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Perhaps you've heard of a firewall. If you're an architect, you might be thinking of the actual fire-proof walls used to stop the spread of blaze from, say, apartment to apartment. If you're pretty much anyone else, a firewall is one of the many network settings you may have tinkered with when configuring your Internet. A computer firewall is a network security system that controls incoming and outgoing traffic, creating a barrier between your internal network and the flaming, virus-filled Internet.

Firewalls have been common since the 90's. Which is why it might be surprising to learn that an "inventor" patented firewalls in 2000. Though he let his patent expire, it has recently been picked up by a patent troll, who is using it sue pretty much everyone who sells products related to network security.

Google I/O, the tech company's annual developer conference, came and went last weekend. The conference focuses on encouraging development in Google platforms such as Android and Chrome. But for the non-techies out there, it's much more of a two day press conference about Google's new developments.

Google I/O had some good news for lawyers, from simple developments like longer battery life and easier email, to potential game changers like virtual reality and NSA-connected toasters.

Here's an overview of five promising developments.

Tech folks often have their eye on the future, but when it comes to dealing with issues of culpability and liability in computing, some are arguing that it's time to start looking to the past.

When it comes to holding those responsible for complex systems accountable when something goes wrong, at least one Mircoserf suggests that we bring bring back medieval law. The legal revival isn't quite the "if she floats, she's a witch!" attribution of blame, however.

The ABA's Techshow took place in Chicago last week, gathering lawyers and tech vendors from around the world to look at the potential future of technology in the legal world. (As an aside, the ABA would like us to refer to the conference as the TECHSHOW, but we will politely decline.)

From exhortations to test lawyers' tech skills, to warnings that computers could dumb us all down, the program presented a nice mix of the useful and trivial, the inspiring and worrisome.

If you couldn't make it yourself, here's a few highlights of what you missed.

Apple's Spring Event: Apple Watch, HBO, and the Thinnest Mac Ever

Earlier today, Apple held its much-anticipated March 2015 event in San Francisco. On the docket, as rumored, were product updates, the introduction of the fabled Apple Watch, and a surprise for those of us who have been pirating "Game of Thrones" all these years.

So, what happened?

'National PACER Day of Protest' Set for May 1

Dear, sweet PACER. Its existence is begrudgingly accepted thanks to the convincing argument, "Hey, there's nothing better out there yet." Its Web 1.0 interface is clunky, but usable. There's something charmingly antiquarian about the interface.

But there's a reason we don't use typewriters anymore. PACER is outdated, but more importantly, its business model is undemocratic. That's why Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org has declared May 1, 2015, to be a "National Day of PACER Protest."

The 11 Most Popular Technologist Posts of 2014

If there was one blog out of our 19 blogs for lawyers that I could pick as my favorite, it would be FindLaw's Technologist: gadgets, tech tips, landmark cases, and other forms of legal geekery, all in one place.

And it shows in our product: not only is Technologist one of our most popular blogs, but it's on the ABA Journal's Blawg 100 (a list of the top legal blogs) for the second straight year. (If you're reading this on December 19, today is the last day to vote for us!)

Here are your favorite posts of 2014, in terms of traffic:

Apple Announces 4-Phone Lineup (Incl. Phablets), Apple Watch

No surprises here, though there is a whole lot of new Apple crack for all you fanatics out there.

Today, the company announced its long-awaited and much-rumored iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the Apple Watch. With the two new phone models, Apple's smartphone lineup expands to four options -- 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus -- and with the Apple Watch, the company will get in on the growing wearables category, challenging notable Android Wear entries from Motorola, Samsung, and LG.

Law and Video Games: Teaching Tool, Being Cool

Today is Video Games Day (or at least one of them). What does this have to do with law? Not a whole lot, admittedly, but heck, give me a topic and I'll make it work on a law blog. (See: Ides of March, dog breeds, and online dating.)

When "Video Games Day" popped up on my calendar, two thoughts immediately popped into my head: a particular Nintendo game and Stephanie Kimbro's startup. One of these will help your coolness factor with the kids, while the other could be a valuable teaching and business development tool.

TX Says: No Important Titles for Tech Gurus, Nonlawyers in Firms

Chief Technological Officer. We don't know about you, but at least to us, those three words carry no indication of a license to practice law. None whatsoever.

But, the Texas Bar ethics committee thinks it does. It's also banned titles like Chief Executive Officer, or really anything with the word "officer" in it, out of fear that it will confuse the townsfolk into mistaking them for practicing attorneys.

It's all part of the ban on nonlawyer ownership. And while the opinion is unlikely to affect most small firms (if you have a CTO, CFO, or CEO, you ain't that small), it seems like some BigLaw officials important nonlawyer people are going to have to order some new business cards.

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