Archive for June, 2009

Will touchscreen Windows 7 netbooks be hot or not?

June 24, 2009

I think the question posed here is a good one, but I wish the author was advocating for manufactures to produce touch screen convertible tablets.  It’s definitely a chicken vs. the egg type of question, very similar to the 64 bit OS issues.  Software companies won’t build applications until there is a market for them, but people don’t buy the hardware/OS until there are applications for it.  I have been debating the move to 64 bit with Windows 7, but there are still too many application issues for me to be comfortable using it as my primary machine.  Even Microsoft’s own software (such as OneNote) has issues with printer drivers that has only recently been addressed. The issues with Intuit’s Quickbook’s and 64 bit Vista are also well known.

As I have previously stated, the killer app for touch screens may very well be eBooks.  When you consider the price of the Kindle vs. a netbook or a full blown notebook, it doesn’t make sense to buy one if you can the a superset of the functionality, for a few hundred dollars more.  I think touch tablets are being held back by the smaller screen size.  A 15” convertible tablet would still be portable, yet offer enough screen real estate to really take advantage of the functionality in an all day machine.  I am currently using a 17” notebook whose size and weight affect its portability. It is a wonderful desktop replacement machine and can take advantage of a 2nd monitor when I am not travelling, but using it on a plane in economy class can be a challenge and the weight becomes a factor when carried for long periods of time. At 7.7 lbs it is not lightweight.  But as a law student, I love the idea of having my textbooks digitally on my computer, the more I think about though, it is likely two screens would be required for most work other than reading and highlighting.  One for the textbook and another to contain the notes.  Easier enough to accomplish when studying at home, but I am concerned about the difficulty of carrying around the notebook and a 2nd monitor to classes each day to enable me to refer to the textbook and my notes simultaneously.

Bottom line, I think they will be hot and people will start to use touch screen netbooks as eBooks especially at price point under $500.

Will touchscreen Windows 7 netbooks be hot or not? | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

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Make Your Mark: RightSignature Lets You Sign Documents Online (Or On Your iPhone)

June 24, 2009

This product sound like a step in the right direction for electronic signing of documents. As it becomes more acceptable, “wet” signatures may well become a thing of the past.

Make Your Mark: RightSignature Lets You Sign Documents Online (Or On Your iPhone)

 

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Legal translation of “I give you this orange.”

June 24, 2009

I found this quote in Law School, A survivor’s guide, attributed to Plain Wayne [pseud.], Wis. Bar Bull., Feb. 1975, at 61.

Everyday phrase:

“I give you this orange.”

Legal translation:

Know all the persons by these presents that I hereby give, grant, bargain, sell, release, convey, transfer, and quitclaim all my right, title, interest, benefit, and use whatever in, of, and concerning this chattel, known as an orange, or Citrus orantium, together with all the appurtenances thereto of skin, pulp, pip, rind, seeds, and juice, to have and to hold the said orange together with its skin, pulp, pip, rind, seeds, and juice, for his own use and behoof, to himself and his heirs, in fee simple forever, free from all liens, encumbrances, easements, limitations, restraints, or conditions whatsoever, any and all prior deeds, transfers, or other documents whatsoever, now or anywhere made, to the contrary notwithstanding, with full power to bite, cut, suck, or otherwise eat the said orange or to give away the same, with or without its skin, pulp, pip, rind, seeds, or juice.

 

Fascinating.

 

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Netbook vs. Notebook – What’s right for you?

June 24, 2009

Just sharing this article that might help students trying to decide how much “horsepower” they need in their mobile computer.  It gives a good comparison of netbooks vs. notebooks. Personally, I am trying to reduce the number of computers I am using.  If one machine can meet all needs that would be great, but I think we are still not there yet.  For me the biggest challenge is video editing.  I am interested to see how the forthcoming Nehalem mobile processors will change the game, but the likelihood have a having an under five pound notebook with discrete graphics is low.

I think I will using a notebook (possibly a tablet) for mobile and most purposes and then having a desktop as a family machine that is also used for video editing. I am concerned about the limited processing power of the netbooks, but if budget is your primary concern and you are aware of their limitation, it might be the right choice for you.

Living with a netbook: The performance penalty | Laptops and Desktops | ZDNet.com

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The Trial Practice Tips Weblog: Keeping Up with Tech for Lawyers: Some Resources

June 24, 2009

Here is a blog post by a lawyer, Evan Schaeffer, in St. Louis.  He shares a list of websites with information on technology for Lawyers.

The Trial Practice Tips Weblog: Keeping Up with Tech for Lawyers: Some Resources

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Unmasking Plaintiffs in Google Case

June 24, 2009

This post “ Unmasking Plaintiffs in (Firepond) Google Case “on law.com shows that all is not always as it seems.  When I first heard this story, I thought that it was a legitimate complaint to be concerned that someone searching on Google for your company name would be served up information/links on your competitors.  This can potentially be confusing for the searcher, who may not realize they are clicking on a competitor of the company/product they were searching for.

Then you find out that the people behind the suit have a history of acquiring patents, allegedly for the sole purpose of suing other people for patent infringement. Does that make the claim/suit any less valid? What impact does this have on innovation and the products available in the marketplace?  Is it protecting innovation or stifling it.  I think the next few years will be significant in the world of patent law, especially in the technology field and we will see changes in how patents are granted and what it takes to have an existing patent invalidated.

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Welcome to the Future: Time for Law School 4.0

June 24, 2009

Very interesting blog post about the future of Law Schools and whether their current curriculums are serving the needs of the profession.  Since I have not started school yet, I will refrain from commenting, but wanted to share this post.  The author also mentions the lack of technology use to enhance the learning experience at most schools and that is an area I hope to see change in new future.

 

Welcome to the Future: Time for Law School 4.0

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eBook reader should be an accessory to a computer

June 24, 2009

The more I ponder this whole concept, I am becoming convinced that the eBook reader needs to be able to perform both as a stand alone device and as an accessory to a computer.  I want to be able to easily transport it and read the material without being burdened by the need to have a computer up and running, but I also want access to the material from the computer to easily incorporate the information into work I am producing.  For example, to copy and paste a passage to be cited in a paper, or a chart to be referenced in a presentation.  The eBook reader as an accessory to a computer does not seem to be an idea that has been often discussed.

This would also you to utilize two screens and thus be more productive, you could be looking at the annotated highlighted text of the reference material while writing about it on the computer screen, versus constantly swapping back and forth.  Adding a 2nd monitor to my computer system (often referred to as a dual monitor setup) was one of the most “Green” things I have done in terms of reducing unnecessary printing.  Before that I often found it necessary to print material simply to refer to it while writing something else.  Once I was able to view the source material simultaneously with the material being created, it significantly reduced the amount of printing I was doing.  As I continue to think about the practicalities of studying with an eBook, it is clear to me that it would difficult to accomplish with a single screen device.

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California’s Effort to provide eBooks in place of printed textbooks

June 24, 2009

I am fascinated to follow this initiative in California to replace traditional printed textbooks with digital textbooks.  The unexplained part of it is perhaps the most interesting.  How are the students going to read/use the digital textbooks.  I could not find any released information on the methodology or hardware for reading the digital textbooks.  As in previous posts, I wonder how it will work in classes where the student needs to take notes and refer to the textbook.  Will the student be providing their own “device” or will one be provided to them?

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Leading the Nation Into a Digital Textbook Future – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon from the NYTimes.com

June 24, 2009

I am hoping to see the market for eBooks to continue to grow. As a law student, I would be thrilled to be able to purchase my books in a digital format and then read and annotate them with a convertible tablet computer.  I truly believe this is the direction the world is moving in, but the question is how long will it take us to get there?  Blackberries and iPhones are becoming the platforms of choices for reading RSS feeds.  Personally, I use Viigo on a Blackberry to get most of my news.  I am able to skim the summaries and then download the full article to read if I desire.  If the topic is really interesting, I email it to myself and then use my computer to further search the internet for additional information (one of the main ways I find articles of interest to blog about).

I am glad to see competition in the eBook market as well, personally the Kindle does not hold much interest for me.  It costs almost as much as a full powered notebook and more than some netbooks, and has very limited capabilities in comparison.  In contrast, I would rather have a slate style tablet (no keyboard) that would accept pen input and have a thin light form factor.  This would give equivalent or better readability, without being difficult to transport.  This tablet would be the be the base level mobile internet device, with the next level being the convertible tablet that includes a keyboard for easier input of data/text.

The challenge I see is the need for two screens to do meaningful work with the eBook.  We are all used to looking at reference materials as we use a computer.  Using two screens on my desktop computer significantly increased my efficiency and output.  I have been thinking that if my reading material was on the same device I wanted to take notes on, it would become difficult to switch back and forth.  A second screen solves that problem.  I envision reading/highlighting a textbook/casebook with the convertible tablet in a folded position, enabling its use almost anywhere.  Then when ready to go back, review, and create notes, either docking it or just attaching an external display (imagine if you could use the slate tablet as a second monitor for the tablet/keyboard machine) and creating the notes on one screen, while still being able to review the source material on the other screen.  Now that is a solution that is incredibly efficient and has the added benefit of being “green”.  No wasted paper, no need to recycle the used books at the end of the semester. 

In future posts I will explore the costs of textbooks and what effect eBooks will have on this.  I think this topic will also be of interest to practicing attorney’s as the ability to use information in a digital format changes.  If Judges were equipped with the ability to review digital documents at the bench, wouldn’t it change the way trials were handled?  That too sounds like a worth topic to explore.

 

Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon – NYTimes.com

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