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LOMA > Tech Sites > 2011

The following are the tech sites/tips of the month that are listed in the MSBA Tech Tips newsletter each month.
Please click on a month to view the links.

DECEMBER 2011

END OF THE YEAR TECH SITES AND LISTS

It is the end of the year and the ubiquitous BEST OF/WORST OF lists are out.  Here are just few – some serious, some not so serious and some just plain stupid.  (Hey, it’s the end of the year.) 

LIST OF LISTS FROM CNET- THE CNET 100

CNet has a series of lists for all things tech.  Here are five of the top ten lists.
The Top 10 Winners for 2011
The Top 10 Disappointments for 2011 (Amazing they could limit it to 10)
Scariest Tech in 2011
Luxury Tech

Get a new gadget this holiday season?

Take a look at some of these resources to get you started.

Top Apps for 2011 (Credit goes to Kim  Komando)
Get a new I-Pad for the Holidays? Tips for how to get started with the touch screen

WE ALL NEED REMINDERS

Here are some tools to remind you to take a break when working for long periods at your computer.

LISTS ARE JUST SOMEONE’S PERSONAL OPINION – NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

Here is a list of the top 20 Unhappiest people you meet in the comments section of year end lists.

SOME OF THE NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS THROUGHOUT MARYLAND

Somerset County Midnight Muskrat New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve @ Wisp in Garrett County
Rocky Gap New Year’s Eve in the Maryland Mountains
Midnight @ 7 at Symphony of Lights in Howard County   
First Night Talbot County
First Night Annapolis
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Baltimore Inner Harbor

THE STAFF AT THE MSBA WISH EVERYONE A WONDERFUL, SAFE, HEALTY AND PROSPEROUS 2012. 

 

NOVEMBER 2011

TOP APPS FOR THANKSGIVING

For those of you cooking this Thanksgiving there is iCookbook, which is $4.99 for the iPhone.
To help you find the right wine, Mashable has a great list of the top 10 iPhone apps for wine enthusiasts.

Considering deep-frying your turkey?  Watch this cautionary video from William Shatner and State Farm Insurance to prevent serious injuries.  (This is a true and harrowing story.)

TOO DANGEROUS TO COOK? For those deciding it is safer to eat out, there are many apps including two of the most popular free ones for all devices.  Open Table, which is also a website, and Yelp which can also help you find a gas station open on Thanksgiving. 

Need to keep up with scores on Thanksgiving without appearing rude?  Here is list of the top free sport score apps. 

HOLIDAY CARDS: ELECTRONIC V PAPER

If your firm or practice sends holiday cards, have you made the move to e-cards. Here are some e-cards sent by some large law firms which are really worth viewing regardless of what your firm does or your view about holiday cards.  NOTE: Some have music so turn down your speakers

2010 Akin Gump
2009 Akin Gump
Pillsbury Winthrop
Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox
Much Shelist
Hanson Bridgett
Manatt Phelps & Phillips

Thinking of doing your own e-greeting card?  Here is a review of the top ten software packages.  Warning:  While the packages will be easy and helpful, you will not get results similar to the above e-cards. 

HOLIDAY SHOPPING OR NOT

There has been some negative reaction to stores opening on Thanksgiving.  At Change.org you can sign a petition to ask Target to save Thanksgiving.

Can't give up Black Friday? You can download some apps to help you plan your Black Friday shopping.

Need help keeping holiday shopping lists (and budgets) No More Socks for I-phone and Gift List Manager for Android may help.

Toy safety is a serious issue.  Two sites will help you buy safe gifts and the right toy for the right age child.  Consumer Product Safety Commission Toy Safety Buying Tips and the Public Interest Research Group’s Annual Toy Safety Survey

THROUGH THE WOODS TO GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE

Most of us have some type of GPS to make getting where you want to go easier but Waze for both Android and I-phone is a “free social traffic and navigation app that uses real-time road reports from drivers nearby to save commuting time and improve your everyday driving.”

HOLIDAY EVENTS IN MARYLAND

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, there are many activities and festivities happening in Maryland.  Here are just a few links with information for events all over Maryland and DC during December.  Enjoy!

Visit Maryland December Calendar
December Festivals in and Around DC

DONATE MONEY WISELY

At this time of year, many people/companies/firms look to make charitable contributions.  It is important to make certain that your contributions are being used wisely and properly.  Here are a few sites that will rate various charities to help you make decisions.

American Institute of Philanthropy Rating Guide
Charity Ratings from Charity Guide

AND FINALLY – SOME PEACE AND SMILES

When the hectic holiday seems to be overwhelming, take a few (less than five) to listen to one of these videos:

George Winston Thanksgiving Piano Solo  - very soothing
Except for the Turkey – Sometimes humor helps

OCTOBER 2011

Tweet Effectively

For those of you who are currently using Twitter or thinking of using Twitter, here are some helpful tips from Killer Tech Tips.  This will help you manage not only your own “tweets” but also those who follow you which can be even more critical.

Improve searches on Google

Google Guide is an online interactive tutorial and reference for experienced users, novices, and everyone in between.

One example: You can use the tilde (~) operator to search for pages that not only contain the word that follows it, but also its synonyms.

More tips for improving Google searches can be found at Killer Tech Tips

Using Your i-Pad 2 more effectively

Although not specifically for attorneys, these Top 10 Productivity Uses for the iPad 2 from Time Management Ninja will help.

iPad Information and Tips

From iPad for Lawyers , by Tom Mighell, “If you do not look at the text when you type, you might miss words as they are Auto-Corrected.  To prevent this , go to Settings- General – Accessibility –Speak Auto Text.   From now on, your iPad will speak when it makes an AutoCorrect suggestion.” (This also works on the iPhone)

NOTE:  iPad for Lawyers is an excellent publication which can be downloaded to your iPad or laptop.  It is available from the ABA at the discount for MSBA members. A description of all the ABA Publications is available at www.ababooks.org. Enter the MSBA Promotional Code MSBA4YOU during checkout and a 15% discount will be automatically applied.

Writing On Your iPad

There are a few apps that will allow you to take notes on your iPad by writing on the screen with either your finger (not the best method) or a stylus.  
Note Taker costs $4.99 from the iTunes Store.   Review from PC Magazine
Penultimate  costs $1.99 from iTunes Store.  Review from PC Magazine
From MacWorld – 12 touchscreen styluses reviewed

Helpful Sites For Lawyers by Lawyers about Using iPads

TabletLegal by Josh Barrett
iPad for Lawyers by Tom Mighell
iPadEsq by Finis Price
iPhoneJD by Jeff Richardson (now includes iPad)

BEWARE: Lawyer Email Scams are Alive and Well

A discussion on one of the MSBA Section listservs indicates that attorney email scams are alive and well.  Here are some sites that discuss how to avoid getting caught.  The first site from Avoid A Claim shows actual examples of some of the documents that many of these scammers use to make it appear legitimate.  Some of these are very sophisticated documents. 
Other sites include:
Attorney Email Scams
Top 10 Signs of A Lawyer email scam
How Not to Get Stung by Promises of Easy Offshore Work

SEPTEMBER 2011

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE SITES

With so many people being mobile and so many more clients willing and able to accept more services electronically, there are some sites that allow for secure web-based electronic signatures

RightSignature - www.rightsignature.com
DocuSign - www.docusign.com
EchoSign – www.echosign.com – This was just acquired by Adobe

USING AN I-PAD IN MEETINGS 

The site, Attorney@Work, had an outstanding article on how to use your i-Pad in meetings.  There is a cost for all of the apps listed. 

Some of the sites mentioned were:

Good Reader and I Annotate PDF are pdf readers that allow you mark up documents
Meeting Manager Pro will allow you to connect other i-Pads at the meeting to share documents
To create presentations to give from your i-Pad, Keynote is the product to use. 

MONITOR YOUR HARD DRIVES FOR PROBLEMS

At some point a hard drive will die.  Most (hopefully) firms have backups but often we do not do the same for our laptops or home computers.  DiskCheckup from Passmark is free for home use and will warn you of an impending hard drive problem.
Aol Computer Checkup is another site which offers a 30 day free trial online site to help manage your PC.  It automatically scans for problems that slow down performance. When it finds problems, it repairs them for you right away. 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO SECURE LAW FIRM DATA?

LegalTalkNetwork has a series about securing law firm data and whether or not it is possible.  You can hear the interview with Sharon Nelson and John Simek of Sensei Enterprise or read a transcript.

WORRIED ABOUT YOUR PASSWORD BEING COMPROMISED?

Go to www.shouldIchangemypassword.com and enter you email and it will tell you. It’s free.

PASSWORD GENERATORS

We all know we should have different and secure passwords but they are so hard to remember.  These sites help you remember many passwords that are accessible from any computer.  All work on MAC and PC.

LastPass
1 Password
Roboform

FALL FUN

Autumn has now begun.  Here are some sites to get you active this Fall.

Best Leaf Peeping – A great site for links to best fall foliage from coast to coast including Maryland.

Fall in the Maryland State Parks – Fall is one of the best times to be in the state parks.  The Department of Natural Resources has its calendar for all parks online.  Many of the larger parks also have separate sites off the DNR’s website.

PREVENT DISTRACTED DRIVING

There are a few interesting phone apps and software products that will prevent “distracted” driving.  These can be used for your firm or your family, especially teenagers.

Texecution – an app for the Android
Txtblocker – an app for the Blackberry
Textndrive – an app for all smartphones including the i-phone
Zoomsafer – is more for businesses to prevent their employees from texting while driving
CellControl - For phones without GPS, this prevents your teenager from texting while driving

IT IS NOW 11:00 PM.  DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE?

icurfew – This is an app for the i-phone that allows children and parents to check in with each other remotely. Children use the app to send their location to their parents.  It may not get them home on time, but you will know where they are.

 

AUGUST 2011

Best Law Firm Websites of 2011

From Lawyerist.com, a list of their vote on the best law firm websites for 2011 even if 2011 is not completed. 

Easy and Free Intro Guides for Social Media for Law Firms

AttorneySync is a marketing consulting firm which has 18 guides about how to get started in various social media.  They are free and downloadable as pdf.  Yes, you do have to register and they only give you basic information but some of it is really helpful and user-friendly.  A great place to start if you are behind the curve.

Protect your Name or Firm's Name

Two sites where you can check to see if your name or your firm’s name is still available on all of the new social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and MANY more you may not even know exist.
Name Check  and Trademarkia

What are Other Lawyers Doing with Social Media?

Blogs – www.blawg.com
Twitter – www.lextweet.com

Consider Blogging

20 + Essential Tools and Applications for Bloggers


Delete Old Tweets

TweetEraser is a simple web-based tool designed to help you filter and delete bulk Tweets in an easy way.  With a range of search features, including by date, hashtag or username, it is easy to delete only the tweets you intend, without having to individually address each tweet in what may be a lengthy timeline.

Ethical Issues and Social Media

Legal Ethics Blog has great information about issues related to social media and ethics.

Bonus Site:

Worried about your password being compromised?
Go to www.shouldIchangemypassword.com and enter you email and it will tell you. It’s free

JULY 2011

Some of the Top Online Tools for Lawyers

Site Searchhttp://www.similarsitesearch.com/ This site will help you find other sites similar to the one you may be viewing.  This is especially helpful if you are searching for a particular product or service and want to see what other products are available.

Acrobat Instructional Videos and Instruction Videoswww.acrobatusers.com and http://blogs.adobe.com/acrolaw/
These two sites are excellent to help you use Acrobat more effectively.  Excellent for staff and associates as well.

Wonder what lawyers who tweet, tweet about?
On the site LexTweet,  www.lextweet.com you can follow some of the top “tweeting” lawyers and legal professionals.  It will give you some idea what others are doing.

Online Attorney Videos – See what other lawyers in Maryland and nationwide are doing with videos to attract clients.  Clients are looking for lawyers online.  www.legaltube.com and for Maryland lawyers http://www.legaltube.com/maryland-attorney-videos/

Share your screen with others – Two sites, Crossloop, www.crossloop.com and Join Me, www.joinme.com allows you to share your screen with others.  Both are free and Join Me does not require you to download anything to register. 

JUNE 2011

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.

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 and an app for the I-phone and Android.

Make Reservations Online
Open Table allows you to search for restaurants, get reviews, see what is available and make reservations online for restaurants all over Maryland and the US.  They even have listings for about 10 Ocean City restaurants so you can make a reservation from the pool since it has an app for all types of smart phones.

We All Need a Little Help Remembering
No matter our age, we all sometimes forget the number of our hotel room.  Now there is an I-phone app for that. The Room App will keep track of your room.

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.
If you have enjoyed some of these sites since we started including them in February, 2009, then consider coming to the MSBA Annual Meeting to hear “Sorting Through the Information: Best Online Tools for Lawyers.”

MAY 2011

Use your I-Phone As A Scanner
JotNot Scanner Pro allows you to use your i-Phone camera as a scanner.  According to reviews, the quality is better than just taking a photo.  Must be purchased through i-Tunes.

Have All Your "Stuff" On All Your Devices
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your documents, photos or other files anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, laptops, smartphones.

A Little Help With Self-Control
If you need to focus on a project but get easily distracted by emails etc, then these two sites will help.  These sites will block your access to email, facebook, twitter for a specific amount of time so you can get your work done
For PC and MAC Users: Freedom and for For MAC Users: Visit Steve/SelfControl

Easily Schedule Meetings
Scheduling meetings for many busy people can take more time than the meeting.  Two simple and FREE sites make doing that much easier.  If all you want is to schedule a meeting, these two sites are perfect.
Meet-o-matic and Doodle are free and simple online scheduling programs

How To Use All These New Gadgets In Your Practice
The site Make Use Of will give you great tips to help your get up and running quickly with many of our new gadgets such as smartphones, i-Pads and software, such as Firefox, Google, etc.  It is designed for non-techies who love their technology. 

APRIL 2011

April’s tips will focus on protecting yourself from mistakes, security risks and other scary tech scenarios.  Although, it is CRITICAL to take precautions, sometimes a little common sense can also go a long way.

Stupid Mistakes Lawyers Make with Their Technology
Excellent article by Sharon Nelson and John Simek Some of the basic rules that many fail to follow are amazing.

Wireless Hotspot Safety Tips
There are steps you can take to protect yourself using hotspots

Preventing Laptop Theft

  • LAlarm is a software product that allows you to set various alarms to protect your laptop and is free for personal use. 
  • Laptop Alarm will set off an alarm when someone tries to take your laptop.

Review of Mobile Security Software
Although not specific to laptops, there is excellent reviews of mobile security software at Top Ten Reviews

Protect Yourself While Online   
A good government site is www.onguardonline.gov.  It includes all type of tips for protecting yourself in many ways while online.

MARCH 2011
Financial Apps
With April 15 approaching, here are some apps which may help with your finances
       Pageonce –Free for use on all smartphones
       Mint.com – Free app made by maker of Quickbooks.  Also has teamed up with TurboTax software
       List of 50 Financial Apps for I-Phone and Blackberry from Currency Trading Net
       Bloomberg News Mobile App – for all smartphones and I-pad

Tweet Your Way To Retirement
No matter your age, it is never too soon to start to plan your financial future.
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College - http://twitter.com/retirementrsrch
Will give notice on when new research and studies will be available
Employee Benefit Research Institute - http://twitter.com/ebri
The Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania - http://twitter.com/#!/PensionResearch
Internal Revenue Service -  While their website is loaded with information, you can follow them twitter.  http://twitter.com/irsnews

FEBRUARY 2011

Thanks to Eric Mazzone of the North Carolina Bar Association from whom I took the following tech tips for the month of February.

Top 10 Legal Tech Predictions For 2011
2011 promises to bring a raft of new technology products, trends and solutions to law practice. From apps to tablets to cloud computing, this short article runs down the legal tech topics you can expect to hear more about this year.
http://thoughtfullaw.com/2010/12/31/top-10-legal-tech-predictions-for-2011/

30 Minutes A Month To A Better Law Practice
If you only spend thirty minutes on practice management and technology this month, spend it listening to The Un-Billable Hour. The Un-Billable Hour covers topics from technology to must-read practice management books to trends that have an impact on the profession as a whole. You can listen on your iPod or right from your computer.
http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/un-billable-hour/

2011 - The Year Of The Tablet Computer
If 2010 was the year of the iPad then 2011 promises to be the year of the tablet. Manufacturers are bringing new tablets to market as fast as possible to get a piece of this technology trend. If Apple is not your cup of tea, this article will help you focus on the best of the rest from Android to BlackBerry and beyond.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375419,00.asp

Speed Up Your Aging Laptop
As much fun as it is to buy shiny new gadgets, sometimes the best technology is the one you already own. This article has a few tips on putting a spring back in the step of your reliable old laptop.
http://lifehacker.com/5727781/how-can-i-speed-up-my-aging-laptop?utm_source=feedburner

JANUARY 2011


Corevault Offering Free Webinars About Clout Computing
Our member benefit provider for off-site data protection, CoreVault, is providing our members with a FREE and LIVE educational webinar to help bring clarity to this growing topic. The Cloud - What is it and why should I use it?
Details and to register - First Webinar on Friday, January 7, 2011.

Supreme Court 2011 End Of The Year Report On The Federal Judiciary
http://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/year-end/2010year-endreport.pdf

I-Pads In The Law Office
Since the big tech item last year was the tablet, most notably the I-Pad, here are some observations on how lawyers can or will find a practical use for these devices...


2010 Tech Sites | 2011 Tech Sites | 2012 Tech Sites