Oregon State Bar Bulletin — NOVEMBER 2014



Managing Your Practice

Holiday Helpers:
A Few of Our Favorite Things
By Sheila Blackford, Dee Crocker & Beverly Michaelis



As 2014 draws to a close, many of us consider with trepidation the final months of the calendar. Often more frantic than festive, November and December can appear like one giant to-do list for the already-busy practitioner.

Enter the “holiday helpers” — the practice management advisers of the Professional Liability Fund. We’ve distilled for you a handy shopping list for your favorite techie. Need a stocking stuffer or Hannukah gift? We’ve got a few ideas for you. We also have an abundance of cool and affordable websites, apps and programs for the most neglected person on your list — you.

So “take five” — or thirty — and choose a treat for yourself. Even if you only engage in the online browser’s equivalent of window shopping, we hope this is one holiday activity you won’t pass up. Season’s greetings, from us to you!

Favorite Gadgets

Suffering in a hot, stuffy office but needing to keep your office door closed for ensuring confidentiality and productivity in a noisy office? You’ll find the solution with a Vornado Flippi V8 personal air circulator that oscillates and flips for multidirectional airflow. With two speeds, it is quiet enough and small enough to become an unobtrusive addition to your workspace while incorporating the famous Vornado Vortex Technology to move air up to 30 feet. I appreciate that it directs adequate air without blowing everything off my desk. ($49.99 with a three-year warranty, but you can get it on Amazon and elsewhere for $20 less.) —S.B.

Looking for a desktop scanner? It’s hard to beat the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix1500, http://scanners.fcpa.fujitsu.com/scansnap11/iX500.html. Scans wirelessly to your PC, Mac, iOS or Android devices; links to cloud services such as Evernote, Google Docs, Dropbox and SharePoint Online for Windows; one-button searchable PDF creation; 50-page automatic document feeder; duplex scanning. ($495.00 at Fujitsu online; may be available elsewhere for less.) —B.M.

Get the mouse that scans. The LSG LSM-100 mouse scanner is worth its weight in gold. You push the little Scan button on the side of the mouse and a window pops up from the included scanning utility. Then, you just swipe the scanner over whatever it is you want to scan. You’ll get to see what you are scanning as you do it so that you don’t miss anything. It also recognizes the text as you scan. When you are finished, click the button again and the app will give you a straightened image, which you can crop. Then, you can save the image in various formats (PNG, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PDF, Excel and Word). Or, you can click Paste Image or Paste Text to copy the image or text to the clipboard for pasting into an email, document or pretty much anywhere else. (Less than $50 at amazon.com). —D.C.

The Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh Ultra-Compact Portable Charger Lipstick-Sized External Battery Power Bank Pack for most smartphones is a great buy from Amazon for $16.99. Its stylish, compact, lightweight design fits easily into any pocket or bag and it will add a full charge. —D.C.

Favorite Websites

• Acrobat for Legal Professionals, Rick Borstein’s Acrolaw Blog http://blogs.adobe.com/acrolaw

If you are like most attorneys, you likely underutilize Adobe Acrobat. Who has the time to take a class or read a manual? This website is tailored to busy lawyers and law staff who lack time but not questions. A handy menu of topics is addressed and allows visitors to watch short training videos that each cover a single topic so that you or your staff can watch and learn how to create portfolios, affix digital signatures or do redaction along with a number of things that you may wish you knew how to do.—S.B.

• Adobe TV http://tv.adobe.com

Get up to speed quickly when working with PDF documents and forms, with these short (two minutes or less) video training tasks from Adobe and Acrobat Community experts. Learn what’s new in Acrobat XI. —D.C.

• Audio Name www.audioname.com

What’s in a name? Not much if you can’t pronounce it. Audio Name lets people hear how to pronounce your name. It allows you to easily record how your name is pronounced and then post your audio name on your website or Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile or even in your email signature. —S.B.

• Boomerang for Gmail www.boomeranggmail.com

It lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages in Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Write emails now, schedule them to send later. The basic version is free. Various other plans offer response tracking, read receipts, mobile access, notes, reminders and other features. —B.M.

• Compress PDF http://smallpdf.com/compress-pdf

To reduce the file size of a PDF, try this free online compression service. This same site will convert JPEG files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint files to PDF; merge separate PDF files; split one PDF file into two or more separate PDFs; and convert a PDF file into a JPEG. All platforms are supported (Mac, Windows and Linux). Files are permanently deleted from the Compress PDF server after one hour. The company states: “No one has access to your files and privacy is 100% guaranteed.” —B.M.

• Duck Duck Go https://duckduckgo.com

Search the web anonymously with a clean search interface. The site has a no-tracking privacy policy. —B.M.

• Font Squirrel www.fontsquirrel.com

Looking for a new font to use in your next presentation or in marketing materials? The fonts are free and the site is described as “font utopia.” Choose from script, hand drawn, contemporary, retro or other font styles. —B.M.

• Gwabbit for Outlook www.gwabbit.com/gwabbit_outlook_free.php

Gwabbit employs a remarkable semantic technology to identify contact blocks within email text and accurately parse and import them into your address book. No more cutting and pasting contacts one field at a time from your emails into your address book. —D.C.

• Inforuptcy www.inforuptcy.com

A great site for bankruptcy attorneys. Make PACER better. Quickly find and track bankruptcy cases, get alerts of key events, save and share search results, automate electronic case filing emails and more. Pricing plans vary depending on size of firm. Free trials available. —B.M.

• Legal Technology Resource Center www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources.html

The LTRC educates and assists ABA members with the latest legal technology, allowing lawyers to boost efficiency and ultimately provide clients with the highest quality service. Explore your options for a variety of technology products and services. Find the right tools to boost your practice using the LTRC Buyer’s Guide and stay on top of the latest legal technology news, tips and announcements with the LTRC’s legal technology blog: Law Technology Today. —D.C.

• Meeting Wizard www.meetingwizard.com

Tired of telephone tag while trying to schedule a meeting? This free service allows you to send online invitations to plan and schedule meetings and other events, plus propose optional dates, manage responses and send confirmations and optional reminders prior to the meeting. A simple three-step process lets you concentrate on more important meeting details. (1) You invite participants, providing optional dates/times; (2) Participants respond to invitations indicating their availability; and (3) You confirm the meeting or event after reviewing responses. —S.B.

• Sookasa http://www.sookasa.com

Safely collaborate with your clients using Dropbox and remain HIPAA- and FERPA-compliant. Place your sensitive files in the Sookasa folder and they will be encrypted, audited and access-controlled anywhere they end up. Share files with clients that are not using Sookasa by emailing them secure Sookasa links that are authenticated and audited for your protection. You can individually authorize your law firm colleagues or business partners to access the encrypted files by adding them as team members or external partners. ($10 per month or $100 annually per user for HIPAA and FERPA Compliance for Professional or Team Plan. Free personal plan without compliance is available as well.) —S.B.

• The Software Pro www.softwarepro.com

Tips, shortcuts, tricks, techniques and tactics to increase software productivity. —D.C.

Favorite Apps and Programs to Download

• Convert Measurements and Currency

Units of measure and currency converter and calculator by Cider Software ($3.99 for ad-free version). As you type, a list of most likely units appear, then tap to select. Fast and easy. From the iTunes store. —S.B.

• Copy2contact (Anagram Technologies)

It lets you capture contact information with a simple tap or two into your contacts without having to type or copy and paste all those contact fields. The Pro Version has no ads and no limits on the number of contacts you can save in a day. ($6.99.) The free version has ads and limits you to three to four contacts a week.—S.B.

• Cymbol

This iPad app allows users to seamlessly select any desired symbol and input it into text. A must-have for any lawyer who frequently uses trademark, copyright or registered trademark symbols. Mathematical formulas included. Reviewed at www.mobileprwire.com/New-Cymbol-iPad-App-Makes-it-Easy-to-Input-Symbols-Into-Text-n-2030.html. (Available in the iTunes App store for $1.99.) —B.M.

• eWallet Password Manager (Ilium Software) www.iliumsoft.com/ewallet

It allows you to keep your passwords, credit card numbers and bank account numbers behind military-grade encryption and have them with you. Have it on your iPhone, iPad and Mac desktop, available for Windows desktop and Android. One super password and the rest is stored whether you let the app generate strong passwords and logins or you create them. Peace of mind without aggravation. ($9.99 but worth every penny!) —S.B.

• EzCalculators (Bishinew Inc.) www.fncalculator.com

Find whatever calculator you might need and some you don’t know you even want, like a credit card payoff calculator or retirement/401K calculator. Email feature lets you send the result to your client. Pro Version is $4.99. I use the free version and I don’t know why I’d upgrade except to support the developers. —S.B.

• FreeCalc www.moffsoft.com

Moffsoft FreeCalc is a basic calculator that makes a great replacement for the Windows calculator, whose features include a printable and savable tape. —D.C.

• Google Guide www.googleguide.com

An online interactive tutorial and reference for experienced users, novices and everyone in between. Find some expert searching tips and tricks for Google usage. —D.C.

• KeyXL www.keyxl.com

Online keyboard shortcuts database provides hundred of keyboard shortcuts for many software programs using Windows, Mac and Linux. (A keyboard short cut is a key (or combination of keys) that performs a function within a software program.) —D.C.

• Office Lens

If you use for Microsoft OneNote, check out the app in the Windows Phone store. Just snap a photo to capture notes on whiteboards, blackboards, documents or business cards. Save the images of receipts or stray sticky notes to Microsoft OneNote using Office Lens. If the image contains text, OneNote’s software turns it into editable, searchable text. “Office Lens is like having a scanner in your back pocket.” Free in the Windows Phone store, www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/office-lens/5681f21c-f257-4d62-83f5-5341788a5077. —B.M.

• Texter http://lifehacker.com/238306/lifehacker code-texter-windows

Text substitution application saves you countless keystrokes by replacing abbreviations with commonly used phrases you define. Unlike software-specific text replacement features, this free application runs in the Windows system tray and works in any application you’re typing in. Texter can also set return-to markers for your cursor and insert clipboard contents into your replacement text, in addition to more advanced keyboard macros. —D.C.

• Shopping List (hensoft)

It allows you to synch your shopping list with your family. It keeps insanely busy professionals saner and ensures your spouse or partner remembers the milk or copier toner as you create the stores and it stores your list. I have this app on my home screen and can quickly update my husband’s shopping list for the items forgotten earlier. You can share the list by email if planning a joint family potluck or vacation. Sunscreen, beach towels, cribbage board check, check, check! ($2.99.) —S.B.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The authors are practice management advisers with the OSB Professional Liability Fund. They can be reached at (503) 639-6911 or at sheilab@osbplf.org, deec@ osbplf.org and beverlym@osbplf.org. The PLF has recently added two more PMAs to its practice management staff with the addition of Jennifer Meisberger and Hong Dao.

© 2014 Sheila Blackford, Dee Crocker & Beverly Michaelis

return to top
return to Table of Contents