I’m a huge fan of both TrialPad and TranscriptPad made by Lit Software. They are both really easy to use and work really well. If you do any sort of litigation at all, both of these apps are a must for you.
TrialPad works not just at trials, but also at meditations, arbitrations, contested hearings, depositions, and client meetings. And TranscriptPad is my absolute favorite transcript management resource. I use it all of the time and have found that it makes reviewing and annotating transcripts a breeze. I also really like the reports that I can export from TranscriptPad.
These programs normally cost $90 each. I received an email from Lit Software today, however, that tells me that starting today through Friday, March 6, you can purchase both apps in their Ultimate Litigation Bundle, for $140. This is a great deal. If you do not have these apps, I urge you to go check them out and pick them up before Friday.
The Ultimate Litigation Bundle is available directly from the app store here.
There were lots of things that I loved about going to and speaking at ABA Techshow this year. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. I saw some great presentations and learned lots of new information.
The one thing that I got to experience that was new to me, however, was the Techshow App. It was a conference app that I was able to download to both my Android phone as well as my iPad.
The app gave me easy access to the complete schedule, speaker bios, written materials, exhibitors, etc. In short, it was a wealth of information that was easily accessible from both my phone and my tablet.
There were two features that I really liked about the app. First, I could mark certain sessions as favorites. This put those items on a separate calendar. This way I could narrow down the sessions that I wanted to attend and easily see this in simple view. I would then know where I needed to be and the time that I needed to be there.
The second feature that I really liked was the fact that I could complete the evaluation form from inside the app. There was no need to keep track of the evaluation form and turn it in. Instead, I could complete the evaluation (for both individual sessions and the conference as a whole) from within the app.
In short, I found the app very useful and easy to use and I absolutely loved the fact that I had all of the information I needed in an easily accessible format that was entirely electronic.
If you are planning a conference, I urge you to check into an app such as this. It seemed very popular at the show and I absolutely loved it.
The app was developed by Crowd Compass. I had the pleasure of meeting their General Counsel at the show. However, I fell in love with the app before I found out how cool he was.
I have been using Adobe Acrobat X for several months now. Not long after I first started using it, I published a post about my initial impressions. In this post I will add some additional thoughts based upon a few months of heavy usage.
Before I go too far, I want to make clear that I like this program a lot. Much of this post will deal with suggested improvements for the program. Don’t let that mislead you into thinking that I don’t like the program.
I probably use Acrobat to do more legal work than any other program (yes, that includes Word). If I did not prefer it, I would be using a different program. However, Adobe Acrobat meets my needs as a legal professional and it is my program of choice when handling PDFs.
Adobe did a lot of good things in this version and got a lot of things right. If you are using a version that is 8 or older, I would recommend that you upgrade. The improvement of the OCR engine alone, makes the upgrade worthwhile.
- As I noted in my earlier post, the menus are much more customizable. This is a good thing and something I really like about this edition.
- The OCR engine has improved, again. I thought that the improvements between 8 and 9 were significant. I think that the improvement between 9 and X is almost as significant.
- In addition to improving how the OCR engine work, Adobe has also added a “Save as” feature that allows you to save a PDF as a Word document, Excel file, plain text, or a number of other formats. The key here is that to export the text, you do not first have to run OCR on the document. Acrobat does this automatically when you choose the save as format. This is something that should have been added versions ago. It’s nice to see it now.
- This version seems to be more stable. With Acrobat 9 I sometimes had stability problems between Acrobat and Outlook (who knows, maybe that was Outlook’s fault). Regardless, I have had no such problems with Acrobat X. It seem extremely stable. Something not often found in complicated programs these days.
- The Menu structure. In the past, some features were buried 4 or 5 clicks deep in the Acrobat menus. The menus have now been changed to reduce this. This does not mean the menus are perfect (see below), however, it does mean that they are better than before.
- The typewriter function seems to work better than in previous versions. I like this feature a lot before. Now I love it.
- As I noted in my earlier post, I think the action wizards are great and provide an effective way of ensuring that your staff handles documents in that manner that you want.
- The menu structure. Adobe changed the menus to try to make features more accessible. I think that this is a good thing. However, I don’t think that they have quite hit the mark yet. The features now appear both in menus across the top and in a sidebar called tools. If I am looking for something that I don’t use often, I end up having to check all of the locations just to find the feature. Yes, the features are less hidden, however, I don’t think that they are well organized. I wish that Adobe would simply switch to something like Microsoft’s ribbon. That is a much cleaner interface and I think makes the features easier to find. I have also used Nitro PDF Professional (review coming soon), which uses a ribbon. As a result, I significantly prefer their interface.
- Although the toolbars are customizable, they are not customizable nearly enough. From my perspective, there is simply no excuse for Acrobat to not have a fully customizable toolbar. I can only add the commands to the toolbar that Adobe wants me to add. This means, for example, that I cannot add a “Save as” button, a feature I use quite often. It also means that the navigation toolbar must appear below the other toolbar. I like to control my screen space, I wish Adobe would let me do that.
- Some of the icons that Adobe uses are inexplicable.
By that I mean that you cannot tell from the icon, what it actually represents. For example, I use three tools regularly: Rotate page; Insert page from another file; and Extract page. Any one of the icons for these three features could easily represent any ofthe others (see picture). I know which one does what, simply because I have memorized the order I have put them in.
- They have changed the menu structure again. As I noted above, I think that, in the larger scheme of things, the changes they have made to the menus are positive. I am a firm believer that, if your UI needs to be improved, then make the change. My concern is that Adobe has made some significant changes to the UI in the last several version of the product. For example, I do not think the location of the page navigation buttons has been the same in consecutive versions since version 6. Thus, while I think the change is a step in the right direction, my fear is that version 11 is going to look entirely different. Constant change in the UI is not a good way to keep regular users. A single massive change as a course correction is a good think. Only time will tell what this was for Acrobat.
As you can see, my complaints largely center around the UI. If Adobe would improve that, I would be immensely thrilled. As it stands, Adobe Acrobat X is an excellent program that I use daily in my practice. It is very stable and allows me to handle and manipulate PDFs in ways that no other programs do. If you are looking for a PDF program, this is a great choice. If you are considering upgrading, I would definitely suggest doing so if you are using version 8 or older.
Please note that I received a copy of this program for evaluation purposes.
For the last few days, I have been taking Adobe Acrobat X for a test drive. I plan to do a full review later. However, I thought I would hit a few highlights right now. Overall, I think X is an improvement over 9. If you use Acrobat a lot, there are some features that will likely improve your efficiency using the product. With respect to specifics, here are some of my initial thoughts.
- The toolbar is much more customizable than it ever had been before. I can easily add just the tools that I wanted to the toolbar. This was one of my main complaints in previous versions , thus I am thrilled to see this improvement. In particular, Adobe has added an icon for insert pages and extract pages. I use both of these tools a lot. I am glad that I no longer have to drill down the menus to get to these.
- Menus are another area of improvement. For the most part, these are are gone. Instead, Adobe has replaced your menus with a right hand panel that you can activate to gain access to various tools that you use. These panels are organized better than the menus ever were. Most selections are no more than a couple of clicks away. This is a huge improvement over the old interface.
- Read mode is a new feature that makes the toolbars disappear. When you select this, you gain a navigation toolbar that appears when you move your mouse to the bottom of the page, but otherwise disappears when you are navigating through the document. I am very judicious of my screen space. Consequently, I think this a great feature. Further, it takes only one click (or keystroke) to get back to the normal view.
- Action Wizards are another new feature. I have not yet had a chance to play with these. However, I have seen them demonstrated. Basically, they allow you to create a multiple step process to handle a PDF. For example, an office could have a process in which (i) all incoming mail is scanned, (ii) OCR is ran on each document, and (iii) each document is stamped with a received stamp that contains the date. Before, you would have to train whoever was doing this process to make sure that each step was followed. With the Action Wizard, however, you could create an Action called Incoming Mail. All the person would have to do is follow the steps in the Action and it would ensure that each of your steps was being followed. I think there are some really good process possibilities here that can be used in a practice.
- Adobe finally added a toolbar to for Firefox, similar to what they have had for Internet Explorer. This is a smart addition and something I never understood why they didn’t have before.
Thus far, I like the software and I think it has a lot to offer. Despite my praise, I have a couple of quibbles, however.
- It does not appear that I can control the location of the navigation toolbar. I would really like to do this. As I said before, I am very judicious of my screen space. Therefore, I would like the ability to have all of my toolbars in a single line across the top, rather than have to have 2 lines.
- I use the Save As feature regularly.I saw no way to add this icon to the toolbar. I simply don’t understand this omission.
If you currently use Adobe Acrobat, I recommend checking out Adobe Acrobat X.
Because I like computers and associated technology, I have been accused by many people of being a nerd. The thing I find ironic about this is that these people have no idea. Yes, I enjoy using computers, however, if you really want to get my nerd juices flowing, draw me in to a conversation about grammar or typography. (Before you ask, yes my wife rolls her eyes at me when I start talking things like fonts or the subjunctive case mood).
Anyway, I was thrilled to see a recent post titled: Nerdlaw: Thou shalt not defile thy briefs with Microsoft’s default settings.
In this post the author points out the importance of font choice and document design in preparing a brief. Yes, it not just the words you put on the page. How they look when they get there does make a difference. The author has left us a cliffhanger in that he has not yet told us what settings he thinks are appropriate. However, he promises to do so in a future post.
I am waiting for those posts with bated breath.
In the meantime, I urge everyone who drafts briefs to read Painting with Print . . . , which is made available by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. (Note that the link opens a PDF). This article can be one of the best things that you read about persuasive writing.
I am not telling you that you can win an bad argument by having a good looking brief. However, I will tell you that a poorly-presented brief can detract from your argument and that a well-presented brief will add to your argument. the last time that I checked, I want every advantage that I can get while representing my client.
I make no secret about the fact that I am a big fan of Adobe Acrobat. I use it every day and consider it an integral part of my paperless practice. That being said, I recognize the Acrobat has a some flaws that I don’t like and that it is not inexpensive. Although, I will also note that, although no inexpensive, Adobe Acrobat is not really expensive when compared to specialized legal (or other industry) software.
Nevertheless, there are other options available. One of my favorites is from Nitro. In addition to their full-featured Nitro PDF Professional OCR (which retails for $119.99), Nitro has also released a free version of their software, Nitro PDF Reader, that does much more than just read PDFs.
In addition to just viewing PDF files, you can use Nitro PDF Reader to create PDF files, add notes to PDFs, type on PDFs, complete and save forms, and create and apply signatures. For a full list of what Nitro PDF Reader can do, click here.
There are a lot of things to like about Nitro’s PDF products. However, you can hardly go wrong trying their free reader and see how it works for you. If your use of PDFs is limited to viewing, creating, and filling in a few forms, then y0u may be able to meet your needs without spending a cent.
Recently Technolawyer published my review of Pensoft Payroll 2010. You can download a copy of my review from my Files page or download it directly here.
The software allows you to mange your payroll easily and efficiently. In my review, I have the software a score of 4.5 out of 5. In my conclusion, I said:
Pensoft Payroll 2010 makes administering payroll easy, even for those of us without an accounting background. I am pleased
with the product and will likely continue to use it.
If you are looking for a payroll solution, you should certainly check out what Pensoft has to offer.
Please note that I received a free copy of the program.
I recently noted that I had co-authored an article on metadata. The second part of that article has now been published by the State Bar of Wisconsin. This portion focuses on redaction. You can find links to both parts of the article here. I wantto give a big thanks to my co-author Nerino Petro for making sure that this article got published.
Last week Technolawyer published my review of Chrometa. You can download a copy of my review from my Files page or download it directly here.
If you are not familiar with Chrometa, it is a utility that keeps track of active windows that you are working in and how much time you spend in each window. This is a great resource for those of us who bill by the hour. I loved this program and recommend it to anyone who has to keep track of their time. The conclusion of my article says:
If your practice involves hourly billing at all, you will benefit from Chrometa. In short, Chrometa works well, increases your revenue, and includes helpful and friendly support from its creators. I have no doubt that Chrometa will pay for itself in the first week that you own it, if not the first day.
Please note that I received a free copy of the program.
I have written before about Nitro PDF Professional. It is a full-featured PDF program that is a less expensive option to Adobe Acrobat. The once drawback that has always concerned me about Nitro PDF Professional is that it does not include OCR capabilities. I saw on The PDF Blog, that Nitro has released Nitro PDF Professional OCR. From what I can tell, this appears to be the Professional version with OCR technology included.
Apparently, I was not the only person who was looking for this functionality. In the blog post, Nitro admitted that this was a highly requested feature:
OCR has long been the single most requested feature in our Customer Connect forum, where our users can suggest, request, and vote for the inclusion of features in Nitro products. As Gina O’Reilly, our SVP of Sales & Marketing said – “it was never a question of whether or not we add OCR to our feature set – simply, how quickly can we build it?”
I have not yet tried the OCR function. However, I am thrilled to see that this feature has finally made it to their product.
I am an unapologetic fan of Adobe Acrobat. However, I have also used Nitro PDF and find that it incorporates many features that I use when working with PDFs. In fact, there are some things that I prefer about Nitro. These include the menu (they us a ribbon with a fully customizable toolbar). I find this much nicer than the largely inflexible toolbars found in Acrobat. I also like ease with which you can comment and markup your documents. If you are looking for a program to allow you to work with PDFs, I suggest you check out both Adobe Acrobat and Nitro PDF, then get the one that works best for you.
Note that I have not yet tried the new OCR feature in Nitro. However, in the past I have received review copies of the software to evaluate.