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Netbooks were a thing once. They became so popular that we even mention them in our post categories (Computers/Laptops/Netbooks). Care to guess when we last wrote about them?

It was probably a couple of years ago, to be honest. There was a rush of popularity for them, then tablets came out and took the low-end market, and then slowly, a little bit at a time, Google's Chromebooks (netbooks with Google's own operating system) chunked out a stakehold. We've advised lawyers to stay away from them, however.


It's not much of a secret around here that I despise Windows 8.1. I'm not the only one -- its market share is in single-digit territory -- but I haven't exactly been shy about my feelings: It was a terrible mistake by Microsoft to push a touch-first operating system on everyone, especially corporate, legal, and other business users whose keyboard-and-mouse setups did not play well with the OS.

On Friday, I bought my first Windows 8.1 device: a $59 WinBook TW70CA17 tablet from Micro Center. And while it may not be fair to evaluate the OS in such a less-than-ideal environment, I really was curious to see how it would fare on a tiny 7-inch screen with bare minimum specs: a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735G processor with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB flash storage.

Why did I engage in the tech equivalent of self-flagellation with a spiked leather belt? The tablet, however useful or not it may be, came bundled with Office 365 Personal ($70 from Microsoft), which meant I saved $10 on Office 365 and got the tablet for free.

Finally, with all of Apple's annual (or bi-annual, in the Mini's case) upgrades on the books, we have the entirety of the Apple product line in front of us. If you're looking up upgrade or replace your office computers, and you're already on the platform, or Mac-curious, you might wonder what your best options are: Mini, iMac, or iMac with Retina?

Even between those three product lines, there are countless customization options for Apple's desktop computers. Let this be your guide:

We're gadget geeks, so we wait around for every Apple event, but today's event promised big things for even all you normal folks with friends: upgraded Macs. Why is that important? Because Windows 8 is terrible, Windows 10 is a year away, and you might need to upgrade your computers now.

Or maybe you're one of the many folks who run Mac in your law office. Either way, today's event had a lot of new goodies of business users, as well as incremental upgrades for the company's iPad line.

Because we had a big day of writing about judges behaving badly planned, we followed Ars Technica's live blog. Here's what stood out to us:

For anyone who has graduated in the last ten years from law school: How did you take notes in class? For the vast majority of us, it was on a laptop. And we communicate with professors either through email or in person.

This is not news, unless you're sitting on the Supreme Court.

But, recently, I've been noticing a growing backlash: professors barring laptops from class or refusing to take emails from students. Even outside of the university system, it's happening. The Los Angeles Unified School District had a botched attempt at issuing iPads to its students which was just cancelled after a lot of expense and bad publicity.

In each of these examples, the same reason is provided: It's too much of a headache.

It looks like we're on the threshold ... of Threshold.

The next version of Microsoft Windows, code-named Threshold, is set for a "technology preview" in late September or early October, reports ZDnet. That's fancy geek speak for a beta or pre-release testing version, and like Apple did last month, Microsoft will make the beta public.

That's right. You. Me. Anyone who hates Windows 8. We can all test Windows 9 -- though putting testing software on your primary PC is not the brightest idea.

It's time for classes! Or, if you're a bit older, maybe it's time to upgrade your aging laptop. But there are so many things to consider, besides price: touchscreen, solid state drives, RAM, processor, weight, battery life, screen size, operating system, and build quality -- where do you begin?

Not to worry. Here are five tips and picks to simplify things greatly:

For most incoming law students, 1L starts in just a few weeks. At this point, you're probably figuring out apartment leases, moving trucks, and tying up loose ends in your current living situation. But when 1L arrives, you'll want to be prepared and ready to jump right in.

A couple of weeks ago, we have you a list of supplies to get you started, but being the resident geek in the building, I figured a little tech talk was also in order.

Here are a few things you need, technology-wise, and some that you don't:

There have been so many rumors swirling about the MacBook Air, from high definition "Retina" displays to a 12-inch redesign, that it'd be hard not to be disappointed by an update to Apple's cheapest ultraportable laptops.

Even still, meh. Earlier this week, the Cupertino-based company, with no fanfare whatsoever, quietly updated its MacBook Air lineup with this change: a 0.1GHz speed increase. This is like someone giving you $1.58 instead of $1.55. This is like being promised candy and getting a single jelly bean. This is like every single year for the Kansas City Royals.

But, on the bright side, Apple did slash prices by $100, leading to even bigger discounts on last year's now totally obsolete models. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)

Lawyers: Shortcuts Keys Can Make You More Efficient

Can a few shortcut keys make you a more efficient lawyer? It's frustrating to watch a lawyer wasting time schlepping that cursor around with a mouse when he could be blazing like a wizard using shortcut keys. Using the mouse too much also sets you up for repetitive strain injuries.

And for us of course, time is money. So be a wizard. Avoid the mouse with the easy and quick shortcuts below. They have been tested on a Windows system, but many of them work on Macs, too.