All I Want for Christmas is a Smart-Phone-Watch

i'M watch colorsI consider myself to be an early adopter, willing to take a chance on new technology, patient or self-loathing enough to sift through videos when it doesn’t work just right, or do what the commercials promised in 2 seconds flat. But this year, I’m looking for efficiency, function, and style. Specifically and in that order.

Short of having a chip installed in my earlobe (willing trial participant here!) I consider my phone to be an extension of my daily life. It keeps me organized, empowers me to work from anywhere, connects me with loved ones, alerts me of danger and makes me laugh. But… it’s also my biggest nemesis, something in my hand or within reach when I am working, driving, shopping, walking, working out. A buzzing, chirping, blinking distraction, keeping me from being present and engaged. A former colleague of mine once said to our IT team ‘Go ahead, take the BlackBerry out of her hand. Another one will grow back like the Terminator.’ I’m sorry to say, this was not far from the truth, and only got worse when I adopted my first iPhone.

But it’s not just me! The average person checks their smartphone between 110-150 times per day. To text, call, email, read, socialize on social media, escape, and… to check the time. So would it not make perfect sense to bring something you reach for so often to your wrist? Freeing up your hands & eyes for things that came long before the land of internet and iPhones. Like eye contact in meetings, dinner conversation, handshakes, hugs, shopping (like real dig through racks, try on shoes kind of shopping) driving, playing golf, going for a run, you get the idea.

So what’s a girl like me to do with a dilemma like this?

Relocate the distraction.

Watch notifications, while presenting the same information as your phone do not encourage you to reply, respond or react. It would be absurd to think you’ll sit there and type out an email response on your wrist with one finger. For those of us who fell victim to Phantom Vibrations, just seeing what’s going on may ease the anxiety of not knowing what’s happening. Smartphones, while powerful, valuable devices are keeping us from true engagement, participation and impair our spatial awareness.

In short: Sometimes your smartphone makes you act like a jerk. So let’s move our music, message notifications and more out of our hands, away from our faces, and confine them to a place within view… but oddly enough, out of reach.

 

Here are this season’s best of breed Smartwatch solutions. Check them out, and let Santa which one’s on your list. Your loved ones will thank you.

pebblesPebble @Pebble 

The friendliest device out of the bunch Pebble makes Smartphone integration look easy. It’s stylish design, seamless compatibility and near infinite list of customization options offers users all of the sexy features of the other devices for nearly a Benjamin less.

Can: Display notifications of your choice in a layout of your liking, or design your own watch face. Incoming calls, email previews, text messages, calendar appointments, weather and fitness information all presented to you in various layouts. The newly opened Pebble App Store promises to bring even more options to this increasingly popular device. Screen Size: 1.26-inch (144 x 168 pixel epaper display) Camera: Use PebbleCam to control your iPhone camera without a Wi-Fi connection. Reviews Say: Best value, easiest interface. Left to be desired; a built in camera and color display.

Price: $150.00 Works with: Android, iPhone & Windows Phone

 

Galxy Gear in 6 colorsSamsung Galaxy Gear @SamsungMobileUS

The Galaxy Gear definitely looks like the ‘next big thing’ but delivers a surprisingly lack luster list of features, some questionably market ready. Sleek style and catchy colors while attractive are still hard to justify with such a limited feature set.

Can: Make & take Calls, pictures, send texts, play media, check the weather, and dictate commands to S voice (Siri Substitute) utilizing a small but growing number of Galaxy Gear Apps.  Screen Size: 1.6-inch (320×320 pixels) Camera: 1.9-megapixel Reviews Say: S Voice control is slightly delayed & needs some work, speakerphone doesn’t compensate for background noise.

Price: $299.99 Works with: ONLY Samsung Galaxy Note 2, 3 & S4 Mobile Phones

 

metawatchesMetaWatch Strata & Frame @Meta_Watch

Sleek & functional design offers a good distraction from this phone’s limited offering and lack luster display. However the rugged Strata is the only Smartwatch designed for the outdoor enthusiast. Its big sister the MetaWatch Frame offers smoother styling better suited for executives.

Can: Display pertinent notifications through a 4 widget screen; Text, Calls, Weather, Email, GPS info and more. Screen Size: (25mm x 25mm, 96 x 96 pixels) Camera: None Reviews Say: Built to last and withstand true outdoor activity. Limited notifications and widgets aren’t quite what you’d expect from a Smartwatch.

Price: Strata $179.99 | Frame $229.99 Works with: Android & iPhone

 

sony smartwatchesSony SmartWatch 2

Sony didn’t exactly deliver with the second addition to their Smartwatch series. Failure to include a microphone, speaker or camera limits the device’s ability to compete. Redeemed by a growing list of apps and full color, sunlight friendly screen, looks were clearly not an afterthought.

Can: Screen calls, email and text alerts even if you spill a little coffee on its water resistant casing and full color sunlight readable OLCD screen. Screen Size: 1.6-inch (220 x 176 pixels) Camera: None Reviews Say: At first glance a strong alternative to the Galaxy gear, but shaky software and limited compatibility options are definite drawbacks.

Price: $199.00 Works with: Android

 

martian-passport-watchesMartian Passport Watch @MartianWatches

A smartphone watch in disguise the Martian Passport Watch looks more like a James Bond gadget than companion to your iPhone or Android device. Which, for the wearable tech adverse may be a perfect match. The thin OLED strip at the base of the watch face displays notifications while the two buttons on the left side of its Analog face control phone features. Advanced customization options even allow you to adjust the strength of watch vibrations, for the inner perfectionist in all of us.

Can: Make or take calls, notify you of texts, emails, weather, driving directions, social media alerts and as much more as you choose, all managed from your phone. Integration with Siri and Google Now drive most of the commands on this device. Screen Size: 1.53 x 1.46 inch face with a 96 x 16 pixel OLED display bar Camera: Remote camera control only Reviews Say: A gentleman’s smartwatch, straight out of the pages of GQ. Initial set up is a little rocky, but well worth the effort.

Price: $299.00 Works With: Android & iPhone

 

im-Watch-SmartwatchI’m Watch @imcollection

An Italian made luxury Smartwatch for today’s fashion forward techie. This elegant timepiece comes in a variety of precious metals, colors and offers a sunlight friendly color LCD screen.

Can: Customize your full color display & notifications with hundreds of I’m Watch Apps, viewing text, phone, email and other notifications when and how you choose. Screen Size: 1.54-inch (240×240 pixels) Camera: None Reviews Say: Cumbersome set up with less than stellar battery life.

Price: Color Collection $349.00 | Titanium Tech Collection $999.00 | Jewel Collection $1,500.00+ Works with: Android & iPhone

 

Smartwatches to watch for in 2014

The Smartwatch rumor mill is spilling over these days. Keep an eye out for these developing models in the New Year:

The Google Gem: Google’s stepping stone of wearable technology, predicted to prepare consumers for widespread use of Google Glass. With a richer feature set, sleeker design and broader compatibility, experts anticipate the Google Gem will give Samsung’s Galaxy Gear a run for its money, saving buyers $50-100 over the Galaxy Gear.

Apple iWatch: If you saw any of the iWatch Patent diagrams, trademark applications, or other industry fodder circulating earlier this year the iWatch will come as no surprise. Apple may be letting others beat them to market (or figure it out for them) but don’t discount their ability to dominate the consumer marketplace. Should the iWatch arrive in 2014, and look anything like the mock ups we’ve seen online, you can expect to see those long lines of iDiehards camping outside their local Apple store, credit cards in hand.

Last but not least Nokia & Microsoft are rumored to be working on a Windows Phone compatible Smartwatch, offering similar features to their current predecessors.

 

Thank you for sharing your day with us!

If you have an device or app you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to post below, or share it with me on Twitter @ChelseyLambert.

Ten Apps that Send Holiday Cards in a Flash!

Oh no, it happened again!Keep Calm and Happy Holidays

The Holidays are here and your good intentions of sending out holiday cards have been derailed by your busy schedule. The good news is, like almost everything else in our tech-centric lives… there’s an app for that!

Pick your festive favorite, and get those greeting cards out the door and off your to do list.

 

Physical Cards from Your Phone

Does the thought of going to the post office make you cringe? Skip the trip and delegate that task to these apps that print, stamp and send faster than you can say Ho, Ho, Ho!

Ink

A tried and true solution for spreading holiday cheer, Ink has mastered the art of app generated greeting cards. Choose from over 500 designs, add photos, messages and send to anyone in your contact list instantly. Send via, Facebook, Twitter, email, text message or snail mail. Available on: AndroidiPhoneiPad | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

Martha Stuart Craft Studio

The Queen of Crafting has an app for almost any creative project, including your last minute holiday cards. It’s easy to get carried away customizing every detail all the way down to the festive glittery ink. Once you’re finished your masterpiece share via email, Facebook, Twitter, create a PDF, print them yourself, or have Snapfish print, stamp and send them for a small fee. Available on: iPhoneiPad | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

Red Stamp

Luxe card design on demand. Perfect for the discerning professional Red Stamp offers innumerous templates, finishes and envelope options. Add photos, write custom text, add your logo, or use a ready to go greeting, getting it done fast, and with style. When ready, share, text, email or snail mail your stylish greeting anywhere in the world. Available on: iPhone, iPad, Android | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

Thank You Pro

Originally built to send well branded, professional thank you cards, they have added a collection of holiday themed greetings which can be sent to anyone in your address book in just a few taps. Available on: iPhone | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

Touchnote Cards

Use your own photos to create everything from simple ecards, social media posts, postcards or printed greeting cards mailed for a small fee. It’s clean design a short list of editing options will keep your project short and sweet. Available on: AndroidiPhoneiPadPrice: Free (postage & printing may vary)

 

Be Green and keep some with eCards

Show the environment some love and send your holiday wishes electronically. These apps make it as easy as reading one of those inappropriate eCards on Facebook.

Artogram

Searching for something beautiful, unique, maybe a little quirky? Artogram’s library of art is created by independent illustrators. Pick a design, customize your message and share via Facebook, Twitter or Text Message. Available on: iPhone & iPad | Price: $1.99

Just Wink

Made by American Greetings, this card library feels like you’re shopping in a Hallmark store. Create personalized cards with your own photos, a short message and signature tool. Once complete send your creation via email, Facebook, snail mail or Text Message for as they say it ‘Instant Greetification.’ Available on: Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, Windows 8 | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

 

Think Outside the Gift Box

Try something non-traditional this season! A postcard, poster or video, showcasing your favorite family members and moments will take center stage among this year’s array of holiday cards.

Postagram

Turn thinking of you, into sharing with you. This slick and seamless app turns a photo into a meaningful postacard, complete with a message from you. Select the contact you’d like to share it with and email, text, or snail mail to your heart’s content. Available on: iPhone, Android | Price: Free (postage & printing may vary)

Phoster

Pictures too ‘larger than life’ for a simple greeting card? Now you can share them in poster size! Use a preexisting template or create your own holiday poster. Share via email, your favorite social network, or print them out for physical posting wherever you like! Available on: iPhone & iPad | Price: $1.99

Elf Dance & Storybots by Jib Jab

There’s nothing more personal than a video of you and your friends dancing through the snow in elf costumes. Cast up to 5 friends or family members in a variety of entertaining holiday situations. Be the center of attention at the kid’s table with Storybots, Jib Jab’s video maker for children, casting your favorite little monsters in a children’s book of their choice. Available on: Elf Dance for iPhone & iPad, Storybots books for iPad, Storybots shorts for iPhone | Price: Free

 

Thank you for sharing your day with us!

If you have an app you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it! Feel free to post below, or share it with us on Twitter @ChelseyLambert.

Top 5 Holiday Travel Apps

Thanksgiving week is upon us!Travel apps graphic

Like most Americans you will be traveling to share the holiday with your loved ones. Along your journey you may find yourself searching for some quick answers, to questions like;

  • Where’s the next gas station, how long has the fuel light been on?
  • Is McDonald’s the only place to eat in this whole airport?
  • Is my confirmation number in one of these 200 unread emails?

 

So when you find yourself searching for answers, rely on these apps to deliver faster than your nephew can say ‘yeah right.’

Around Me

One of the very first iPhone apps ever built, this tried and true search tool has saved my day on more than one occasion.

Open the app, search for anything you need. A place to grab breakfast, the closest gas station, supermarket, Walgreens, even your favorite food. Making those unfamiliar places seem a little bit more like home. Available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone

Gate Guru

Long layover, unexpected delay? Don’t settle for a bag of chips from the hallway kiosk. Gate Guru has mapped out almost every airport concourse to clearly display traveler resources, eateries and entertainment highlights.

A short walk from your gate might lead to just what you’re craving, or at least a healthy alternative to the heat lamp marinated airport cheeseburger. For iPhone, Android, Windows Phone.

Road Ninja

Road tripping this holiday? Road Ninja is your new best friend. Laser focused on results less than three miles off your route, organized by upcoming Exit numbers. View gas prices, take advantage of local deals, find what you need and get back on the road, fast. Available on iPhone, Android

Trip It

Travel pros unite in admiration for this veteran travel app. The free version of Trip It allows you to forward any email, travel document, plane ticket, car rental, hotel booking or other confirmation to your account, compiling them into one easy to follow itinerary.

Best of all, your itinerary is available offline, so when you’re in that remote, reception free location, you won’t have an anxiety attack when you can’t see the email containing your flight info. For iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone.

History Here

Forget your Travel To Do List for a second and have some fun!

An app created by the History Channel, this fun fact finding tool displays local history and notable landmarks close to your location. Share your findings and earn more cool points than posting food pictures on Facebook. Ready to play on iPhone and Android.

Thank you for sharing your day with us!

If you have a travel app you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it! Feel free to post below, or share it with us on Twitter @ChelseyLambert | @ChicagoBarAssoc.

Until next time…

Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Make Mine To Go

You might have heard already, but we are experiencing a mobile revolution. The message from market research companies is loud and clear – mobile web access is growing exponentially. What’s more, Search Engine Watch reports a Google survey of mobile users found that they are five times more likely to abandon the task they are trying to complete if a site isn’t optimized for mobile use, with 79% saying they will go back to search and try to find another site to meet their needs. While this is likely far more true for an ecommerce site or news site than a website for a professional service do you want to risk losing a potential client because your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing? But, you may say, won’t I have to hire a web developer to make a mobile version of my site, pay more money and spend more time? Well, yes, you can go that way but for those who want immediate gratification at a do-it-yourself level then I have a site that might interest you.

Read more: http://www.slaw.ca/2013/04/11/make-mine-to-go/

Practice Management Tips and Tricks

Law practice management and technology tips are a great way to get quick shots of information you can use immediately – or tuck away for when you need them. In January I presented a CLE for the CBA on “Tips for the New Year”. Did you miss it? Watch the archived webcast and download the materials for some ideas to keep moving forward this year.

The provenance of the “tips” format may be disputed, but ABA TECHSHOW provides some of the best of the best for lawyers in the form of 60 Sites in 60 Minutes and 60 Tips in 60 Minutes. For a taste of ABA TECHSHOW tips check out this wrap-up of  2012 60 Sites in 60 Minutes. Interested in going to ABA TECHSHOW? The Chicago Bar Association is putting together a SuperPass group for the absolute best rate until March 9 or take advantage of discounts through the Event Promoter registration.

Can’t wait? The March/April issue of Law Practice Magazine is the ABA TECHSHOW issue and the cover story is “13 Tech Tips for 2013″ including tips from past and current speakers – including me! Read the article for some instant gratification.

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

Chief Judge Evans Revises Mobile Computing Ban in Cook County Courts

General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 Revises and Supersedes General Administrative Order No. 2012-8

On December 12, 2012 General Administrative Order No. 2012-8 was released, declaring a ban against mobile computing and telecommunication devices for all Cook County courthouses except the Daley Center to begin on Monday, January 14, 2013.    A list of exempt persons was identified, including licensed attorneys, who would be permitted to bring the devices into the court. However, unless ordered by the trial judge presiding, these devices would only be allowable in public areas of the courtrooms, outside of the courtrooms.  This was troubling to some lawyers who use mobile computing devices in the courtroom to check calendars, read advance sheets, access legal research, and communicate with their offices.  Some domestic violence groups were also worried about a “chilling effect” on access to justice due to the ban.

Today Chief Judge Evans released a revised order,  General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 .  Revisions to the order include changing the language regarding exempted persons from the prohibition

from:

“The persons described above in section 2(a-h) may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge presiding.”

to:

“The persons described above in section 2(a-o) may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, and said electronic devices must remain off when in courtrooms, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the judge presiding.

This amended statement is followed by new language:

“Nothing in this order should be construed to affect a judge’s authority to permit attorneys and pro se litigants with cases before the judge to use such devices in the courtroom for purposes such as making evidentiary and other presentations to the court, preparing orders and other court documents, making entries in a case management applications, or any other purpose the judge deems appropriate.”

Additional changes expand the list of those exempted from the prohibition to include domestic violence advocates or counselors, persons present to obtain orders of protection, participants in a domestic violence assistance program, and disabled persons whose disabilities necessitate the use of an electronic device to communicate.

The Office of the Chief Judge press release issued by the court notes that there will be a three month grace period after the start of the ban ending on Monday, April 15, 2013. In part it says:

“in an effort to aid those taking public transportation to various courthouses, the Circuit Court of Cook County is assigning a person to work with Cook County’s real estate and facilities department heads to quickly find a solution for storage of said devices – a claim check system or providing locker facilities as examples. During the grace period, if a person cannot leave the device in a car or with a companion outside the courtroom, the device can remain with the person inside the courtroom but in the off position. If a person is identified as powering on the device, the person may be held in contempt of court and possibly face penalties ordered by the judge.”

BYOD: iPad (Bring Your Own Device)

The iPad is quickly becoming a “must-have” for every lawyer. It’s more than a Smartphone but not quite a laptop…it’s more like an “electronic legal pad.” Lawyers are finding the iPad to be the perfect tool for reading books, annotating documents, taking notes, catching-up on news, surfing the Web, giving presentations, and a myriad of other tasks. Whether you’ve had an iPad for one week or one year, you’ll learn something new in this half day seminar. Bring your iPad for a hands-on environment as our expert and panelists walk you through the apps you need and how to use them.

Learn how the iPad can become an essential part of your daily workflow:

• Introduction and tour of the iPad
• Recommended settings for the iPad
• Uploading documents to the iPad
• The 10 “Must-Have” iPad apps for lawyers
• Presentations and the iPad in the courtroom
• iPad peripherals (case, keyboard, etc)
• And much more!

See demos of iPad apps for lawyers from sponsors:

TrialWorks Case Management Software app for litigators
Total Attorneys practice management app
Lexis Advance legal research app

Speaker:

Brett Burney, J.D., Burney Consultants LLC, Cleveland
Burney received his B.A. from the University of North Texas and his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. He is the founder of his firm and provides professional consulting services for electronic discovery, litigation support and trial technology to corporate executives and legal professionals. Prior to establishing his firm, Burney spent five years at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland. He is a frequent speaker at numerous legal technology conferences and is a well-respected author on legal technology topics.

PLUS! ABA Law Practice Management Section will be on hand with the hugely popular “iPad in One Hour” book series including: iPad in One Hour (2nd edition), iPad Apps in One Hour and pre-sales of iPad in One Hour for Litigators.

This program will be at the Chicago Bar Association on Monday, November 19, 2013 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Sign up now before it fills up!

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