The Best of TECHSHOW – Tablet and Smartphone Apps

This is another post from my “best of” ABA TECHSHOW series.  Today  – supercool apps for tablets and smartphones.

Build a Visual Timeline

BeeDocs  – This app turns a dull timeline into an engaging 3D/multimedia presentation.  Chart dates, times, amounts, distances, prices, quantities – just about anything – in a visually appealing format to help clients (or jurors) better understand historical events.  Publish to the Web, create presentations, or add a visual timeline to a PDF.

Settlement Apps

Picture It Settled – Helps parties evaluate cases with probabilistic scenarios.  Draws on historically successful negotiating rounds to help users plot successful negotiation moves.  Uses the Settlement Prophet™ application to project when the parties are likely to settle and the amount of the settlement.

Scanning on the Go

Genius Scan, Scanner Pro, Text Grabber – Scan, crop, straighten, organize, and share images or documents quickly and easily by e-mail or through cloud services like Dropbox and Evernote.

158_iPhone_img3World Card – Capture business cards and sort them automatically by name, company, position, address, phone number, e-mail address and other fields.  Exports to address book – no more entering information manually.

Office Suite Productivity

OfficeSuite Pro 7 (Android only) and QuickOfficePro (Android and iOS) – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF for mobile users.

CloudOn – The full power of applications like Microsoft Office®, the convenience of cloud storage and more—all in your very own workspace in the cloud. Best mobile app for redlining/tracked changes.

iPadObjectTimekeeping

iTimeKeep – Enter time from anywhere, securely access matters back at the office, apply billing codes to time entries, run spell check.  Free trial version available from the App store.

Presentation Apps

Haiku Deck and SlideShark – Solid choices for presentation apps. Haiku Deck impresses with amazing images.  SlideShark is ideal for conversion of PowerPoint slides created on your desktop.

PDF and File Management Appsgr-icon-96

PDF Expert – Simple PDF conversion and markup. Integrates with Dropbox.  Easy to use signature feature, compatible with fillable forms.  Goodreader – The “Swiss Army Knife” of PDF readers with the ability to replicate desktop file management and structures.

Notetaking on the Fly

OneNote Mobile (free for up to 500 notes), Notability (syncs with Dropbox), Penultimate (syncs with Evernote), and Noteshelf (file notes into different books, download templates and themes including planners, grid paper, stationery, and more.)

Security Apps

1PasswordPro – 1Password will securely store your important information and automatically log you in to Web sites with a single tap.  No need to remember your username, password, or even the Web site address.

Lookout – Virus protection, backup, and location of your missing device.

Thanks to

Tom Mighell, James Province, Jeffrey Taylor, Ben Schorr, Dan Pinnington, and
Mark I. Unger for all the great apps!

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

The Best of TECHSHOW – Tips and Tricks

Every year the ABA TECHSHOW brings together some of the best legal technology minds our profession has to offer.  This year was no exception.  Over the next few posts I’ll share what I learned at this year’s conference.  Today: the best of 60 Tips in 60 Minutes.

Microsoft Office

Office Ribbon getting in the way? 

Use Ctrl F1 to toggle it off (and on).

View recently opened documents in Word with a quick right click

Want to see the most recently opened items in Word?  Right click on the Word icon on your desktop.  A list of recently opened items appears (whether Word is launched or not.)

Recover unsaved Word 2010/2013 documents or Excel 2010/2013 Workbooks

If your computer crashes and you haven’t saved your document or spreadsheet, act fast to recover your document. In Word or Excel 2010/2013, select File > Info > Manage Versions to recover your unsaved documents.

Print a blank Outlook calendar

A blank Outlook calendar can be handy for coordinating with others, but how can you print one that doesn’t show scheduled court dates, client appointments, or other events?  Easy!  The steps vary according to your version of Outlook.  Here are links to the instructions: Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013.

imagesReveal a sender’s full e-mail address

Sometimes e-mail messages only show the sender’s name.  If you want to see the full e-mail address, follow these steps:  In the blue message header, mouse over the name, right click, choose properties > show full e-mail address.

Need a system to follow-up on sent e-mails? 

Here are two approaches.

Option 1 – Create a “Waiting For” folder in Outlook

Drag e-mails that require a follow-up to this destination. If desired, add a “code” to the body of your message like “wff” (Waiting For Folder).  Create an Outlook rule that looks for this code and auto-files the messages that contain it in the Waiting For Folder.

Option 2 – The cc: method

Set up a “Delegated Mail” folder in Outlook.  Copy yourself on all e-mails that require a follow-up.  Create an Outlook rule that checks messages when they arrive, looks for your name as the sender and for your name in the cc: box.  Direct the rule to file messages that meet this criteria in a “Delegated Mail” folder.

Eliminate long, redundant e-mail threads

In Outlook 2010/2013, delete redundant e-mail strings by using “Clean Up a Conversation.”  The clean up function removes the prior e-mails and keeps only the most recent message – which has the entire thread.

How about a handy shortcut to an e-mail address? 

Create one right on your desktop.  Right click, select New > Shortcut.  In the “Create Shortcut” dialog box, type mailto: and the desired e-mail address. For example: mailto:joesmith@gmail.com (leave no spaces between the colon and the e-mail address). Click Finish.  You can now send an e-mail to Joe directly from your desktop without launching Outlook.

Never forget an attachment again

Download CodeTwo and never forget an e-mail attachment again.  This free download looks for keywords in the body of your e-mail like “enclosed” and “attached” and reminds you to add an attachment before your e-mail is sent.

Bloated e-mail inbox?

Clean it up with Outlook’s cleanup tools.  Choose File > Info > Cleanup Tools.  Choose Mailbox Cleanup… to manage the size of your mailbox with advanced tools, empty deleted items permanently, or move old items to an archive folder.

Disabling “reply to all” or “forwarding”

To prevent clients from forwarding e-mails or using “reply to all” inappropriately use this workaround to disable the functionality.  Yes, a persistent user can still “copy and paste” the body of your e-mail into a new message, but disabling forwarding or “reply to all” tends to stop 99% of perpetrators.

Work with clients or collaborate with colleagues in a different time zone?

Follow these easy steps to add a second time zone to your calendar in Outlook.

Open Your Mail and Calendar in Separate Windows

It can be annoying to toggle back and forth between your mail and other components of Outlook.  From anywhere in Outlook’s Navigation pane (Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes) right click on the second Outlook item you wish to view and choose “Open in new window.”

Security and Privacy

Looking for a secure flash drive?

Here are three good options: Imation Defender F200 Biometric, Aegis Secure Key, CMS Secure Vault FIPS.

Computer Screen Privacy

Keep prying eyes off your computer screen with PrivateEye from Oculis. Using facial recognition, the software instantly blurs your monitor if you leave your desk or turn away.

Wish you could monitor your servers remotely?

lockYou can with PC Monitor.  Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod. Free for non-commercial use.

Secure external hard drives

Just as flash drives should be encrypted or protected with biometrics, lawyers should take similar precautions to secure external hard drives.  Here are three choices:   Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive, Aegis Padlock, CMS Secure Disk Vault.

That Pesky Facebook

If you love connecting with friends and family on Facebook, but are worried about who might have access to your data, check out MyPermissions. Sign up to receive alerts when a Facebook app gains access to your personal information.

Productivity

Addicted to multiple monitors and wish you had one for the road?

You can with the portable Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 14″ widescreen LED travel monitor.  Available on Amazon for under $200.

Looking for a fast, simple solution for installing apps on your new computer?

Try Ninite – directly download the most commonly used Web apps with no muss, no fuss.

proMeet the new scanner on the block

Everyone knows about the Fujitsu Scansnap s1500, but meet the new and improved kid on the block:  the Fujitsu Scansnap iX500. Bundled with Adobe Acrobat Standard, supports scanning to iOS and Android devices, improved resolution, and improved paper handling.  A work horse for under $500.  Ideal for most solos or as a supplementary scanner deployed at workstations throughout your office.

Stop carpal tunnel in its tracks

To avoid carpal tunnel, your keyboard must be appropriately positioned for your use. 3M offers quality keyboard trays that do the trick for around $160.

Why is your fillable form blank?

To “lock in” the contents of a fillable form, you must flatten the PDF.  Here’s how in Acrobat 9.  In Acrobat X or later, use an action.

Tip Grab Bag

Shopping for the best cloud service to backup your data?imagesCAVCNTYX

Visit Backup Review or follow the site on Twitter @backupreview – new reviews daily.

Splash happens.  Want to waterproof your iPhone?

Not a bad idea since water damage voids the warranty.  Try Liquipel.

Are you on LinkedIn

Did you know that you can reposition the components of your LinkedIn profile to feature preferred content? By default, Experience, Skills & Expertise, and Education appear “below the fold” after Activity and Background.  If you prefer a different sort order, simply drag and drop.

Many thanks to the 60 Tips in 60 Minutes presenters for all these great ideas

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

The Best Scanner for a Small Law Office

A very kind reader of this blog pointed out recently that while I have written about paperless offices many times, I have never recommended a specific scanner (at least in this forum).  So let me offer my far from original opinion:  If you are looking for a stout, reliable, fast, sheetfed duplex color scanner, you would be hard pressed to do better than the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500.  Just check out these reviews from CNet and PC Magazine, if you don’t believe me.  Many legal technology writers have recommended this champ of a scanner, which comes bundled with Acrobat X Standard.

How much, you ask?  The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $495.  This includes the scanner and the software valued at just under $300.  (A full copy of Acrobat X Standard is $299.  A full copy of Acrobat X Pro is $449, but if you buy the Scansnap which comes bundled with Standard you qualify for the Pro upgrade price at a cost of $199.  For a total investment of $694, you can own Acrobat X Pro and one of the best scanners on the market for a small law office.)

If you acquire a Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 and upgrade to Acrobat X Pro, learn how to install it and learn how to use Acrobat.  By visiting the Acrobat X Pro page, you can find links to the Acrobat blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Adobe TV, Acrobat User Community, and more.  Training is available here and be sure to check out the tutorials.  All these resources are free.  Of course my favorite resource for Acrobat users in the law office is the Acrobat for Legal Professionals Blog where, among other things, you can learn how to use your ScanSnap.

Ready to Buy?

Simply Googling the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 brought up the following ads:

All are less than Fujitsu’s retail price of $495.  Why might that be?  There are legitimate bargains out there, but be careful.  A savings of $50-150 can sometimes be explained by:

  • Hidden shipping costs (your bargain disappears as you go through the ordering process and realize how expensive shipping will be.)
  • Fine print (the scanner is refurbished, not new.)
  • Old stock (the retailer is trying to move a prior iteration of the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500, which came bundled with Acrobat 9 Standard.)

If you don’t mind buying refurbished or getting a bundle with older software because you intend to upgrade regardless, then forge ahead – just be an informed buyer.  I like to use Google Shopper or Pricegrabber to price compare.  There are mobile apps for both or just go to the Pricegrabber Web site.  The same caveats apply, however.

Happy scanning!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

Use Your Cell Phone to Swipe Credit Cards

Here’s an interesting idea.  Several vendors are now offering small credit card scanners that plug into your cell phone.  For a small fee, you can turn your phone into a credit card processing terminal. 

The service is offered by PayPal, Intuit, VeriFone, Square and others.  Apple is working on a cell phone payment system.  Read more in this New York Times Business/Technology article.

Thanks for the heads-up Laura Calloway!

Copyright 2010 Beverly Michaelis