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 confirms that it works just as well over USB 2.0 and is also Mac OS X compatible.

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.

One of the premier iPad apps for litigators, Lit Software's TrialPad is rarely on sale. But it is discounted $49.99 from now until the end of the day on Sunday, August 24. Read the reviews gathered on the Lit Software web site.

This tip comes from Rick Broida's excellent Cheapskate blog on CNet. When Microsoft announced Office for iPad several months ago, it was both a great advance in a lawyer's ability to use an iPad as a laptop replacement and a frustration for the MS Office featuers and functions left out of the iPad version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Exporting to PDF was one of the missing features.

No lawyer should carry a smart phone or tablet that does not have a passcode enabled. This applies to all devices regardless of operating system. To be truly useful, these devices must contain a great deal of information about us, our firms, and our clients. But because they are portable, they can be lost or stolen.

When the inevitable happens and your phone or tablet goes missing, you want to be sure your personal, firm, and client data cannot be compromised by anyone who happens to gain possession of your phone or tablet. On unecrypted phones, the passcode only locks the screen. It does not secure the information sitting in files on the device. After securing your device with a passcode, the next step is to be sure the device's contents are encrypted.

In a recent post, we suggested that you need not settle for the often crummy wireless performance of the combo modem/router supplied by your Internet Service Provider. Have your ISP put their device into Bridge Mode (with many ISP's this will require a bit of persistence and patience) and connect your own higher-performance router to the ISP's modem/router combo. OK, so now you have great wireless performance, but lousy wireless security. How do you lock down your wireless network?

Many Internet Service Providers (ISP's) such as telephone and cable companies now provide you with an all-in-one device that is both a modem and a wireless router. That might seem very convenient, and it is, but performance and features are often several levels below what you can get with your own wireless router. If your home or office is large, or if you have a lot of users connecting simultaneously, buying your own router may substantially improve the speed and reliability of the Internet connection for all of your devices.

Summer is travel season. Whether you are on the road for business of pleasure, you are likely to pack several gadgets, all of which need to be charged. This might include your cell phone, iPad, Bluetooth headset, digital camera, etc. How do you keep everything charged and ready to use?

A post last month announcing the availabilility of Sony's Digital Paper device featuring an e-ink screen got me thinking about whether a Kindle Paperwhite, generally viewed as the best e-ink device on the market, could be used by lawyers to read practice-related documents. The answer is yes, with a couple of caveats.

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