On September 9th, 105 days before Christmas, K-mart ran the first holiday commercial of the 2013 holiday season advertising its layaway program. That got us thinking and our hamsters mounted the wheel to bring you this post touting some of Dine Law’s* favorite technological things! We’ve put together a short list of six technologies that keep us motivated and engaged. In this two-part blog post we will share our thoughts on these items and perhaps they will end up on your holiday wish list.
Most Addictive Personal Gadget: Mobile Phone
Most Effective for Work-Life Balance: The Cloud
Favorite Tool for Lefty’s in a Right-Handed World: Left-Handed Mouse
Best Litigation Apps: TranscriptPad and TrialPad
Best Organizational Tool: Dual Monitors
Most Eco-Friendly Hardware: Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner
The first three technological advances to appear on our list are 1) the Mobile Phone; 2) The Cloud; and 3) the Left Handed Mouse. Jet, Heather and Logan explain why these make their lives so much better. Are you convinced?
Most Addictive Personal Gadget
Our award for the Most Addictive Personal Gadget goes to the Mobile Phone. Whether you speak iphone or droid, there is no denying how addictive Candy Crush Saga and Fruit Ninja can be. But there are also some amazingly practical and productive uses to that mobile phone as Logan Elliott* points out:
Have you ever wondered where you are and where you’re going? I have. As an avid outdoorsman, if you hand me a map, a compass and a set of coordinates, I can take you to within three yards of that spot despite being in the middle of nowhere. However, I can get lost 4 times in 3 blocks while trying to find that new restaurant downtown . . . it must be all the concrete. Enter my favorite piece of technology: my iPhone.
Siri and I have become pretty well acquainted. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked her where I am or asked her how to get somewhere. She’s always able to tell me where I am, but rarely can she answer any other question without searching the web. But hey, I’ll take what I can get when I’m hurtling down the interstate at 80 and passing the same exit for the third time and hearing my passenger chime in with the ever so helpful “I thought you knew where you were going?” Pretty sure I never said that, I think I said we’ll figure it out.
Navigation aside, my smart phone has really added to my life. For practical purposes, I can maintain constant access to work via email even on the weekends (whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen). Emails and texts are great when you can’t otherwise talk on the phone. For example, if I’m sitting in a meeting or court and the office needs to contact me regarding new facts on a particular case they can send those updates to me in a written format making it far more likely that I will be able to access that information in a setting where I may not otherwise answer my phone.
On the not so practical side of things, I never realized how much web browsing I could squeeze in at traffic signals. And the camera, it’s so nice having such a compact camera in your pocket at all times. Looking back several years, I missed out on a lot of great photos because I never carried a camera. With my phone’s built-in camera I find myself snapping pictures on a daily basis. I think this a feature you won’t really appreciate until some time has passed and you’re able to look back at all those things you did on a daily basis but may not otherwise have remembered. I wish I had something like this in college.
Most Effective Work-Life Balance Tool
The Cloud takes home the Dine Law award for the Most Effective Work-Life Balance Tool. With back-to-school germs floating around the office, the last two weeks have wreaked havoc on our immune systems. Sierra and Heather both worked from home for a few days thanks in large part to Heather Muncy’s* favorite piece of technology – The Cloud!
My favorite piece of technology…hmmm…such a hard decision, there are so many out there that are just amazing, but if I had to choose one I guess it would have to be “the cloud”. The ability to have access to everything at any time and to have the availability of all the storage space you need for any program is amazing and the peace of mind to know it is safe is priceless.
At our office we use “the cloud” for just about everything:
- Document Storage
- Time Keeping
With each of these not being tied to one location, as an office, we are free to work from anywhere with an internet access. In our previous blogs, we have talked about time keeping and document storage in the cloud, but what we don’t touch on is the ability to have it all “up there”. Our phone system, fax system and email are even cloud based. All voicemails and faxes can be accessed from anywhere and are also sent to our email. When we do send a fax, which is even now becoming outdated, we don’t have to use a large fax machine. We simply scan our document and upload it to our cloud based fax company and off it goes. We are scanning everything anyway so why do we need the paper copy to run through a fax machine? Simple answer, we don’t. Now, there are very few people today that can’t access their email from their phones. But if you are one that chooses not to have email on your phone, with the cloud based hosted exchanged account you can simply login online and voila- there you go, instant email communication.
Technology is always going to be a love-hate relationship for me. There is always so much more to learn, so many more changes I would love to see done and that are coming. From something as simple as a sticky note, or Jet’s left handed mouse, our amazing scanners taking us into our paperless world and the new double screens we all want, all the way up to the big world of “the cloud,” there is always going to be more to know and learn.
Favorite Tool for a “Lefty Living in a Right-handed World”
When Jet Stewart* joined Dine Law, we were enamored with her name, but it didn’t end there. One of the things that makes Jet unique is her willingness to try new technology and adapt it to her needs. The Left-handed Mouse garners acclaim as Dine Law’s Favorite Tool for a “Lefty Living in a Right-handed World.”
Let’s see, what is my favorite piece of technology? Um – everything!?
Oh, I have to pick something….OK – how about my “left-handed” mouse. That seems to frustrate most everyone that tries to use my computer.
Obviously, if you are left-handed in this right-handed world, you understand that anything you can do to accommodate your “lefty-ness” and not be too obtrusive on the right-handed world will be done. I learned early on with technology that if nothing else, I could customize my mouse.
Maybe it doesn’t seem really important, however, think about it. When you set up your work area, you arrange things according to ease of use; where you put your phone, where you put the stapler, tape dispenser, paper clips, etc. The same thing goes for setting up your computer keyboard and mouse. So the side of the keyboard where your mouse lives should have more room and typically, that is the right side. (Of course, if you are still operating in the “dark ages” and have a mouse that is tethered, sometimes the right side is the only place it can live because the cord won’t reach to the other side of the keyboard!)
One thing I have discovered as technology becomes more sophisticated is that not all mice are created equal and some mice do NOT lend themselves to being switched! Sometimes the “plain vanilla” plug-and-play software that comes built in to the computer is more accommodating than the software that comes with the mouse. I learned that the hard way.
I acquired a really great, wireless mouse. It even has its own recharging station so I hardly ever have to change the batteries. Really nice! Just don’t install the software that comes with it. I did, and promptly discovered that it would not allow me to change the settings to left-handed. It said I could, it even had instructions in the Manual, but it just wouldn’t switch! I wound up uninstalling the software for the mouse and letting the computer discover the little guy on its own… then I was able to make it happen. Whew!
One thing I have also learned is that today there are now a few mice available that are actually designed for left-handed users! Yay!
So, among all the wonderful things I really love about technology, I guess being able to accommodate my “lefty-ness” in this right-handed world is a real plus.
Stay tuned next month’s installment where Erika Dine, Sierra Pino and Diane Roy will tell you all about their favorite technological tools, including Transcript Pad and Trial Pad Apps, Fitjitsu Scan Snap Scanners and Dual Monitors.
*Dine Law, P.L. is a small law firm providing Elder Law services in Manatee & Sarasota Counties, and in October 2012, the members of the firm embarked on quite a journey together as we moved our entire practice (server, telephones, time-keeping and document management systems) into the cloud. Bios for each member of the firm can be found here, but if you’re short on time, here’s what you need to know:
Dine Law is writing this blog as a group because it believes all members’ opinions are valuable. Each blog post will cover a different topic involving technology and this post’s topic is OUR FAVORITE TECHOLOGIES.
Erika Dine is the founding attorney and has been a practicing lawyer for 10 years. Logan Elliott and Sierra Pino are associates and have been practicing for 3 and 6 years, respectively. Heather Muncy is a paralegal and office manager with 10 years experience in the legal field. Diane Roy is a full time paralegal and Jet Stewart is a part-time paralegal. Together they have 60 years of combined experience!
DISCLAIMER: We often refer to the specific programs and products we are using because we took the time to research them and they are a good fit for Dine Law. There are many technology choices and options available to you, and we just want you to use something to help make your life a little easier!