Category Archives: Products & Services

Windows 10 — One More Thing

I should mention that there is a Windows 10 upgrade scam going on.  There is an email going around that offers an upgrade but instead encrypts a hard drive for ransom.  The details are at ZDNet.

Mark

Some Thoughts On Having Upgraded to Windows 10 From Windows 7

I installed Windows 10 as an upgrade to my Windows 7 machine over the weekend.  I wasn’t expecting to do that.  Even though I had not reserved a copy, I discovered Windows Update began downloading the program, all three Gbs of it.  This was one of several contradictions to stories I had read up to now.  Microsoft was sending out copies in waves in that people who had reserved a copy would get the free download at different times.  Oh well.

The upgrade went smoothly.  The new operating system booted for the first time and allowed me to custom configure how Windows would perform.  Customizing the system is not recommended as Microsoft has designed Windows to be as cloud centric as possible.  I think I should take a moment here and state that while I appreciate the value and convenience of cloud computing I would like to have as much control over it as possible.  In other words, I prefer managing the experience instead of allowing Microsoft to do it for me.  In that regard, I encountered several more contradictions.

I had read that Microsoft would override defaults on the target system forcing users to reconfigure their machines after the fact.  Mozilla chief Chris Beard had written an angry letter to Microsoft for making the new Edge browser the system default despite the pre-upgrade settings.  I don’t use Firefox and have Google Chrome as my default.  It was acknowledged and accepted as the Windows 10 default browser without any hassle.  Several other programs I used for media remained the defaults despite modern apps from Microsoft that managed this material.  I could still use the venerable MS Media Player to play back WMV/A files by default.  The player, by the way, is now nothing more than that – a player.  The libraries for media are now managed by the photo, movie, and music apps.  These will scan the local drive and automatically add what they find.

It does not appear possible to stop this collection unless one manipulates the search locations in the app settings to a location where there is no media.  Media in the app library can be removed, though unlike the old Media Player library, it is also removed from the drive to the recycle bin.  There doesn’t appear to be an option to delete content from the app lists only.  It’s also possible to remove the apps from the start menu by right clicking on the tile and selecting the appropriate option.  Built in apps cannot be deleted from the system, only disabled.

Logging into Windows 10 is easy.  There are multiple options.  My default in Windows 7 was a simple boot to the desktop with no password.  I’m the only one who uses the machine in any event and I find that convenient for my use.  Windows 10 can preserve that though it really does not want to.  Anyone who logs into the Microsoft store with a Microsoft account will find that Windows will require that account to log into the system.  That can be changed back to a local account by digging into the system settings and changing it back.  Microsoft even then will want to associate a local account with a password with no apparent option to change that.  There is a way to eliminate the password requirement by running a command line entry.  The instructions are here if anyone wants to do that.

Search in Windows 10 is a bit different.  Microsoft has brought the Cortana personal assistant to the desktop.  Cortana can be disabled through settings accessed from the Start Page.  I did this as I do not have a camera or microphone attached to my desktop.  It’s possible to use Cortana by typing in the search box located in the taskbar.  There are a few settings worth mentioning.  Cortana is designed to improve by learning about an individual over time.  That information is stored in the Cloud which is one reason why a Microsoft account is preferred.  There are options settings that can clear that information and stop the collection if one wants to do that.  Microsoft will tell you that this is not recommended for obvious reasons.  Nonetheless, these settings can be changed.

Cortana as well as system search and built in apps is powered by Bing.  The default here is to search the machine and the web simultaneously.  Using Bing cannot be changed, but as with other settings, it can be turned off.  There are options in settings to turn off web search when doing a system search.  Microsoft prefers that you not do that.

One pleasant feature of the upgrade is that all of my desktop shortcuts were preserved.  That was nice as I like to go straight to the desktop and click on an icon and start working.  I know this makes me sound as if I haven’t progressed since XP was released.  Far from it.  I can appreciate what Microsoft is doing.  It’s a connected world out there where people stay in touch with each other and share news, photos, video and the like, all in real time.  I think that’s great.  I’m not into it at all, but that’s me.  What I appreciate the most about Windows 10 is that I can still configure it so I don’t have to use these features.  It may be a little bit of work to do that as Microsoft really really wants everyone to be online and constantly connected and tracked to make Windows customized for a better computing experience. I’ll turn all of those features back on if I ever needed that kind of connectivity.

One last thought, Solitaire on Windows 10 is terrible.  It’s bare bones as local game.  Similar features to the game in Windows 7 are only unlocked through a Microsoft account:

“Sign in with a Microsoft account to get achievements, leaderboards, and have your progress stored in the cloud!”

Oh yay.  Not everything needs to be social.  I guess I’ll be sticking with the game as it appears on my Android tablet.

UPDATE:  Windows Media Player does indeed have a library associated with it.  I was wrong about that. I discovered it last night after I played a video with Media Player.  It doesn’t appear to sync up with the other media apps in one shared library.  That may be because Microsoft really wants people to use a Microsoft account to sync up their media libraries.  It’s either that or I managed to turn off all known syncing options (finally!).  I even managed to delete OneDrive out of the File Explorer windows.  I want to say again that I’m not paranoid about being tracked online.  I do have a Google account after all, and Google is the Supreme Emperor of tracking. My goal is to have as much control of my system as possible.  If you want paranoia, especially healthy paranoia, this article from RPS puts Microsoft’s tracking of consumers via Windows 10 into perspective.

Mark

A Few Quick Thoughts on Windows 10, Available Today

Windows 10 is available for download today.  If anyone had noticed, there is a link in the notification tray for systems running Windows 7 and 8/8.1 offering a free upgrade that’s valid for a year.  I wasn’t part of the Windows Insider Program though I followed the news on developments.  A modified version of the Start Menu is back that combines search, applications, and the Start Page from Windows 8.  Aside from the deeper integration to OneDrive, Windows 10 gets Cortana, a virtual personal assistant that learns more detail about a user over time in order to be more helpful.  Personal assistants are all the rage these days with Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Amazon Echo.  As John Lennon sang in I Am The Walrus, “Ompa Ompa Everybody’s got one.”

I’m not personally a fan talking to a computer though I can see the utility in integrating this technology into operating systems, especially mobile.  I’m a desktop guy through and through.  I have an Android tablet that I use to play solitaire when I’m on the train.  Other than that, all my real work is on the desktop.  It’s nice that Microsoft doesn’t force this kind of interactivity on people as it is possible to turn Cortana off and/or clear the accumulated information.  My biggest question about this data is how secure it will be?  Hackers might find it interesting.  I’m going to wait for that story to break.

Windows 10 has had favorable reviews given the reception to the radical change Windows 8 brought to computing.  A lot of people felt that the changes were forced on them with no regard as to how they actually used Windows.  The Windows blog entries by former head of Windows development, Steve Sinofsky basically stated that features and design were driven by telemetry from people who used Windows 7 and the test versions of Windows 8.  He left the company shortly after Windows 8 went public.  I wonder why.

This version of Windows, suggested to be the last, took into account tester comments as well as a more detailed look as to how people used the system.  Thus there are a lot of familiar features with new that are for the most part customizable.  I can appreciate that.  My desktop in Windows 7 looks an awful like XP even down to the bland task bar and desktop shortcuts.  What can I say, I’m a sentimentalist.

I plan to upgrade my two desktop computers, though not immediately.  I just want to make sure that the mass upgrade process goes smoothly.  Any bugs or annoyances should work themselves out in the next month or so.  I’m looking forward to the upgrades in any event.  I’ll report more on the experience once I get the software on my machines.  A guide to Windows 10, features, and the upgrade process is available here from Microsoft.

Mark

Vizio Smart Televisions May Be Spying On You

Your smart TV may be spying on you if it’s manufactured by Vizio.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of the brand.  I’m on my second set, a 65 inch E Series.  That doesn’t mean I like the creepy fact that the set apparently sends back details of what I’m watching regardless of source.  That little tidbit came in a story in Fortune about Vizio’s upcoming IPO:

Vizio uses technology integrated into its televisions to determine what a user is watching, regardless of the source. In other words, Vizio knows what you’re watching even if it’s a DVD being played on a gaming console or show being watched via cable TV.

Vizio offers what it calls “smart interactivity.”  It’s all in the name of customization that alleges to cater to the individual customer.  Fortunately, there is a way to turn it off.  Vizio instructions to that effect are here.  I can understand (although not approve of) a cable or satellite provider tracking its shows, but DVDs and other delivery mechanisms?

It reminds me of the story about Samsung smart TVs actually listening in on conversations through a digital assistant.  Anyway, I’ll be disconnecting my set later on this evening.  Any libraries or organizations that use Vizio TVs as displays should take note.

Mark

Study: Academic Publishers Rake In The Dough

There is an interesting article from the CBC called Academic publishers reap huge profits as libraries go broke.  The sub-title is “5 companies publish more than 70 per cent of research papers, study finds.”  There is a constant cry from academic libraries in the United States, and I assume Canada, over the cost increases in scientific, medical, and social science journals.  Harvard University in fact joined that chorus three years ago in encouraging its scholars to publish in open source publications.  Academic libraries in some situations dropped Elsevier subscriptions in protest.  Others joined in as well.

The CBC article documents a study of publishers by Vincent Larivière and others from the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science.  He found that the top five journal publishers held 53% of the academic journal market and had a 40% profit margin.  This sentence explains why that is possible.

“The quality control is free, the raw material is free, and then you charge very, very high amounts – of course you come up with very high profit margins.”

Indeed.  There is a link to the full paper within the article.  Here’s the abstract:

The consolidation of the scientific publishing industry has been the topic of much debate within and outside the scientific community, especially in relation to major publishers’ high profit margins. However, the share of scientific output published in the journals of these major publishers, as well as its evolution over time and across various disciplines, has not yet been analyzed. This paper provides such analysis, based on 45 million documents indexed in the Web of Science over the period 1973-2013. It shows that in both natural and medical sciences (NMS) and social sciences and humanities (SSH), Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor & Francis increased their share of the published output, especially since the advent of the digital era (mid-1990s). Combined, the top five most prolific publishers account for more than 50% of all papers published in 2013. Disciplines of the social sciences have the highest level of concentration (70% of papers from the top five publishers), while the humanities have remained relatively independent (20% from top five publishers). NMS disciplines are in between, mainly because of the strength of their scientific societies, such as the ACS in chemistry or APS in physics. The paper also examines the migration of journals between small and big publishing houses and explores the effect of publisher change on citation impact. It concludes with a discussion on the economics of scholarly publishing.

It’s published in PLOS ONE, which is an open source journal.

Mark

Print Isn’t Dying, It’s Just Shrinking

There is an interesting discussion going on at my library.  As others may be doing, we are considering the proper mix between print and online resources.  ABA law school accreditation Standard 606 now allows for “a core collection of essential materials through ownership or reliable access.”  It’s that last part, “reliable access,” that triggers deep soul searching of what to buy in print or what to buy as an electronic subscription.  Tempering the rule are other qualifications that state the core collection should support faculty scholarship and the curriculum, and that a collection that consists of a single format may violate Standard 606.

In this context I’ve recommended that we drop the National Reporter System, ALRs, CJS, multiple state codes, and selected treatises that are online.  This may sound radical to some.  I know that law schools and libraries are experiencing budget cuts due to lower enrollment.  That drives part of the analysis.  Another factor that bears thought is what we teach these days.  The legal writing program at DePaul started teaching all electronic research.  We experienced a drop in library visits as a consequence.  No more treasure hunts, no answering the same questions over and over at the reference desk.

I can remember how far we’ve come in electronic access.  We used to teach print resources because that’s what the legal market had out there.  Now electronic access to case law and other primary sources is ubiquitous.  At one time it was viable to teach print because the databases were based on print.  Understand the organization of print and the online version would make more sense.  That’s not so true anymore.  Online database providers no longer think in terms of echoing print other than citation and star paging.  Certainly there was a time when case law on Westlaw was organized by reporter.  Not anymore.  It’s all jurisdictional, and that seems natural now compared to looking for a database containing the Northeastern Reporter.

Look at how citators have changed.  There was a time when Shepards online would be no more current than the latest print update.  Even the CD-ROM product mirrored print.  Now everything is dynamic.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to subscribe to the print edition at this point.  We cancelled our print copies years ago. If anything was made easier by online access, Shepards, KeyCite, and citators in general are it.  They are more complete, can be filtered, and everything is spelled out instead of interpreting symbols attached to citations.

Then there are law reviews.  I have to say how much I like Hein Online when it comes to law reviews.  Everything back to day one is there in PDF format more or less.  We still get paper copies of law reviews but discard them once they appear on Hein.  No more binding these books for the collection.  Google Scholar works as a handy index to Hein content as well as other scholarly databases.

So now the next question is what is the proper mix for print and online?  I know that some libraries have already dropped major primary resources such as reporters.  In one sense, we are behind the curve on making that set of decisions.  Never in my career had I thought I would be part of this kind of decision.  Times change.  I find that I’m not very sentimental about physical materials that no one uses at my library.

Mark

Google Scholar Case Law Evolves

I came across an interesting feature in the case law portion of Google Scholar.  A non-law student asked me for help in locating three cases that she couldn’t find through LexisNexis Academic.  She explained that she also tried using Google Scholar.  I expanded the information about each by doing a few web searches as well as to verify the accuracy of the case names she gave me.  Two of the three were ultimately available through LNA.  The third was not.

I searched Scholar with the information I had located about the case and found an opinion with the right caption.  I opened the document and noticed that the docket number was a hyperlink.  I clicked on it and discovered that there were actually seven opinions issued in the case, at least at the federal District Court level.  I remember back when Google Scholar added the case law database that the engineers in charge said it would be easy to create a citator but that their contract with the “unnamed large legal publisher” that licensed the text prohibited that feature.  Somehow that didn’t stop Google from adding two features that form a quasi-citator.

One is the “How cited” link in the upper left corner of the page containing the full text of an opinion.  That gives links to other citing cases with snippets of text from those cases.  There is another option to see all cases that cite the source case.  The second feature is a series of links on the same page under the heading “Related documents.”  This is where links to the same case at a different appellate level may be found.  By hyperlinking the docket numbers, Google can now offer a quasi-history along with its quasi-citator.  The only thing missing and presumably barred by contract are the symbols (emojis?) identifying the quality of the citation.

The main feature of Google Scholar’s case law, of course, is finding cases related to a problem through keyword search.  The results were hit or miss back in 2009 when the database went public.  The case list showed relevant decisions but it seemed as if something was missing.  The trust factor wasn’t there.  I mention this because I tested Scholar last fall when I created scripts for teaching features and strategies available using Lexis Advance, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg Law.

The problem was set in New York State.  Essentially, an individual sued a landowner for injuries sustained while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on the owner’s property.  The searches were from the perspective of the owner under the theory of assumption of the risk.  I liked the problem because there is a New York statute that specifically exempts liability for injuries sustained in most but not all unauthorized access circumstances.  It gave the opportunity to show research elements such as case results, links to statutes, annotations under statutes, and how to find related headnotes.  All three databases brought up the same leading cases and straightforward navigation to the related research types on each system.

I tested the same keywords in Scholar and sure enough, it gave results featuring all of the same leading cases on the first page of citations as I had found in LA, WN, and BL.  Essentially, Google’s algorithm has improved tremendously since those early days.  Google is hardly a substitute for any of the commercial databases as it does not have the value-added features such as secondary sources and others.  At the same time, anyone searching Scholar’s case law database can do so with a good amount of confidence in my opinion.

Incidentally, anyone wishing to see the scripts I designed should contact me for copies.

Mark

Use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote Free Online

News reports are appearing about Microsoft offering free and legal versions of Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint via cloud access.  Readers may be aware that Microsoft is pushing Office 365 as a subscription based alternative to installing the application suite on a computer.  The free web versions of the most popular Microsoft applications are associated with a Microsoft account and OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive.   One can open, edit, or create a document in OneDrive by selecting the option from the menu choices at the top.

Anyone familiar with a computer based version of the Office applications will feel quite at home.  The same ribbon interface appears with just about the same options.  I believe, as with most people, I use only common formatting in documents.  Everything I needed in Word is here and more.  In fact, I’m typing this in Word Online as a way of testing the viability of the product.  So far, so good.  This version of Word appears to support keyboard shortcuts (at least the ones I use) without too much variation from the boxed Office suite.  The editing process is smooth and stable.

Some features are missing.  Inline spell and grammar check do not appear to be an option.  There is an spell check feature under Review in the menu bar.  Some option boxes require clicking a button to select a choice rather than responding to the Enter Key.  Drag and drop seems to be missing as well.  These are minor inconveniences.   I find the product very comfortable to use, especially for the price.

Anyone interested in creating a Microsoft account to use OneDrive or Office Online can sign up for free at this page.   Additional commentary on the product are available in CNET NewsTime Magazine, and PC World.  –Mark

Lexis/Lexis Advance: “Dear Library Directors,” Bloomberg BNA content is out, Law 360 is in

From the January 6, 2014 notice sent to academic law library subscribers:

We’re writing to ensure you are aware of a change regarding access to BNA (Bureau of National Affairs) publications available through LexisNexis®.  BNA was acquired by a new publisher and at their request, BNA sources will no longer be available on Lexis Advance® and lexis.com® after December 31, 2013. BNA documents saved to a folder or included in an Alert on Lexis Advance, will no longer be accessible.

We understand the value of this content which is why I’m thrilled to inform you that we’re providing access to Law360 content at no additional charge under your current LexisNexis subscription.  Law360 content will be available within Lexis Advance in late January.  Law360 is a premier current awareness publisher providing legal professionals with non-stop coverage of high-stakes litigation across  35+ practice areas. Faculty and students will benefit from the latest news and developments on topics and cases of interest.

In addition to Law360, Lexis Advance continues to have one of the largest collections of secondary content to meet your research needs including

[Yadda yadda]

And there you have it. Really, this isn’t a surprise, right? — Joe

RIP Martindale Hubbell, 1868 – 2013

Below is a photo by John Miano of the New Providence, New Jersey LexisNexis sign. The blank spot used to be occupied by “Martindale-Hubbell”. “Gone. Along with most of the M-H staff,” he wrote. See Jean O’Grady’s tribute at Martindale Hubbell: Another Legal Icon Bites the Dust. But It Was Once Worth Its Weight in Gold. — Joemh_new providence

Fastcase to bring Collier TopForm & File into the 21st Century

LexisNexis and Fastcase announced that Collier TopForm & File will now be provided exclusively by Fastcase, and will be known simply as TopForm. From the press release:

The exclusive license will bring together the editorial expertise of LexisNexis, a leading provider of content and technology solutions, and the focused product development of Fastcase, an award winning legal software company. LexisNexis will continue editorial updates to the service through 2017, with Fastcase focusing on product development, especially a Web version of the TopForm software tightly integrated with Fastcase’s legal research service. The combination will produce the most authoritative, powerful bankruptcy software on the market.

Under LexisNexis, TopForm has been a CD-Rom product that only works on PCs. With this exclusive agreement, Fastcase will be taking TopForm to the web, adding new features, and essentially refreshing TopForm with smarter tools and technology. See product details at TopForm™ by Fastcase.

Also from the press release:

“This will offer a valuable benefit for professionals in the bankruptcy community,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “Integrating the editorial expertise of LexisNexis and one of the industry’s best filing and form systems with Fastcase’s technology and online database will provide every TopForm subscriber with more access and helpful tools than ever before.”

— Joe

Lessig on filtering search results on the basis of the right to reuse

Larry Lessig writes

I am completely embarrassed by my google-induced ignorance. And I’m completely committed to tying Bing now that it makes permissions so simple. I’m hopeful they can think more about whether “license” is the right word here. But regardless, Microsoft has taken an important step to make easier for users to use the content they are free to use, and respect the rights of copyright owners who don’t want their content reused.

For more see Lessig’s From now on, I’m “Bing-ing It!”. — Joe

Will Wolters Kluwer L&R’s Cheetah platform elevate the Company to its former heights in the law firm market?

Wolters Kluwer L&R will be releasing its Cheetah research platform soon. The Company, once a dominate player in the legal specialist market, offered Jean O’Grady a sneak peak. “Will Cheetah be just another hyped up launch of a marginally new product? Will it be a “head scratcher” like IntelliConnect?  Can Cheetah find a home in the wild world of legal research? Can Cheetah outrun the competition? Read on” at Can Wolters Kluwer Legal Get its Grove Back? Can Cheetah Outrun the Market? Jean’s concludes her quick review, highly recommended, with the following:

Can Wolters Kluwer position Cheetah’s high performance platform to actually steal the market share that had been in BloombergBNA’s crosshairs? Can Cheetah lure users from Lexis and Westlaw with a promise of high functionality and relatively low annual cost which can be supported without charging clients for cost recovery? It looks like Cheetah is positioned to give them a  “run for their money.”

— Joe

LexisNexis L&P provides law prof access to legal eBooks for adoption purposes and makes it easier for law students to purchase eTextbooks

Yesterday, LexisNexis L&P announced two new legal eBook developments in the academic sector. The Company has reached an agreement with Follett bookstores that provides a means for students to buy Lexis eBooks in both brick-and-mortar and online store environments. According to the press release, “[S]tudents can pay for a LexisNexis(R) eBook in a Follett-run bookstore and receive a passcode for downloading the book online at the LexisNexis Store or they can buy codes directly online via efollett.com and use them to download related legal eBooks from LexisNexis.”

Second, LN announced the launch of LexisNexis® Digital Library – Professor Review Copies  to enable professor-only access to the core collection of LexisNexis law school textbooks for review. To the best of my knowledge this is the first major law eBook vendor to provide access to its catalog of academic eBooks for law school course adoption. Perhaps not; that depends on how one views the relationship between TR Legal and its spin-off West Academic.

Quoting from yesterday’s press release:

“Today’s law students were born digital and eBooks are simply ‘books’ to them, and that is why our strategy is to meet and exceed their expectations in the media format they want,” said Susan Slisz, vice president at LexisNexis. “Law professors are also embracing eBooks and increasingly need a fast and reliable way to find and review eBook titles for possible inclusion in their class curriculum.”

— Joe

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping, He Knows When You’re Awake…

There seems to be a convergence of stories recently about privacy and tracking lately.  If privacy isn’t dead it certainly seems to be fighting a losing battle while on life support.  Where to start?  There is a report in CNET on Vint Cerf’s statement, “Privacy may be an anomaly.”  The reason for that is the level of detail people are sharing through social media.  Another Cerf quote:  “Technology has outraced our social intellect.”  I find that hard to argue with that concept.  There are multitudes of ways to track people and their habits down to fine details.

An older story in Ars Technica tells that Facebook is working on a way to collect mouse movements.  As the story points out, it’s not uncommon for web sites to track where someone clicks on a page.  That’s one way to determine an ad’s effectiveness.  What Facebook intends to do is watch the mouse.  How does someone move along the page?  Where does the mouse hover and for how long?  Mobile views obviously do not use mice, but tracking in this context extends to tracking when a newsfeed is visible.  My understanding is that the Facebook like button is its own tracking device between sites whether one has a Facebook account or not.

The next item concerns the humble toothbrush, though it is symbolic of the so-called “Internet of things.”  The concept is promoted as a social good in that all of the dumb devices we use will become smart at some point and our interactivity with them will come with new conveniences.  Consider this statement from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff as reported by ZDNET:

“Everything is on the Net. And we will be connected in phenomenal new ways,” said Benioff. Benioff highlighted how his toothbrush of the future will be connected. The new Philips toothbrush is Wi-Fi based and have GPS. “When I go into the dentist he won’t ask if I brushed. He will say what’s your login to your Philips account. There will be a whole new level of transparency with my dentist,” gushed Benioff.

Any marketer would gush over this level of personal detail.  It may benefit the doctor-patient relationship, but who else would have access to this information and how will it be used?  I’m not sure I would be comforted by doctor-patient confidentiality in these circumstances.  I’m sure it will all be in the terms and conditions for the device, or not, at least if the next story’s details are accurate.

A blogger in the U.K. has discovered that his LG smart TV sends details about his viewing habits back to LG servers.  Those habits also include the file names of items viewed from a connected USB stick.  There is a setting in the TV that purports to turn this behavior off (it’s on by default).  It doesn’t work as data is forwarded to LG no matter what the setting.  LG responded to this disclosure as reported in the story on Ars Technica:

“The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer,” the representatives wrote in a response to the blogger. “We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T’s and C’s at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.”

Or putting it another way, we don’t care if you’re put out by these practices.  Life’s good, as they say, depending on who has the power in these relationships.

When I think of Marc Benioff’s toothbrush scenario I can imagine smart devices coming with embedded chips that connect to the web automatically and upload information.  As of now the choice is ours as to whether to connect our devices to the web.  I have a DVD player that is web-enabled though I have not turned on that feature.  My TV set is huge, but also not connected to the web.  My choice, of course, and I may not be typical.  In fact, I’m sure I’m not.

I can predict that there will be a time when a web connection is going to be mandatory for some devices to even work out of the box.  It’s in every marketer’s interest if that came to be.  Or, if I wanted to be exotic, I can predict another pervasive wireless Internet that overlays the one we know and love.  It will just be for smart devices that will connect automatically for our “convenience.”  There may just be enough moneyed interests to make that happen.  Terms and conditions may or may not apply.

Mark

Progressing from the first mover to the early adopter phase of market penetration, Axiom as a disruptor of the professional legal services industry

Is Axiom the bellwether for disruption in the legal industry? Bill Henderson thinks the answer is “yes.” “Axiom … is on the brink of demonstrating the benefits of the first mover advantage in law,” he writes. Axiom progress can be measured as having moved to the early adopter phase of market penetration in the corporate legal department market sector, the same market BigLaw competes in.

Axiom and large law firms are definitely targeting and servicing the same clientele — Fortune 100 legal departments. The substance of their work is also very similar — sophisticated, complex legal work related to disputes, transactions, and compliance.  But in many cases, the solutions offered by Axiom are radically different.

Bill Henderson, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession at Indiana Univ. School of Law – Bloomington, explains in detail why he thinks the times they are a-changing and why “[t]his is bound to have the beneficial, balancing effect on the rest of us” in this Legal Whiteboard post. Highly recommended. See also, Michael Bonasso and William E. Vita’s A profession on the verge of a paradigm shift? (The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Nov. 3, 2013).

Do keep “legal solutions” provided by our very expensive professional legal services vendors in mind should you read Bill’s post. See, for example, Managed legal services: the way of the future? by Will Ashenmacher, Social Media Marketer, Large and Medium Law, Thomson Reuters:

Given the large-scale changes that the legal industry has seen even in just the past five years, the next decade or so is likely to be a turbulent one. The role that nontraditional law businesses like Axiom take, or do not take, will be of particular interesting.

— Joe

Box for Legal expands its tools for providing secured content management and collaboration services

“In the past year, Box’s sales in the legal industry grew more than 150 percent as customers like Perkins Coie, Wilson Sonsini and Fowler White Boggs use Box to collaborate internally and externally, manage and share information, and access legal documents on mobile devices,” wrote Nitin Gupta at Box Adds New Partners to Help Law Firms be More Competitive. In addition to being selected as the newest member of the ABA Advantage Program, Box is partnering with Intapp to prove law firms with a bridge between their legacy document management systems, offering a new integration with Guidance Software’s EnCase eDiscovery product, and has added 22 new end user legal app partners to the Company’s content sharing platform for the follow services:

  • Practice and case management: Rocket Matter, Amicus Attorney, Fastcase, Lex Machina and DirectLaw
  • Timekeeping and billing: Chrometa, Bill4Time and SimpleLegal
  • Access to lawyers: Avvo, UpCounsel, Plain Legal, LawPal and LegalReach
  • Courtroom information management: TrialPad, Lora Courtroom, iJuror, LawPavilion and TrialDirector
  • Productivity: iClient, Legal Viewer, Doc Scan Pro and Parallels

Folks might want to check out Box to avoid becoming a captive client of our very large “legal solutions” vendors. See, for example, Bob Ambrogi’s ABAJ column, Thomson Reuters’ cloud platform Firm Central emphasizes integration—at a cost:

The biggest downside to Firm Central is that all this integration carries a price. Firm Central’s base monthly subscription is $35 per seat, which is cheaper than most of its competitors. But that does not include the optional eBillity, which adds another $25. For the other Thomson Reuters integrations—WestlawNext, Westlaw Form Builder and Drafting Assistant—each requires its own subscription.

Even more unfortunate, when you ask what it would cost to add these products, you are directed to a salesperson rather than given a direct answer. What separates Firm Central from the practice management pack is its integration with other Thomson Reuters products. Unfortunately, the only way to get those integrations is through extra subscriptions.

Hat tip to Fastcase Teams Up with Box:

As soon as the integration is complete, you’ll have an option to store your documents to Box and access them on any device or app implementing the secure Box technology. … [T]he possibilities for what you can do with the documents you save from Fastcase are limited only by how those partners implement this technology. At some point you may even be able to sync your case management system with the research you perform on Fastcase as a result of these partnerships.

At Box Furthers its Push into Legal with New Integrations, Bob Ambrogi identifies the end user legal app providers that offer integration with Box now –“DirectLaw, Chrometa, Bill4Time, Plain Legal, TrialPad, Lora Courtroom, iJuror, Law Pavilion Plus, iClient, Legal Viewer, Doc Scan Pro and Parallels. The rest will become available in the first quarter of 2014.”

— Joe

Perhaps there really is something to second generation eBooks

Intel has acquired Kno, a software provider for interactive textbooks. “[T]he main idea behind Kno is that the books are not only digitised but also include additional features to help students and teachers assess their progress, share information with others and generally get more engaged in the content,” wrote TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden and Rip Empson about the acquisition. They added

Although the pricing of the deal remains unclear, we have learned that the entire Kno team will be joining Intel as a result of the acquisition — with one notable exception. Osman Rashid, the co-founder and CEO (who is also a co-founder of Chegg), will not be joining the company.

In announcing the deal, John Galvin, VP of the Sales and Marketing Group at Intel Corporation and general manager of the World Ahead Program, explained

Intel has acquired Kno, a leading education-software company whose guiding mission is to change the way students learn. Much like Intel, Kno believes engagement is key to student success.

The acquisition of Kno boosts Intel’s global digital content library to more than 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles through existing partnerships with 75 educational publishers. Even more, the Kno platform provides administrators and teachers with the tools they need to easily assign, manage and monitor their digital learning content and assessments.

My hunch is that the demand for more interactive law eBooks, let’s call ’em “2nd gen Law eBooks”, will come from users who have become accustomed to interactive textbooks during the K through college educational experiences, if not sooner than then. — Joe

Friday Fun: Avoid Evil Otto when playing Berzerk

You can run an in-browser emulation of Berzerk, a multi-directional shooter video arcade game released in 1980 by Stern Electronics of Chicago but avoid at all costs Evil Otto. Alternatively, you might want to play Pitfall! That game was released by Activision in 1982. At the time, it is the second best-selling game made for the Atari 2600 (after Pac-Man), with over 4 million copies sold.

Both and many more early PC-Apple games as well as some early productivity programs such as WordStar, the most popular word-processing program of the early 1980s and the grand-daddy of mark-up coding, plus a 1979 version of VisiCalc, the first-ever spreadsheet program, are available as in-browser emulations from the Internet Archive’s new Historical Software Collection.

Hat tip to Bob Ambrogi’s Retro Fun: Try Out Historical Software (LawSites post). — Joe

Consolidation of major integrated library systems providers moves forward: SirsiDynix buys EOS International

Here’s the Dear EOS Client letter I believe all EOS licensees received last Friday. — Joe

Dear EOS Client,

Hello! This is Scot Cheatham, CEO of EOS International. I’m writing to you today to announce the acquisition of EOS International by SirsiDynix [ed. note: link]. I am genuinely excited about this event and the benefits it will bring to you, our valued client. I would first like to introduce you to Bill Davison, CEO of SirsiDynix. For those of you who are unfamiliar with SirsiDynix, they have been around for over 30 years, and are the world’s leading provider of Integrated Library Systems. You will undoubtedly get to know Bill and the rest of the SirsiDynix team much better in the coming weeks and months. Bill and I want to be the first to welcome you to the SirsiDynix family!

Below, we have included a section of FAQ’s that will hopefully answer some of your most basic and immediate questions about this acquisition. Please take a few moments to review it. While it probably won’t answer all of your questions, hopefully it will give you a basic understanding of today’s announcement, what it means to you and what you can expect going forward.

The fact that EOS is now backed by SirsiDynix is beneficial to everyone involved. SirsiDynix brings a truly global reach, a world-class infrastructure and the solid financial foundation to take both companies to the next level while providing the vision, the products, and the support you need to succeed. With this acquisition, SirsiDynix is demonstrating its commitment to the library market we serve. Collaboration between SirsiDynix and EOS will allow us to apply significant resources to enhance our flagship product, EOS.Web. It will broaden our sales and marketing capabilities, and will help us to continue to strengthen our client services offering.

This acquisition will bring about the following changes. Effective immediately, Bill Davison will take the reins as CEO of the new, combined organization. However, please know that the senior management team at EOS will continue to see to all of your needs. Additionally, I will remain available in an advisory role to assist Bill throughout this transition.

We know that change can be uncomfortable and we appreciate the importance of keeping you informed as we navigate through this transition. To that end, we want you to know that most things will NOT change, including the following key items:   EOS will continue to do business under the EOS name. You won’t see any changes to the fundamentals of the EOS business.

With only a very few exceptions, you will continue to work with the same people at EOS that you have worked with in the past.

There will be no changes to your fee structure, maintenance and other product pricing.

The products and services EOS has provided you in the past will continue to be offered and enhanced. There are no product end-of-life issues, nor product roadmap changes.

Quite simply, the main thing you can expect from this announcement is business as usual. We genuinely appreciate having you as our client, and now welcome you to SirsiDynix’s larger client family. On behalf of Bill and the rest of the combined executive team, we will work hard to earn your trust, exceed your expectations and make you as big a fan of this acquisition as we are!

Sincerely, Scot Cheatham

Several anticipated questions are answered below:

Who is SirsiDynix?

SirsiDynix is the world’s leading provider of integrated library system software. For over 30 years, SirsiDynix has developed, distributed and maintained the most widely-implemented ILS platforms in history. With customers in all four major segments of the library market—public, academic, K-12 and special—SirsiDynix specializes in delivering robust Library Solution Platforms that are highly customizable, extremely efficient and designed to seamlessly deliver both physical and electronic content.

Why did EOS sell to SD?

Two of our core principles at EOS are We Care and We Love Growth. We are committed to the success of our stakeholders – our staff, partners and most especially, our clients. We are also committed to growth that benefits our stakeholders. With that in mind, we decided that partnering with SD will provide the broad infrastructure, solid financial foundation and significant growth opportunities that will ensure continued success for our world-class products clients.

Will I need to switch platforms?

Clients will not need to switch platforms. EOS will continue to support all of the products it currently supports.

How does this announcement affect the EOS product roadmap?

Our product roadmap will continue as currently planned. Jeff Goodwin, our VP of Product Development, will continue to lead our development team as we implement our extensive product enhancement schedule. One of the benefits of EOS being backed by SD is that new product enhancements and features will be added to our roadmap that will bring significant benefits for EOS clients.

How does it affect EOS support?

EOS product support services and offerings will continue unabated. Jeff Smith, VP of Client Services, will continue to manage our award-winning product support team. All of the services that clients have come to appreciate over the years will be maintained. Our Service Guarantee and 24/7/365 support availability will continue with no changes. You will call the same telephone numbers, use the same email addresses, and reach the same friendly EOS client service staff.

Will there be any changes in sales?

Sal Provenza, VP of Global Sales and Marketing will continue to lead our sales and marketing effort. You will continue to work with your existing sales account manager. All EOS sales proposals and license renewal proposals do not change as a result of this transaction.

Any changes in EOS contact information?

You will call the same telephone numbers, use the same email addresses and EOS will have the same headquarters address.

Will there be any changes in the terms of my contract?

All contract terms will remain the same. In some cases there is an ‘Assignment’ or ‘Change in Control’ provision that requires assignment of the contract. An EOS representative will be in touch with you in case such a provision is in your contract.

How will this announcement affect my library?

Our goal is for this acquisition to have only positive benefits for your library. Business, product development, and operational best practices at SD will be implemented at EOS where practical and beneficial. Collaboration between SD and EOS will help enhance our client services and accelerate product enhancements. Best of all, the same EOS team will be there for you, helping you use our products to “Connect People to Knowledge!”