Is it live, or is it Memorex iPad?

As I was walking through one of the libraries at the firm, I started looking around at all of the books that still remain on the shelves. Some are battered, but most are in pristine condition with spines that would make an audible snapping sound if you were to open them for the first time. Some are primary law, while others are secondary resources dedicated to specific practice groups. Most of them we have through our multiple online subscriptions and databases. Some will soon be packaged as eBooks. Nearly all of them are expensive (costing $100+ per volume or more.) Yet, the rate of which these physical books are going away is not nearly as fast as I predicted ten years ago when I wrote a couple of chapters in a book about the Futures of Law Libraries. It seems some of us are going to be stuck with these for many years to come.

Then a thought hit me… a crazy thought, yes, but a thought. For about the cost of three of these books, I could actually buy a lower-end iPad and place on the shelf. Could I replicate a reporter set and make it easy for the researcher to ‘flip’ through the online version of the material on the iPad? Could it be set up to replicate the ‘feel’ of a book (which is kind of what the new eBook sales pitch wants us to believe)? What if I told the attorney that, just like with the books, if you use this format, we won’t bill the client for any of the usage? Would that do the trick? Could we get attorneys to use some of the online content that they don’t even know exists (cough, cough, IntelliConnect, cough, cough.) Could everywhere we had a law review section, place an iPad connected to HeinOnline there instead? Instead of a library copy of all those personal desk copies, could we have a pre-loaded iPad available in the library instead?

Is there a way to ween lawyers away from all these books that fill up shelf after shelf? Is that even something we really want to do? I’d really like to test out the whole ‘replace books with library iPads’ idea. Just for the simple reason that even if it failed… I’d at least end up with a number of iPads to play with in the end.

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) has collaborated to create a white paper on the set of skills needed for today’s librarian and information services professionals. Whether it is Knowledge Management, working with Practice Groups, Competitive Intelligence, Electronic Books, or the evolving trends within Legal Research or Emerging Technology, “The New Librarian,” as this white paper is entitled, discusses some of the challenges facing the law library profession and how librarians are confronting those challenges head on. There should be some familiar names listed as authors in this publication (including bloggers here at 3 Geeks) Here’s a list from the table of contents:

Image [cc] David Ortez

The consumerization of technology is a hot topic in the legal market. But one overlooked corner of the market also experiencing this trend is the courts. Today’s guest post comes from inside the courts to examine the same phenomenon there. Judge David Nuffer, of the Federal District Court in Utah, offers this insider’s view of how federal judges are embracing consumer technology. Judge Nuffer is also a past-president of the Utah State Bar and just generally a nice guy.
According to a recent report, 58% of Federal Judges use an iPad for their court work.  Two-thirds of the iPads in use are iPad2s.  As expected, the tech-savvy (and tech-dependent) community of bankruptcy judges leads with a 70% use rate.  For a device introduced only two years ago, and a very conservative user base, this is a remarkable rate of market penetration.

The iPads have replaced laptops for many judges.  Judges find the iPad very intuitive and less daunting than a laptop, and IT staff finds the iPad easier to support and less prone to technical issues.

According to surveys, federal judges use the iPad most for email, where the iPad’s large screen beats smaller mobile devices for easy reading of emails and attachments.  Most judges also use an iPad for general reading because electronically filed documents are all PDF format.  Apps such as PDF Expert, iAnnotate and Goodreader work well with these PDF documents.  The documents can be annotated while reading and the annotations persist when the document is returned to chambers storage servers.  Judges appreciate the ability to take voluminous documents with them in the same device they use for email.  This results in less printing of electronically filed papers.

iPads, using the native keyboard or Apple’s quiet Bluetooth keyboard, are often used for courtroom notetaking.  Judges also use the iPad to refer to checklists and guides while on the bench.

Some judges use remote desktop control apps to gain access to full features of their court computers.  The Federal Judicial Center, the educational arm of the federal courts, makes podcasts of judicial conferences and seminars available for download to the iPad. The speech-to-text dictation feature of the new iPad holds promise for judges.  Unfortunately, this feature won’t work with earlier models.

Challenges with iPad include the courts’ continued use of WordPerfect, which has no editor for the iPad.  While WordPerfect documents may be read on the iPad, they cannot be effectively edited.  Those chambers which have moved to use Microsoft Word have several editor options on the iPad but none as robust as are needed for complicated documents with footnotes and tables of contents.  Another challenge for judges is the concern about security of documents “in the cloud” and the peer-to-peer nature of many cloud storage applications.

Counsel submitting documents in the federal electronic filing system can make documents friendly for the iPad by ensuring that text-based PDF documents are filed – or if a scanned exhibit must be filed, run OCR on it before filing.  These text based PDF documents are much easier to search and annotate.  Also, bookmarks (automatically generated by most word processors and preserved in PDF conversion) make PDF documents easy to navigate.  Finally, knowing a judge may read on the iPad could motivate wise use of color and inclusion of graphics.

It’s hard to believe that my first-generation iPad (64 gig, w/3G) is having its second birthday this month. In ways it still feels new, but in many ways I feel like it is a grandpa (as the 3rd Gen family member has already come out.) So after two solid years of using it, I thought about if I still liked it, and if I found it still useful. My immediate answer was “Yes… but….”

Yes, I still use it everyday. Yes, I love it. Yes, I use it for work. Yes, I still find it useful.

But… When I traded in my Android phone for an iPhone last Christmas, I noticed that there were many things that I did from the iPad (email, songs, basic web browsing) that I could just as easily do from my iPhone. All with the convenience of placing the device in my pocket when I was done, rather than lugging it around in my left hand all the time. However, the iPad is still my go-to device for conference and meeting material reading, as well as a few other apps that benefit from the bigger display.

But… the iPad first-gen has suffered somewhat from the iOS upgrades over the (two) years. The latest upgrade has significantly impacted the keyboard response (I’ve checked with a few other iPad first-gen owners and they also seem to suffer from this “feature.” Now, if I were to think that Apple were made up of evil geniuses, I’d think they did this little feature on purpose to try to get first-gen owners to upgrade to the new iPad 3 (codename: Just iPad). However, Apple tends to be really good about fixing features like this, so I’ll wait until the next iOS upgrade to see if they’ve worked it out.

But… no camera? meh… I can grab the iPhone out of my pocket for things like that.

But… slower processor. In today’s world, it’s not about being too rich or too thin… it’s about processing power and storage. Although Apple is stupid when it comes to storage (stupid from the consumer’s point of view at least), the processing power of the third-gen iPad is a significant change and one that might make me want to upgrade.

But… no retina display? Not sure about that. I hear that retina display is great for HD movie watching (which, honestly I don’t do a lot of on my iPad), but that, just like in the porn industry, sometime HD doesn’t do web pages any favors.

But… everyone has a new iPad than me?? This does play on my mind. However, I kind of gave up on the idea just by having an iPad, I was cool and cutting edge the first time I rode up the elevator and saw one of the Partners had one.

But… I only have 3G capability!! The 4G does tempt me. One of the things that keeps me from upgrading is that I was grandfathered in to the “unlimited 3G” term with AT&T. I still haven’t seen a clear answer on whether I could keep that unlimited status if I upgraded to 4G. My guess is that I probably could not keep it.

But… won’t the iPad 4 (AKA “The New New” just iPad) come out next January? Probably. Maybe I should just wait until my first-gen iPad becomes a great-grandpa before I plunk down $900 for the younger, sexier model. I’m leaning toward waiting another year.

What’s your opinion? Should I jettison my old iPad first-gen (or at least give it to my high schooler), and purchase the new iPad??


Hopefully that title just made you start humming the Beastie Boys song. If it did, see me in Philly at the Summit and I’ll buy you a beer.

I’ve always been a fan of visualizing information in unique ways. I stumbled upon an app this week that does just that sort of thing with the way I “listen” and “view” the music that’s on my iPad. Planetary takes a pretty simple idea and brings it to life via the iPad. The idea is to transform your music into a Galaxy, your artists into Solar Systems, their albums into Planets, and their songs into Moons. Visually it is very cool to watch and play. The thing that I like most is that when you play a song, the amount of time it takes to play the song is the amount of time it takes for that Moon (Song) to orbit the Planet (Album).

Here’s a blurb from Planetary’s iTunes page:

Planetary is just the sort of science fiction experience you expect when using an object from the future like iPad. You’ll want to show your friends this beautiful app. We’ve made it even easier to share Planetary at home; it looks incredible when you hook your iPad 2 up to a big HDTV or projector using the HDMI accessory.

 Or, to quote one of my kids the first time I opened this up and showed it to them:

That’s Epic!!

Here’s some screenshots that I took from my iPad (I’m still with my version 1, so I haven’t had a chance to hook it up to my HDTV to watch yet.) It’s definitely a fun app to use, and best of all… it’s free!!

Go check out Planetary and let me know if you find it as fun as I do. (Now, if I can get my law firm to adapt this “Galaxy” approach to some of the data we present for business development purposes…)

Select the Artist by Letter
See the Galaxy of Artists…
See the Solar System of Albums of that Artist…
Zoom in on the Planet (Album)

Watch the Moon (Song) Orbit as it plays…

iPads, iPad2, Xoom, Playbook, Galaxy… the ever increasing list of tablet devices that are either on the market or soon to hit the market seem to be all some of us can talk about this year. Everyone is determining how these devices can be used in their profession, and the legal industry is no exception. So with all the hype surrounding the tablets, we asked if you were going to jump in with both feet and integrate these tablets into your work process, or if you were just going to sit this one out and stick with your traditional devices (PC’s, laptops, legal pads and pencils…)

Seems that the couple of folks that chimed in this week are sticking to their traditional methods. I also ran across something this week that makes the geek in me interested, and the “cheapness” in me even more happy. There’s a cool way to turn a Barnes & Noble e-reader (Nook-Color) into an Android Tablet. The way this guy does it is simple, no “hacking” or “rooting” necessary, and I don’t think it would even void your warranty with B&N (but, that’s just my opinion and not any type of legal advice… as I may be completely wrong.

Thanks to this week’s contributors. We’ve set up another question at the bottom of this post, so go check it out and feel free to share you perspective with us.

Steven B. Levy
Author, Legal Project Management

You have a false assumption in the subtitle of the question: “”Are you going to be cutting edge…”” Tablets are interesting, but they were cutting edge ten years ago. Apple has made them cool, as is their wont, but they haven’t invented anything new.

I’ll stick to my three-pound netbook, which does most of the real stuff the iPad does — and a lot more, for less money. It’s not as cool, but then again, neither am I. (Just ask my kids!) Long battery life, read books or watch videos, do mail — except ten times as fast, surf the web, etc. Oh, and also run full versions of PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and the essential OneNote.

I like touching stuff to make it happen, but most of what I do involves words, and keyboards are the right tool for “”wording.”” In a few years, when speech-to-text really, really works, maybe I’ll ditch the keyboard — except when I’m working around other people who aren’t paying me to talk and would probably prefer that I didn’t.
Riva Laughlin

I’ll be sitting this craze out. I have a netbook and an ereader, and can’t figure out what a tablet would do for me that these devices don’t already handle. Besides, think of the fingerprints!
Of course, if someone wanted to give me one . . .
Greg Lambert
Cheap Geek

I love my iPad (version 1) and use it for work (mostly email) every day. However, I think I want to try out the Android platform, but don’t want to spend $800 to get one of the fancy models. I may have to try out this way of converting a Nook-Color e-reader into a Honeycomb 3.0 Android Tablet. Looks cool, and doesn’t seem to destroy the Nook-Color’s base e-reader operating system as it boots off a flashdrive.

Next Week’s Elephant Post Question:

Will “Change” Kill More Law Firms This Year?

The BigLaw firm, Howrey, announced today that it will dissolve on March 15th (that’s before the next Elephant Post even goes out!!) In an interesting interview, Howrey’s CEO, Robert Ruyak, mentioned that BigLaw Partners have very little tolerance for “change” and that some of the new ways of conducting business (Client push back on billable hours through Alternative Fee Arrangements, outsourcing of e-discovery to cheaper vendors) led to the reduction in profits for Howrey, which lead to partner’s jumping ship (free agency), and the vicious circle continued until Howrey could no longer survive.

Howrey’s tale isn’t necessarily all that unusual for BigLaw firms. So our question this week is whether you think the Howrey tale is going to stop here, or is this a sign of how firms that don’t adapt are going to end up with the same result. Are there other issues of “change” that are occurring in the market that may cause additional pains for BigLaw? Let us know what you think!

We’ve all probably sat through those “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” programs at a conference and watched as a bevy of applications flew past us on the screen. Those are cool, but what how many of those do we actually use when we get back to our office? So, we’ve asked you to share with us any apps you use for work and why it helps you do your job, and you didn’t disappoint!

We have suggestions for Blackberry (which is probably still the “standard” mobile tech for lawyers these days, iPhone, iPad, and Androids. So, get your mobile devices ready for some new apps to try out and let us know if we missed a good one or two.

Next week’s Elephant Post question is at the bottom of this post, so make sure you take a look and share your perspective with us.

Lawyer Perspective
Dropbox for Blackberry plus Docs to Go

I use this so that I can sync documents that I may need to look at on the road.  Documents to go gives a more readable format to many of these documents.  While the BB screen is still small, as a solo, I can’t be totally out of touch when out of the office so the combination of Dropbox and Documents to Go is great.

Lawyer Perspective
Twitter’s App

Twitter lets me keep up with science websites.  Since I can no longer devote the time scouring journals, this is a great way to stay somewhat informed and access the articles I am specifically interested.

CCO Perspective

Scoop of chocolate, Scoop of vanilla. Email is still the most important mobile app.
The bulk of business communication runs through email. If you can’t get email on your mobile device, you’re not leaving the office. It’s why blackberries are still so prevalent. They have a great email app.

Online Marketing Perspective
AT&T Code Scanner

Well, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t use all the usual suspects but I thought I would mention my latest favoritest: AT&T Code Scanner.
Used to read QR and datamatrix codes and 1D bar codes found in print publications, it links me straight to the related web site.
Totally cool, I have to credit Mr. Robert Downey, Jr. and Esquire magazine for turning me on to this coolest of the cool features. See my post “Are You Ready to Augment Your Reality?

Doctoral Candidate in Legal Informatics Perspective

The Omnifocus app allows me to keep track of my tasks and sort them according to teaching, researching, writing reports, supervising thesis, blogging, etc. By using different views or perspectives, I can present the task according to my whereabouts and deadlines, so I am not constantly overwhelmed by the amount of to-do’s.
In addition, I can sync all tasks between my iPhone, iPad, iMac and MacBook which allows me to access them anytime and anywhere.

KM Attorney Perspective

Mindo is an iPad version of common mind-mapping tools.  A consultant on one of my projects started mind-mapping a conversation we were having one day and I was shocked at how useful it was to see our thoughts being displayed as inter-connected nodes on a screen and moreso how often I refered back to the map in the coming days. Since then we have instituted mind-mapping as part of standard project planning process.
Mindo is great because it mimics most of what the desktop applications do, but of course, is mobile. Ideas and concepts can be color-coded, shaped or linked across the map.  Whole sections can be relocated and bring their related concepts along with them. As ideas come to me on my commute, waiting for a flight, or late at night I can jot them down and then map out how certain things are related to each other, where dependencies lie or missing pieces need to be filled in. Mindo can then output your map as an image, a pdf or in the common mindmap file forms used by the much more expensive desktop solutions. It is Dropbox and email friendly from within the App. All this for $7.

Information Pro Perspective
Chromemarks Lite
David Whelan

Chromemarks is an Android app that synchronizes my Google Bookmarks to my phone.  Since I use Chrome on multiple computers, I can keep my bookmarks sync’d up between browsers on Google Bookmarks.  Chromemarks extends that so when I’m away from my PCs, I can still quickly get to bookmarked information.

Knowledge Management Perspective

TripCase is a great (and free!) travel app – it keeps your travel itinerary in one place; automatically tracks your flights and sends you alerts; updates your gate and baggage carousel information automatically; when you input a hotel it automatically pulls in the contact information, check in & check out times, and other key info; provides weather, maps, and directions; allows you to enter information for flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, meetings, restaurants, and more; and allows you to send copies of your full itinerary to others. I’ve noticed a few limitations (can’t remember what those are right now), but I find the UI very simple and appealing, and most importantly — I’ve found it to be more up-to-date and accurate with flight delays and gate information than the airlines’ websites or even announcements at the airport!

IT Perspective

The coolest app I use for work is called iThoughtsHD which is basically MindMap for iPad.   iThoughtsHD is a very powerful tool for getting ideas out of your head and onto “”virtual paper””.  MindMapping is great way to  brainstorm and we use all the time to flush out ideas.  The iPad version is simple to use and very effective.  You even have the ability to share your maps via DropBox, email, wifi, mobileme, etc.

Lawyer Perspective
Twitter for Blackberry

I use Twitter for Blackberry to keep up with my tweets while on the go.  It has helped me network for our firm, get media coverage and exposure for our cases and legal issues we are experts on, and has helped me start to promote my own business Stacey E. Burke, PC (site to come).

Next Week’s Elephant Post

What Legal News Resources do you read to keep up with industry news that affects your profession?

I have the wonderful job of researching dozens (maybe hundreds?) of different legal rags everyday. There are definitely some good legal news resources out there, and we thought we’d let you share a few of your favorites with us. For example, I enjoy the Osmosys Legal Industry Monitor for generic legal news (plus it is FREE!!) So, let us know what it is that you read when you sit down at your desk each morning. We try to make this easy by embedding the form to fill out, but of course, you can email me your answer, or DM it to me in a 140 characters of less. (really, just fill out the form below and make it easy on  me!!) If you need to see the form in another browser window, or see what others have answer, then you can click the links below, but really, just  fill out the stinkin’ form!!


I have to say that since I got my iPad, I’ve used my smart phone less and less for its “smart features” and normally just use it as a cell phone. Well, as of yesterday, I might not need to use my smart phone to make calls either. I installed the Whistle Phone app on the iPad and can now call anyone in the continental US (sorry Alaska and Hawaii) for free! Actually, I do have to listen to a 15-20 second commercial whenever I dial out, but for a free service, I can deal with that. You can remove the ads by paying a per minute charge of 1.7¢… but, I’m cheap, so I just listen to the 20 second commercial.

Here’s how it works. You can sign up for a free account after you download the free app. With Whistle Phone, you get an actual US Phone number (I chose the 281 Houston Area Code.) You can call anyone with a US number (again, sorry Alaska (a little high at 33.2¢ per minute and Hawaii a bargain at 2.6¢ per minute) from anywhere in the world, and you can receive calls as well. It will work off of both a WiFi connection and the 3G connection – which must be a little annoying to AT&T. I’ve been testing it out with my friends and family, and so far, it has worked like a charm.

Mac, PC, iPhone and iPod Touch users can also download the Whistle Phone app as well. As with many of these VOIP applications, you can also buy minutes for international calling from your iPad. Whistle Phone also offers a “Follow Me” option for all accounts where you can have your Whistle Phone calls forwarded to up to five different lines, and if you don’t answer any of these lines, it will leave a voice mail on the last line in your list. That’s a pretty cool feature. You can also dial other Whistle Phone numbers, anywhere in the world, for free – also a cool feature! Your contacts from your email are automatically loaded into the Whistle Phone contacts list, and you can conference in up to two different numbers at the same time (as well as a call waiting feature that allows you to answer a second incoming call.)

I’ve really just started playing with all the features, but so far, it has been easy, fun, and cheap. I’m thinking that my children may have to just get an iPod Touch instead of a cell phone now and I can save on those monthly fees… hmmm…

Go check out Whistle Phone and let me know if you think about it.

I’ve been playing with the free iPad App called Curator HD over the past couple of weeks, and have really enjoyed using it as my Google Reader interface for the iPad. I’ve used the generic Google Reader iPad web page in the past, or even used apps like Flipboard to look at my feeds (via some fancy Twitter forwarding), but the Curator HD app is so much better for viewing the feeds, and sharing items with others. The sharing covers the usual suspects (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc), but the sharing via a Newsletter option is something that I think is a great feature of this app.

The Newsletter option allows you to build newsletters, on the fly, and distribute that newsletter to others via email. In addition to forwarding the newsletter, Curator HD allows you to add comments, add your personal branding image to the header logo of the newsletter, plus add images to the individual stories within the newsletter. Here’s a video that covers many of the features that are available simply through the free app and your Google Reader feed.

The company behind Curator HD is Infongen. Infongen produces a high-end news feed and search service that is marketed to businesses, and more recently they have entered the law firm market as a competitive intelligence / business development resource. If your company or firm subscribes to Infongen, then you can also add in all those wonderful searches or feeds set up in Infongen. However, even without the professional Infongen tool, the Curator HD app is definitely worth a look if you want an easy way to view your Google Reader feeds on the iPad, and like to share what you read with others.