Digital Dictation

If your old Dictaphone has given up the ghost, take a look at Hardware for Digital Dictation and Speech Recognition by Britt L. Knuttgen.  Britt offers valuable advice on brands and models making it easier to decide what to purchase for either dictation or voice recognition software. If you don’t use dictation often, or don’t have an assistant to transcribe for you, what about using a virtual transcription service? SpeakWrite and QuikSek are two to explore.


Windows 7

The long awaited new Windows operating system, Windows 7, will be released to retail stores and PC makers October 22, 2009 – a mere six weeks from now. Many Vista users are eagerly anticipating what some have called “Vista Fixed.”

Many XP users (and there are a lot of us) have been waiting for anything but Vista to come along.  So, how will you know if you should make the move? I began by reading 10 things you should know about moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 on TechRepublic.  Among other important things, it spells out how XP users will have to do a clean install of Win7, or else install it in a separate partition on their harddrive.  A “clean” installation will replace your current operating system. The only thing left of XP will be in a folder that Microsoft creates called “Windows old.”  Your applications (your software programs) will not be viable! The good news is that Windows 7 reportedly is not a huge resource hog, so if your XP computer is three years old or less, it probably will be able to run Windows 7.

Vista users will fare better – they will be able to migrate from Vista to Win7 with settings and files intact. For either Vista users or XP users, I recommend reading Step-by-Step: Windows 7 Upgrade and Migration on Microsoft TechNet. Good luck!

Not a fad

Admit it: you’ve been holding out hope that Twitter, Facebook and all the other forms of social media networking are just a fad.  Even as you reluctantly signed up for LinkedIn, you didn’t feel like it was real. Maybe you were thinking that social networking has no place in the legal world. Well, today I found a blog that really made me think, “it’s not a fad. Lawyers will use Twitter and Facebook like we use the phone.”

The website was Social Media Law Student.  And on this blog was a post on How Law Schools are Using Twitter.  Seeing the long list of law schools that have accepted Twitter as a legitimate form of communication with law students — that’s when it really sank in: All these law students are going to be lawyers. There’s no way they are giving up Twitter or Facebook, or any of it.

It is not a fad.

Pet Rock


Typing in Acrobat

Have you been wondering how to use Adobe Acrobat to complete forms? Many forms are available on government websites for lawyers and the public. What do you do if you find a PDF form you want to use, but the author didn’t enable the right to fill out the blanks using Adobe Reader? First, save it to your computer. Then, open the saved PDF file using the full version of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (essential software for all law offices). Go to the file menu across the top and select tools/ typewriter and enable the typewriter tool by clicking on the typewriter symbol. Your curser will change appearance and look like an “A”. Hover over the line you wish to fill in, click once and start typing. Each time you type, you will need to click the typewriter symbol again. For more Adobe tips, see the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog . typewriter tool

Restoring a file

I reported recently that I started backing up my work files to CoreVault, the online storage company recommended by the SC Bar. Yesterday, I pulled up an old column of mine in Word, meaning to edit it and save it as a new file. Well, you know what happened. I accidentally clicked “save,” not “save as.” (I click “save” every few seconds without even thinking now – one never knows when the power might blink.) The thud feeling in my stomach was quickly replaced by the realization that I could restore the file from CoreVault.  It has been a few weeks since Edward at CoreVault helped me get started and at first I wasn’t sure where to go on my PC to restore a file. I was determined to try to figure it out before I called CoreVault for help.  But I found the CoreVault software in my Windows programs list, and the rest was a breeze. I was able to connect to my online backup and navigate to the file I needed, then restore it to its former location. I also noticed I could search for the file in CoreVault if I didn’t remember where it was. Voila! What could have been a disaster for a practicing lawyer was a mere hiccup in the day.