Chrome: The Browser That Works

Google’s Chrome web browser is a stable, fast, and functional piece of software used to access the Internet.  For many years Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the browser market, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox.  Google released Chrome in September 2008, and now its usage has surpassed Firefox and Internet Explorer globally.  However, Internet Explorer is still the leader in North America according to StatCounter Top 5 Browsers in North America from Sept. 2008 to Oct 2012. This especially holds true for U.S. lawyers, who according to the 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report Vol. II,  primarily use Microsoft Internet Explorer at 85%, followed by Firefox at 30%, and finally Google Chrome at 22%. So, what does the rest of the world find so appealing in Google’s Chrome? Let’s take a look!

Read more: Google’s Chrome Browser

Layering Security: Two Factor Authentication

“In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.”

Thus starts the story of Mat Honan, a writer for Wired Magazine. Mat’s story should be a cautionary tale for all, especially lawyers whose duties to maintain the confidentiality of client data extend the need for added security beyond just personal inconvenience.  Mat admits that much of what happened could have been avoided by using two factor authentication on his Google account and other security measures.  So, why didn’t he do it? Because adding layers of security means adding a layer of complication, and sometimes inconvenience. However, to unravel from a firm security breach or hack would be even more inconvenient.

Google’s Gmail, Google Chrome, LastPass, Dropbox, WordPress and many other popular services have added an extra layer of security that a user must enable called “two factor authentication”.  The concept of this security is that a person cannot access another user’s account without something she knows and something she has. In the case of these popular services the solution is a strong password plus a secondary code that is sent via text to a smartphone or mobile device.  Both are required to access the account. For two factor access to laptops there are devices like USB tokens and smart cards that must be plugged in for the machine to boot up. Likewise you can buy external biometric security devices, such as a fingerprint reader, which is a substitution for what the user has to what the user is.

The SANS Institute OUCH! newsletter this month provides further information and links on two factor authentication for popular online services. When enabling two factor authentication make sure to read all the instructions carefully. Matt Cuts blogs for Google on how the two factor authentication works with Gmail, and dispels some myths about any perceived difficulties this may add to accessing your email.

Want to learn more about security best practices for your law firm? Sign up for the CBA CLE (1.5 IL PR Credit)  “Lighting the Corners: Security Best Practices”  in person or webcast on November 20 at 12 CT.

Offline Google Docs Tutorial

A fantastic general tech blog, GroovyPost, just posted a nice step-by-step tutorial on “How to Enable and Set Up Google Docs Offline“.  Sometimes you need offline access to files in “the cloud” and it is nice that Google works to make files available  locally.  In fact, you can access most of Google’s services offline, such as Gmail and calendaring. What about other services? Read my recent article on accessing your law office email, files and matters offline in “Fog Bank: When the Cloud is Down“.

Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google has incorporated Google Profiles and Google Places into Google+. In the past lawyers could boost their online presence by filling out a free Google Profile, which created a publicly available profile that included pictures, hobbies, personal and professional interests. You could link to your webpage, blog, LinkedIn profile or anything else you’d like to share.  Profiles are no longer standalone,  but rather serve as the “About” information in your Google+ profile. Since lawyers can now create business pages in Google+, you can choose to create a personal and/or professional profile in Google+ now.

More recently Google+ incorporated Google Places,  which let you add your firm to Google Maps and create a local business listing. Ultimately this means that people will have more ways to discover your Google+ business listing, as the information will appear in general search results, as well as Google+, maps, mobile search, etc. It will also make local search results more social, enticing user comments and “indeed, it gives Google a local vehicle with functionality equivalent to Facebook and Twitter.”  Google reminds you: “It’s a good idea to create a Google Places account using an email address that you don’t mind sharing with others or passing along, in case you wish to transfer ownership of your listings.”

If you already had a Google Places page you will find that it has been moved for you to Google+ Local. Google has a support page for FAQ about Google Places content migration if you have questions, or if you information didn’t completely transfer. If you are interested in doing more with a Google+ business page for your firm, see the CBA LPMT “How to… Create a Google+ Business Page” archived webcast and materials.

Additionally you can take advantage of similar local profile listings from Yahoo! Local Search, Bing Business Portal, and Yelp.

Fog Bank: When the Cloud Is Down

Read my Attorney At Work article on how lawyers who are dependent on the cloud can be productive even when offline:

Sometimes you just don’t have access to the Internet. Whether you’re traveling in a plane, or in a remote (or sometimes not so remote) area that has no WiFi, 3G or 4G coverage, or simply because your cable or T1 line is down due to weather or some other outage, on occasion you will have some forced downtime because you can’t access your cloud-based documents, send emails, or pull up a client’s contact information from a cloud-based provider. In fact, it is likely to happen at the most inopportune moment. Fortunately, there are ways to access online information locally.

60 Sites in 60 Minutes (ABA TECHSHOW 2012)

Did you miss ABA TECHSHOW this year? Come to the LPM Committee meeting next Friday (4/13) from 12:15 PM – 1:30 to hear a few attendees favorite tips picked up at the show. Until then…

ABA TECHSHOW 2012 – 60 Sites in 60 Minutes (The whole list)

Again this year, the always exciting 60 Sites in 60 Minutes plenary session concluded ABA TECHSHOW 2012. Presenters Natalie Kelly, Dan Pinnington, Catherine Sanders Reach and TECHSHOW Chair Reid Trautz shared variety of serious and funs sites with the packed room. For those that couldn’t make it, here is a full list of the sites they presented:

Sites to help you do your job

  • ABA Preview of Supreme Court Cases: Everything you want or need to know about what is happening at the Supreme Court, past, present and future.
  • Fastcase and Mobile Sync: Legal research on your desktop, iPhone or iPad. Bar Association users can use the Mobile Sync feature to keep one research session going across all platforms.
  • CellularAbroad is a helpful site to find the best mobile phone and coverage option specific to your phone and carrier when traveling overseas.
  • Google Scholar adds treatment to citing cases
  • Jureeka: Turn legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online legal source material in Chrome or Firefox
  • TinyEye: Reverse image search: find out source of an image, other uses of it, higher resolution versions, etc.
  • Google Images lets you search by dragging and dropping an image
  • Meevsu: Have a live confrontation or debate via webcam, with the audience voting for the winner

Helpful information

  • Law Practice Today e-zine archives is full of terrific articles on all aspects of law practice management
  • Room77: See what your hotel view is like, before you book the room
  • Priceblink: Find lower prices while you shop and set notifications for desired price points.
  • The Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group exists for one purpose. You’ll have to see for yourself because you won’t believe it until you see it.
  • PMA Pipe: Keep up with all the law practice management blogs
  • MarineTraffic: Watch the movement of ships around the world, tracked by GPS in real time
  • AllTop: See the top headlines on the most popular news sites and blogs
  • The World at 7 Billion: With seven billion people in the world, where do you fit in? Just enter your birthdate and find out!
  • Handsfreeinfo: See what your state’s cell phone and texting laws for drivers prohibit – or are about to prohibit.
  • WhoIsTheMostFamous:With just a first name, try to guess the most famous surname.
  • Scoopertino is the parody blog of all things Apple (based in Coopertino, CA) that recently claimed Apple would replace the complete iTunes library with songs sung by Siri, starting with Stairway to Heaven!
  • US Department of State provides important travel information for every country in the world
  • An American’s Guide to Canada tells you everything you want to know about life in the Great White North, including “Canadianisms” and how to immigrate.

Technology tools and sites

  • Adobe provides great online tools for collaboration and converting and editing PDF documents
  • Alternativeto: If you’ve decided to replace a software application, this site will recommend alternatives based on user feedback.
  • FollowUpThen: Schedule followups to emails you don’t need to deal with now, by simply forwarding them to this site.
  • Snipreel: Clip YouTube videos so you can share just the best parts.
  • GreatApps: Helps you weed through the 1,000s of apps out there by featuring the best 25 at a time.
  • “If This Then That” write “recipes” and tasks to automate actions between “channels” like Facebook, Twitter, Email, Dropbox, Evernote and more
  • Thsrs Find shorter synonyms for longer words
  • Zamzar is an oldie but a goodie site that coverts computer files you upload into other formats; great for old WordPerfect docs you now need to access via MS Word
  • Down for everyone or just me? Find out if a website is down
  • Ninite: Pick all the popular software you want to install right from one page
  • FacebookCheating: Read and share stories of cheating that happened via Facebook. Also access spying and therapeutic resources for online activity.
  • Factory Reset Wiki: Find factory reset codes and procedures for all kinds of products.
  • is a free, yet robust screen sharing and conference call system that is extremely easy to set up and/or join.
  • TextMechanic allows you to manipulate and play with text in all sorts of different ways (for example, pick a random line of text)

Social media tools & resources


Law practice management

  • HBS Elevator Pitch Builder The good folks at the Harvard Business School have created the on-line pitch builder to help you hone your, well, elevator pitch. Try it!
  • Thinkstock: A huge supply of the best stock images
  • 99Designs is a new on-line graphics marketplace to have law firm logos and website graphics designed at extremely low rates, thanks to the winner-take-all nature of the marketplace.

Online privacy and dangers

  • Google Privacy Tools: All the ways Google gives you control over the information you share and store with them:
  • ScamTrends: Keep track of all the constant attemps to scam you by email, social media, phone, etc
  • AvoidAClaim This blog about law practice management and claims prevention also features warnings about the latest fraud attempts against lawyers
  • FCC Small Biz Cyber Planner: Information on how smaller companies can secure themselves against cyber crime
  • SecretSync is a great way to easily share proprietary, sensitive information using online synchronization utilities
  • StartPage: A search engine that doesn’t collect your personal data

Non-billable Time

  • MapCrunch lets you randomly teleport anywhere in the world via Google Streetview
  • MyExWife’s Wedding Dress: Family lawyers will especially get a kick out of this site started by a man whose wife purposely left behind her wedding dress when they separated, and what he did with it to get even.
  • VeryFunnyAds: Pretty self explanatory!
  • AbsolutelyMadness: collects the funniest pictures on the internet
  • PhotoShop Disasters: A collection of the worst examples of bad Photoshop efforts
  • Monk-e-Mail: In just a few minutes you can customize an animated message complete with your own voice to send a birthday greeting or other fun greeting. Hosted by of all things, but why not?
  • PoopSenders For friend or foe, res ipsa loquitor.
  • Craftastrophe:A collection of the tackiest examples of homemade crafts
  • WhySiriWhy? Amusing Siri quotes and awkward voice-text failures
  • Go. Laugh. Get back to work!
  • Devolve Me: Upload a photo of yourself (or someone else) and devolve it to see what you would look like 1.8 million years
  • MultiPlayerPiano: Play the piano online with whoever else is on the site at the same time

If you liked these sites, you can see the sites that were featured in previous ABA TECSHOW 60 Sites in 60 Minutes presentations as well as the ABA TECSHOW 60 Sites in 60 Minutes Hall of Fame

Privacy Please!

Dilbert on Security and Usability

Dilbert on Security and Usability

See my recent post to the blog “Privacy Please!“:

This post  is already dated. Why? Because privacy – or the lack thereof – is daily news. Facebook just announced their privacy policy would be called a “data use policy”. Before that it was Google’s announcement that they would be combining all the data collected by their individual web properties (YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Google, etc.) about you into one single place, covered by one single “privacy” policy. Security has always been in opposition with ease of use. The conflict between wanting the convenience and interaction of the free web and trading privacy for the privilege is difficult to resolve.

You Are Backing Up Your Gmail, Right?

See one of my past posts to the AttorneyatWork blog “You Are Backing Up Your Gmail, Right?“:

Google’s Gmail has made news in the past couple of years by “losing” users’ e-mail—often years’ worth. While these outages have primarily affected the free Gmail service, even access to the paid Google Apps has occasionally been lost. More egregiously, in 2008 Charter Communications (an ISP) accidently deleted 14,000 customers e-mail accounts—and all the e-mail messages in them. For lawyers who are using the free Gmail, or other webmail services, as their primary e-mail tool for client communications, one must ask, “How are you backing that up?”