Thursday, June 30, 2011

Watching Appellate Court Hearings As A Learning Tool

A question for fellow family law attorneys: Have you ever watched an appellate court hearing?

If you haven't, you are missing out on an incredible learning opportunity. The process of judicial thinking comes to life as appellate court justices review law and trials after the fact during oral argument. It is hindsight come to life.

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeal has announced that it will be posting videos of oral arguments on its website, and broadcasting some en banc hearings live. Please click here to visit the court's website.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Judge And His iPad

The iPhone J.D. blog has a great guest post from Texas judge Dan Hinde, and how he uses his iPad in and out of court. Please click here for a good read.

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My Vacation iPad Wish List

The family and I just got back from a much needed vacation (we went to Hawaii). I am very fortunate that I can schedule my trips well ahead of time, and I have a great staff that can put out the fires while I am away. That doesn't mean that I allow myself to completely forget about the office. I still log in remotely to check my e-mail, or deal with the rare emergency that requires my attention. My technology of choice for this limited check in burden is my iPad. On my trip I realized I have needs.

When I log in to the office remotely I do so with my iPad's LogMeIn Ignition app. The app includes a little graphic mouse that the user utilizes. LogMeIn people, please make the mouse bigger. Expanding, or zooming, the screen does not make the LogMeIn mouse bigger. It is about half the size of my finger tip, and clicking on it cleanly is a challenge.

While laying on my lounge chair outdoors in the sun, I also realized that glare can be a problem with the iPad screen. My solution? Move under an umbrella. All fixed. But should'nt the Apple's screen engineers be able to create a glareless iPad screen

Moving on: I stayed at Sheraton hotels during my trip. Because of frequent guest privileges I got limited, free wi-fi (saved me $15 per day). There were times though when I was out of wi-fi range, and had to utilize my AT&T data connection. It is very slow. 3G was intermittent, and I found the delays quite annoying (think back to the old days of telephone dial-up). Seems to me that AT&T, Apple, or both should be able to make my $25 per month data connection work better and faster.

Don't get me wrong, the iPad works great, and is a much better alternative for me than lugging a laptop computer around. That does not mean it can't be better.


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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Are You A Droid?

If you have an Android smartphone I have a great blog for you! Check out The Droid Lawyer blog. It is packed with great stuff.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Apple's New Operating System Getting High Praise

When Steve Job speaks people listen. Take his presentation this week, where he introduced Apple's new iCloud service (mentioned on this blog yesterday), and the forthcoming release of operating system iOS 5 for iPhones and iPads. After the announcements come the rumors and speculation. So far word on the street is that iOS 5 rocks. Take, for example, the highly regarded Boy Genius Report:

After two days of use with Apple’s brand new iOS 5 on both an iPhone 4 and iPad 2, I can confidently say that iOS 5 has not only added much-needed features and enhancements, but has pushed Apple’s mobile operating system even further out into the lead ahead of competitors. What’s incredible is that Apple’s first beta release of iOS 5 for developers already runs better than any production BlackBerry or Android OS phone, and in daily use, I haven’t had any major issues at all with the OS. Hit the break some more impressions following my thoughts after day one.

Using iMessages, Apple’s new messaging service, is so simple yet powerful — I’ve been able to talk to over 20 friends, all of whom have loaded up iOS 5, from both my iPhone and iPad seamlessly and effortlessly. Notifications are a major positive as well — I still can’t get over how much more productive I am without being interrupted every 25 seconds. The powerful ability to customize the lock screen however you like ensures that you get the right information you need, and fast.

Even iCloud has worked flawlessly, and it’s in beta, running on a non-final release of OS X Lion, connecting to first beta versions of iOS 5 — it’s ridiculous if you think about how wide the gap is between Apple and its competitors. Photo Stream is, for lack of a better word, magical. Having all of my photos and videos wirelessly, automatically, and effortlessly synced to all devices including computers is fantastic. I also love having my device backed up once a day to iCloud — I don’t have to remember to plug it in, wait for it to sync, and back it up. Additionally, it’s almost a surreal experience to download an app on your iPhone and see it instantly download to your iPad as well, or vice-versa. The same goes for music, iBooks, and more.

Finally, the new accessibility options Apple has included in iOS 5 are nothing short of incredible. You can enable the LED flash to blink during alerts, and you can even create your own custom vibration patterns for specific contacts by tapping out patterns on the display.

Please click here for the original article. Incidentally, BGR is running daily reports on its evolving review of iOS 5. Make sure you check them out.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Device Synching To Get Easier?

For those of us using iPhones or iPads, synching our calendars and contacts with our desktop computers can at times be challenging. I synch my devices with Outlook utilizing Apple's MobileMe service ($99/year). It works most of the time, but not all of time. When it is on the fritz, it is usually at a critical time, like when I am in court!

Well, if Mr. Jobs is to be believed, MobileMe is on the way out, to be replaced by a bigger, better, and cheaper (free!) new service called iCloud. Here is the presss release from Apple:

Apple Introduces iCloud

Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date

SAN FRANCISCO—June 6, 2011—Apple® today introduced iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”

The free iCloud services include:

  • The former MobileMe® services—Contacts, Calendar and Mail—all completely re-architected and rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.
  • The App Store™ and iBookstore℠ now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on. In addition, the App Store and iBookstore now let you see your purchase history, and simply tapping the iCloud icon will download any apps and books to any iOS device (up to 10 devices) at no additional cost.
  • iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, just enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.
  • iCloud Storage seamlessly stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple’s Pages®, Numbers® and Keynote® apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup—which is more amazing since the storage for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Users will be able to buy even more storage, with details announced when iCloud ships this fall.
  • iCloud’s innovative Photo Stream service automatically uploads the photos you take or import on any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers. So you can use your iPhone to take a dozen photos of your friends during the afternoon baseball game, and they will be ready to share with the entire group on your iPad (or even Apple TV®) when you return home. Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto® on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream, since they have more storage. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days, which is plenty of time to connect your devices to iCloud and automatically download the latest photos from Photo Stream via Wi-Fi.
  • iTunes® in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices. In addition, music not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a service that replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if we can match it to the over 18 million songs in the iTunes Store®, it makes the matched music available in minutes (instead of weeks to upload your entire music library), and uploads only the small percentage of unmatched music. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee. Apple today is releasing a free beta version of iTunes in the Cloud, without iTunes Match, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users running iOS 4.3. iTunes in the Cloud will support all iPhones that iOS 5 supports this fall.

Apple is ready to ramp iCloud in its three data centers, including the third recently completed in Maiden, NC. Apple has invested over $500 million in its Maiden data center to support the expected customer demand for the free iCloud services.

Pricing & Availability
The iCloud beta and Cloud Storage APIs are available immediately to iOS and Mac Developer Program members at iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS® X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit. iTunes Match will be available for $24.99 per year (US only).

iTunes in the Cloud is available today in the US and requires iTunes 10.3 and iOS 4.3.3. Automatic download of apps and books is available today. Using iCloud with a PC requires Windows Vista or Windows 7; Outlook 2010 or 2007 is recommended for accessing contacts and calendars.

Here's to hoping iCloud delivers as promised!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Screen Sharing and Online Meetings

Have you ever been on the phone with a client trying to explain to that person something that you are looking at on your computer screen? Have you ever wanted to share your computer screen with someone else? There are lots of services out there for this purpose. The biggest problem for me has always been the substantial cost for something that I have infrequent need for.

Thanks to Lee Rosen at Divorce Discourse I have been introduced to a great screen sharing product called Join Me. There is a free version and a Pro version ($29 per month). I have tested the free product, and I love it. Once your invited guest, or guests, joins you, you can text chat with that person, conduct a telephone conference call via an assigned phone number, and let them view your computer screen.

I like this product. Click here to check it out.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Defense of Twitter

Yes I do spend a lot of time slamming twitter and facebook, particularly when it comes to social media and marketing. There are others who swear by the validity of these technologies. One fan of twitter (whom I have a great deal of respect for) is Carolyn Elefant. She has recently written on her belief in twitter.

According to Carolyn:
Twitter has morphed from a platform for sharing status updates (what are you doing now?) to serving many other functions: a traffic-driver for blogs and other online publications, a source of current events, a way for users to make themselves indispensable to followers with interesting news tidbits and a way to keep in touch with, or joke around with friends.
For this particular article Carolyn focuses on using twitter at professional conferences. She adds:
[G]etting the most out of conferences requires advance work (finding out who will be at the conference and setting up meetings) and follow-up (sending "nice to meet you cards or emails" and keeping in touch). Moreover, if I'm able to speak at the conference, I'm likely to have more visibility and make more contacts than if I simply attend. Pre and post-conference legwork can be time consuming, while snagging a speaking engagement is a crap-shoot. But Twitter can help with all of these activities
Perhaps I am being overly critical. Please click here to read Carolyn's article, and to get a positive perspective on social media.

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Solo nets Supreme Court win!

I know this has nothing to do with technology, but I think it is pretty cool. Andrew Simpson is a sole practitioner in the U.S. Virgin Is...