The following are the tech sites/tips of the month that are listed in the MSBA Tech Talk newsletter each month.
Please click on a month to view the links.
october 2013 - NEW iPAD ANNOUNCED
NEW iPAD ANNOUNCED
Apple will announce its new iPad today at 10:00 AM Pacific time (1:00 PM MSBA time). You can watch the announcement live.
Other sites for reviews and live coverage are:
(Credit to iPhoneJD for this information)
CUTTING DOWN ON ANNOYING CALLS
Cell phone spam is a real problem. According to Bloomberg, in 2011, there were over 4.5 billion spam text messages. Here are some tips to reduce them:
From Techlicious: How to Block Numbers on Your Smartphone for Free
Note: This is mostly for Android phones unless you have downloaded the new iOS 7 which allows these apps.
PrivacyStar, Mr. Number, Calls Blacklist
From Cnet: You can block people from contacting you on iOS7
HOW TO MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE AFTER LIFE (REALLY)
This is becoming a serious issue because it is not an easy task to eliminate social media accounts by anyone other than the owner. However, most people never consider what to do with a social media account in the event of their death or severe disability.
Here are some good links on planning for the digital afterlife:
From Fox Rothschild, LLP – Planning for the Digital Afterlife: What Happens to Social Media Accounts After the Account Holder Dies?
From NPR’s All Tech Considered – May You Tweet in Peace: Social Media Beyond the Grave
iGOOGLE WILL DISAPPEAR IN NOVEMBER – ARE YOU READY? – DO YOU CARE?
If you use iGoogle, you have probably been getting messages counting down the days until its demise each time you logon. (If you do not use iGoogle – no reason to read any further).
Have you decided which service, if any, you will use to replace iGoogle. TechSupport Alert, has a good article on 6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle. “Great” may be a little too grand a description for the alternatives, this article gives a good description of each and how to export your iGoogle Feeds.
TWO MSBA VENDORS MAKE IT EASIER FOR ONLINE PAYMENT
Realize more billable time than ever before with Rocket Matter and LawPay integration!
LawPay has partnered with Rocket Matter to offer seamless online transactions which allow attorneys to invoice and collect payment electronically. MSBA Members get discounts with both of these vendors.
With LawPay and Rocket Matter together, you can:
- Capture time and expenses from any iPhone®, Android™, tablet, or computer.
- Generate all of your invoices with the click of a mouse.
- Invite your clients to a custom branded portal with your logo and the ability to pay their invoice.
- Correctly separate earned and unearned fees.
- Control cash flow and reduce collections.
- Reduce credit card processing fees by 25%!
Utilizing Rocket Matter’s Portal, you can accept payments from your clients online. Your LawPay account receives a deposit and your Rocket Matter ledgers automatically adjust. This means less data entry, less room for human error, and more time for what you do best, being a lawyer! In order to take advantage of the MSBA benefit with these vendors, you need to go through the MSBA website.
september 2013 - ios 7 (should you?) & other tools
FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER
As most of you know, the first Monday is October is the start of the Supreme Court Sessions. This year that date is October 7, 2013. The Calendar for Oral Arguments through December is available on line.
iOS 7 – UPDATING TIPS, TRICKS, CONCERNS
If you have an iPhone or iPad, there is a new operating system – iOS 7. I downloaded it over the weekend and there is enough different to cause you to look at some of the tips and tricks to see how it works.
Review of Apple iOS 7 - from CNET
6 Reasons to Upgrade to iOS 7 Right Away and 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t - from Time online
Four Privacy Settings You Should Enable in iOS 7 Immediately – from ZDNet
Evidently the lockscreen in the new iOS 7 can be easily bypassed so if you have not already updated, read this and if you have already updated, make certain that you disable this. Apple is working on a fix. (Don’t you feel better now?)
A Few Tricks All the New iOS 7 Users Should Know - from TechCrunch
11 Brilliant iOS 7 tips and tricks – from tech radar
HOW TO SELL YOUR PHONE
Techilicous has an excellent blog post about how to sell your smartphone by comparing in great detail the various options for both in-store and on-line vendors. If you are considering this idea, check this out.
iPHONE 5s REVIEWS
Whether you like iPhones or not, you know that last week Apple released not only its new operating system but its new iPhone 5s. Below are some links to some trusted sites for reviews.
From iPhone J.D. – From a lawyer’s point of view
From cnet – Same Look, small screen, big potential
From Techcrunch – Apple’s Latest Smartphone Goes For (And Gets) The Gold
From AnandTech – Very detailed review comparing 5 and 5s
From techradar - Also very detailed
CREATE FORMS OR AUTOMATE DOCUMENTS IN MICROSOFT WORD
TheFormTool is user-friendly and powerful productivity software for lawyers seeking to reduce document errors, improve client service and reduce costs. TheFormTool reduces errors by eliminating “cut & paste” document assembly.
ONLINE HOW TO GUIDES
www.makeuseof.com has great online guides and “cheat sheets” for many software and hardware products including now the iOS 7.
List of all Guides
Cheat sheet Guides
SHARE YOUR SCREEN WITH OTHERS
Two sites, Crossloop and Join Me, allows you to share your screen with others. Both are free and Join Me does not require you to download anything or register. I have used JoinMe and it is great for quick online screen sharing and meetings.
COPYING AND SAVING CONTACTS EASILY
Copy2Contact can instantly create new contacts and appointments in your address book/calendar from any text you see on your screen. Grab information from e-mail signatures, grab appointments from event invitations, create a database of contacts from web results, and more. Works with Outlook, Gmail and iPhones and iPads.
Here is a group in Google+ that is just to share ideas about how lawyers can use Evernote. While not very large, I have already found it helpful especially since I find using Evernote a little overwhelming. Not using Evernote – see next.
The Evernote suite of tools let you take your office anywhere, do great work, save and share what you do, and stay organized. As lawyers, Evernote can be used as an office management tool, trial notebook, personal organizer, and so much more. Learn what they know, and share your own successes and questions.
august 2013 - tech sites for you and your family
This month we are going to focus not just on our own tech needs but for those of our children and families now that school is starting up for most students. We will also include some fascinating sites for grownups as well.
TED TALKS INSPIRES
If you have not seen any of the Ted Talks, here are some that are directly related to education. Bet you can’t watch without being inspired.
Some of the most watched are:
RELIABLE RESOURCE TO EVALUATE EDUCATIONAL SITES AND APPS
Graphite is a site created by Common Sense Media with the backing of Bill Gates and Chicago philanthropist Susan Crown to help teachers (and parents) evaluate the best educational sites and apps.
Common Sense Media is a non-profit that helps parents understand what content is appropriate -- and is not -- for kids of different ages. It provides reviews of movies, websites, games, TV shows, books and music.
LIFELONG LEARNING (OUTSIDE THE BOX)
There are many institutions that are using the internet to bring high level education to those not enrolled in their schools. In addition, there are sites that are only online that provide courses taught by some of highly respected experts in a variety of fields.
Academic Earth - Links to over 750 online courses and 8,500 individual online lectures from some of the most prestigious educational universities in the world with unparalleled access to college courses they may otherwise never experience.
edX - EdX is a non-profit created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. We're bringing the best of higher education to students around the world. EdX offers MOOCs and interactive online classes in subjects including law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Udacity - This site focus on science and technology and is not free but designed to be affordable and offers certificates for completing course work. It was created out of a Stanford University experiment.
MARYLAND COMMON CORE CURRICULUM
Maryland was one of the first States in the nation to adopt the Common Core State Standards in reading/English language arts and mathematics. The State Board of Education adopted the standards by unanimous vote in June 2010 and the new State curriculum will be implemented in all Maryland schools in the 2013-2014 school year.
The State Curriculum defines what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.
RULES OF THE ROAD FOR BACK TO SCHOOL
The Maryland State Police are issuing reminders about the rules for driving when children and school buses are on the road. Even if you think you know the rules, it doesn’t help to have a refresher. If you have children, it is also good to talk to them about how to be safe on the road.
No one should text while driving but it is even more critical to stress this to your teen drivers since they believe they are invincible. There are apps that you can use to prevent a phone from being used for texting while driving.
MARYLAND STATE FAIR
Even though school has started for most jurisdictions, the 132nd Maryland State Fair started on Friday, August 23 and runs through Labor Day, September 2. Worth a visit if for no other reason than to see if you can fool the guy who tries to guess your age or weight. And if you have never seen a giant zucchini, you need to go.
HAPPY LABOR DAY
History of Labor Day
Labor Day Happenings in Maryland and DC
Have a safe and pleasant Labor Day.
July 2013 - helpful travel sites and apps to make ANY trip better
Although the summer is winding down and with it many vacations, here are some helpful travel sites and apps to make the trip better.
Where to Stay
There are many apps and sites that claim to find the best deals but having used many of them, most give the same rates. However, there are some that offer better searching and more useful search information.
Hotels.com has a really good tool to help you narrow your search very specifically which can help you eliminate a lot of useless results. You can search on neighborhoods, amenities, landmarks, etc.
Bing Travel has a rate indicator which will tell you if it is the best deal and whether you should wait and for how long for a better deal. Also, it tells you whether or not the “great deal” that is being advertised is a “Deal” “Average Deal” “No Deal.”
Google Hotel Finder What I like about this site is the great map so that you see where all hotels are located.
Hotel Tonight This is just an app for iPhone and iPad but gives best information for last minute hotel needs.
Rent a full apartment for the same cost as a hotel room. Some of the best sites:
Vacation Rentals by Owner – www.vrbo.com
Home Away – www.homeaway.com
Airbnb – www.airbnb.com
(NOTE: I have used the first two for years and have never had a bad experience)
Sometimes it helps to hear what others are saying. The best forums take reviews seriously and will make an effort to monitor responses to try to determine their legitimacy. All can be sorted by location. Absolutely critical for independent travelers.
Trip Advisor – This site does a lot of travel related tasks but its forums are good and I think pretty reliable.
Lonely Planet - Thorn Tree travel forum - exchange travel information, advice, hints and tips. Just as good as their printed guides.
Fodor’s Forums – Fodor’s has moved effectively to the web and their forums are excellent.
Watching for Airfare prices. Airfare Watchdog does a decent job but you will get notices for dates you did not choose so do not send to your regular mailbox.
Gate Guru is great app to help you determine what is near you while waiting at the airport and also gives reviews from other travelers.
iExit may be your best friend when driving on the interstate as it will tell you which upcoming exits have what you need e.g. gas, hotels, rest areas or specifically a Chick-Fil-A.
Taxi Magic -Taxi Magic app helps you with that with a booking facility that is integrated with taxi dispatch systems via the Internet. You can also track the arrival of your taxi via the dispatch updates and map. In 60 US Cities
Waze - Join forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic jams, save time and money off gas prices using Waze, a community-based traffic & navigation app.
All Subway – App for iOS and Adroid with maps for subways all over the worlds.
GUIDES – Great for e-readers
Triposo - Offers you the best travel guide for your phone, all you need to do is just download the country guide and it will work offline. The guide includes detailed city maps of top cities.
TimeOut – Really good guides especially for international cities
Fodor’s City Guides Apps – Fodor’s comes out with apps that give you similar information that you get in their books.
Tourist Eye – Allows you to create your own itinerary and download it so you do not need a connection.
National Park Guides
From National Geographic: National Parks App
Passport to Your National Parks from the National Park Service
Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder App
Currency Converter – Just what you think it is.
Google Translate – For iOS and Android - Translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages. For most languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations.
Enjoy your trip!
JUNE 2013 - LIGHT THE CANDLE AND NOT CURSE THE DARKNESS
As you know, the MSBA is in the process of redeveloping and redesigning its website. We are making a huge effort to make sure that we hear from as many members as possible to hear what you need and want. Figleaf, the company that we have chosen to redevelop and redesign the site was at the Annual Meeting, have spent two days meeting with MSBA staff and have created a 5 question electronic survey which we are hoping MANY members will take to help us make the site as useful and easy to navigate as possible.
Please take a few minutes to take the survey and if you want to provide more comments about how to improve the site, please contact Pat Yevics and she will put you in touch with the team from Figleaf.
Note: The survey will only be available until Wednesday, July 3.
ARE SURVEYS HELPFUL?
It is now much easier to send surveys with such software such as Survey Monkey, Survey Share and many others but how do you create an effective survey and are they even worth the time and effort.
Online Surveys Advantages and Disadvantages – from HowStuffWorks.com
Types of Survey Questions – from QuestionPro.com
14 Tips for Writing an Effective Online Survey – from Syberworks.com
10 Tips for Creating Effective Online Surveys – From Cvent.com
Effectiveness of Law Firm Surveys from AltmanWeil.com
Sample Law Firm Survey Questions
WHAT DO OTHER BAR ASSOCIATION SITES OFFER
One of the questions in the survey asks about other Bar Associations. To determine what you like in other sites, visit some of the sites. The Division for Bar Services of the ABA has a link to all state bars. Some sites worth viewing because they are so different from each other are North Carolina, Georgia (recently done by Figleaf), Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. However, check out many and tell us what you like or don’t like to help us give you want what you need.
WONDER ABOUT YOUR FIRM’S WEBSITE
In the April Issue of Tech Talk (in case you missed it) were some really good links to information about improving law firm sites and what makes a good law firm website. The April issue is still available online.
MAY 2013 - COME DOWN THE OCEAN FOR MSBA’S ANNUAL MEETING
This month’s list is going to focus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hopefully most of you will be attending the Annual Meeting in a few weeks. Here are some sites that can make the trip more pleasant and some Eastern Shore sites which you may have missed on your ride. Even if you are not attending, these are some great sites for Maryland.
Haven't registered for the MSBA Annual meeting yet? Register online today!
TRAVELLING TO THE EASTERN SHORE
Checking traffic on the Bay Bridge
Coming to the Annual Meeting and worried about traffic. The MTA gives regular updates online about bridge traffic. Or you can call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) if you are already sitting and traffic and wondering how long your gas is going to last.
There are live webcams, traffic advisories, and emergency alerts. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Traffic and other updates by drivers on the road
Waze is a free social mobile app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry that enables drivers to build and use live maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation for an optimal commute. 100% powered by users the more you drive the better it gets. Join the community of drivers in your area today!
Where to find the cheapest gas
Since most of us will be driving to the Annual Meeting, it might help to know where to find the cheapest gas. Gas Buddy has listings for all 50 states (Maryland) and then broken down by county. You can also get an app for the I-phone, Android and Blackberry.
Information on what to do, eat, play wherever you are
GOBY is a mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android which asks you what you want to do, where you want to do it and when and it will give suggestions.
Staying Safe on The Road
No one wants an emergency on the road but problems happen. The National Safety Commission has a great list of apps for staying safe and for what to do in case of emergency.
Keeping Children Entertained and Educated Driving Downy Ocean
If you are bringing your children to the Annual Meeting and need some great educational apps , a good site to visit is Fun Education Apps with reviews and links to many sites for children of all ages.
The official app of Ocean City, Maryland is available for iOS and Android. The website also includes information about activities including OC Beach Lights thru Sept, Movies on the Beach, Arts Alive and other events.
Ocean City Maryland Mobile is another free app with information on what is happening at the beach.
Official Ocean City Site with listing of restaurants and activities.
Wonder what the ocean is going to be like when you are at the beach. There is a site Swell Info which will give up to the minute information on ocean conditions.
Also Tides Near Me lets you know the times of high and low tides at various points in Ocean City. Use the information to go fishing or select the perfect place to set up camp on the beach.
EASTERN SHORT SITES AND ACTIVITIES
Take a little extra time and visit some of the other wonderful sites on the Eastern Shore. Here are some links to some of those that may not be as well known as some other places.
Harriet Tubman Centennial is this year and there are many events in Dorchester and Caroline Counties until the end of 2013.
Dorchester County Tourism – We have all seen the unusual building with the huge sails on the right as we enter Cambridge. This is the Dorchester County Visitor Center. It is wonderful building with a wealth of information about the lower shore. The volunteers, one of whom worked for the Circuit Court for 30 years, are wonderful and love to give information.
Official Site Maryland Tourism Site with links to all Eastern Shore Counties
Rock Hall, MD – A lovely historic water community which is home to Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge.
Tuckahoe State Park - This a hidden gem of a state park in Caroline County with 20 miles of trails and opportunities for canoeing.
The Blackwater Wildlife Refuge is one of the most important on the East Coast. If you love birds, this is the place to visit. Although the eagles are mostly there in the winter, this is still a great destination any time of year.
Show everyone how much fun you are having by using Postagram which allows you to take a photo with your iPhone or Android and create a postcard.
APRIL 2013 - Fastcase Enhances its Authority Check Citator Service
FEBRUARY 2013 - SPRING CLEANING FOR LAW FIRM MANAGEMENT
Although it has not been a difficult winter (thus far) for Maryland, most of us are probably starting to look forward to spring and getting back outside. In addition, there still may be some items to follow in the General Assembly which ends April 8.
Now that spring is approaching, let us take this issue of Tech Talk to think about how to prepare for the warmer weather and do some spring cleanup both professionally and personally.
SPRING CLEANING FOR LAW FIRM MANAGEMENT
Whether you are a solo, small, mid-sized or large firm, this could be a good time to look at how your firm is managed and how it might be made more efficient. Although good management has many of the same qualities regardless of firm size, the mechanics are different. Below are some links to some helpful tips for both Solo and Small Firms and Mid-sized and larger firms. For those with full time office managers or administrators, feel free to forward this information.
From the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s July/August, 2012 issue of Law Practice. “The New Normal: Law Firm Profitability” – This has excellent tips on measuring profitability for any size private practice.
From the ABA GP/Solo and Small Firm Section’s January/February, 2013 issue of GP Solo, “The New Normal: Practicing in a Down Economy” – This article is specific for issues related to solo and small firms.
“Dealing With the "Leadership Vacuum" in Law Firm Management” by Joel Rose. This includes some good checklists for management teams.
From Law Practice Today, “Eight Things Keeping Law Firm Management Awake at Night” Although a few years old, it is amazing how on-target this article was and how much is still the same for firms.
Leadership ROI: Investments that Increase Profitability and Productivity by Thomas Clay of Altman Weil
SOME BUSINESS BOOKS WORTH READING
Not all of these are for law firms but sometimes we should look at it from a different perspective. All are available for e-readers and tablets
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Differenceby Malcolm Gladwell
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap - and Others Don't by Jim Collins
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
From Altman Weil – Recommended Reading for Law Firm Leaders (size does not matter)
SPRING OVERHAUL FOR OUR HEALTH
Now that spring is almost here, we need to be ready to get out and moving.
American Heart Association – A great site for information on all things healthy
10 Step Program to Get You Off the Couch and Into the Gym – Although humorous, the tips are really excellent and practical for everyone.
HealthFinder.gov - Sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this site has drug information and newsletters (on topics such as diet and fitness) that can be lifesavers.
WebMD.com – Highly rated by doctors and one of the most professional health websites providing trustworthy and latest health and medical news and information. Offering credible health information, online community and more.
Drugs.com and RXList.com - One of the best health sites which provides news and information about prescription drug for professionals and consumers. Drugs.com site features a database for prescription and patient information. RXList.com contains information about most popular drugs and their side effects, interactions and more.
RealAge.com -One of leading health websites providing personalized plan to help people sleep better, eat healthier, look younger and live a longer life.
And finally the 63 (??) Best Health and Fitness Apps from the Greatist.com which is a good site for information about getting and staying healthy.
JANUARY 2013 - GET MORE TECH TIPS AND TALK
If you have not already signed up for the Wednesday Webinar on Technology Tips and Tools on January 30, from noon – 1:00 PM, there is still time. It is free to MSBA members and you do not have to leave your office to attend. This series will continue on the last Wednesday of each month on a variety of topics including:
• How to Get the Most Out of Google on February 27
• Tips on How to Start a Solo Practice on March 27
• How Lawyers Can Use Social Media on April 24
If you have topics you want to see included in the Wednesday Webinars, please hit the Reply Button and let us know.
PLEASE EXCUSE OUR ENTHUSIAsM
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said “It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.” So in a continued to make life worth living, we ask a little indulgence with the January Tech Talk as we prepare for Super Bowl and Purple Mania.
This month’s issue mostly focuses on a variety of sites related to all things Super Bowl XLVII and many of great Super Bowls of the past. We have also included information on how it affects business so it is not all frivolous.
If you are not a sports fan (or Ravens or 49ers fan) we do list some additional activities that you can do on Sunday. Episode 5 of Downton Abbey is on opposite the Super Bowl so there is something for everyone.
Super Bowl week has begun and here are a few links that shares the game’s immense and spectacular history.
• Super Bowl History
• Super Bowl ads: The best of the past 24 years
• NFL Playoffs 2013 Highlights: Memorable Moments Leading Up To Super Bowl XLVII
• The Top 10 Super Bowls in NFL History
From Baltimore to San Francisco, America is ready for the big game
• Hail to the Ravens? Why Washington should root for Baltimore on Super Bowl Sunday
• Jim Harbaugh hopes to bolster 49ers tradition
• Next Stop…New Orleans (Playoff Photos of The Baltimore Ravens by Shawn Hubbard)
• From the Super Bowl to the board room: A few lessons from the Ravens' winning ways
Super Bowl facts and information
• Super Bowl 2013 Kickoff Time: TV, Radio, Live Stream, Coverage Info and More
• Super Bowl XLVII: Major Money Stats and Factoids
• How to fake your way through a Super Bowl Party
If football is not your thing here are few events that are happing around the Baltimore – Washington Area.
• Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week
January 25, 2013 - February 3, 2013
• National Gallery of Art (DC): New Music Ensemble
Sunday, February 3, 2013 | 6:30 pm
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