Four Alternatives to Dropbox to Meet Your Firm’s Storage Needs

A little while back, I wrote an article about the security hazards posed by using Dropbox as your firm’s go-to cloud-based data storage, and why you might want to consider alternatives to Dropbox. While ideal for collaboration and portability of documents, the potential security risks inherent in using Dropbox are significant, unless you adopt specialized encryption software. Other major security issues include that one time when they turned off the password requirement for millions of accounts, stripping them of the little security they had. Those security threats are made even more serious when you consider that the recent ABA Tech Survey reported that Dropbox was, by far, the preferred cloud-based data storage service for attorneys. Well, again a tip-of-my-hat to the guys over at PC World, as they have come up with a list of four alternatives to Dropbox, ideal for small businesses such as law firms. 1) Spider Oak Free Storage: 2GB (same as Dropbox) Pricing: $100/year for 100GB, $600/month for 1TB (100 users) Best option for: Security Spider Oak, a cloud-based data storage service that already has numerous advocates in the legal field, is a fully secure online storage and syncing service. All of your data, and your password, are fully encrypted (using a combination of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES encryption). Additionally, unlike the privacy policy at the heart of Dropbox’s little issue discussed above, SpiderOak has a “zero-knowledge” privacy policy, meaning that not even employees of SpiderOak have access to your documents without your password. This little feature also means you’d better freaking remember your password! SpiderOak has a desktop client, available for Windows, Mac... read more

10 Free Open-Source Alternatives for Small Business

Running a small business, particularly a small law firm, can be expensive. Among all the things you need to pay for, such as office supplies, equipment, and support services, none are as routinely expensive as purchasing software. One license of Microsoft Office will usually run over $200 per user. Little relief can be seen in the future, either, as the subscription models that are available now are even MORE expensive (Office 365, which is flawed and incomplete, will run you $150 per user, with undefined costs to continue using the program in the future). So the fine folks over at PC World have done us all a HUGE favor by creating a list of 10 available open-source alternatives to replace those ridiculously expensive software packages that we have all thought were a necessary and unavoidable part of small business. Without further ado, the 10 Best (but in no particular order) Open-Source Alternatives for Small Business: 1) Office Suite: Libre Office Sporting a full suite of programs, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and drawing, LibreOffice is Microsoft Office in a free package. It even uses the exact same file types (e.g. .docx, xlsx, etc.) so that you can easily import documents you already have, view files sent by others, and send your files to people who use the Microsoft Office tools. They even sync with online Content Management Systems and online document storage to provide for easy collaboration. 2) Email: Thunderbird (by Mozilla) Another replacement for (what some believe to be) the overpriced Microsoft option that is used by most businesses: Outlook. Instead of shelling out the $95 per... read more

Top 10 Office Tools You Need to Have (But Didn’t Know Existed)

Scouring the recent news about technology in the law firm and in the courtroom, I came across a wonderful slideshow put together by the guys over at that informed me that there was office equipment and gear that I didn’t even realize that I needed.  Everyone seems to have little things that bother them in day-to-day activities around the office, or things that could be improved, but had long since accepted the status quo.  Not anymore!  Without further ado, the Top 10 Office Tools you Need to Have… but didn’t know existed! (In no particular order): 1) The Logitec K310 Washable Keyboard That’s right, a keyboard that can be WASHED!  Look at your keyboard right now. Go ahead, I know it’s gross. There’s the crumbs under the keys that have petrified over time, the food smudges on the keys that don’t get used quite as much, and the sticky spot underneath the arrow keys from the soda you spilled last spring. You simply thought it was time to buy a new keyboard… Until now! Equipped with a crumb and dust brush snapped to the underside of the keyboard, it can also be fully submerged in up to 11 inches of water. Price: $40 2) Personify Personify is a Software-as-a-Service program that uses depth sensing cameras (such as Microsoft Kinect cameras) to imbed video of you into your online presentations, allowing you to interact while you present. The perfect software for giving presentations online to groups in remote locations, Personify allows you to navigate through your presentation using the Personify app, or even just your own gestures! There’s even... read more

Review: PDF Software for Attorneys

The Wisconsin State Bar recently published an impressive comparison chart reviewing PDF Software for attorneys. Four packages, Adobe Acrobat, Nitro Pro 8, PDF Converter Enterprise 8, and pdfDOCS, were reviewed in great detail. The analysis looks at each software with an eye towards what attorneys need from their PDF-creation software. Core requirements include creating searchable PDFs, adding comments, adding Bates stamp numbers, high-level image and text redaction, and the ability to remove metadata from the document. As far as comparison charts go, I’m quite impressed. They cover everything from word processor compatibility (including both Word and WordPerfect), other compatibility (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), conversion capabilities (to and from various document types, including TXT, RTF, and image files), and compatibility with other software and apps commonly used by lawyers, like Evernote. The packages were also evaluated for Ease of Use, Feature Set, Value for Cost, and Manual/Help/Online Resources, on a scale of 1-10 for each category. So what is the best PDF software for attorneys? (Also, check out reviews of other PDF software packages in our Review Catalog) Adobe Acrobat XI: Professional Among Acrobat’s best features is the ability to directly edit a PDF document without having to locate the original hard copy. As most of us have experienced, too frequently when a change needed to be made, you would have to go find the original document, make any changes you wanted, re-scan or convert the document, and replace the existing PDF with your new, modified version. Acrobat dramatically reduces that need by providing the ability to edit directly. Acrobat also allows direct connection to web-based document storage such as Evernote... read more

Technology News Update (8/1/2013)

Here’s today’s Technology News Update, a look at a few of the news reports, previews, reviews and tech gossip that are making waves today, including news from Apple, CNET, Google and Motorola: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple may have to rely on competitor Samsung to supply the Retina Display in the new version of the iPad Mini, scheduled for release sometime in Q4.  The report, along with other rumors, indicates that Apple intended to source the screens through LG and Sharp as part of their ongoing attempt to sever their reliance on Samsung, a competitor, as a supplier of parts for their flagship products.  In fact, it had already been rumored that supply troubles were likely to compel Apple to release the new iPad Mini without a retina display.  However, the recent release of Google’s Nexus 7 with a display arguably better than the retina display found on the regular iPad may have forced Apple’s hand. CNET News is reporting that the USB 3.0 Promotion Group (yes, it turns out there is such a thing, and they’re actually kind of important) has finalized the specs on USB 3.1, which will allow USB transfers at speeds greater than 10 gigabits per second, more than double the 3.0 standard.  However, it is not believed that any USB 3.1 enabled devices will be available before 2014. Google has inked a deal with Hulu to include the streaming television company’s products on the new Google Chromecast.  The last major service not available on the Chromecast, HBO GO, is reportedly in negotiations with Google and expects to be included... read more

Replace the Legal Pad!

There are few tools or devices that are uniform to nearly all types of law practice, yet also used almost exclusively by lawyers. Probably the single most important one of those tools is the Legal Pad. Seriously, other than lawyers, who else uses them regularly once they’re done with college? Exactly. Yet, if you’re a practicing lawyer (or spend much time around us), you know that we’re rarely without them. So here’s my pitch: Replace the Legal Pad! It has been my position for YEARS that the technological innovation that would be the lawyer’s version of “building a better mousetrap” was something that could eliminate the need for the legal pad. Evernote’s Penultimate 4.1 may be the closest thing yet to that proverbial “better mousetrap.” For more detailed reviews of Evernote’s Penultimate 4.1, check out our Review Catalog. At its heart, Penultimate 4.1 is a note-taking app. Using either your finger or a stylus, you can use the screen of your tablet just as you would your notepad – at least that’s what Evernote hopes you’ll believe. Despite my sarcasm (and skepticism), Penultimate actually succeeds at putting together a lot of the aspects of a legal pad, provided you don’t mind carrying around a stylus (which I hate). However, the best feature in the updated version of Penultimate has little to do with note-taking, but a LOT to do with one of my recurring themes in this blog – security. Assuming you’re paying for Evernote’s premium services ($45 annually), Penultimate allows the user to add an extra layer of security to their saved notes beyond simply logging in to... read more

The Cyber Advocate’s Review Catalog

The Cyber Advocate’s Review Catalog is your source for reviews of products, services, software and apps from around the internet.  Updated daily, you can count on The Cyber Advocate’s Review Catalog to have up-to-date reviews on the newest technology.  Never relying on one source for the reviews, I scour the internet to find quality reviews from reputable sources, then put them together so that you can judge for yourself!  Before you buy a new computer, smartphone, tablet, or upgrade your computer’s software or office equipment, check out reviews from wide-ranging sources to make sure you’re getting the best for your money. The Cyber Advocate’s Review Catalog includes reviews of: Computers, including desktop and laptop versions, and accessories for your workstation; Data Storage, from portable hard drives all the way to cloud-based services; Equipment for your office, including printers, scanners, voice recorders, and wireless routers; Mobile Apps for your law practice, including document processing apps, productivity apps, and presentation & trial practice apps for iOS, Android OS, Blackberry, and Windows 8, for your smartphone or your tablet; Operating Systems, including reviews and updates of desktop and mobile systems; Phones and other smart communication devices, along with reviews of available accessories; Software, with reviews of everything from basic software packages all the way to practice management services and software-as-service packages; Tablets, along with reviews of available accessories. Before you buy anything for your home or office, make sure to check out The Cyber Advocate’s Review Catalog to make sure that you get the best value for your money.  Also, make sure to check back in under the Category Tech Guru for more advice... read more

Does Google’s Nexus 7 beat the iPad Mini?

That’s the question a recent review of Google’s latest tablet offering seeks to answer. The Nexus 7 boasts many features that put it at the very least on par with Apple’s feature mini-tablet.  However, the Nexus 7 has several key features that the iPad Mini cannot match… First, and most significantly to me, the Nexus 7 offers wireless recharging.  In order for an iPad to recharge, it has to be plugged in either to a computer or a wall socket via specialized USB converter. The Nexus 7 is capable of recharging via a wireless induction recharging pad which, although it requires an additional investment, provides an option that Apple doesn’t have. Additionally, the Nexus 7 has Google’s best screen to date, slightly sharper than the iPad Mini, and is set up for viewing on a 16:9 ratio, ideal for movies, unlike the iPad Mini’s 4:3 screen.  The Nexus 7 also has a processor that should exceed the capabilities of the iPad Mini, particularly when using apps that utilize the new capabilities of Android OS 4.3. The final factor that cannot be overlooked is the price.  The Nexus 7 16GB model sells for $229, compared to $339 for the 16GB iPad Mini.  Jump up to 32 GB, and the price advantage of the Nexus 7 ($269 vs. $429 for the iPad Mini) is even greater.[poll id=”3″] The review acknowledges that the tablets are otherwise dead even, and that the advantages of the Nexus 7 are no so significant that tablet buyers who are loyal to Apple will switch.  However, anyone not tied down to the iOS or otherwise concerned about... read more
Page 6 of 6« First...23456