TextExpander from Noob to Ninja!

Filed under: Mac Tips, Software, Videos | Tags: , , |

One of the best presentations at MILOfest was Brett Burney’s guide to using TextExpander like a BOSS!

Here is part one covering the basics:

Viewing tip: bump up the youtube video resolution to see what Brett is typing!

Part 2 is UP! (Even with an i7 and seeing 8 cores light up, processing video takes so looooooong!)

Part 3: “From Milan to Minsk” is UP at long last:

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 ;)

Read the rest of this entry »

$299 iPad on the way?

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: |

Apple Store

With the iPad 3 expected  to arrive in 2012 (fingers crossed), Apple will have three iPads in the market. So, the question becomes, what will Apple do with the original iPad 1?

Apple could, of course, simply drop the iPad 1. As a single core machine, it will be lag even further behind the iPad 2 and the iPad 3. However, Apple has historically liked to have three price points in the marketplace: a high, middle, and low.

I would not be surprised to see Apple offer the iPad 1 in 2012 for $299. Of course, Apple might simply come out with a low-end iPad 2 at the same similar price point.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gonzo iMovie editing tips

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS, Mac Tips | Tags: , , , |

I was doing interviews at MILOfest (Macs in Law Offices) conference. I had FinalCut X installed on my late 2010 Macbook Air and, over the course of the afternoon sessions, I got to watch the progress meter slowly churn on an 8 minute clip and still not finish. Previewing and editing lower thirds was positively painful. Everything might have been ok if I had not tried to re-render the clip (even using the proxy media setting).

I know, I know, I’m trying to use a heavy-duty app on an underpowered machine. So, despite the much greater editing, titles, audio, controls, I found myself going back to my iPhone for some rapid-fire, gonzo, video editing.

Here are tips for splitting clips, tricks with titles, and making video editing on the iPhone with iMovie doable.

Pinch and Zoom the timeline

Touch interfaces have a lot of gee whizz! However, fine editing on a small screen isn’t ideal; especially when you are dealing with small clips. Well, don’t sweat it! If you need finer control, use the two finger expand gesture to expand the clip.

IMovie iOS p z 3

Now, it is easier to find the right spot for edits, sound cues, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Nice update description ShiftJelly

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: |

ShiftJelly, the makers of my favorite podcatcher for iOS devices, Pocket Casts, recently updated their software… And had a bit of fun with the description of the changes. Nice!

Dragon Express Review

Filed under: Software | Tags: , , |

Dragon Express top

Nuance, the manufacturers of Naturally Speaking (PC) and Dragon Dictate (Mac) have come out with a new voice recognition program for Apple: Dragon Express. Dragon Express is available through the Apple App Store for an initial price of $50.

Just 50 bucks for a voice-recognition package? Where do I sign up!

That’s what I thought anyway. Then I looked at the reviews.

Dragon Exprss App Store reviews

While there are some glowing reviews praising Dragon Express for its recognition, there are many more saying that the program crashes repeatedly and is completely unusable. According to Nuance, the problems are related to another program installed on users’ systems: Cam Twist. Nuance has a link to an updated version of CamTwist that is supposed to solve the problem and a walk-through on how to uninstall CamTwist (as a final option).

Fortunately, I did not have the CamTwist installed, so crossing my fingers, I went ahead and purchased Dragon Express… The download took some time as the program is over a gigabyte in size. However, the installation went smoothly. Starting the program, I again held my breath. Read the rest of this entry »

Best App Review Ever!

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , |

Best app review evah

You know how you download an app that just doesn’t work? It crashes or is missing features?And you would just like to let the developer know just how disappointed you are.

How to create links to Apple iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS, Mac Tips | Tags: |

Writing about various apps means I often have to create links to the product. However, finding links to Apple App Store or iTunes pages is difficult. I would think there would be a button right on the product page or an option to share the product on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other social networks. But, no. It’s not there.

Fortunately, there is the iTunes Link Maker. While it is not the easiest solution, it provides a way of creating a link music, movies, books, and apps in iTunes, the iOS App Store (iPhone and iPad) and the Mac App Store (desktop).


Making Dropbox secure for lawyers and law offices

Filed under: Cloud | Tags: , , , |


Lawyers are particularly concerned about using cloud based service to store information. Here are some of the issues attorneys face:

  • I am handing over sensitive client matters to a third-party! Note: this is despite the fact that lawyers already do this when they store client files in a rented office.
  • Where are the files stored? Are any files stored outside of the United States?
  • What are the security procedures at the cloud service provider?
  • Who can see my data?
  • Will the data be handed over to law enforcement and under what conditions (subpoena)?
  • Will I be notified if data is handed over?

The flaw (some say the fatal flaw) with using a cloud service like Dropbox is the service ultimately has access to your files and could theoretically view or reveal your data.

There have been a number of workarounds including putting your files into an encrypted container. I discussed the trade-off with this in “Is Cloud Storage Secure Enough for Lawyers.” The problem is that you lose the benefit of constant synchronization: instead of files constantly being backed up and synced, you have to sync a single LARGE file when all you want to do is shut down your system and go home.


The goal has been per file encryption and services like Spider Oak have stepped up to the plate to offer this. However, moving away from Dropbox, means moving away from a known service which is currently the market leader with cross-platform application on desktop (Windows, Apple/Mac, and Linux) and mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) plus many applications support Dropbox right out of the box!

Dropbox mobile

Dropbox just logo

Plus, Dropbox just works! Sync is hard. Just ask anyone who has tried to keep contacts synchronized between various computers and online services: you get old information, conflicts, and duplicates. With Dropbox files sync accurately and quickly — even “files” like Circus Ponies Notebook which are actually folders work!

Now, I’m not saying other service do not work just as well. It is just that any contender needs to be considerably better to make me move.

The ONE thing Dropbox lacks is — per-file encryption. That is, until SecretSync. Read the rest of this entry »

iPhone Add-on Lens Roundup Review: Owle vs Olloclip vs 3-in-1

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , , , , , , |

All lenses sizes small

Getting ready for the Macs in Law Office annual conference (MILOfest), I have been checking out 3 add-on lens for the iPhone:

  1. Olwe Bubo – “The Heavy Weight” in all criteria: size, weight and price ($169) offering wide angle and macro lenses (no fish-eye). $169 USD
  2. Olloclip – “The Challenger” A small fish-eye, wide angle & macro combo lens. $59 USD
  3. 3 in 1 Camera Lens Kit – “The Kid.” The 3-in-1 camera lens kit has the features of the Olloclip (fish-eye, wide angle and macro combo lens) at a bargain price. The 3-in-1 also comes with stick on rings which the 2 lenses magnetically attach to. $30 USD
Let’s take a look at each of them: Read the rest of this entry »