2001 Reader Response Awards
IT'S ABSOLUTELY NO surprise that Accurint took top honors in this year's Reader Response Awards. All you had to do was stand within a few yards of Seisint Inc.'s booth at the American Bar Association and American Association of Law Librarians conventions last summer. Attendees were absolutely mesmerized (and a bit intimidated!) by the speed and power of this public records database search tool.
2001 Trends? One is obvious: You still care, passionately, about word processing! For the fifth year in a row, Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect made the thin top air of the roster, and for the fourth year in a row, Donna Payne's bible on word processing has scored in the top 20. Microsoft Corp., too, continues its dominance: this year with its new operating system and office suite, both dubbed XP.
Mobile lawyering tools are gaining steam: from digital cameras to portable chargers to tiny, almost-hand-held projectors. You also are intrigued with new hardware. The IBM ThinkPad TransNote grabbed everybody's attention, with its ability to capture handwritten notes on a traditional yellow legal pad.
But one technology is very noticeable by its absence: voice recognition. It's the first time in five years that it's off the chart (other than by being incorporated into XP and WordPerfect).
My personal favorite gadget of the year: the CardScan 600, which lets you actually do something with those piles of business cards on your desk -- quickly transfer the info into Outlook or other contact management systems.
-- Monica Bay
Seisint Inc.'s Accurint service helps lawyers and other researchers track down just about anybody. The company has built a massive database from public record information that can help investigators find deadbeat dads, recalcitrant debtors, hesitant witnesses, and long-lost cousins or schoolmates. It's fast, and it's cheap. Prices start at just 25 cents for a "locate" search.
Reader Response no. 287.
2 WordPerfect 2002
Corel Corp. says its new suite, WordPerfect 2002, includes upgrades of its core applications, including WordPerfect. It is bundled with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 5 speech software.
Reader Response no. 288.
3 IBM ThinkPad TransNote
The IBM ThinkPad TransNote combines a 600 MHz Pentium III laptop computer with a ThinkScribe digital notepad. Closed, it's about 1.3 inches deep, and resembles a traditional portfolio (covered in "pleather"). Using a digital pen that writes in normal ink, lawyers can jot notes or even doodle. Pages can be automatically transferred to the computer where they can be organized and searched, e-mailed, or used for presentations.
Reader Response no. 289.
4 CardScan 600
The CardScan 600, from Corex Technologies Corp., uses algorithms to read and sort business card data, creating a Rolodex-style desktop database. The best feature: After you scan a card, with one click you can import the data into your contact management system. It also synchs with phones and PDAs. When your computer's online, you also click on a contact's address and get a map and driving instructions.
Reader Response no. 290.
5 XP Operating System and Office XP
Microsoft Corp. says its Windows XP operating system upgrade improves communications, mobility, connectivity and digital/video tools. Office XP, its latest application suite, offers "Smart Tags," speech recognition, improved e-mail and more.
Reader Response no. 291.
6 Adobe Acrobat Approval 5.0
Adobe Systems Inc.'s Adobe Acrobat Approval 5.0 software creates electronic forms based on the company's Portable Document Format (PDF). Users can fill-in, spell-check, digitally sign, save and submit eForms.
The system automates data calculations and rule valid-ations, while main-taining the "look and feel" of paper-based forms, says Adobe.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company also announced the release of its Adobe PageMaker 7.0 layout program.
Reader Response no. 292.
7 Word 2002 For Law Firms
Payne Consulting Group is at it again. The latest edition of its popular guide to Microsoft Word, published by Prima Tech, includes a CD with supplemental macros, exercises, and more. Randi Mayes, executive director of LawNet, is technical editor.
Reader Response no. 293.
8 Boxlight XD-10m Projector
Boxlight Corp. says its XD-10m Multimedia Projector packs 1024 by 768 pixel resolution, and offers crisp display.
The 1100 lumens display allows the unit to be used even in a lit room. It comes with a magnesium shell, built-in manual zoom, USB mouse connection, and Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology.
Reader Response no. 294.
9 Olympus Cameras
Three Olympus cameras make the list: First, the C-211 Zoom from both Olympus America Inc. and Polaroid Corp. Ideal for litigators and investigators, the combo camera creates both digital images as well as instant Polaroid prints. The unit, about the size of a paperback book, offers 1600 x 1200 resolution, and 3x zoom.
Second, the Camedia C-2040 Zoom and C-3040 Zoom cameras. They feature a F1.8 aperture (better for low-light photography), improved wide-view LCD display, sequence shooting, a tethered lens cap, and more.
Reader Response no. 295.
10 Dell & Time Matters
Dell Computer Corp. now offers DATA.TXT's Time Matters software as part of its DellWare catalog and through its sales team. Dell has created a special Web site: www.dell.com/timematters. The software also is available through the Dell Premier and ABA Member Advantage programs. Dell also is offering special pricing on laptops and other hardware, when bundled with Time Matters.
Reader Response no. 296.
11 Instant Power Charger
Electric Fuel Corp. says its Instant Power Charger lets users power their PDAs and phones without an electrical outlet. The pocket-sized, zinc-based, environmentally-friendly charger is activated when exposed to air, and plugs directly into the PDA or cell phone. It supports the latest generation of devices, including HP Jornada, and Palm m500/m505.
Reader Response no. 297.
12 Visioneer OneTouch Scanners
Visioneer has introduced two flatbed scanners. The OneTouch 8900, a USB color unit, offers resolution of 1200 x 4800 dpi, 48-bit color, and uses "FlashBack Bi-directional Auto-Scan" technology. The OneTouch 8820 includes a transparency adapter, and is ideal for small firms or home users who want to scan slides, negatives and transparencies, it says.
Reader Response no. 298.
13 EZ-Forms PRO
EZ-Forms PRO helps users create and complete forms, says EZX Corp. Users can scan an existing form, or create one with the program's form designer.
They can fill in forms, edit the data, save the form, or print, fax, e-mail or upload it to the Internet. Complete forms can be printed onto blank paper, or, already printed forms can be used and just the information can be printed out.
Reader Response no. 299.
Virginia Beach attorney Carl Khalil has launched BreakYourNonCompete.com, a Web site designed to provide help to employees who want to escape from non-compete agreements.
It offers information on defenses, including layoffs, firing without cause, "overbroad" agreements, illegal conduct by the employer, failure of the employer to enforce the non-compete against other departing employees, and more.
Reader Response no. 300.
15 PC Postage
PC Postage, from the United States Postal Service, lets users purchase and print postage from their computers.
It can be used with most classes of mail, including first class, Priority Mail, Express Mail, and Parcel Post. Users can buy postage 7/24/365, says the USPS.
Reader Response no. 301.
16 Legal User Tips
Legal User Tips, published by Marilyn Monrose, is a newsletter about word processing that is distributed by e-mail to law firms. It offers up-to-date tips for legal practitioners who use Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect software.
Reader Response no. 302.
17 Olympus DS-3000 Recorder
Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. has debuted its DS-3000 digital voice recorder. It weighs approximately three ounces, including batteries. It uses 4 MB to 64 MB Smart-Media storage cards which can store more than 22 hours of audio in digital speech standard format, says Olympus.
The voice recorder also uses DSS Player Pro software for full integration with a user's PC or laptop.
Reader Response no. 303.
Kaplan Inc. and West Group have joined forces to launch DestinationLawSchool.com.
The Web site is designed to offer insight into the legal research process typically used in law school and legal practice, the two companies report. It targets students and others who are considering law school. The site's content includes lectures by Harvard Law Professor Arthur Miller.
Kaplan Inc. is the parent of Concord University School of Law, an online law school.
Reader Response no. 304.
19 Boss Everywhere 2.3
Boss Everywhere 2.3 software logs computer usage, monitoring programs, duration of use, software installations, Web sites visited, inactivity and keystrokes.
Network administrators can password-protect the program, display a warning message alerting users to its presence, or secretly log usage while keeping the program hidden.
From Alexander Jmerik.
Reader Response no. 305.
20 Trust Plus and TrusTerminator
As the ink dried on the new Tax Relief Act of 2001, Cowles Legal Systems Inc. upgraded its Trust Plus and TrusTerminator software. Version 10.1 of both packages were available via download the same day the new legislation was signed, boasts the Eau Claire, Wisc., company. All aspects of the software, including the revocable and irrevocable trusts, will drafting modules, and post-mortem module were reviewed and updated, it says. Substantive legal help was also improved, it notes.
Reader Response no. 306.