Third Party Vendors for Broken iPhone Glass

Product-iphone-3G-glass-and-digitizer-replacement

iPhones have a glass front that is easy to scratch. If you drop it, they break pretty easy.

Unfortunately, the glass front of the iPhone is not covered under warranty. Even if you get the Applecare Protection Plan, the broken glass is not covered under the warranty. Apple charges $299 for any out of warranty service. Ouch. That’s $299 to get the front glass repaired.

However, you can get a third party to repair the glass a lot cheaper. IpodJuice seems to be the best vendor out there. They’ll replace the glass and the digitizer (the part that makes the glass touch sensitive) for $139. That’s a lot bettter than $299.

IpodJuice will also replace batteries for any of the iPods or iPhones for a very reasonable price. They use all Apple parts, but of course having a third party make the repairs can potentially void the warranty. But by all accounts, they do a real good job.

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$15 iPhone Replacement

Go PhoneYes. You read that right. Fifteen dollars. I cracked the glass on the front of my iPhone and sent it in for a replacement. However, that means I will be without a phone for 2–3 days.

It turns out that Wal-Mart (of all places) sells a Go Phone. This is a pre-paid phone that allows you to get a cellphone without a contract or a credit check.

BUT, if you take the SIMM card out of your iPhone and place it in the Nokia 2610. It works perfectly. You can make and receive calls to your cellphone number without calling AT&T and changing, activating or calling AT &T.

You just charge up the phone, pop in the card and away you go. The Nokia has text messaging, e-mail, caller ID, call waiting and a lot of other features. In fact, they really try to upsell the games, ring tones and anything else they can sell you on. I ignore all of that and have an iPhone replacement for $15. They had a number of different Go Phone options, but I decided to go with inexpensive. I can live with the Nokia for the 2–3 days it takes to get a replacement iPhone.

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Top 5 iPhone G3 Applications for Lawyers

We have a guest post from Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the colleges for criminal justice. I wasn’t familiar with their site before talking to Kelly, but she has a very comprehensive site for anyone wanting a criminal justice degree, regardless of where you live, or whether you want to be in a regular classroom, take classes by correspondence or take on-line courses. Now, if they would just do on-line law school, we’d be all set. Thanks for the post and take it away Kelly:

With the recent release of the iPhone G3 in July 2008, many people in the general public scrambled to get their hands on one of these innovative new devices. It boasts three features in one: G3 internet connectivity, cell phone, and iPod all in one small device.

Naturally, for gadget lovers out there, the ability to streamline your digital arsenal is an attractive benefit of the iPhone. However, there are many free or relatively inexpensive applications that you can run on the new iPhone that are very beneficial for lawyers. Here are five of the best of those applications—and the best part is that they’re all free.

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Should Lawyer's Use Facebook?

A friend recently asked with the advent of social networking, whether he should be on Facebook and what good is it? Here's an example of the power of social networking from Seth Godin's Blog.

The flipside? A friend got into college last week. The university gave her a list of the kids from our state who also got in. Within 24 hours, they were all friends. ALL of them! They knew who knew who, what they looked like, what their histories were. Facebook to the rescue. A new network built on the old network within minutes. By the time September rolls around, they won't need college, they'll need a reunion.

Neat stuff, but as Seth points out, the older generation doesn’t use the social networking to the same degree as the younger generation. So is it worth it to establish an acccount on Facebook? Probably, yes. Will you get the same out of it as a younger ‘tuned in’ attorney? Definitely not.

Sadly, even for a gadget freak like me, I’m part of the older generation that does not MySpace, Facebook or even text message (I send full e-mails). I’m part of the older generation.

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A Better Way to View Images on the Internet

PiclensThe picture doesn’t do justice to how cool PicLens actually is.

PicLens is a FireFox or Explorer add-on (yes, it also works with Safari) that allows you to scroll through pictures very quickly.

Install it, go to Google Images and type in ‘herniated disk’ then click on the little > Play icon, and you will see a wall of herniated disks. While Google Images lets you see just the pictures, you have to flip through a page at a time. With PicLens, you don’t have to worry about the pages, you can just scroll through all of the pictures.

Trust me, it works much better than I can describe it. Check out the demo and then add it as a plug-in. Have fun.

Hat tip to Matt Homann for the heads up on this.

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Small, Lightweight VideoCamera that's EASY to Use

FlipFor years, I’ve bought computers with dvd-burners and looked at video editing software and have never been able to make anything work.

All I want to do is do a 5–10 minute interview with my client and then pull 15 second clips out of the full length video. I didn’t need a lot of editing, but just wanted to pull out some clips. I’ve tried high end professional packages and low end consumer software. Nothing seemed to work.

I bought a Sony videocamera that recorded straight to mini-dvd’s. That was relatively easy, but it was still a hassle getting everything onto the computer.

I’m sure if I spent an entire day learning the camera and the software I could have figured it out, but who wants to do that?

I recently bought a Flip videocamera and can’t be happier. It’s about the size of a pack of cigarettes and runs on two ‘AA’ batteries. There’s no AC power, plug-in cord or adapter. Just two ‘AA’ batteries. There’s an on/off switch a record and pause button and that’s about it.

There’s an arm that flips out (hence the name) and plugs into a USB port. The software for the camera is built in to the camera. You can download straight to the computer very easily or upload a file to Youtube easily. Here is the law firm Youtube link and the family Youtube link. is There are no tapes, disks or memory cards. It can record up to an hour (in a single or multiple clips) and that’s it.

The picture quality is good, but not perfect. The microphone is much better than I thought it would be. And the best part of it? It only costs $145.

It’s cheap enough and light enough that you can take it anywhere with you. I’m very impressed with the quality of sound and picture, the ease of use, the size and how easily I can get the movie clips onto the computer or the internet.

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Using iMacs to Build a Better Windows Network

20 Okay, this is going to sound a bit odd, but my tech guy is using Apple iMacs to build a more stable, easier to maintain Windows network.

About 2 years back, Apple started using the Intel processor in it’s computers, which is the same processor that Windows machines use. The benefit of that is that Macintoshes can now run Windows in ‘native mode’ and not through an emulation program. You can do this one of two ways. You can use Boot Camp and when you turn on your machine either boot into Windows or boot into Mac’s OS X. The other way is run a Macintosh program called Parallels. Both programs require you to purchase and run a full copy of Windows.

My tech guy is buying iMacs like the one pictured above to put in offices and using Parallels to run Windows. Most people will only see the OS X screen flash for a second and after that, they won’t even know they are working on a Mac box.

So what is the advantage of running Windows on a Mac? A few:

  • Nice Hardware at a Reasonable Price – Chrome and glass, 20” monitor, memory, speed, decent memory all in one box. It works well and is attractive.
  • Less Desk Space – The Macs are an all in one and leave a small footprint on your desk. It’s just the monitor and the keyboard.
  • Ease of Maintenance – The entire Parallels Windows file is a single computer file. That’s huge. You can install Windows, tweak it to the way you want, install all of the programs that you want and then all of that information will be in a single Parallels file that can be copied and backed up. If your Windows goes down, you can just copy that file back to your iMac and you’re up and running. If your entire iMac goes down, you can copy that file to a different iMac and you’re up and running. No worrying about file registries, different hardware signatures. No fuss, no muss.
  • Portability – Once you have your Parallels backup file, you can copy that to another machine without any problems. You can’t do that (easily) with Windows, because of different hardware configurations and the Windows registry.
  • Ease of Installation – Once you have a specific set up that you want, for example, WordPerfect, TimeMatters, CaseMap, TimeMap, Sanction, MicroSoft Office, you can save this as a building block and as a base for every installation. Of course, you need to have a site license for each program. You will also have to switch license codes, but that’s a lot easier than starting each machine’s installation from scratch.

So oddly enough, the hoops that MicroSoft makes you jump through actually make it quicker and easier to run your Windows program on a Mac. Go figure. Plus you get a cool looking machine.

We’re going to start replacing one machine at a time, until we have a full Mac office.

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Don't Use FindLaw or Martindale-Hubbell if You Want an Internet Presence

IN a recent discussion, some lawyers wanted to know whether they should use Martindale-Hubbell’s Lawyers.com or FindLaw. My personal opinion is that either is a huge waste of money. These are large law portals that are focused on building their brand and not on building your brand.

You need an independent website that it well optimized and does well on search engine searches. The top companies doing plaintiff’s firm websites are

My personal preference is towards Justia. Tim Stanley at Justia is one of the initial founders of FindLaw and really, really knows search engine optimization. I know people who’s opinion I really respect that prefer eJustice and Einstein Law is the preferred provider of AAJ.

I recently spoke with some people at The Attorney Store and was favorably impressed with their offerings and prices. I don’t know too much about them, but liked what I did hear about them.

Get a good URL (website address), get a good company to help you and get your own website. Don’t go with one of the large portals. If you follow the pack, you will be one of the pack and won’t differentiate yourself.

 

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Apple Comes Out with an iPhone without the Phone

Hero_overview_20070905I was really excited about the iPhone coming out. It looked like Apple spent a lot of time on the interface and worked to make it very simple to use.

Anyone that has seen a demonstration of the iPhone with expanding or collapsing text by taking two fingers on the screen and pulling them apart or pushing them together can’t help but be taken by the gadget.

What held me back was that the phone was locked into AT&T service and you have to sign up for two years. I really wasn’t thrilled about that prospect. Another concern was how well the iPhone would synch with my case management system and contacts. I have 1,500 names and 2,500 numbers on my computer and all of those names and numbers are on my Treo. I believe that I would be able to sync to the iPhone eventually, but it would be a convoluted process and not direct at all.

So what do we have that’s good with an iPhone without the phone? Apple calls it the iPod Touch.

  • Wi-Fi and Internet Surfing – the device works great with wi-fi, without 3G (which AT&T does not support) is painfully slow. This is a feature that the iPod Touch doesn’t have (the internet connection through the phone) and I won’t miss.
  • Great 3.5” Screen and Video – I have an iPod Nano and a Shuffle. I wanted to get a video iPod when they came out, but with the speed that Apple comes out with products decided to wait a generation or two until they got it down pat. The iPod touch has a great screen for both web browsing, pictures and video.
  • iPhone and iPod Interface – It’s got the great ‘mulit-touch’ interface as up above. It also has the iPod ‘cover flow’ interface where you can flip through songs like you are flipping through album covers.
  • Mac OS X Operating System – The iPod works on a variation of Mac OS X. That means that there will be a lot of programs, widgets and other things that will be able t run on the iPod.
  • 16 Gigs of Flash RAM – Flash RAM is great. It’s much faster than a hard drive and you don’t have to worry about access time or skipping. The drawback is that you don’t get as much memory. While you can’t hold your entire movie collection and every song you’ve ever heard, I don’t have any problems with 16 gigs of memory

Instead of an mp3 player with a pretty color screen, this is really a computer in a pocket. I’m looking forward to when these come out in a few weeks.

.

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Going with the Toshiba Laptop

FolderComparison

 

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to go with the Toshiba R500.

General specs are 12” LED screen, 19mm pitch keyboard, 8.5” x 11” footprint, 2 gigabytes of RAM, 64 gig solid state drive, internal DVD burner that is only 7mm thick, About 3/4 inch thick and it only weighs 1.88 pounds. Yes, that’s right. Less than two pounds.

When checking out the reviews, I found something exciting. Toshiba is coming out with this model as the R1 in Japan, but it is bringing it to the States as the R500 at the same time. Normally, if the same model is sold in the United States (and it frequently isn’t) we tend to be about 6 months behind the Japanese release.

One of my concerns was the 12” screen. I’m used to the 14.1” monitor of the Panasonic Y2. I’m 43 years old and my eyesight is not as good as it was and don’t like the type too small. The 12” widescreen model is about the same as my 14.1” monitor, but not as tall. As long as I can read the text well, I don’t mind a little scrolling.

The model with the solid state drives has not been released yet (either here or in Japan), but it should be sometime in September. I’m looking forward to it.

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The Myrtle Beach Lawyer Goes Digital

After that great guest post on using an open source PBX system, I thought I would share what we’ve been working on. We’ve been working on taking the entire office electronic. It’s time to take the office digital. What does that mean?

  • Documents Will be Digital – Everything coming in or going out of the office will be scanned. There’s a number of options we could have gone with. I chose to put a scanner on everyone’s desk. The easier it is to use, the more likely it is to get used. My first choice was a Fujitsu Scan Snap, but that didn’t have a TWAIN or ISIS compliant driver to scan from within case management or document management programs. We decided to go with the Xerox Documate 250. All incoming mail will be scanned, all outgoing mail will be scanned. The entire file will be available on the computer as a pdf.
  • PDF’s Will be How We Like Them – Everyone gets a full version of Adobe Acrobat to combine pfs, rearrange pages, or set up chapters, bookmarks and hyperlinks. Picture writing a demand package that talks about medical treatment that has a link to the appropriate page of the medical records.
  • Faxes Will be Digital – We are installing a fax server so that anyone can send or receive a fax directly from their desk. I was looking at eFax.com, but you have to use their number and can’t take the number with you if/when you leave. We’ll be setting up a separate fax server.
  • Bookkeeping will be Digital – I’m embarassed to admit this, but I’m still writing checks manually and entering the information on a 2002 version of QuickBooks for the accountant. We’ll now be writing the checks on the computer, downloading the monthly statements from the bank to automatically reconcile. We’ll also link the case management program and client expenses, operating account and trust account to automatically generate cost sheets, disbursement statements and preliminary disbursements for the trust account.
  • VPN Router to Allow Access to the Network – A Virtual Private Network (VPN). What’s that? It allows access to your local network even when you are not local. It’s similar to GoToMyPC or PCAnywhere and allows you to log on to your network from anywhere. When you’re out of town, you can log in and get your messages. You can work from your home office, your paralegal can work from home when their child is sick. Or….if everything is digital, then an employee can work without being in the office to work on the file.

Having the entire file in a digital format creates a lot of benefits. I’ve got a great staff and we’re ready to take this to the next level.

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Shopping for a New Laptop, Continued

Y7

Panasonic Y-7 – The Old Standby

This is Panasonic’s newer version of the Y-2. 14.1” screen, full 19mm pitch keyboard, built-in cd/dvd burner, lots of RAM, 160 gig hard-drive and Windows XP and weighing in at 3.3 pounds.

It even comes in colors now. The gun metal blue looks the coolest.

 

Rx1

 Toshiba RX-1 Dynabook – The Foreign Competitor

 64 gig solid state hard drive, 2 gigs RAM, .77 inches thick. Built-in DVD burner that’s only 7 mm thick. 12.1” transflective LCD wide screen, full size 19mm keyboard (believe it or not) and an incredible 1.88 pounds.

 

Dell-xps-m1330-big2

 Dell XPS M1330 – Surprising Challenger

Dell, home of klunky generic boxes has come out with an intriguing and sexy laptop design. Who’d have thunk it?

32 gig solid state drive, 13.3 inch LED backlit screen with VGA camera (2 megapixel with the LCD screen, 2 gigs RAM, built in DVD burner, great design comes in three colors (I would probably choose the piano black) and I do not know the size of keyboard yet. Regardless of which one I choose, this looks like a high performer, with good design and Dell will have a big hit on their hands.

ASusU3

  Asus U3 – Dark Horse Candidate

 Thanks to Engadget for this catch. It has a 13.3” screen and specs that include integrated GPS, HDMI and S-Video outs, eSATA, USB, and Firewire ports; SD and ExpressCard 54 slots; and an NVIDIA 8400M graphics chipset -- which can be switched off via hardware for power. I don’t know the price or other detials (like weight, solid state hard drive…). It should be coming out in September, which is about the time that the other models will be available with the solid state drives.

It looks like there’s a lot of good ultra-lights out with a lot of power and it doesn’t appear that there are any ‘wrong’ choices. It should be interesting.

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Shopping for a New Laptop

Time for a new laptop. What features am I looking for?

  • Weight Under 4 Pounds – This is a definite requirement. The lighter the better. I take my laptop with me everywhere that I would take a pad of paper. It needs to be in the 3 pound (or lighter) range. There needs to be a serious reason to bump up into the 4.1 or 4.3 pound range.
  • Keyboard – This is a bit of a surprise for me. In dealing with ultralights, or any laptop for that matter, there are certain tradeoffs and the keyboard is typically one of them. After a few weeks, your fingers get used to a different keyboard configuration for the laptop, and get used to a cramped keyboard layout. My Panasonic had a full size 19mm keyboard and I really enjoyed not having to switch keyboard sizes between my main computer and laptop. So, I’m putting a lot more emphasis on the keyboard than I used to.
  • Screen – Preferably an backlit LED, as opposed to an LCD screen, something that looks sharp, but I don’t need a tremendously high resolution as I’m over 40 and my eyesight is not what it used to be. I need something at least 12.1 inches. I’ve seen 10” screens and they’re too small for me. If I’m looking at a laptop and not a toy, the ultraportables with 7” or 8” screens aren’t even an option. I love the size, but not the crispness of the 14.1” Panasonic that I have now. A 13.3” is probably optimal.
  • Hard Drive – I would prefer a solid state drive. They come in 32gig and 64 gig models. Solid state drives are faster, lighter, use less power, are more reliable (and more expensive). I have a desktop computer and a home computer, so the size of the hard drive isn’t important. I just need the hard drive large enough to carry video depositions in Sanction for trial. If the laptop doesn’t have a solid state drive, it needs to be at least 7,200 rpms. There’s nothing worse than slow hard drive speed.
  • Ports – The only port that is criticial to me is a VGA monitor port. I speak in enough places where I have had problems with cable hookups for an S-Video or HDMI ports. Give me a standard monitor port anyday of the week. Built in wireless of course. An SD card reader would be handy, but is not a requirement. Other than that, lots of USB ports, and a biometric reader, expresscard (instead of PCMCIA) would be nice. None of them are dealbreakers.
  • Coolness/Fashion sense – Yes. I hate to admit this, but I want a laptop that looks good, that draws some attention and is fun to own. Think “sports car” or “convertible” for laptops.
  • Operating System – I would seriously prefer Windows XP instead of Windows Vista. I want to stay away from Windows Vista as long as possible. (Although, I don’t know if it will be possible).
  • Speed – I don’t really care about speed. I primarily do word processing, e-mail and research on the internet. The case management software is straightforward calendaring and contact management database software. Even the videos for mediations and trial presentation don’t take up that much processing power. Any of the computers currently out will be more than fast enough for me.
  • Optical Drive – This is not an important factor. It used to be, but not anymore. In my last laptop, I said “I want an internal cd/dvd player, so that way I don’t have to tote an extarnal player, plus I don’t want to be caught without help on that. It turns out that in three years, I have only used the player a handful of times. A nice feature, but not critical or a dealbreaker.
  • Price – Sadly, this is not important. This is my personal laptop that I will take everywhere with me and will hopefully have for three years. The difference in price between the cheapest laptop on the market and the most expensive one is not that large that price is the primary factor in deciding. And when I am looking at a 2–3 pound laptop, with a solid state hard drive, lots of memory, a good keyboard and a nice screen, those specs don’t come cheap.

Next up. I’ll preview the three laptops that I am considering.

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Remote Mail Service

I’m working on a project that requires people to be able to work remotely. That means everything has to be digital and scanned into the computer. Most of the information already is scanned, but what do we do about the things that aren’t digital?

I just found out about Remote Control Mail from Mark Zamora of A GeorgiaLawyer. What does it do? You have your mail sent to a P.O. Box in any of 20 diifferent cities and then they will send you an e-mail that looks like this:  

Ecm_ui.full

Remote Control Mail will then give you the choice of recycling, shredding, scanning and then shredding, forwarding the hard copy to your office, or storing the hard copy at your office. They’re used to handling high volume for coprorate consumers and fees are very low.

You can handle your e-mail and regular mail at the same time and with the same ease, forwarding documents or replying to them quickly and easily.

We’re going to use it initially for our medical records. Neat stuff.

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Good Laptop Repair Center

I think my 3 year old Panasonic is giving up the ghost. I love this ultra-light. I have had laptops since 1989 and have never had a laptop for three years. They usually last a year. I am going to reinstall Windows and see if that works, if not, it’s off to the service center. Lapfix has gotten good reviews from a few people I know. From their websit:

We are sure no one wants to suffer for lack of reliable laptop repair services. That’s what Lapfix are here for, No Frustration. Now you won't be troubled by questions like “How to repair a laptop?” or “Who can repair my laptop?” call the most respectful Laptop repair business, call LapFix today! All our technicians are Manufacturer Certified to work on your laptop repair or notebook repair, any kind of laptop repair.

Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

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One Book to Go Please!

Espressobookmachine 

What is that contraption? Would you believe a mobile library? An instant book printer with a hard drive containing over 200,000 books. It will crank out a brand new book, complete with binding in about 10 minutes. The finished product will be professionally bound and is supposed to be indistinguishable from a ‘regular’ book.

Right now the bulk of the books are public domain books. But over 200,000 books available just for the asking. This will bring an extrensive library to small towns and rural areas.

If technology can change the library and publishing field so drastically, what can it do for the law? What effect will technology have on the law? How will the practice of law change in ways that we can’t even foresee now? How will technology open up new areas of practice and new ways to practice? 

I love gadgets, but sometimes new technology opens up that turns things upside down and really changes how things function. I think the internet combined with broadband capabilities and cheap hard drive space have changed the way the world works and created a lot of different capabilities for us and we need to see how the pieces fit together.

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Why is The iPhone Locked Up?

Index_hero_20070611Apple is releasing it’s new iPhone on June 29 at 6:00 p.m. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s really pretty neat. What is it?

Take a video iPod with a good widescreen and put the Mac operating system on it, then give it connectivity which means internet and phone access.

Apple then put a motion sensor in iPhone, so it will orient itself depending on which way the iPhone is being held (up and down or longways).

They also put a lot of time and effort into the interface, so that when you’re browsing the internet, you can expand and collapse information by touching the screen and pulling your fingers apart or pushing them together. Pretty neat stuff. All in all, a very impressive package. The one thing I like is the effort put into the interface and to actually make the gadget useable. But……there’s a very strong but. They locked it up and made it proprietary.

  • Will Only Run on One Network – Apple cut a deal with AT&T / Cingular and if you want an iPhone, you’re going to have to switch to Cingular. What about the other phone companies? Well, you’re out of luck. The official reason for this is technology. But that’s bull, they could have done a phased rollout of the major carriers and let the other carriers handle it a few months behind Cingular.
  • No Replaceable Battery – Like an iPod, the battery is sealed inside the device. You can’t buy an extra battery for when you’re travelling and if it goes bad, you can’t replace it. You’ll have to take it to a service center. Of course, in a year when the battery goes bad or becomes very short lived, rather than get a new battery, Apple is hoping people get the latest and greatest iPhone.
  • No Upgradeable Memory – You can get a 4gb or an 8gb model and that’s it. There’s no SD card slot to upgrade or improve the memory. The tv commercials show a crystal clear movie running on the iPhone. This also shows a planned obsolesence / forced (or at least pushy) upgrade plan by Applea.
  • No Third Party Software – This one flabbergasts me. Apple has the iPhone locked up so that noone other than Apple can write software for it. Yesterday at WWDC, the Apple developer conference, Steve Jobs said that others will be able to write for the iPhone using Web 2.0 applications. That’s an impressive piece of doublespeak. Let me translate that for those who aren’t techminded “Programmers can write programs on the internet. The iPhone accesses the internet. Programmers can’t write programs on the iPhone. Only Apple can do that. If you want to use an ‘iPhone’ program that is on the internet, your iPhone will have to be connected to the internet the entire time you use the program, because the program can’t be downloaded to your iPhone’. Wow. Just wow. Officially the reason given was security reasons, but please.

So we have a very cool and innovative product, with limited memory, running only on a single network with a limited life battery that can only be changed out by a service center that is locked down so that noone else can write software for it.

Will I get one? I don’t know. It’s a hard call to make. They did so many things right, but then worked hard to really sock it to the customer. On one hand I find that reprehensible and a slap in the face to the customer. On the other hand, the digital rights management hasn’t hurt them with iTunes and the iPod. I think that is because they made it so easy to use, that people don’t worry about the problems with DRM. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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Web 2.0 Comes to Myrtle Beach

New technology gives greater access. I’ve been reading articles where undercover cops arrest college kids at rave parties and the college kids take pictures and videos of the arrests with their cellphonesm. The college kids then post the pictures of the arrests and the undercover policemen on a community board. I do injury cases for a living. How does that effect me? How about if car wrecks are posted online?

I have a case where someone was videotaping events at Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach where there was a crash and posted a clip of the video to YouTube.

In fact, here is a second video of the crash:

If you want to talk punitive damages….A hotrodder leaving a car show with a clear road ahead of him, a clear road behind him, then while showing off for the crowd loses control of his car an t-bones a car on the other side of the median. Wow.

For plaintiff’s attorneys it doesn’t get any easier than that. And in case anyone is wondering, the video clips are safely downloaded and converted. Sometimes I really like the new technology.

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I Accidentally Deleted My Inbox...and I Feel Fine

While working on Friday, I accidentally deleted my entire Inbox. I meant to delete an entire directory of spam, but I made a mistake.

I probably had about 750 e-mails in my inbox of things I needed to sort, return messages to, put in various folders (civil procedure, damages, evidence, experts, tort reform…). That’s far too many too keep up with. And the number kept growing…….and growing……and growing.

Now it’s gone. And I’m okay with that. While I try to weed through them in random moments of the day, like when I’m waiting on hold, it had really gotten out of hand. And really, if I was waiting to respond to an e-mail from last July, it’s probably just easier to say “I didn’t do it” as opposed to thinking I would get to it soon.

I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I get to start fresh. In reality I could call my tech guy and have him pull the e-mails from Thursday night’s backup, but I’m not going to do that.

 

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Give Your Computer a Facelift

Dreamflow800If you want a great looking desktop, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can get a stack of free desktops from WinCustomize.

The desktops are located here. If you want to jazz up your whole operating system, you can go to StarDock, where you can get a dock, like the Mac, various skins for Windows, Widgets and other things to update your system.

It doesn’t have anything to do with the practice of law, but it makes your computer look more fun.

My third monitor is a gold framed 42” Panasonc plasma tv. I use the different backgrounds as a picture when I’m not using the monitor to show staff or clients pictures, documents or other things.

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Tech Gadgets Keep Improving

B000JLP5UK.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_I had a new client come in today that took pictures of his damaged car on his phone. I was somewhat skeptical because I’m used to cellphones only having a VGA camera and up maybe a 1.2 megapixel camera. He had a 3.2 megapixel camera. On his phone.

He transferred the pictures by a 2.0 gigabyte micro-SD card. I have an SD card reader slot on my laptop, so this was no problem. I knew the micro SD card was smaller than the SD card, but it’s 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm. Wow. That’s small. And the cost is only $31 from Amazon.

I have to admit. This is one of the few times when I was blown away by someone else’s technology. Things are getting smaller and faster all of the time.

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Making Transcripts of Client and Witness Interviews

When putting together mediation packages, I had been using the following method for obtaining transcripts of witness statements:

1. Have Investigator Call Witness and Create a Recorded Statement in Digital Format.

2. Investigator sends Digital Statement to My Office using www.YouSendIt.com.

3. Transcribe Digital Statement by sending it to wwww.Speak-Write.com

Today, I had an even better idea.


1. Call the witness on the phone.

2. Using conference calling, add www.Speak-Write.com as a "third" caller.

What does this do?

You question the witness and at the end of the call hang up. Between 15-30 minutes later, you'll have a transcript of the interview e-mailed to you along with a digital recording of the conversation. You get the automatic recording and the transcript in one fell swoop.

By setting up a conference call with Speak-Write, you eliminate the need to for having the equipment to digitally record the conversation yourself and you eliminate the need to hiring your investigator to take the statement. You also eliminate the cost of the investigator.

You can also use this to take a recorded statement from your client. You can put the phone on speaker and call Speak-Write. You will get a transcribed copy of the interview and also the digital recording in the client's own voice.

Once you have the digital recording, you can use clips of that in your mediation package, to refresh the witness's memory or other uses. Neat stuff.

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Free Message Transcription for Lawyers

I just learned about Jott. It will transcribe your phone messages and send them to your e-mail address.

What's cool about Jott is that there are no passwords or codes or numbers to punch in. You call the 1-800 number, it recognizes your cell phone number and knows who you are and knows your e-mail address.

The other thing Jott can do is send a message to someone who you have pre-defined. You can press 2 to 'Jottcast' and send a message that will be sent as an e-mail to your paralegal or secretary.

It's a free service with a 15 second maximum on the message. I've found it to be somewhat erratic on the transcription, but you can click on a link and hear the actual message. It's handy and it's free. What more could you want?

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Cisco Uses Blogs to Get It's Opinion Out

Mark Chandler, a senior vice president and general counsel for Cisco has written a blog post on  Cisco's iPhone Trademark lawsuit with Apple:

Today’s announcement from Cisco regarding our suit with Apple over our iPhone trademark has spurred a lot of interesting questions. Most importantly, this is not a suit against Apple’s innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone. It is not a suit about money or royalties. This is a suit about trademark infringement.

That’s pretty unusual to have general counsel to publicly post information about pending litigation. It’s an effort to get out ahead of public opinion on the matter and explain what Cisco’s position is. Maybe weblogs are chaning how companies operate after all. Thanks to Robert Scoble and Kevin O’Keefe for the heads up on this.

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New Palm Treo 700p is Out

Palm has just announced the Treo 700p. The p means that it based on the Palm OS, rather than Windows CE. I never upgraded to the 650, because I had a Treo 600. I loved the 600 so much, that there just wasn’t enough goodness (other than the bluetooth) to convince me to upgrade. But……now my Treo 600 has some miles on it and has been beat up. I’m ready to make the jump.

Engadget has the announcement and specs:

The latest step in unifying the Treo family as a hardware platform, the 700p (like the 700w) features EV-DO, 312MHz Xscale CPU, 128MB flash memory (60MB usable), 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and SDIO. Unlike the 700w, however, it works it with the same 320 x 320 resolution screen as the 650

PalmInfoCenter has a preview:

The Palm Treo 700p is a further refinement of what made the Treo 650 a productive and intuitive smartphone. It features a slightly refined hardware design and a large number of software, multimedia and usability improvements. The 700p is also the first Palm OS based smartphone to take advantage of high speed EVDO wireless networks.

Palm has the official announcement:

The Palm® Treo™ 700p smartphone delivers everything you need in one go-anywhere, Palm OS® device. It combines a smarter phone with wireless email and messaging, built-in web browser, and rich media capabilities — all at blazing fast broadband-like speeds…

Enjoy the gadgety goodness.

 

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Search Engine Use On the Rise

Kevin O’Keefe from LexBlog highlights an article from Online Media Daily that search engine use continues to grow:

Web users conducted a record 5.7 billion searches in January, marking a 39 percent increase from last January's 4.1 billion, according to new data from Nielsen//NetRatings. Search activity in January also increased by about 12 percent from December, when users conducted about 5.1 billion search queries.

People are using the internet to check movie times, weather and travel information. Don’t think they’re not looking for lawyers as well.

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Best of 2006 CES 2006 - New Gadgets to Lust After

In case you haven’t been keeping up on all of the gadgety goodness on Engadget’s coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show, here’s a recap of their Best of Show. This isn’t a comprehensive listing of the very best products out there, but the ones they’re still talking about after seeing thousands and thousands of toys. Which ones do I lust after the most?

  • Toshiba Gigabeat S Series – Portable Media Center. Portable video players are a dime-a-dozen these days, but the new Gigabeat looks like it'll have the skills to take on the iPod: a sleek, thin, light brushed aluminum casing, a crisp, bright QVGA display, and -- and here's the really important part -- it offers full integration with Vongo, that new online video download subscription service from Starz that'll let you download as many movies as you want from their catalog and watch them on your portable device.
  • Dell 3007WFP 30-inch LCD monitor – Michael Dell stressed that this isn't a living room television (they already sell those). It's a supersize PC monitor for IT admins, graphic designers, and multitasking gadget bloggers (and lawyers [emphasis added])who surf, post, email, IM, watch Galactica and submit CES expense reports all at the very same time. Instead of upgrading your clock speed, try spreading out with more screen space. As those moronic Jaguar ads say, gorgeous pays for itself.

Wow. Those look like fun. Can you imagine, double 30” monitors? 60 inches of cases, research, e-mail, internet browsers, word processors and images on the screen at once? Hmmmm…. All of a sudden I feel like Homer Simpson. “Ummm……..monitors.”  Click on the link to see all of their favorites.

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BlawgThink 2005 a Conference for Legal Bloggers and Learning About Blogging

It’s always interesting to see what Matt Homann of the [non]billable hour and Dennis Kennedy are up to. A lot of interesting ideas were generated at their LexThink program in the Spring. Now, they’re putting together a conference of legal bloggers called BlawgThink. It’s a 2 day conference with the first day including presentations on blogging basics, marketing and client development, podcasting, and other subjects. They plan on having three different tracks. Matt talks about the BlawgThink here. The second day will be unplanned small group discussions.

I think Matt and Dennis always do great stuff, but I wasn’t going to go to this for a few reasons. First, I’m already blogging. Second, while I’m a big evangelist for blogging and RSS, I primarily see myself as a trial attorney who has a blog, rather than a blogger that is a trial attorney. While BlawgThink looks like a lot of fun, I’m a member of 3 trial lawyer associations, give a number of presentations and develop other classes. All this while being a sole practitioner.

But…… They’ve got such a great group of people that are going to be there, I’m thinking of popping in for Saturday and the small group discussions. The caliber of talent is such that it really makes it hard to stay away. If you want to learn more about legal blogging, or would like to meet many of the top legal bloggers, contact Matt Homann for an invite, and I’ll see you there.

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Palm's LifeDrive - PDA with Hard Drive that Surfs the Net

I’m a big fan of the Palm Treo 650. But if you like your PDA separate from your phone, Palm has come out with the LifeDrive. Engadget has a roundup of reviews. What is special about the LifeDrive? It has a 4 gig hard drive to hold all of your data, photos and music. It also has Wi-Fi, which means you can surf the internet on it. You can also send and receive information from your desktop computer wirelessly on it.

If you’re interested, click on the link. Engadget has reviews from DavesPDA, BargainPDA, Nexave , MobileTechReview,  MSNBC,  PocketFactory,  CNET,  PC Magazine,  The Gadgeteer  and CanalPDA. That should be enough reviews for anyone.


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What Secrets Are Your Documents Telling?

Here’s a fun one. The U.S. military released a report last week clearing American troops in the March gunfire incident that injured Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and killed Nicola Calipari, an Italian intelligence agent, as they were driving to the Baghdad airport. Kevin Drum of the Political Animal at The Washington Monthly tells of the information left in the document:

But here's a question: do you think the Italian computer whizzes will be any more competent than their American counterparts when they release their report? The U.S. report is full of redactions, as you can see in the picture above, but once again an American agency has used the searchable PDF format to distribute a report, and all you have to do is save the report as a text file in order to recover all the redacted parts.

Click on the link and take a look at the picture. Lots and lots of blackouts. Unless of course you save the document as a text file. Then it’s all readable. Ouch. Our government in action.

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Technology Helping with Medical Treatment

Technology is changing the standard of care for medical treatment. EICU allows doctors to monitor a lot of patients in intensive care units at multiple remote sites.

From the Kaleida control station Monday, health professionals were monitoring 58 patients at two hospitals via screens that displayed patients' diagnosis and progress, doctors' notes and vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
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Wireless Networking on the Road

If there's any question that wireless networking is picking up, it's rapidly diminishing. First there was wi-fi at Starbucks and then The Atlantic Bread Company. Then the San Francisco Giants announced Wi-Fi throughout their stadium.

You start to get an idea that it's taking off when the city of Philadelphia announced a project to turn the entire city into a hotspot.

Now, Texas has free wi-fi hotspots at every one of their rest stops. Hmmm.... stop to use the rest room and check your e-mail for free. The hotspots will be set up by Coach Connect , a company that provides wireless networking to seniors at RV Parks.

It's getting harder and harder to ignore wireless networking.

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