Fujitsu Scansnap iX500 vs s1500m

Filed under: Paperless | Tags: , , , , |

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I set up the new Fujitsu Scansnap iX500 desktop scanner today. Is it faster? Take a look:

I’m not going to review it. There are plenty of those online. Here’s a quick run down:

  • Is it faster? Hells yeah! The s1500 is now officially s   l   o   w.
  • Is the Wifi anything to write home about? Not for me. Scanning to an iPhone or iPad seems like a gimmick.
  • Does the USB3 matter? I thought it would make a huge difference, but I tested the iX500 with a ~2008 era mac mini and USB doesn’t seem to be the bottleneck.
  • Is the built in processor noticeably faster. YES! I ran one test with the “old” s1500m plugged in to the 2008 mac mini and pressing the blue start button at the same time, it took the mini about 5 seconds to start. The video above is with the new iX500 attached to the mac mini and the old s1500 attached to a speedy retina macbook. It looks like the faster chip in the iX500 makes up for slow machine.

A hidden gem is the ability to do background OCR with a new option in the Scansnap Manager software. Here is a video on how to do this:

Caveat: while the iX500 is wireless, it is not a stand alone scanner. It still needs to be “attached” to a computer system either by wifi or the USB3 cable. In practice this means you can have the scanner in your mail room and your computer in another room. However, you cannot use the iX500 without a computer.

Do I like and recommend it? Yes. Yes I do.


Ethics of Going Paperless

Filed under: Law Offices, Paperless, Presentations | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I recently had the chance to present on how to take a law office paperless and cover the ethical issues involved with a digital scanning and cloud technology for the Colorado Family Law conference.

Here are the materials from the presentation: Paperless & cloud materials.

For more information about the issues of going paperless, using cloud technology, SaaS, and virtual law offices, take a look at Nicole Black’s “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” from the ABA (Amazon link). Psst: one of my articles is in it, so… SQUEE! However, I’m not getting paid. So you can buy it without worrying that you are enriching me in the process.


Jack Newton on Great Customer Service

Filed under: Marketing | Tags: , , |

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More from MILOfest: Jack Newton of Clio is presenting “Behind the Genius Bar” on how to provide great customer service. 

I love the above image from his presentation. Love it.


Go Brainless With Markdown!

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , |

Doug Rice is presenting about Markdown at Milofest. One of the great tips was using the Copy as Markdown extension in Google Chrome.

Screen Shot 2012 11 09 at 9 15 29 AM

Copy as Markdown not only lets you copy a link and page title as Markdown, but also lets you copy ALL OPEN TABS as Markdown. Ever wanted to publish a list of sites? For example when you are out of ideas for what to blog about. So you decide to do a “rundown” of other people’s articles and blog posts, just open up the sites. Click the plug in and you have just copied all urls and titles in markdown format. Then click paste in your editor….

… and BAM, you got a blog post!


Brett Burney on Keynote Tips

Filed under: Law Offices | Tags: , , |

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I’ve made my annual pilgrimage to Orlando Florida for the Macs in Law Offices conference (MILOfest for short).

Brett Burney, technology consultant extraordinare, has some great Keynote tips that even old hands might not know about:

  • You can apply a theme just to one slide (not just to the entire deck).
  • Tear off inspector windows with ALT + click.
  • “Cmd +” and “cmd -” increases and decreases text size. Great when experiment with the text size.
  • You are not limited to “text” bullets. Go to inspector, text, bullets, and select “image bullets” from the pull down menu.
  • “Cmd P” plays from the start of the presentation. BUT more importantly, “alt cmd P” plays from the selected slide! This is great when you are testing you build in and outs in your keynote presentation.
  • Did you know you that you do not have to use a square or rectangle when masking an image?In “Format – Mask with Image” lets you select different shapes. Here is a call out –>Screen Shot 2012 11 09 at 8 01 26 AM


Disaster planning backup strategies

Filed under: Paperless, Practice Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , |

My law office is located in Colorado Springs Colorado – the location of the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire. On June 26, 2012, the fire broke over the ridge and started to come down the mountain quickly rushing into Colorado Springs. Foothill neighborhoods burst into flames. And no one knew how far the fire would go. Would the fire rush through all of Colorado Springs?

We quickly packed “go bags” with three days of clothes along with water, food and supplies, in case we had to evacuate.

But what about the office? We are paperless, so everything is digital. A couple of hard drives and we have everything. Smart, right? Well, there’s nothing like a disaster to put your finest plans to the test. The local backups are all on the full-size hard drives. They require their own power supply. This means a separate cable, power-brick, and of course, power. Three full-size drives and cables (one for the server, one for the laptops, and one for the Time Machine). Once you add in padding, you are looking at a carry-on sized bag. You think you have room for everything, until you actually start loading the car. You quickly find yourself running out of space. The trunk sags, and you need to make some hard choices about what you’re going to bring and what you will leave behind. Survival gear takes the priority: food, clothes, water, sleeping bags, medicine. However, with your “digital” office, you still have your laptops, and backups requiring the same space as a gym bag. It’s not big, but what do you leave behind so you can bring this?

In case you are wondering, I do use cloud backups. However, in a disaster, I am not counting on good conductivity. If I have to leave, I have no idea when I will be coming back, or even if I will be back. I need to be able to keep the office running and plan for contingencies, in case something happens during the evacuation. I need my first data location (on the laptop), and a backup.

Fortunately, we did not have to evacuate that night and I won an extra day. The next morning, I went out and bought two 1 terabyte bus powered hard drives, wiped them, reformatted for the Mac, and did a full image.

Two drives. Now I’m down to backing up the office onto something smaller than two paperback books. No long cables. No separate power supplies. Just a short USB cable. I slipped them into the pockets of my go bag.

Now, it is Friday, June 29, 2012. Three days since the fire came down the mountain. The weather has been favorable. The winds are blowing fire back into hills. There has been no growth in the fire and the firefighters are starting to gain containment. However, the fire still isn’t out. So, we stay ready. The car remains packed. I keep backing up: local, off-site, in the cloud, and onto the USB bus drives that come with me.

Remember, good backup strategy is about layers. You may have things backed up. However, if you have to leave in a hurry, give some consideration to how much space and weight those backups take compared to everything else you will need to take for yourself and your family. Add some bus powered drives – your business may depend on it someday.

photo by: FtCarsonPAO


Magic Marketing Secrets

Filed under: Marketing | Tags: , |

I love it when people ask me to write up their new business. I mean, when they actually ask me – which means figuring out who I am, what I do, why their business might be of interest to me and my readers, and then actually talking to me while using my name.

Of course, I also get a kick when marketers do the opposite and ask me for a personalized recommendation via an email blast, such as the below:

Hi,

My name is Paul and I’m a startup blogger. About three months ago I started a do it yourself marketing service for bloggers because agencies cost too much. The service is called [LamerMarketing] and I need your help promoting it.

http://www.[lamermarketing].com

Will you write an article about the newly launched [lamermarketing]?

Regards,
Paul K

So, here is my response to Paul:

Thank you for your personalized contact which I can tell was completely not generated through a mail blast system or service.

I appreciate your request to promote your new advertising venture by personally writing it up on my site despite never having heard of you before.

I can tell you know all about the art of modern promotion since you eschew all those out of date methods like figuring out the name of the person you are contacting.

I also see you recognize the importance of working efficiently: you send out hundreds if not thousands of emails with one click requesting a personalized promotion at no cost or further effort from you! Genius!

I think I shall take you up on your offer to discuss your business publicly and often.

I may even use it as a case study!

There you go Paul, an article about your business. Please let me know if you would like me to include your real URL.

photo by: Ghostboy


How to flatten a signature in Adobe Acrobat

Filed under: Paperless | Tags: , |

You probably already know how to create and use an electronic signature in Adobe Acrobat (if not, don’t worry it’s the first tip in Ernie Svenson’s video below). However, you may be wondering “how do I ‘flatten’ the signature image, so someone can’t simply lift my signature off a document.”

I figured that Adobe must have a way of doing this. It is the premier app for managing electronic documents in business after all. However, apparently not. Also, I could not find the answer by googling, either. After several dead ends, I was able to find the information. Everything you need is covered in Add a Flatten Document Menu Item to Acrobat on the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog. WARNING: this has worked fine for me (Adobe Acrobat Pro 9), but I make no warranty.

Read the rest of this entry »


Backup strategies for solo or small firm lawyers

Filed under: Cloud, Mac Tips, Practice Tips | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s a new year and it is time to make good on that resolution to strengthen your law firm’s backup strategy (or to get one started)!

How to get your back-up plan in order, in case of a hard drive failure, theft or fire, is one of the most important things a solo attorney and small law firm can do — especially once you go paperless. Then it is all just bits. And you do not want them to go away. Fortunately, it is much easier to copy bits than it is paper documents, allowing you to have multiple up to date and versioned copies in multiple locations.

Goals of a successful backup strategy:

  • Automatic. You already know that if something is a hassle, it is not going to get done. You want something that works in the background whether you remember to use it or not.
  • Multiple locations. One of the worst backup strategies is to have your backup sitting next to your computer. You want to make sure you have offsite back-up. And having a backup in a completely different regions is even better.
  • Multiple copies. One backup is good, but several are better. You never know when a perfect storm will hit and take out your one backup.or
  • Multiple services. If something happens with your backup provider, even a temporary problem with connectivity, you could be left out in the cold. It is a good idea to put your eggs in several different baskets just in case.

Great, you say. You could read pabulum like this on any number of law blogs. So let me give you a quick and dirty guide to backing up. Some of this is Mac specific, but I am including PC alternatives for the Morlocks among you ;)

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Kill the puppies!!!

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: |

Popped edit

I recently came across this post titled “The best editing advice anyone accidentally gave me.” It is pretty darned good advice whether you are writing a book, a blog post, or anything else:

Sometimes a story has pieces to it that are interesting or well-written or the result of hours of thought and work, but simply — if an editor is being completely honest — don’t belong in that story. Like puppies, those pieces are good things, and you’d never want to part with them, but if they are unnecessary, they have to go. Chop the piece, kill the puppy.

This is spot on! Certainly, I know that my writing could use more editing. However, I am usually so pleased with myself that I have any ideas at all, that I do not want to start cutting out ideas — let alone good ones — just because they did not fit with the piece I am writing.

Via House of Figs

Creative Commons License photo credit: carterse