Affinity Consulting Blog


You love your new dual-screen setup at the office. The productivity enhancement is great. But you wish you could have the same benefit when traveling.

You can, and without lugging a huge AC powered LCD monitor with you. I recently acquired for about $70 a refurbished AOC e1649Fwu 16" USB monitor and tried it out on my last road trip. It fit neatly in my laptop bag, leaving plenty of room for my Microsoft Surfact Pro 3 and its keyboard cover (and all manner of cables, headsets, and other stuff I pack for my travels).

The monitor requires no additional power other than what it gets via the included USB cable connected to your computer's USB port. The specs indicate that the monitor will work with USB 2.0 or 3.0. I used it only with the single USB 3.0 port on my Surface Pro 3 and also with a powered Amazon Basics USB 3.0 hub (at least until the hub died prematurely - a replacement is on its way thanks to Amazon's speedy return and replacement policy). The monitor worked fine with the direct connection and with the hub. The long Q&A on Amazon.com confirms that it works just as well over USB 2.0 and is also Mac OS X compatible.

Microsoft released its Office for iPad apps earlier this year, including Word for iPad. One key feature missing from the initial release was the abiliyt to print a Word documents from your iPad. That omission has now been c corrected.

With the free version of the Office for iPad apps (including Word for iPad), you can read Word documents, view Excel data, present with PowerPoint, and print your documents. With an eligible Office 365 subscription (a bargain for most law office users), you can also edit and create documents on the iPad, use Office for your PC and Mac®, and get many other benefits.

With printing now built-into Word for iPad (and the other Office for iPad apps such as Excel for iPad and PowerPoint for iPad), all you need is an AirPrint compatibile printer on your network. PC Magazine has a nice list of the ten best AirPrint compatible printers at a wide range of prices. If you like the printer you already own and don't want to buy an AirPrint compatible printer, instead buy an AirPrint server such as the xPrintServer from Lantronix for $100 to $200 depending on how many printers you want to enable to work with your iOS devices like your iPad.

If you are creating bills in PCLaw, hopefully you know by now that you can create a PDF version of that bill during the billing process. There are many benefits to creating a PDF from within PCLaw, a few of which are: you keep a copy of original bill for historical purposes; you don’t waste time and resources printing and scanning the bill (this means the original PDF can be text searchable with some PDF applications); and if you aren't using the e-mailing features, you at least have your bills in a location and format where you can insert it into an email, etc.

Your firm may have clients that require uploading electronic bills, typically called Ledes, Tymetrix, etc., where the format is EDI.

Let's talk about where PCLaw stores these PDF or EDI files and the options you have to change that.

PCLaw's default location is the Data\Dyndata folder on your server, or workstation if PCLaw is installed as a standalone system. This folder contains live data files for PCLaw (i.e. banking transaction data, client and matter data, billing data, etc.). You can imagine the potential for accidently deleting data files when users browse to this folder so as a best practice, we change the location to a different folder. Here are the steps to accomplish this. This must be set at each workstation for users who create or recreate bills in PCLaw. You log into PCLaw at that workstation with a PCLaw login that has sufficient security to access System Settings, hence why you should consider this a workstation setting.

1. Create a folder on your server (or workstation a standalone install) called PCLaw Bill Images, in a location backed up and accessible by other users.

2. Go to the Options pull-down menu | System Settings.

3. Go to the Billing tab and locate the Output Options for Invoice Images section. Here is what the default location and settings could look like, depending on how your computer is connected to the server.

4. Click the Browse button and browse to the folder you just created

- Change the number from 20 to a higher number (we would recommend a few months of invoices depending on the number of invoices you create each month). Note: the size of these PDF and EDI files is small so on a server, space should not be an issue, but if you are a standalone installation, keep in mind the number and the capacity of the hard drive.

- Select the Automatically Generate PDF Output. Note: EDI formats are created when you are on the Create Bill screen and select the Editor output option.

- Click ok to save.

Here is an example of the changed location and settings:

One more thing to know…If you upgrade PCLaw, or perform a new workstation installation, this path in System Settings REVERTS BACK to the default DYNDATA folder, so review this at every workstation after the upgrade or new installation.

As always, you can call or email our Client Services Team for assistance, at 877-676-5492 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Your law firm is Your Business.

As a business, a law firm is really no different than most other closely held companies. You sell your prospective services, you perform your service and your firm is paid. Your business takes in revenue, meets its expenses and hopefully has something left over for the owners of the business to enjoy.

Over the years, your firm’s financial health has probably improved, but do you know why? The better question is will that trend continue? Or, are you finding that your firm’s financial health is in jeopardy? Are the people you’ve charged with expense management, billing, accounting and financial management doing an efficient and productive job to ensure that your law firm, your business, will maintain its financial health?

We think of Google Drive soley as a Cloud-based file repository. But when combined with the Google Drive app for Android or iOS, it turns your phone or tablet into a portable hand-held scanner. It can be used for receipts, full-page documents, or even multi-page documents.

The process is simple. Open the Drive app on your portable device, hit the scan button, and the app will fire up your device's camera and show you the image on screen. When your document is aligned using the on-screen grid, tap the on-screen button to take a photo. If you have a multi-page document, hit the + button to take a photo of the next page. When you are done, the photo(s) will be converted to a PDF "scan" of your document and automatically uploaded to your Google Drive.

The result will not be as good a running your document through a real scanner such as a Fujitsu ScanSnap, but it does a surprising good job.

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