2013 is drawing to a close soon. Everyone reading this newsletter has reason to be thankful. We are, after all, still here. Given the trials of everyday living, not to mention the economic pressures on small businesses such as law firms, survival can no longer be taken for granted.
Beyond survival, we want to prosper and enjoy life and career. While technology can be frustrating when it doesn't work right, it can be liberating when it does. Each of us has at least one tech service or product on which we rely to make our lives more productive and enjoyable. This month we asked our consultants and non-consulting staff nominate the technology product of service for which they are most grateful. Here are some of those selections.
Remember the Milk
This app/service was selected by Affinity Partner Debbie Foster. Remember the Milk is a task manager and to-do program that syncs across multiple platforms and devices. You can create and stay with a free account, or upgrade to Pro for $25 annually. Debbie writes: "After trying about 10 different task syncing programs/apps, this is by far the best one out there. For about 2 years I have vowed to go to bed with zero emails in my inbox. That does NOT mean I do everything that I need to do every day, but I have stopped using my inbox as a todo list. If you think about it, there are many ways that you get todos…and only one of them is email. So, if your email inbox is a todo list, you will have to have 2 separate todo lists. I have opted to use my Outlook todo list as my only todo list. When I get an email, I either deal with it immediately, delegate it, delete it, or make it a todo. Remember the Milk is what I use to synchronize my todo list on my PC, my iPad, and my Android phone. It also integrates with Siri on iDevices and Google Voice on the Android. If you start any voice command with Remember, it automatically adds a todo to your task list and adds it to Outlook."
New Affinity Consultant Loralyn Hutchens recently relocated from Indiana to the Miami area to work with Affinity Partner Sandy Adams. Unfortunately, he husband was not able to immediately join her and remained behind in Indiana. Loralyn says: "Skype has been great for us to see each other, plus our son lives in Montreal." Affinity Publications Senior Editor Scott Bassett, Esq., relates to Loralyn's situation. His family moved from Michigan to Florida about six months before he was able to join them. But this was 2001-2002, and Skype, now owned by Microsoft, was not released until August of 2003. Skype and other video calling services are worth our thanks.
Windows 8.1 Tablets
Affinity Partner Sandy Adams suggesting that Windows tablets were worth thanks, particularly the new Surface Pro 2 that she is currently testing. Many Affinity consultants and staff members are very fond of their iPads, as are many lawyers, but the ability to run a full version of Windows, MS Office, Acrobat, and the full range of legal-specific programs on a device about the size of an iPad is very impressive. The first generation Surface Pro devices (distinguished from the original Surface RT, which does not run traditional Windows applications) from Microsoft were hailed for their design and construction quality, but panned for their short battery life. Similarly, Windows tablets from other manufactuers had flaws such as weak Atom processors and/or substandard displays.
Fortunately, chip maker Intel came to the rescue of its old partner Microsoft by giving it the new battery-sipping Haswell 4th Generation Core i3, i5, and i7 processors and to the rescue of other Windows tablet manufacturers by introducing the much more powerful Bay Trial series of Atom processors. Affinity Publications Senior Editor and appellate practitioner Scott Bassett is putting one of the new Bay Trial Windows 8.1 tablet/convertibles through it paces. Now lawyers and others who want "real" Windows in a tablet format (often with a clamshell option in the form of a detachable keyboard) can have power, flexibility, and solid battery life. Give thanks!
Affinity Partner Cindy Emmerson is thanful for RoboForm. RoboForm is a password manager and more. Cindy says, "Roboform is an invaluable tool to help me manage web bookmarks, fill forms, keep SafeNotes, and passwords. I use it no less than 20 times a day, and Roboform Everywhere allows me to sync that information across multiple computers and mobile devices." RoboForm is a free download, but the real magic is its RoboForm Everywhere syncing across devices and platforms. That costs $9.95 for the first year, and then $19.95 annually.