Merry Christmas & Blessings to You and Yours …

Wishing you all the best Christmas. Find Peace in your families, friends, and future. May you be prosperous and happy in the coming New Year.

Rich Ackerman

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Not Sure? Check out the Prizefight Series by CNet.com

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

If you have been left wondering about what tablet to buy this Christmas or for your next year of legal practice, CNet.com provides an excellent source of comparative information on the various features of products now on the market.  Video comparisons of products include the Samsung Galaxy & iPad.  This Prizefight can be found along with information about the MacBook, Acer Timeline, iPod, XBox, Wii, and other various competing products which may be of interest to you or yours.  CNet is an extremely helpful website which provides consumer information that can be easily understood.  They cover a wide range of tech devices, software, phones, and other products used by lawyers and the general public alike.  If you are interested in technology, this is a great place to start looking for information.  Armed with this information should be able to much better gauge which products best suit you and your practice.

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.