Last September, Geek #2, sent me a short email asking if I knew anything about the product called Justly. His short description of how Justly had a case categorization feature, and was pulling data from the Federal Courts (not that big a deal), and thousands of State Courts (huge deal), made my ears perk up and I made an effort to find out more about the product. I went to the website and poked around a little and finally reached out to Laurent Wiesel at Justly to learn more. In the five months since initially talking with Laurent, they have given me a couple of demos, and quite frankly, it was the coolest product I saw at LegalWeek last week. I’ve seen more and more potential with Justly and have finally convinced the Justly team to let me blog about it.

So what’s the big deal behind Justly? I don’t want to bury the lead here, so let me first start off by listing what I think is the most important feature behind Justly. The large amounts of data. Specifically, the large amount of State Court data. As of the writing of this article, here are the numbers:

  • Over 15 million cases
  • 12.5 million State Court cases
  • 2.6 million Federal cases
  • 2,247 U.S. Courts

Those are numbers that other sources just don’t have. Of course, data is simply that. How does Justly put it to work? Let me give a bit of background.

Justly was founded by former BigLaw attorney Laurent Wiesel (CEO) back in 2015 and he has teamed up with Sanjay Singh (technology), and Matteo Balzarini (Marketing), and they have focused on developing Justly as a data-driven platform for corporate legal departments. In a nutshell, they give the corporate legal departments a way to create early case assessments on cases in which the corporation is involved. With that information in hand, the corporate legal departments can take the case number of their case and Justly returns a series of elements that are useful in order to take action. The three main features returning actionable insights are Matter Classification, Case Precedents and Timeline Analytics.

Classification helps you understand all the public data in better way that helps you find the elements that define your case. Through that, it connects to Precedents and those are the cases that are comparable based on the classification. You can then see what happened in the past based on the actual metrics of similar cases. This leads us to the third feature of Timeline Analytics which assists you in making informed decisions based on the metrics. These features come together as a standardized case assessment that predicts phases, major events (tasks/deliverables) and the cycle times for any U.S. litigation matter. Having this level of analysis allows those managing the matters (whether that is in-house counsel or litigation partner in a law firm) to structure Alternative Fee Arrangement (AFA) and matter-level budgets, review precedents with your internal or e-billing system, and scope your matter management processes through the use of the scoping template.

[See the embedded video below for a quick tour of performing a case assessment on a specific court case.]

Beyond the value that is found in the results that Justly brings to case management, they are undertaking a process to bring more court information into play in a useful way. Many products have great features, but not enough, or not the right kind of data behind it. Justly brings both to the table. With the demands on in-house legal departments to better manage and pay for legal services, Justly can serve as a method of leveraging court and internal data to better predict what is the proper way to manage and price the case. For law firms, Justly allows them to better scope and predict the details of a matter, and how to better staff and price the matter for the client.

From what I’ve seen from Justly, they are positioning themselves to support the legal industry that is demanding better way’s of managing cases and filling in the blanks with solid data and analytics.

Justly – Standardize Legal Business Operations from Justly on Vimeo.

I had a chance to talk with Ravel Law’s CEO, Daniel Lewis last week about Ravel’s new analytical tool for US Courts. I’ve been doing less and less product reviews lately because Bob Ambrogi and Jean O’Grady do a much better job at reviewing new products than I, but Daniel and Ravel Law have been such proponents of law librarians and legal information professionals, that I thought I’d dust off my reviewing skills and have him walk me through the new tool.

In my opinion, content is still king when it comes to legal research, but analytical tools make deciphering all the content so much better, and help researchers find the relationships between issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Ravel is introducing a new analytics platform today which identifies patterns in millions of court decisions to access the possible outcomes, and help the litigation researcher deduce the best arguments or actions to take in his or her individual case, based upon the way specific judges or courts previously ruled on similar issues. In simpler terms, it allows you to better know your Judge or Court.

Daniel Lewis walked me through examples of the tool, ranging from specific issues in front of individual courts and judges, to much more complicated and academic research of how broader issues are handled differently over time, or regions. From what I have seen, there is a lot of potential for practicing attorneys and research academics alike with the Court Analytics tool.

The image below shows the layout of the Court Analytics platform. There’s a lot more to see from the tool, and Jean O’Grady will present a webinar later today (1 PM ET) to demonstrate it.

The press release is listed below with more information.

Ravel Law Launches New Analytics for US Court System
First Platform to Offer Analytics for All Federal and State Courts
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 5, 2016 – Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform, today announced the launch of Court Analytics, a first-of-its-kind offering that provides an unprecedented view into the caselaw and decisions of state and federal courts.
Ravel’s Court Analytics answers critical questions that litigators face in developing legal strategy. By analyzing millions of court opinions to identify patterns in language and case outcomes, Ravel empowers litigators to make data-driven decisions when comparing forums, assessing possible outcomes, and crafting briefs using the most important cases and rules. Complex projects that used to take hours or days of research can now be done in minutes, with answers that deliver richer intelligence and detail.
“Court Analytics offers law firms a truer understanding of how courts behave and how cases are tried. Attorneys can inform their strategy with objective insights about the cases, judges, rules and language that make each jurisdiction unique. The future of litigation will be different, and we’re already seeing changes – with top attorneys combining their art of lawyering with our science, to advance their arguments in the most effective way possible,” said Daniel Lewis, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ravel Law.
Court Analytics applies data science, natural language processing, and machine learning to evaluate millions of court decisions spanning hundreds of years from over 400 federal and state courts. Its features include:
·         Search and filter caselaw by court, 90+ motion types, keywords, and topics.
·         Predict possible outcomes by identifying how courts and judges have ruled on similar cases or or motion types in the past.
·         Uncover the key cases, standards, and language that make each court unique.
With Court Analytics, lawyers can take advantage of never-before-seen insights, such as:
·         Judge Susan Illston in the Northern District of California grants 60% of motions to dismiss, which makes her 14% more likely to grant than other judges in the district.
·         The Second Circuit is most likely to turn to the 9th Circuit for persuasive caselaw, and then to the 5th and 7th Circuits.
·         Measured by citations, Judge Richard Posner truly is the most influential judge on the 7th Circuit. One of Posner’s most widely cited decisions is Bjornson v. Astrue, an appeal from a district court decision affirming the denial of social security disability benefits by an adminis­trative law judge. The most important passage of that decision is on page 644, as it deals with the Administrative Law Judge’s “opaque boilerplate.”
·         The California Court of Appeals has ruled on more than 1,000 cases that deal with the right of privacy. The two most important precedential decisions the courts rely on in such cases are California Supreme Court cases: White v. Davis and Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Court Analytics adds to Ravel’s analytical research suite, alongside the award-winning Judge Analytics tool, which identifies the rules, cases, and specific language that a judge commonly cites, and Case Analytics, which finds key passages within cases and shows how they are interpreted. Using the Ravel platform, attorneys can gain insights customized to the unique circumstances of their case at every step of their research process. All three features are available today ( via paid subscription (for individuals and organizations).
Ravel’s subscription-based services are enhanced by the “Caselaw Access Project,” the company’s ongoing collaboration with Harvard Law School to digitize the school’s entire collection of U.S. caselaw, one of the largest collections of legal materials in the world. Through this project, millions of court decisions are being digitized and added to the Ravel platform. This database of American law serves as an underlying data set that people can search and view for free in Ravel, in addition to using Ravel’s paid technologies to derive insights.
Ravel will be hosting a launch webcast to share more details on Court Analytics on Monday, December 5, 2016, 11:00 AM PST (2 pm EST). Register here to learn more:
About Ravel Law

Ravel is a legal search, visualization, and analytics platform. Ravel empowers lawyers to do data-driven research, with analytics and interfaces that help them sift through vast amounts of legal information to find what matters. Established by lawyers in 2012, Ravel spun out of interdisciplinary work between Stanford University’s law school, computer science department, and Ravel is based in San Francisco, and is funded by New Enterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners, Ulu Ventures, Experiment Fund, and Work-Bench.

As many of you that follow 3 Geeks know, I’m a big fan of the products that are coming out of Stanford University’s CODEX program. One of the latest insights comes from a CODEX fellow, Casetext, with their new CARA platform. Casetext’s VP of Legal Research, Pablo Arredondo, has been talking with me about CARA for a number of months now, and I’ve seen a few versions as he prepped CARA for release. If you’ve ever seen Pablo demo this new product, then you know how excited he is about the value that he believes this brings to legal research.

What is CARA? CARA is a ‘brief-as-query’ legal research tool, in which instead of using a keyword query you drop an entire brief in as the input. Users can input a brief in either Word or PDF format. From my use of it, I would explain CARA as a tool to analyse your brief (or the other side’s brief) to find potential missing points of law, or alternative arguments not cited within the brief.

CARA data mines the inputted brief and uses the gathered information to form a sort of ‘mega-query’ that runs against Casetext’s database of case law. CARA takes a look at the brief and analyzes how much cited cases are discussed within the brief as well as the other text within the brief. Arredondo explained to me that “[t]he analysis CARA runs looks not only at direct citation relationships (Case A cites to Case B) but also ‘soft citation’ relationships – Case A doesn’t cite Case B directly, but Case C cites to both A and B.” He also says that, “CARA also discounts heavily cited procedural cases like Celotex” so that these citations do not skew the results. Attorneys and researchers upload their drafts to check for missing cases before filing and uploading their briefs, and they check their opponent’s briefs to see if there are missing cases that they might be able to exploit.

Screenshot of CARA results.

CARA outputs a list of cases, all linked to the full text on Casetext. The results are displayed along side

  1. concise summary of case holding; 
  2. most cited passage from the case; 
  3. link to a law firm client alert discussing the case.  

Because attorneys are uploading drafts/work product, there is always a question of “who can see my draft?” Arredondo told me that “Casetext has applied stringent security to CARA.  Inputted briefs are not stored; once the data is extracted the brief is deleted. The reports CARA generates are accessible under a unique URL with a long hash; only those possessing the link can see the report.”

A geek like me loves to learn about how the back-end of these systems work, so bear with me for a paragraph as I repeat Pablo’s explanation of how CARA processes the brief that you drop in for analysis. CARA uses what is called topic modeling system (latent semantic analysis) to sort results based on how well they match the topics in the brief.In law-librarian terms, this means that CARA uses the full text of the brief and compares it to the full text of existing cases, looking for similarities in both legal terms and regular nouns. It’s not magic, it’s math. But, sometimes math can look like magic. Alright… end of uber-geek discussion.

The second serious question that most of us ask when we see products like this is “does it replace Westlaw or Lexis?” The answer is simply, no, and it is not meant to. CARA is designed to supplement traditional research systems. It can catch cases you missed using regular tools or help you find cases that you would have found anyway, only much faster. In these modern days of “efficiency” in legal practice, getting to the answer, faster, is a competitive advantage, and that is what CARA sets out to do.

Pablo mentioned that CARA will be made freely available to the judiciary, and that trials for firms or individuals are available for anyone who wishes to evaluate CARA. He said that there were no strings attached to the trial, and that you can contact him for details on the trial at

A couple months ago, I had a great conversation with Kevin Mitchell of ModioLegal about his product and its “reading the news” concept. He and I talked about the different methods of delivering information and current content to lawyers and we both agreed that we thought the methods of print distribution, email, or RSS feeds allow for massive amounts of information to be disseminated, but that there should be better ways of presenting complex information in a way that is more convenient to access. Kevin’s idea was to produce a way of delivering the information in audio format and providing the listener with a way to consume the content during periods of time where hearing the information is easier than reading the information.

I’ve always been one for finding new ways of getting information out to the consumer. The converting text to audio has been something I’ve considered for a long time, but there are obvious issues with converting text to audio, and having it make sense.
Some of you may immediately think of a Siri-like voice reading the material to you, but that’s not what Mitchell is doing with this product. As most of you have realized, mechanical voices, no matter how human sounding, just cannot present the information in a way that helps the listener easily digest and understand the nuances of the information being presented. It really takes a person with an ability to read the material in their heads first, and present it in a way that assists the listener absorb the information. For a situation like this, a law student is one of the best candidates for the job.
The idea is this:
  • License quality current awareness content that is relevant to the legal industry
  • Pay law students for their time to produce audio narrations of the content,
  • Deliver the audio content through a high-quality, proprietary platform that can be played back on multiple devices ranging from car audio systems, mobile or home devices during multi-tasking activities such as commuting or exercising
  • Give the law students exposure by having them introduce themselves to the audience and provide access to their email address and LinkedIn profile
  • Distribute the recordings quickly so that the information is still current

As someone who used law students to help create the content at the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s online research tool, I thought it was a great idea to leverage the talent that is available and create a situation where the student, the listener, the content licensor and the company benefit. After listening to some of the content, I found it to be very easy to listen to, and easy to understand.

ModioLegal is just getting started, so the content is very limited. Right now the legal content is the Audio Edition of ABI Journal, which costs $9.95 a month and comes with a free 1-month trial. I think there is a bit of a “chicken and the egg” issue with a project like this where users of the product will want more content, and content providers would like for there to be more listeners before licensing more content. I imagine that is always an issue when it comes to presenting content in a novel way.
Since ModioLegal is a subscription service, I asked if there could be a way for people to demo some of the content without having to sign up for anything or be obligated in any way. Kevin got me a demo login and said that I could post it here and allow the readers of the blog some access to the site. Again, I found it to be very easy to listen and understand the content, so go check it out, perhaps on your smartphone, and see if this type of information dissemination is something you’d like to see more of on the market.
username: 3geeks
password: modiolegal
Some of the products you can order through Amazon’s Dash Button

Okay… I’m not sure if I’m amazed or a bit petrified of two of the new services that Amazon just launched this week. Probably a bit of both.

First up, Amazon’s Dash Button (only by invitation at this time.) Running low on household items like detergent, toilet paper, beauty supplies, soda, or pantry items?? No problem. Press a button, and your order is placed through Amazon. You get a verification on your phone, just in case your teenager put in an order for 12 cases of Mac and Cheese.

Here’s Amazon’s explanation of how it works:

Dash Button is simple to set up. Use the Amazon app on your smartphone to easily connect to your home Wi-Fi network and select the product you want to reorder with Dash Button. Once connected, a single press automatically places your order. Amazon sends an order alert to your phone, so it’s easy to cancel if you change your mind. Unless you elect otherwise, Dash Button responds only to your first press until your order is delivered.

Sounds really easy.

Next up, Amazon’s Home Services. An “Angie’s List” type of reviewed services like plumbing, landscaping, yoga lessons, computer repair, etc., with the twist of being able to call in an expert right from Amazon. You can even get “Goat Grazing” in some areas. My twisted mind immediately went to the thought of how soon Amazon will put “Legal Services” on this list. Need a will? Click the button on your phone and a lawyer will call you. Actually, that sounds really easy.

Here’s Amazon’s explanation of its Home Services:

Shop for services
It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
 Add the service to your cart.
 Tell us when works for you.
 Only pay when the job is complete.

Coming Soon… a Lawyer is delivered to your door via an Amazon Drone?

Jacked In – You have to look serious
when exploring the Matrix

So, I’ve had a lot of people asking me about Glass over the last few weeks.  How is it?  What do you think?  Should I get one?  My answers have generally been: It’s interesting, I think I like it, and No, you definitely should not get one. There is one caveat, however.  If your idea of an enjoyable Saturday morning is firing up a new LAMP Stack, pouring over GitHub to find new Open Source packages to install, and troubleshooting them for hours, then you might be interested in Glass.  If that doesn’t sound like fun, hold off for a little while longer.  If you don’t know what any of those words mean, then any time someone mentions Glass, stick your fingers in your ears and hum The Battle Hymn of the Republic until they are done speaking. Listen very carefully and take this to heart…Google Glass does not yet exist in your world.

From a geek perspective there is something undeniably cool about putting on Glass, plugging one end of the USB cable into the earpiece, and the other into the back of my computer. This creates the physical sensation of jacking in to the Matrix. I feel powerful and connected. My wife, on the other hand, says it reminds her of a scene from Douglas Adams’ and Terry Jones’ novel, Starship Titanic.  The characters of Lucy and the Journalist are trying to get amorous as the Yassaccans are invading the ship, but third-wheel Dan keeps interrupting. The Journalist hands Dan a virtual reality helmet and tells him to put it on.

“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I see what you mean! I’m right in the ship… Hey! This is great! I can get into the consoles! Wow! Now I’m running along the wiring! Hey! The circuit boards are like vast cities!…”

Meanwhile, the Journalist and Lucy go at it.

…then she suddenly pulled away, and glanced anxiously over at Dan, who was climbing some invisible stairs in his virtual reality and then turning around and handling invisible objects and letting out delighted yelps.

“Oh, don’t worry about him!” panted The Journalist. “He can’t hear or see us. We’re still MatterSide.  He’ll be totally absorbed in that thing – it’s always the same – first time you put on one of those you’re usually off for five or six hours!”

I’m not sure whether I should be concerned about what my wife is up to while I’m exploring the Matrix, or just be extremely proud that I married a woman who effortlessly references Douglas Adams and Terry Jones.

After mining the Glass forums, and Googling for APKs that have been updated to run on XE16 (See, doesn’t that sound like fun!), I have found a few apps that, if not yet consumer ready, at least point to the promise and potential of Glass.

Word Lens translating a French sign.

Word Lens – This app is truly awesome, in the “worthy of awe” sense. Word Lens is one of the apps that is available through the MyGlass site, so no need for side loading .apk files, and I think it is the closest that Glass gets to a killer app. You look at a sign in a foreign language, and the app manipulates the pixels of the image to rewrite the sign in English. The translation is only as good as Google Translate, and it’s a little slow, but… Holy freakin’ cow, man! That’s awesome!

PhotoGlassic Memory – This app allows you to say, “OK Glass, Remember where I left my keys.” Glass takes a picture of the keys in their current location, grabs GPS coordinates and stores that information. Later when you’ve completely forgotten where you left your keys, you say, “OK Glass, Recall where I left my keys.” The picture and a map showing the location of your keys pops up.  I’m sure there are better uses for PhotoGlassic Memory than the keys example and I only have an 850 square foot apartment, so the GPS coordinates don’t help much.

Viewing the PhotoSphere Demo as I edit this post.
(That’s Sergey Brin in the blue shirt in front.)

PhotoSphere Demo – There is an “Easter Egg” hidden in the Glass settings that displays a 360 degree picture of the Glass team.  You can turn your head all the way around to see all of the people developing for Glass at Google. Some enterprising developer has made it much easier to access that picture, and to upload your own PhotoSpheres (360 degree pictures). People using this app for the first time closely approximate Dan’s experience in the Starship Titanic excerpt above. They immediately become oblivious to anything around them and are transported to the world of the picture. They spin and contort their bodies to look up at the ceiling and down at the floor, and strangely enough down under their armpit. ?? Unfortunately, if you run this app for more than a few minutes, Glass gets hot and you get the “Glass must cool down to run smoothly.” message.  There is another Google application that uses PhotoSphere technology, it doesn’t take a genius to see where that is going.

Glass Calculate– This is a Glass implementation of Wolfram Alpha. There is nothing really Glass specific about it. The amazing part is Wolfram Alpha itself.  I hesitated to mention it at all, except it’s really cool to ask your glasses “OK Glass, Calculate how many teaspoons are in Lake Michigan?” and have it come back to you in seconds with an authoritative answer, including charts, graphs, and comparisons to other bodies of water.  (A: 988 quadrillion.)

There is a well documented tendency for human beings to over-value things that they pay way too much for. With that in mind, take what I’m about to say with a huge grain of salt. I like Glass a lot. No, it is not ready for the consumer market, and after having spent time with it, I think a consumer version is further off than most people think. A friend of mine said he was waiting to get Glass until they released the $500 version this Holiday season. It’s not going to happen. Maybe next Holiday season, in 2015.  Maybe. I think a real, viable, easy to use, and affordable consumable product is 3 to 5 years off. But I’m keeping mine. It’s not going back to Google for a refund, unless I find out my wife is up to no good while I’m lost in the Matrix. Thankfully, there’s a very good chance she’s busy re-reading one of the five books in The Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. I’m a lucky man.

OK. I’ve had a couple of days to experiment with Google’s Glass technology. It’s still very early days, and I haven’t come to any firm conclusions yet, but I’m ready to give my first impressions.

First, the bad. Glass is definitely not yet ready for Prime Time. To be fair, Google has never claimed otherwise. I am pretty sure they are doing this ridiculous expensive and slow roll out, because they don’t want your average consumer to purchase a Glass thinking it should be something more than it actually is.  At $1500 only developers, or Google Fans, or die-hard geeks, will be likely to shell out the cash and each of those populations will be relatively understanding of the device’s limitations.

There is no Glass app store.  After you register your Glass with your Google account, you get access to the MyGlass site.  Most of the setup, including wifi setup and app installation, is done on this site or on an Android or iOS mobile app. There a few dozen Google sanctioned apps that can be sent to your Glass with a simple authorization from this site. The apps vary greatly in usability and utility and there really is no “killer app” as yet. In the last few days, Google has added several new apps to this list, so I’m hopeful that that trend continues and is not just Google throwing a bone to all of the suckers new Glass owners who purchased a Glass last week.

If you are a developer or a die-hard geek, then you are probably fairly comfortable with a unix command line. This is where the interesting stuff is happening with Glass. If you turn on Debugging, and plug your Glass into your computer, you suddenly have the ability to install non-Google sanctioned apps.  These can be found on a number of sites dedicated to cataloging new Glass apps.  There is some “danger” in this process. You may install something that causes problems with other apps and you may have difficulty uninstalling some apps.  In my experience a lot of available apps simply do not work at all. (I suspect that’s because Google updated the software version on Glass last week and a lot of apps have not yet been updated.) Thankfully, Google made it very simple to restore Glass to its factory settings.  I’ve already done this twice. This manual process reminds me very much of the early days of iPhone Jailbreaking.  It’s easy to forget now that Apple has more than a million apps on their app store, but for the first year if you wanted the device to run more than the few included apps allowed, you had to do a little simple hacking.

Second, the ugly. This was the most surprising thing for me. I don’t think they’re ugly at all. I kind of like the look of them. Granted, I’m not exactly a fashion plate and I normally wear glasses so they just looked like glasses with a chunky right temple piece. I didn’t get the day glow orange color, so I think my Charcoal Glass looks fairly classy (IMHO) and if I wear a ball cap, you can barely see it. I did wear it out for a walk on Saturday with my wife and she was only slightly embarrassed.  I went into a Starbucks and no one seemed to notice I had it on at all. Although, I live in Manhattan, and we tend to not look at each other much, so your mileage may vary. While I wasn’t accosted by angry anti-tech mobs, or feverish fan-boys, I found I was still quite self conscious while ordering my latte. I didn’t want anyone to see me. I’m not a flashy, out-going, look-at-me type, so maybe I had a look on my face that said, “don’t you dare ask me about this stupid thing on my face!”

Finally, the good. I had a revelation on day two of playing with my Glass; my title from last week, Getting Google Glass All Wrong, was a little prophetic. I’m starting to think that everyone has Glass wrong. (Maybe someone else has said this, though I haven’t seen it, so if this is not an original thought, please feel free deride me in the comments and send me links showing how derivative I am.) Google Glass is not a wearable smartphone, or Personal Electronic Device (PED) at all.  And I don’t mean, it’s not there yet, I mean, I don’t think that’s what this will ever be, or even what it should be.  I think Glass is the world’s first Personal Internet Peripheral (PIP).

By internet peripheral, I mean, this device is a new method of interacting with the internet (obviously). But specifically, Google Glass has more in common with the computer mouse than it does with the smartphone. I don’t mean that as an insult, I think that is actually quite brilliant. While there is some storage and processing ability within Glass, the real brains of the device are in the cloud and Glass requires an internet connection to do much of anything useful. And while the camera and the display will get smaller, and the storage will get bigger, over time, I don’t see Google ever putting the brains in the device itself.  Why would they? They are an internet company and persistent connectivity will only become more common.

Most computer mice (mouses?) today use lasers to determine cursor coordinates, but they still work essentially the same as the old mice with two wheels turning at right angles to each other, to move a cursor on a screen in two dimensions. In the days of DOS, the mouse was of little use, but the Graphical User Interface quickly became the norm and computing changed forever.  In the same way that the mouse opened up new ways to interact with computers, I think Glass and its descendant technologies will create new ways to interact with the cloud.  Google Glass is an eleven dimensional mouse on the two dimensional web. It seems of little use now, but just you wait until the eleven dimensional online user interface becomes the norm. It’s definitely not what I thought it was, but I am much more impressed with Glass after two days than I expected to be.

More to come…

At last week’s Ark Conference on Law Firm Library Best Practices, I had a little fun with the audience by using Poll Everywhere to create live audience polling questions. My friend, Marlene Gebauer and I conducted five polls during our presentation, and the audience could answer by going to a webpage and clicking the answer, texting an answer to an SMS number, or by Tweeting. (Although, through an error on my end, I forgot to turn on the Tweeting option so that ended up no working.) Because the audience was pretty small, and as most of you know, I am extremely cheap/frugal, I used Poll Everywhere’s free version that allows up to 40 responses per poll.

I thought that it was a big it with the audience, and because Poll Everywhere allows you to embed the Poll into your PowerPoint presentation through an add-in, we could watch the answers come in live. When I present at AALL this summer, I am going to upgrade the subscription (and actually shell out some money) to use this for the larger audience. I highly suggest that if you are presenting to an audience and would like instant feedback, that you take a look at Poll Everywhere and test it out for yourself.

Here are the five questions I asked, and the resulting poll.

In this day and age of constant communications and observation, I guess the announcement from TLO shouldn’t surprise me as much as it did. It seems that TLO is launching a new service tomorrow that will use License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology and will return to you the places, times and dates that those license plates (and presumably the car it is attached) were spotted by the LPR and give you “the historical whereabouts of both individuals and vehicles.”

I haven’t seen the reports yet, but I’m not sure whether I’m impressed that TLO has this ability now, or scared that this type of information is out there for public consumption. I’m also going to guess that this type of survellance to public record searching technology is only going to get bigger as time goes on.

So… in just reading this press release, are you:

  • impressed
  • scared
  • meh
  • moving to Europe

Important Admin Information: TLO Unveils Vehicle Sightings
Unveils Vehicle Sightings
Starting Thursday,
June 27, 2013
Administrator information – Please Read
Vehicle Sightings to be Released Tomorrow To TLOxp Users
state-of-the-art License
Plate Recognition (LPR)
technology, Vehicle Sightings
searches and reports provide valuable information for both locating
subjects and investigating the historical whereabouts of both individuals
and vehicles.
TLOxp’s Vehicle
Sightings Search
returns a free preview of nationwide sightings available for the subject
license plate.
TLOxp’s In-Depth
Vehicle Sightings Report
account receives 5 free reports!
powerful report provides detailed information including actual
photographs of the vehicle and plate with time and geographic stamps for
each individual sighting. Integrated with online mapping tools, visual
pinpoint location information is available with a single click.
  • If you utilize User

    for managing your users, you will need to activate Vehicle Sightings
    for your users. This can be done easily by clicking “My Account” and
    then selecting the “User Groups” tab.  Vehicle Sightings will
    be available for selection upon product release.
  • If you do not utilize
    User Groups
    Vehicle Sightings will be automatically available to your users upon
    release. You may customize your users’ access by setting up User
    Groups. Additionally, you may restrict access to this report upon
    release by clicking “My Account” and then selecting the “Users” tab.
PLEASE NOTE that this report is not included in any flat
rate or per seat pricing plans and is available only on a transactional
basis. After your account’s 5 free reports have been run, you will be
billed per report.
Vehicle Sightings
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I usually put some of the non-legal (but fun) things on Friday posts, but today I am leaning toward more of the “Geeks” side of the blog than the “Law” side. Last week I saw a tweet fly by that mentioned GeoGuessr, so I had a few free moments to go try it out. I’ve probably spend a good couple of hours playing it over the weekend with the family, and found it to be a really fun (and somewhat educational) game to play.

The concept is pretty simple, yet very challenging at the same time. The game puts you on a Google Street View somewhere in the world. You get to move around on the street view, and attempt to figure out where you are based on the landmarks and other visual clues you see. Once you think you know where you are, you zoom in on the inset map and plunk down a marker. The closer you are, the more points you score. The game lasts five places, and you combine the scores for all five guesses.

I usually have three windows open at the same time to help me along:

  1. GeoGuessr
  2. Google
  3. Google Maps

There are times when it is really easy to figure out your location. Last night, GeoGuessr placed me between a What-A-Burger and the South Padre Island Water Tower. Other times it is very difficult to find out where you are. The Outback in Australia is pretty non-descript, and there aren’t a lot of road signs to help you out either!

The game uses a lot of deductive reasoning. For example, are the cars driving on the left or right side of the road? Are the signs in English or Japanese? Is it an arid climate, or are the Royal Palm Trees lining the boulevard? You use anything you can find to help you isolate where you are. For example, there are times when all the signs are in Tamil, but the phone numbers are still Arabic, so I have Googled the prefix to isolate what area code it falls in. I’ve seen delivery trucks with company logos on them and found where those companies are located in order to narrow down where I am. It is like a mix of being Doctor Who stepping out of the Tardis in the wrong location, and Sherlock Holmes using visual clues to determine where I might actually be.

If you’ve got a few free minutes, go try out GeoGuessr for yourself. However, remember it is Monday, so you probably need to quit after one game if you plan on getting any work completed.