On this episode of The Geek In Review, Tom O’Connor, Independent Litigation Technology Consultant, talks to us about his recent blog post, What in the Wide World of Sports is Going on at ILTA?
In addition to ILTA’s woes, Tom covers other issues regarding member associations, and how new entries into the legal vendor market are changing the vendor-customer relationship… and not for the better.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 7 – Tom O’Connor Wonders What’s Going on at ILTA

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few years, you may have wondered what happened to Ryan. Until about a month ago, I had only written 2 or 3 posts in the last 2 and a half years.  If you check my work history on LinkedIn, you’ll see that my dearth of writing coincides with my departure from a large law firm and entry into the vendor space.

In a large firm I was busy, but I could focus on the things in front of me knowing that all the other business pieces were taken care of. In my free time, I could write on 3 Geeks regularly. In a startup/small tech company, everyone wears a lot of hats. I traveled a lot, I did marketing, business development, product testing, and I built solutions for clients. If I wrote, it was usually web content for the company, or thought pieces for publication. Writing for the blog was complicated, because I always felt compelled to write about my company’s products or solutions and I never wanted to take advantage of 3 Geeks to advertise. What changed in the last month, you ask?  Well, I quit my job. Continue Reading Introducing Sente

On this week’s episode, Greg speaks the couple of words of French he learned on vacation.

Marlene talks about mentor/mentee relationships and Sheryl Sandberg’s discussion on how the #MeToo era places an external strain on promoting these relationships. Marlene touches on the three founders of Black Women Talk Tech, Esosa Ighodaro, Regina Gwynn, and Lauren Washington, as well as Sophia Amouruso and others on the importance of mentoring.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 6 – Law Librarian Helps Streamline a Texas Court

The final assignment for one of my college theory courses was to write at least 32 bars of music for 4 voices, containing 3 key and 2 time signature changes, that demonstrated 6 of 10 special techniques that we’d been taught, all while adhering to the standard rules of 4-part harmony.  And rather than simply writing it out and turning it in, we had to perform it in front of the class.

We were given the final assignment halfway through the course to ensure that we had plenty of time to complete it.  The last week of class was entirely devoted to performing our assignments. Some people played their pieces on piano.  Some dragged string or brass quartets into class. My best friend did his as a barbershop quartet.

The performances were good – most of the class were talented musicians – but the compositions were mostly ‘exercise-like’.  I hate academic exercises. I did then and I do now. I need work to have purpose and meaning beyond simply ‘that’s the assignment’. So while most students stood up and said something like, “this is my final assignment, it was really hard, I’m not a composer, please be nice to me”, I took a very different approach. I went to the front of the class and said something like this…

Our reluctant hero, a young peasant Boy, is approaching the end of his quest. He and his travel companion, an aging Wizard who has mentored the boy throughout their journey, stand on a bluff overlooking a lush green valley.  At the opposite end of the valley is the gleaming city where the Boy’s quest will finally come to an end. The Boy, eager to complete his quest, struggles to contain his excitement, but the Wizard motions for the Boy to come sit by his side.  The Wizard sings…

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #4

Capture d’écran de Musescore 1.2 utilisé sous KDE

When I first moved to NY, I wrote all my music out by hand.  I’d buy staff paper with the lines pre-drawn, and I’d fill in clefs, time signatures, key signatures, measures, notes, etc.  This worked great, except that it was extremely time consuming, labor intensive, and my music notation was almost as bad as my handwriting, so even I had trouble reading it.  Thankfully, at about the same time, affordable music notation programs were coming on the market and surprise surprise, I was an early adopter.  These programs connected a PC or Mac to a keyboard using the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and frankly, there were more than a few bugs in the system.

It was not uncommon for me to spend all day, playing music into the computer, reformatting, spacing it just right, and meticulously editing lyrics, only to have the program crash right before I took a break for dinner.  Just like working in word processors of the time, I learned to save my work often, but unlike word processors, saving work was not necessarily an indication that I could actually retrieve my work later. The midi files would often become corrupted at which point, none of my work was salvageable.

The first few tens of times this happened, I was completely dejected. All of my time and effort was wasted.  My brilliant compositions were lost forever, sacrificed to the fickle and wicked gods of MIDI.  I cursed the software, the computer, the keyboard, and myself for being such a lazy composer.  Mozart never had notation software, and he seemed to do okay.  Every time this happened I would sulk for a while, have stiff drink or two, and start all over again the next day.

Over time I began to notice a pattern emerging.  The work that took me all day to do the day before, only took half a day to complete the second time around, and in the process of recreating my earlier work, I invariably streamlined, simplified, and generally created something markedly better than I had done the day before.  This was universal.  I never once ended up with a worse piece of music having lost my original to MIDI corruption. Over time I came to relish in these opportunities.  I would rock up to dinner with friends, beaming with satisfaction and when they asked why I was so happy, I’d say “I lost all the music I wrote today to corrupt MIDI files.”  Needless to say, they thought I was nuts, but in my experience lost to corruption meant that I was going to create something even better the next day.

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #3

It took us a week to recover from all the fun in Baltimore, but here’s a review of some of the highlights of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Conference.

We’ll discuss some of the things we learned from our fellow information professionals and other presenters at the conference. Such as: Continue Reading Podcast Episode 5: AALL Review, Vendor Product Launches, Privacy, and John Waters

Once upon a time

In my second year of college I started an independent study course with an associate professor to learn music composition.  I’d had years of study, and I figured I knew just about everything there was to know about the theory of music by that point.  I regularly spent hours in the practice room catacombs writing through-composed rock operas that would one day fill arenas of people all singing along.  I didn’t really need composition lessons, but I figured, what the hell, I’m good at this. I’ll get an assignment day one, turn it around in an hour and spend the rest of the week writing my own stuff.  Easy A.

On day one, I showed up and the professor asked me to play some of my music, so he could understand where I was in my development as a composer.  I played a handful of my latest hits.  These were pieces that all of my friends loved.  One was raucous and loud, with a catchy melody and wild bluesy piano riffs.  One was sweet and quiet, and guaranteed to make every girl’s mother cry.  Some were upbeat and fun, and some were boisterous and stirring.  I chose these pieces to show off my range of styles and emotions.

The professor was very complimentary.  It clearly wasn’t the kind of music he wrote or listened to, but he could appreciate my passion and recognized that I had talent.  He thought about it for a moment and said, “Okay, here’s your assignment for the week, I want you to write a melody.”

“Great, yep.  Any particular style?  Time signature?  Key?”

“Nope, I don’t care about any of that. But I want it to be a single stand-alone melody of at least 32 bars.”

“Cool, uh huh.  Got it. Can do.”

“Using only two intervals.”

I swear someone in the other room pulled a needle across a record at that very moment.

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #2

via Giphy

When I was a young man, I hated practicing the piano.  Beethoven. Haydn. Schumann. Boring. And truth be told, I was never a very good pianist, but I loved playing the piano.  I would sit and play for hours, not any written music mind you, I was just exploring the keyboard, trying different combinations, listening to the various harmonies and dissonances that I could create.  My mother tells horror stories of hours of the same 4 chords played with slight variation, over and over and over again and again and again until she would scream, “Don’t you have some MUSIC to practice?”

My piano teacher knew I was never going to be a great pianist, but in the fifth grade she made a deal with me.  For every great masterwork I learned, I could create my own.  From that moment on, I always played two pieces at each recital.  One boring piece some dead white European guy (DWEG) wrote, and one brilliant original McClead composition. Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #1

The United States military is the most formidable fighting force in the history of warfare, and the rightful birthplace of SNAFU, FUBAR, BOHICA, etc. Jordan’s Bulls were teams for the ages, and a hostile work environmentBreaking Bad is a crowning artistic achievement, and a show whose writers regularly painted themselves into ridiculous narrative cornersEvery institution, no matter how venerable, looks like a goat rodeo from the inside.

As we pass the year’s mid-point, I’ve had the good fortune to conduct more site visits at law firms and law departments. And, as always, I’ve attended an obscene number of conferences [at one right now]. I’ve seen quite a bit and heard even more. Overall, I’m optimistic. An admittedly skewed sample of major industry players are moving in directions I applaud (confirmation bias is only a few degrees away from social proof). But the inescapable conclusion from gaining visibility into so many organizations is that everyone—and I mean everyone, me included—has plenty of room for improvement. Those who refuse to concede their imperfections, even in private, are doing the industry a disservice. Continue Reading The Legal Department Goat Rodeo

On this episode of The Geek In Review, Marlene Gebauer interviews Ayelette Robinson about her transition from KM Attorney to award-winning actress and voice-over specialist. Ayelette discusses how acting isn’t about “pretending” but rather it’s about showing our real selves and injecting our own unique perspectives.

Marlene discusses the five training modules on security awareness. Technology and security all go hand-in-hand. But it wasn’t all work. Somehow Marlene discusses not one, but two articles regarding technology, ethics, and individuality. Both straight out of fashion magazines.

 

 

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 4: Understanding How to Place the Focus on Others