Affinity Consulting Blog

The new larger Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is more a laptop than a tablet already with a nice complement of ports for connection to desktop peripherals. But if you have one of the "lesser" Windows 8.1 tablets, most of which are powered by an Intel "Bay Trail" Atom processor, you can transform it into a servicable, if not particularly speedy, desktop computer. This can be handy for use in your home or satellite office when you are not on the road using the tablet as a mobile device.

Sometimes things go very wrong with Windows and the best option is to re-install the operating system. This step is not to be undertaken lightly, and don't do it if you are not comfortable with the process. Also, make sure you backup all of your data and settings first. The always useful Lifehacker site has a list of things to do before and after you do your re-install. But what if you don't have your original Windows install disc(s)?


This article is less a review of the new Microsoft Surface Pro 2, than it is a sharing of my personal experience with one. I, like everyone that is into using technology, have been searching for the perfect, little device that has all the power of my desktop or laptop combined with the convenience of being very light-weight, physically small and “ready” in an instant.

As a longtime LogMeIn user (I even paid big bucks for their Ignition iPad app), I was sorry to see LogMeIn eliminate their free remote access and control service and switch to a paid subscription-only model. I don't use remote access often, so I didn't want to pay a subscription fee. When on the road, I access my important files using the excellent SugarSync cloud-based file synchronization service. I prefer SugarSync to Dropbox for its better user interface and more favorable subscription pricing structure. For viewing and editing documents on my iPad, Android phone, Chromebook, or Windows 8.1 tablet, access to files via SugarSync is more important to me than the ability to remotely access and control my primary PC.

But once every few months I need remote access capabilities to run software that is installed only on my primary PC. For that reason, having a reliable remote access service installed and ready to go is a good idea. For those who want to work at home and access their office computer regularly, a remote access service is even more important. Now that LogMeIn Pro (their cheapest option) is $99 per year, is there a free remote access and control service that works well?

Until recently, Microsoft Office was the undisputed "must-have" software for any law practice. While an office suite is still essential, and MS Office remains the most common choice, the use of scanning, electronic filing, e-discovery, and digital/paperless practice has made Adobe Acrobat equally important to law firms. The added features of Acrobat Pro make it a particularly useful upgrade from Acrobat Standard for law firm use.

The Pro version adds many batch processing features that can save time. Among them is the Action Wizard to automate many tasks including reducing the size of your PDF files. This can be done not just one file at a time, but with multiple files or entire folders.

Law office computer users spend too much time obsessing over the internal specs of their machines and not enough time thinking about the devices they use to interface with all of that computing power. The mouse (or other pointing device, such as a trackball), keyboard, and monitor you employ will make or break your computer using experience. For example, if you are using the keyboard that came with your computer, you are making your job harder than it needs to be.

Many computer users suffer from a malady called mouse shoulder. It is a repetitive stress injury caused by moving a standard computer mouse around on a desk. One remedy is to switch to a different type of pointing device, such as a trackball.

There is a new and particularly dangerous virus making the rounds recently. It is called Cryptolocker. Instead of damaging your operating system or exporting your personal or firm data like many viruses and other forms of malware, Cryptolocker finds and encyrpts your documents and files so that you cannot open them. Without the encryption key to unlock them, they are useless to you.

Many users really like the cleaner and flatter look of iOS 7.

However, if you are over 40, the lighter-weight Helvetica Neue font used throughout iOS 7 may be harder to read than the system font used in iOS 6. Fortunately, there are several settings you can adjust to make the iOS 7 font more readable. There is a very useful guide to making these adjustments in the iPhone J.D. blog pubished by Jeff Richardson. You can find the complete guide here. Included are before and after screen shots so you can see what you will be getting before you make the changes on your own iPhone or iPad.

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