Starting With A Dream

Filed under: Editorials | |

ambulation flight

CC photo credit: Wonderlane

The Microsoft Vision 2019 video isn’t new. As of this writing it’s about 18 months (!) old. But, it is still an amazing vision. Well, assuming your don’t stop to consider just why the world of 2019 is so unpopulated. To me, it’s a bit like the Lathe of Heaven after George make the world less crowded. However, that aside… The interface designs are amazing! Instant access, instant sharing, across devices, non-modal interfaces.

It’s geek nirvana! I have written before that Microsoft is a company who knows how to dream big. Screen issues, battery sizes, all that be damned! Let the engineers figure that out! Read the rest of this entry »


Blogging Should Not Cost $200 A Month

Filed under: Blogging | |

Ring a duck

CC photo credit: kevindooley

There are a lot of services marketing to lawyers that promise not only a web site and blog (blawg), but also an search engine optimized site with good search engine placement. You know their names. You may have even used them.

Let me tell you: you don’t need them. Turn around and run the other way!

I am not telling you this because these services don’t work (often they do). However, in my opinion they are a bad bargain for a solos lawyers and small law firms. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Lawyers Need To Create Content: The Snowball Effect

Filed under: Blogging, Marketing | |

Flight

CC photo credit: pincusvt

Creating content is hard. Believe me, I know. It sucks sitting down in front of a blank page. And when it comes to making videos, as soon as the camera light comes on, a fog descends in my brain.

However, there are rewards that come from creating. And I am not talking about the intangible sense of satisfaction of seeing something you have created. I am referring to real world perks.

Articles lead to…
… calls from attorneys around the country,
… which lead to interviews in the media,
… which leads to speaking engagements,
… which leads to completely new opportunities.

Of course, it may not happened immediately, and not all at once. However, it is surprising what nifty opportunities present themselves when you create content.

All you bloggers out there! What opportunities have presented themselves through blogging?


Are You A Twitterholic?

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: |

Do you have Twitter problem? Are you a twitterholic? Do you have a problem pulling yourself away from posting tweets, checking for replies and direct messages? Do you feel that you need to stay on Twitter constantly to preserve your brand? I know there are days when I feel like this. If there isn’t a conversation going on with @replies, I do keyword searches to look for tweets to respond to.

antisocial thanksgiving

CC photo credit: jessiejacobso

To be sure, Twitter is a great tool for a number of purposes:

  • Connecting with people with shared interests.
  • Connect with other practitioners.
  • Finding out what is happening in your interest area.
  • Finding the best articles and content from around the web.
  • Publicizing your own content.
  • Getting questions answered.
  • Following the hot events at conferences, CLEs, and conventions.

Here is the problem: Twitter is words on the wind. Twitter is about the NOW. What’s happening. What’s cool. What’s worth looking at. There are a lot of metaphors to describe this:

Twitter is like a party. When you get there, you don’t make everyone repeat everything that was said before you arrived.

Twitter is like a stream. You don’t have to see every drop of water. You just enjoy what is going by when you are there.

The flipside of this is that unlike blogs, videos, or podcasts you are not building a library of content with Twitter. Once you miss a tweet, it is gone. This is not strictly true of course: you can scroll back, you can see a particular person’s prior tweets, you can even search for tweets during a particular time or subject. However, the further back you try to go, the more difficult it becomes. An article you wrote two years ago may still be the number one hit on Google for that subject. However, your tweets from two years ago are worthless for driving people to your site today.

This is something I need to remind myself on those days when I just want to check for replies and messages. The time I spent hitting refresh and running searches might be much better spent writing a post for the blog.

Where does Twitter fit in your social media strategy?

Twitter is important for socializing. People have to know you, to find your content, read it, and pass it on to their friends. Twitter is one of the best ways to get the word out about your content and making connections with others that will spread the word.

It is also very easy to get caught up with tweeting.

I have to connect with people. I have to respond to people. I have to reach out!

These are all valid uses but it is easy to get to the point that you can’t stop tweeting.

If I step away, my brand disappears!

Just remember, you are not building content that will drive people to your site for years. Twitter is about socializing. You have to balance that with generating content that you can be known for. If you really feel the need to maintain regular content, consider using a scheduling service like hootsuite to spread out your tweets over the day even if you are AFK (away from keyboard).


Maker Spotlight On Freelance Attorneys

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , |

Winchester Skate park pool Judi O

CC photo credit: Judi Oyama

I recently put out the call for contract attorneys to share their experience. I want to bring you the best practices to make a working with a contract attorney a success. This also gave me the chance to connect with a number of amazing freelance lawyers who are makers in their own right. Here are some of the best!


My Worst New Media Mistake

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , , , |

/doh

CC photo credit: striatic

It was the OpenCamp 2010 conference. LOTS of tech luminaries. Cali Lewis, John P., Chris Pirillo.

I brought my recording equipment to do interviews and tracked down people during the conference for interviews. As difficult it was to ask, everyone was gracious and generous with their time. I was thrilled! Every interview went smoother than the last.

But, then, back in the hotel room, when checking the records, I realized that I hadn’t actually started recording on the external recorder (a Zoom H4N). I love the audio quality the Zoom produces! But, the user interface is another matter. You have to press the “Rec” button twice to start recording. The first press only puts the records into standby. You also get a false sense of security due to the live monitor. It’s great to be able to check sound levels with no delay. However, hearing the sound coming live over the mics makes it way to easy to assume that the sound is also being recorded. At least it was for me.

Like any other UI issue, once you internalize this, it’s not a problem. However, until you do…. you forget to hit the record button a second time.

So, I had done a number of interviews only to discover, that I hadn’t recorded any audio (except over the camera mic which was also picking up ALL of the noise of the conference).

I had a choice, I could abort the entire project (frankly, I just wanted to stay in my room the entire day), or I could swallow my pride and go back out and beg to redo the interviews. Well, that is what I decided to do. And I was able to get each interview done again plus a number more.

Failure isn’t the end. It’s only the end if you stop.

Don’t let me be the only one confessing failures! What were your new media misteps?


Finding Pictures For Your Blog

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , , , , , |

A Prism of Shadows: Self-portrait in Front of A Brick Wall

CC photo credit: DerrickT

If you want your blog (or “blawg”) read, you have to make it easy and engaging for the reader. One of the best ways to draw readers to your posts is adding pictures that draw your readers’ attention eyes.

I put together this video covering:

  • Where to find pictures (both free and paid) for your blog.
  • How to get images into your WordPress blog articles.
  • And a super easy plug in that makes adding pictures a snap!

Take a look and let me know what you think.


Dragon Dictate 2.0 For Mac Non-Review

Filed under: Software | Tags: , , |

dragon bits

CC photo credit: debaird™

I’m telling you from the start that this is not a review of Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac. Since I am including a disclaimer, there really should be no complaint that no review follows. :)

So, it’s LINK BAIT!

I prefer to call it a topical musing on the history of voice recognition and my hopes for the new Dragon Mac offering, and leave it at that.

analogue modem

CC photo credit: secretlondon123

I have been using voice recognition products since 2000; first on the PC and more recently on Apple computers. Back in the olden days, there was a real issue with (sub-gigahertz, single core) processor speeds. Now, my cell phone has more power and memory that my 2000 era computer; and can do a better job with voice recognition. To be fair, today’s cell phones use a client / server model for voice recognition. The iPhone or iPad does not do the voice recognition itself. The Dragon Dictate app beams the voice file to a server farm to churn out what it thinks you said and beam it back to your device.  It’s pretty amazing that our networks are fast enough for this to be practical. I still remember visiting the computer lab at my brother’s grad school where you had to plug the handset of a telephone into a suction cup. That was the era of Net Trek and MUDs, and beer bashes and dancing to “Rock Lobster.” Yeah, um, don’t tell my parents.

Back to voice recognition: over the years, I have bought the new version of the voice recognition software du jour, try it for about a month and then leaving the scene for a year or two. Then I am lured back with the siren call of improved accuracy, speed and functionality, and the promise of finally being able to quickly and naturally enter text into the computer proves irresistible and I open my wallet again. And so it has been through Dragon Naturally Speaking, Nuance Naturally Speaking, MacSpeach Dictate, and now Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac.

Then as now venders have touted:

  • Accuracy over 97%. The current version of Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac touts a 99% accuracy out of the box. Frankly I don’t see the improvement over the years. It’s not that voice recognition is not that good. It is just that it has been around 97% for a number of years now. No one was touting 75% accuracy back in 2000. Even then, venders advertised better than 95% accuracy and it was well in the realm of possibility to achieve it. Certainly, the amount of training required has decreased. I recall reading excerpts from Arthur C Clark’s 3001, or Dave Berry in Cyberspace, that lasted well past the point of any entertainment value. Yes, there is an enormous value to getting a high degree of accuracy right from the start, but engine accuracy has been good for a number of years now. There is still a high degree of training involved: users must stop slurring words, and the program needs to learn the names of organizations so that “Peak Vista Community Health Center” does not come out as, “peak vista Community Health Center.”
  • Improved speed. From a getting-words-to-the-page perspective, I do not see a significant speed increase. For the last 10 years, I have had an accuracy slider letting me choose between accuracy and speed. And the words got to the screen about as fast then as now. I have no doubt that there are orders of magnitude more processing and comparisons against ever larger dictionaries taking place behind the scenes nowadays. However, that is just the point: despite the the activity inside the black box, I do not see that much change with what happens on the screen.

I suspect most users who have been using voice recognition for more than a few years realize that it is as fully baked as it is gonna get. As much as the advertising focuses on accuracy and speed, I think it is other features that win over users. I think Dragon (Nuance) has been smart in adding functionality to Naturally Speaking (and now Dictate 2.0 for Mac) Read the rest of this entry »


Maker Spotlight – Legal Blogs

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: |

Flashing Lights

CC photo credit: jurvetson

Lawyers who take time to create great content, explain the law and keep it entertaining, deserve credit.

Here are 10 lawyers and legal professions who created amazing content this week!

  1. Lawyers Who Text in Court, LL Cool J and Other Scholarly Musings
  2. The Emergency Doctrine
  3. Top 10 Bankruptcy Myths [post removed from source site]
  4. Ready, Fire, Aim: How Not To Threaten Sanctions Against Opposing Counsel
  5. Yes, It’s Really Hard
  6. Watch Your Mouth
  7. Lawyer Sued After Delivering Belly Bump, Sucker Punch
  8. Podcast 67: Do You Really Want to Hurd Me
  9. Untangling CLE Reciprocity
  10. Estate Tax Uncertainty Has No End In Sight

Here’s to the makers!


Maker Showcase – What Did You Make This Week?

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: |

this wheel's on fire #2

CC photo credit: mugley

Lawyers, law students and legal professionals, what content did you create this week?

  • Do you have a new blog post?
  • Did you make a video?
  • Do you have a podcast out?

I know we are all busy, but you have to be making content if you want people can find you! I want to give you credit and recognition for your hard work!

I am highlighting each week’s legal makers. Post a link in the comments to any blog posts, videos, podcasts (or other content) you published this week.

  • If you have  a video or a podcast, make sure it’s embeddable!
  • I should hope this does not need to be said, but it has to be your own content! No scrapped, no outsourced or third party work.

I will pick the best and feature it on Monday!