Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


'Secret' iPhone Features Can Make You a More Productive Lawyer

Ah, the iPhone. It has more power than the computers that took us into interstellar space. Yet, it does not come with a manual. Does its stylish body hide secrets, pehaps even ones that can make you a more productive lawyer?

But, of course! Read on as we pull back the veil on the mysterious rectangle we are all addicted to.

Facebook, like Google, continues to add to its list of services -- Facebook wants to be our everything. And this week news broke that Facebook is weeks away from getting e-wallet approval in Ireland. Is the U.S. next?

And as a California anti-theft kill switch bill gets debated, mobile phone manufacturers take a preemptive stand. But is it enough to prevent theft?

Remote desktop apps are not a new thing. Microsoft released a free app for accessing your Windows Desktop from your iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) devices a while back, but it was limited to certain versions of Windows (Professional and Server). Third-party solutions, like Splashtop, have been around for a few years as well, but they cost money.

Yesterday, Google released its own version, one that reportedly works with Windows, Linux, Mac, and Chrome OS, so long as you use Google's Chrome browser. Install a Chrome browser app, give the app pervasive permissions, and install an app on your Android phone or tablet and voilą -- remote access!

We gave it a cursory spin. Here are our first impressions:

Exercise Your Right to Exercise: 3 Gadgets That Can Help

As a lawyer, you're a champion for your client -- so you've got to be in fighting shape. Also, as a lawyer, you're hunched over a desk all day, fighting the battle of the bulge. If you are dealing with either one of these challenges, here are some gadgets to make exercise more doable.

The Striiv Smart Pedometer

This is more than a fancy pedometer -- it's a game that appeals to all the typical lawyer character traits: competitiveness, acquisitiveness, idealism, argumentativeness. Okay, not argumentativeness; you can't debate with it (next version?), but there's a lot about this pedometer that makes it almost addictively motivating.

You're probably all heart bled out, but further news of the biggest Internet security failure is worth noting. So now that the patches are up, and we can shop online and check our email without fear (fingers crossed), it's time to have a little chat and do a -- excuse the phrase -- post mortem on Heartbleed.

We know you went to law school because you hated math, but here's a winning formula of what the not-so-distant future looks like, that even you can get: Password + (option 1 below) or (option 2 below) = Secure Two-Factor Authentication.

There are a lot of reasons not to buy a Google Glass (available today only), besides the incomprehensible price of $1,500. For example:

But hey, it's not all bad. You get to look like Geordi La Forge! Plus, a few lawyers that took part in the exclusive testing of the product have had their own ideas on how the devices could help their practice.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Recently, this blog has touched on how warfare between nations in the digital era includes cyberattacks. And now, just as we already are feeling less than safe, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (the UNODC) has released some homicide statistics that can make us feel even more vulnerable.

According to the UNODC study, as many as 437,000 people were murdered around the world in 2012 alone. Here's what else the study found:

We apologize in advance if you're suffering from Heartbleed fatigue. It's the biggest issue in tech right now, because it might just be the biggest security failure ever. Remember those annoying email worms? This is worse. This is unlocked doors to secure data, with the majority of the Internet using the broken locks. It effects everything, from online dating, to millions of Android smartphones.

And, of course, where there's a opening, the National Security Agency will work its way in. Two unidentified sources told Bloomberg that the NSA has exploited the bug for years. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence denied the allegations, stating, "Reports that NSA or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before 2014 are wrong."

PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records (if you have money to pay).

What is there to say about PACER? It's horridly inefficient, with each court maintaining its own servers. It has an ancient user interface, straight out of the 1980s. And it costs $0.10 per page, which doesn't sound like a big deal, at least until you run a docket search on a big class action case and accidently run up $3.00 in charges with little to no warning.

In short, it sucks. And many people, myself included, think court records should be open and free. PACER, at least for now, won't be, as it's a cash cow for the courts, but third-party solutions exist that will help you to cut down on your bill while archiving copies of the documents for public (and free) consumption.

The year 1790 was a very different time, but interestingly enough, the first Patent Act passed in the states wasn't that different from today's system. Sure, there were some differences (patent examinations were conducted by the the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Attorney General, instead of trained patent examiners), but the system then faced some of the same issues that it does now: patentability, jury trials, and fee-shifting.

As a nod to the history of our beloved Patent Act, here are a few of those issues, along with some possible solutions: