Which do you prefer – Apple iOS’s Siri or Google Now? My friend Jeff Richardson took an in-depth look at the two and discussed the pros and cons at iPhone J.D. I’m curious to hear which my readers prefer and why. Take a look at Jeff’s excellent article and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
About a year and half ago, I asked whether attorneys gave any thought as to why they use a particular font. After all, lawyers are hired to advocate their clients’ positions as effectively as possible. Fonts transmit the written word, and they are a daily part of most lawyers’ lives, whether they realize it or not. That article discussed Equity from Matthew Butterick, which is still my font of choice. Matthew has recently released a new font, Concourse, and I asked him to write the following post to introduce it to my readers:
As I told Ben in my last guest post, it took me a while to come around to the idea that lawyers had enough special typographic requirements to merit the design of a new text family. But once I did, the result was Equity, a font tailored for the needs of legal writers.
Given its design brief, I was prepared for the idea that Equity would find an audience that was enthusiastic but small. To my surprise, however, the audience has been enthusiastic and large. So to those of you who have bought Equity, my sincere thanks — your support of good typography makes my work possible.
Predictably, Equity customers were soon asking me what sans serif face would work best with it. I referred them to the Typography for Lawyers book & website for ideas.
But I had another idea too. Before I started work on Equity, I had drawn sketches of a sans serif that was inspired by classic sans serifs of the 1920s and ’30s. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I set it aside. But once I finished Equity, I saw that it would work well as a sans serif companion. I picked up the sketches again, finished the family, and have now released it as Concourse.
With Concourse, I relied on many lessons learned while designing Equity. For instance, Concourse can set long blocks of text in an efficient amount of space. Concourse has separate fonts containing the small caps, so it’s easy to use them. Concourse is available under a liberal per-person licensing system.
But sans serifs are used in more design contexts than serif text fonts. So Concourse is actually a bigger and more diverse family than Equity. It comes in six weights, from thin to black. It includes a large complement of figures, fractions, and alternate alphabetic characters. You can see the whole Concourse family deployed in the PDF type specimen.
Concourse comes into two packages. Concourse Standard includes all 18 styles ($180 for a one-person license). Concourse Basic, includes the nine styles most likely to be useful in legal writing, like briefs and letters ($90 for a one-person license). You can order these on the Typography for Lawyers website. (You can also get Equity together with either Concourse package at a discount.
About the Author: Matthew Butterick is an attorney, designer, and writer in Los Angeles. He is the author of the website and book Typography for Lawyers (Jones McClure Publishing).
Although Macs are already very secure, there are steps that you can take to lock down your system. The ten following tips will help ensure that your system is as safe and secure as possible:
- Enable Firewall :: Although there may be better firewalls out there, the one built into your Mac is sufficient for most peoples needs. To enable it, open System Preferences, select the Security & Privacy pane, select the firewall tab, and make select the ‘Turn On’ button. (Note: If this is greyed out select the lock at bottom to enable the settings.)
- Encrypt With FileVault :: FileVault is a built in app with the roots of you operating system. It encrypts your data on the fly, this means that any data you store is inaccessible if the drive is removed and read from another computer. This is very useful if your Mac is stolen and the hard drive removed in order to retrieve the data. To turn it on, open System Preferences > Security & Privacy tab and select the ‘Turn On’ button on the FileVault tab. Be aware of two potential issues: (a) it slows your Mac down when read and writing to your disk and (b) you can’t decrypt your data if you forget your password.
- Keep Software Up To Date :: One of the simplest things you can do to keep your Mac secure is to keep its software up to data, especially with security updates and Java updates. The app store will automatically tell you when updates are available. Each software updates fixes bugs and holes in your system, so it needs to have the latest software patches to provide maximum security.
- Allow Apps From Trusted Sources :: Apple’s OS X now includes a system application called GateKeeper, which ensures applications come from trusted sources. All applications from the app store are signed to ensure they are safe. Most 3rd party apps which are not sold on the app store are signed by trusted developers. Therefore, you should consider enabling at least the second option to protect yourself from untrusted apps.
- Disable Java :: Java is full of security holes, and it is generally a pain to ensure that it doesn’t compromise your system. If you don’t use Java, turn it off. To turn it off, open up the web browser preferences you use. In Safari go to Preferences > Security, and uncheck the ‘Enable Java’ tab.
- Use A Non Admin Account :: One of the less obvious tricks to ensure you have the best security for your Mac is to use a non-admin account. If you create a normal user account for yourself, you will still be able to do all the things you need to, but there is an added layer of security to stop any rouge or damaging applications from running. To generate a new account, open System Preferences, select the Users & Groups pane, select the little plus button at the bottom of the list, add a new ‘Standard’ account. While it might be a pain to swap over all of your files from an admin account to a normal user account, the security benefits are usually worth it.
- Disable Automatic Login :: If you travel with your MacBook Pro, you might consider disabling automatic login. This will stop anyone from starting your Mac and easily getting access to your files. Within login options of the Users & Groups preference pane, ensure the automatic login drop down box is set to ‘Off’. This ensures you have to type a password to gain access to your user account.
- Require A Password On Wake/Screen Saver :: You ought to also consider setting a password to unlock your computer when it wakes up. This means that no one can access your sleeping Mac without a password. This security setting is enabled from the Security & Privacy pane from within System Preferences. Enable the check box to require a password after sleep or disabling the screen saver. You can also have your Mac log you out automatically if you leave it Mac unattended for too long.
- Disable Location Services :: This security tip also falls under the privacy umbrella. Location services tells certain applications where you are based on the GPS chip within your Mac. This means that your Mac can be pin pointed from anywhere on the globe. If you don’t want people knowing where you are you can disable this feature. Open Security & Privacy from System Preferences. Select the Privacy tab. The top option from the sidebar should be an option labelled ‘Location Services’. Uncheck the box that says ‘Enabled Location Services’. If you don’t have a device that has location service enabled, such as an iPhone or iPad, you should be ok. I don’t like it enabled as it can tell too many people where I am.
- Secure Empty Trash :: The last security tip is regarding emptying the Trash. When you delete any file only the pointer to the file is remove. This means the bits and bytes that make up the file are still present on your hard disk. If some clever apps you can actually read this data and rebuild the file. For the added security when deleting files use the Finder > Secure Empty Trash, menu bar option. This will overwrite the files with blank data so the original files cannot be recovered.
A few years ago, I conducted a similar poll, and I am curious to see which browsers my readers prefer in 2013. Please take a moment to vote below, and I invite you to use the Comments below to state the reasons for your preference. Thanks.
Circus Ponies NoteBook is a unique productivity tool that can be used in many different ways. My good friend, Kern Lewis, a trial attorney in Grapevine, TX, has used this program for several years to help organize his cases and present them at trial.
Kern recent conducted an hour long webinar to demonstrate his techniques, and he was kind enough to record it and allow me to share it with my readers. I have uploaded the video to YouTube, which you can view here or below.
Kern has also been generous enough to share his NoteBook template referenced in the video. You can get your own copy of Kern’s sample template by emailing me and asking for it.
I want to extend my heartiest thanks to Kern for his time and effort in producing this video and also for his willingness to allow me to share it with my readers. If you are interested in learning more about Kern’s practice, I encourage you to visit his firm’s website WarriorsForJustice.com.
It’s no secret that attorneys are sometimes slow to embrace technology. However, the rise of mobile technology appears to be lessening the “resistance.” An ever-increasing number of lawyers are using iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices, and most of them are integrating this technology into their practices, as shown in the following infographic:
Thanks to Matt Spiegel and the folks at MyCase for creating this infographic and for allowing me to republish it on my blog.
More and more lawyers today are realizing that iPads can increase their productivity. I use my iPad mini in my practice on a daily basis. In fact, it’s become such a useful tool that I cannot even imagine practicing without it. The attached photo shows the home screen on my iPad mini, so you can see which apps I use on a regular basis (for those who are curious).
- Why should an attorney get an iPad?
- Which model should you get?
- Which accessories do you need?
- Which apps are most helpful?
If you are contemplating these questions (and you’re probably not alone), you’re in luck. Two of the most knowledgeable guys on this topic have written articles that address these (and other) questions:
- “Advice for Lawyers New to the iPad” by Jeff Richardson
- “The Basics of the Lawyer’s iPad“ by Jim Calloway.
These articles cover the basics, and I highly recommend reading them. Once you have done so, you really ought to consider taking the plunge – you won’t regret it. If any of my readers have questions or wish to comment on their iPad experiences, please fell free to do so below.
Have you ever struggled with when to purchase a new product from Apple? Should you hold out for the latest and greatest iDevice in hopes that it might be released in the very near future? Should you hold out for a deal, or does it make sense to go ahead and purchase now while prices seem reasonable? If you decide to wait, how long should you wait?
If this sounds like you, worry no more. The folks over at DealNews have analyzed over a year’s worth of data and compiled the infographic below, which identifies the lowest prices during Apple’s model’s product cycle, to help you better strategize your next Apple purchase.
Source: ”Price Trends: When to Buy a Mac” by Louis Ramirez, published at DealNews.
I am quickly approaching my three year anniversary of practicing law, and I finally had the opportunity to attend the much acclaimed ABA TECHSHOW at the Chicago Hilton last week (April 4-6, 2013). I have heard about this conference since my very first semester of law school, and being somewhat of a techno-geek myself, I had always been very curious about it. In fact, during my first few months of practice, I was lucky enough to pick the brain of one of my mentors, Lee Rosen, Esq. from North Carolina, and I asked him of all the ABA conferences, if I could only attend one within my first five years of practice, which was the most important for me to save my money and attend? His answer? “Without a doubt, TECHSHOW.”
When my husband, Ben Stevens (a.k.a. The Mac Lawyer, a frequent speaker at TechShow over the last several years) and I married last year, he was excited to tell me all about how wonderful TECHSHOW was and how much we would enjoy attending together this Spring. And yet, even with such tremendous recommendations prefacing my first experience, I was still surprised, and even a bit overwhelmed, by just how beneficial (and profitable) the experience turned out to be. Rest assured that I am still digesting all that I learned, but here are just a few of my initial impressions:
- ABA Guide for Planning your First Trip to TechShow :: The ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board created a special website guide for First Time Attendees which included sections such as: Planning; Selecting Your Sessions; Arrival; Networking; and After. Each section was packed with all the secrets to getting to most out of your experience and trust me, the secrets were worth knowing prior to arrival (such as where to sit to get access to power strips and how to get free drink tickets for the Welcome Reception). From the moment I arrived at the Chicago Hilton, I spent much of the first 24 hours in a state of awe. I was not only in awe of the Hilton itself but also at the multitude of choices presented to me that would allow me to customize my experience to my practice and my interests. In other words, the insider’s guide was a god-send.
- Superb Educational Sessions :: This year’s sessions offered something for everyone, from social media to Android devices to Maximizing your PC and, my personal favorite, the Mac Track. I spent Day One learning about Social Media, E-Discovery, and Paperless Office Strategies, and I walked away with pages of notes on things I have already started to implement in my family law practice. In addition to the resources I discovered, I was able to network with several of the speakers, including the author of several ABA books, Mark Rosch, and current and past ABA Board Members Jim Calloway, Randy Juip, Lincoln Mead, and Brett Burney. I spent Day Two focused in the Mac Track. As some may know, I’m a recent PC-to-Mac convert, so this Track of 4 sessions was exactly what I needed to learn from the ground up just how to make my new Mac family of products work for me in the most profitable ways possible.
- Two Words…EXPO HALL! :: Most people who know me know that I love office supplies – more specifically, I love a good pen – and the Expo Hall was like my own personal Disneyland when it came to free pens and other office items. The variety of vendors showcased was astonishing for this first-timer, but I wasted no time making the rounds, shaking hands, asking questions, and watching lots of demos of the best legal technology has to offer. My favorite swag? My Rocket Matter spaceship (a perfect tool for breaking up the busy work day); my SurePayroll Magic 8 Ball (for when a client asks a really tough question); and my FastCase “Kiss My App” t-shirt (both for comfort and for turning heads).
- Taste of TECHSHOW Dinners :: By far, the best networking opportunity of the entire conference was this dinner. Not only do you get to enjoy a wonderful meal at one of Chicago’s best restaurants, you have the opportunity to meet and dine with several other TECHSHOW attendees who share similar interests. For example, I attended the “Mac Dinner” and had the opportunity to spend much of the evening discussing how to better use my Mac with Larry Staton, a Sr. Software Engineer with Hendrick Automotive and other Mac-loving attorneys from all across the U.S. and Canada.
When you’re making your plans to attend next year, be sure to check with your state’s Practice Management Advisor to see if they are offering a SuperPass. I was able to attend this year while saving a chunk of change by signing up for the SC Bar SuperPass, which reduced my registration cost significantly and linked me with several other South Carolina attendees to jump start my networking opportunities. I could go on and on, but it’s really better just to experience TECHSHOW for yourself. If anything, I’m not sure it’s possible to recommend this conference enough. Even if you’re fairly “techy” to start, I guarantee you will walk away with new knowledge and, more importantly, new contacts from across the national legal community. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to TECHSHOW 2014, and I hope to see you there.
There are some conferences that are just too good to sum up in a few words (or even a few paragraphs), and ABA TECHSHOW 2013 is one of them. Nevertheless, I will try to relay some of my thoughts for those who were not able to make it.
There are basically three things that make TECHSHOW my favorite conference every year:
- Education :: The CLE sessions offered are second to none when it comes to technology. I know a fair amount about legal technology, but I never fail to pick up several helpful tips here that I can implement immediately to improve my practice. I will be sharing some of them with my readers over the coming weeks. I want to acknowledge the hard work that track leader Randy Juip put into planning the Mac Track this year, as it was very well attended and extremely well received. Also, the plenary session from Sharon Nelson and John Simek about tracking the “Craig’s List Killer” was captivating, and David Pogue‘s keynote was amazingly entertaining.
- Vendors :: Both portions of the Expo Hall were filled to capacity with vendors offering all sorts of programs, apps, hardware, and anything else you could possibly imagine. We spent several hours in the Expo Hall this year, and we saw some very interesting items. TECHSHOW is unique in that you can often speak directly with the developers of these programs, and many times they will give me a sneak peek into their upcoming releases. Some of ones that I was most impressed by were Rocket X1 and LitSoftware‘s TrialPad and TranscriptPad.
- Friends :: Last but certainly not least, TECHSHOW provides me with a chance to spend quality time with some of my good friends, whether sitting with them in CLE sessions, having lunch or dinner, chatting in the Expo Hall, etc. Because they are scattered all across the country (and the world), it is difficult to see them as often as I’d like, so I really treasure opportunities like this. There are simply too many of them to name here, but they know who they are.
I’m already looking forward to TECHSHOW 2014, and it can’t get here soon enough.