[Image (CC) by xxrobot]

In last week’s Elephant Post, we asked what software you hated to use at work. So, this week we modified the question a bit and asked what software would you like to use at work, but for multiple reasons (most of which probably begin with the initials IT), cannot use.

The consistent answer was “something that makes my life easier.” Now, really, is that too much to ask for?? (Apparently, it is.)

Take a look at what the contributors had to offer, and if you didn’t have a chance to chime in with your favorite “non-authorized” software/hardware that you’d love to use at work.

Elaine Knecht
Smart Software

As my friend the software developer says… … I want to use the software that does what I MEAN instead of what I tell it do do!
Jennifer Stephens
Librarian & Geek
Movie editing software, MacBook Pro, iPad

Movie editing software – wouldn’t it be great to make short “how to” videos for new associates/summer associates?
MacBook Pro – lots of power, battery life, simple OS. My newer MBP also has Windows 7 installed inside of Fusion (virtualization software).
iPad – wouldn’t it be great to have a lightweight tablet to carry with me, to field reference questions or show services on the fly? I could go to the attorneys’ offices to say, “look at the new…” (No, I don’t own an iPad. Just two MacBook Pros, an iPod, and an iPhone 4.)
Cyndy M
Law Firm Marketing Technologist

The much ballyhooed “single Sign-on” concept was a unicorn, a myth.
With every application and website requiring a login, I need a handy way to automate the process. This tool manages my passwords, logins and form fields.  Thank you, Roboform.
Greg Lambert
Library/Records Guy
Something Google-Doc-ish

I’d love to have some type of collaborative software that works as well as Google Docs, but is securely behind the firewall of the firm. I’ve worked an a number of projects with external folks using Google Docs and found it to be amazing in getting everyone on the same page (literally) and usually while discussing it on a conference call, we’ve been able to get hours of work accomplished in a matter of minutes. If we had something behind the firewall, I could get those inside the organization to collaborate in an easy and SECURE way.
Megan Wiseman
Law Librarian

I admit my academic side is showing in this opinion but I felt I had to answer this week’s question after sharing my software woes last week.
In a nutshell: I miss having chat reference.
Currently I’d estimate that about half the emails I send back and forth and maybe a third of the calls I get regarding reference requests could easily be replaced by a quick IM.  I know of companies that use “chat” software to facilitate communication when e-mail is just plain overkill, so it is possible to roll something like this out in a corporate setting…  but I’m just not sure how well it would work in my firm.  I can see drawbacks and benefits productivity-wise as well as the problem of having one more piece of technology to fold into people’s work style.  But I miss not having to say “now can you spell that?” and being able to instead just copy and paste the name/citation/address/whatnot into my Google bar right from the chat window.
Saskia Mehlhorn
F&I Librarian

I think it is an excellent tool to bring training sessions  to the student and faculty (and anyone else who uses our website) so they can use it when they have a need for it and not just when we are physically available.
We could use it for all types of scenarios, going from “How to use the catalog” (followed after explaining to them that we actually do have a catalog), to the usage of the different databases, on how to perform legislative research up to international case search. The possibilities are endless.
Ryan McClead
Microblogging Software

“Email is where knowledge goes to die.”  – Bill French
I love this quote.  It makes me laugh and it’s true.  Taken together with another truism, Lawyers live in Outlook, you can begin to see the problem.  All of that work, all of the knowledge disappears along with the regular IT data purge.  I dream of persistent, searchable, conversations which can be copied, pasted, linked to and generally re-purposed indefinitely.  I dream of group project discussions continuing throughout the week, rather than only happening once a week for an hour.  I dream of real-time spontaneous collaborations.  I dream of a flattened organization where the newest, most junior member of the company can easily converse with the CEO/COO/CIO and everyone else can share in their joint discoveries.  It’s a lot to put on microblogging, but I think that’s a good place to start.

Next Week’s Elephant Post:

Tell us your favorite PowerPoint presentation story (good or bad… but, preferably bad!)

Toby’s post on not using PowerPoint in a recent presentation garnered a lot of comments and traffic this week. Therefore, we thought we’d give everyone an opportunity to talk about some of the presentations that they’ve seen or given and what you’ve learned from that experience. Did you give too much information on the slide? Did an old version of your presentation get saved to your thumb drive? Or better yet, a completely different presentation? Go ahead and give us the dirt on what went wrong… or if you nailed a presentation because of PowerPoint, let us know that as well.