suite, you can see this MacWorld article which does a good job of speaking to this issue.


My Ipad — More Germs than a Subway Toilet Seat !?!

“That’s right. Personal touch-screen devices like iPhones, iPads, Droids and BlackBerrys carry more germs than a toilet in a subway bathroom, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.” FoxNews.com Well, my view on this is that one should be using his/her germy-gel on a somewhat regular basis anyway.  Just glad that I keep some anti-bacterial wipes for cleaning my IPhone and IPad anyway.   Click here for article.  A much more detailed article on the topic can be found at the Sacramento Bee .  Hope this brightens your day.

Tablet for $139.99: For Real or Knock-Off?

This is probably like going to the local swap meet to buy yourself a look-alike version of that Gucci handbag.  Whatever the case, this tablet is based on the Android platform, comes with a 667 megahertz processor,  TFT screen (1024×600), and features similar to an Android smartphone.  You will not be able to use this device on any 3G network because this device is designed only for wi-fi.
According to one E-Zine review by Jane Dawson: ” While there is no doubt that the iPad is the real thing and whatever the Chinese clone Apad does, it will still draw comparisons to performance and longevity. But the abysmally low price at which they are providing all those stunning features is what is making everyone sit up and take notice of the product.
While the price and the features available in the Apad are definitely good news, there are some major drawbacks too when compared to the iPad. One of the  areas of concern is the speed. The video replay is reported as mediocre. The 126MB RAM is too low and you cannot run too many applications ssimultaneously. If you try hard enough the applications are forced to close down on their own. That definitely is a major hitch. There is some problem with the quality of the case and the frame. The AC adapter is of poor quality. Many times you are forced to leave the tablet in idle condition while it gets charged.”  Even if this was a great product, the reality is that just about any competitor is behind by about, yes, 45,000,000 IPads sold or to be sold by Apple since the product was released. And, Apple does have its detractors.   As for me, my IPad has proved to be a valuable courtroom tool, source of entertainment, and just great all the way around.  My next post will explore some of the software that I have used, trashed, or am reviewing now.

Fall Tech Preview — CNet (Tablets)

Here’s a look at what’s coming up for Fall 2010 in terms of tablet offerings. Many of these tools will be improved over time and more apps added by the day. Should prove to be an interesting market over the next 18-24 months.  Many of the offerings are intended to provide direct competition to Apple’s IPad.  Only time will tell if it is too late to catch up.  Microsoft and others had put plans on the table long ago and just let time slip by while Apple built up over 200,000 apps, a near monopoly on tablets, and a great reputation for putting out a good product.  CNet Fall Preview Link.

Microsoft Office 2011 Looks Promising for Mac Users

Computer Microsoft is releasing Office 2011 for Mac users on October 26, 2010.  If you already have purchased Office 2008 in the last couple of months, you get a free upgrade to 2011.  The office suite looks very promising.  Among other improvements to the suite, Office 2011 is including Outlook for Mac.  Up until now, they have offered Entourage, which is an ostensible version of Outlook with considerably less features and a less polished user interface.  With Outlook, calendar integration, task integration, and collaboration ought to be quite a bit easier.  As to the new version of Word, one can expect to see the “ribbon” user interface that is present in the PC version of the suite.  According to MS, Office for Mac 2011 gives you an enhanced user experience overall, as performance and launch times have been improved in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Your documents feel “lighter,” since they load fast, and respond quickly to your commands. And searching text within documents has never been faster.” Overall, this sounds like a worthy update to a program that needs to come up to speed for Mac users, especially those of us in the law. Try finding a usable pleading template for Mac Office 2008 some time !!!

RCBA Magazine Tech Issue

Here’s a link to the October 2010 edition of Riverside County Lawyer Magazine wherein my colleagues provide a wealth of information on electronic privacy issues, professional standards on technology, public records, and other stories concerning technology and the practice of law.  Consideration is given to what happens if you lose your IPad or other device with respect to client information, how medical privacy works, and how public records can be acquired (including e-mails, etc.).  A big thank you to the authors of this edition of our local bar magazine.