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.


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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.

Apple – Mac Solutions for Legal Professionals

Apple’s Page for Lawyers

Link to Apple’s site for software and information for legal professionals.  Generic, but helpful.  This site contains some information on software and office integration.  Worth checking out for a basic overview of how a Mac, Ipod, or Ipad might fit into your practice.

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