It’s amazing the way mobile smartphone technology has accelerated our sense of technical obsolescence. During the swiftly fading PC-era, a good hearty desktop PC was “current” and completely functional for at least a good three, maybe five years. How times have changed as computers have miniaturized and morphed into mobile devices that we carry as constant companions. Yesterday’s cool smartphone (the main computing device for many professionals) is quickly outdated within months of release, as cash-craving tech companies rush to market with the newest model that we just can’t live without. No one exemplifies this accelerated obsolescence model more than Apple, who in fact ushered in the smartphone era back in 2007 with the introduction of its funny-looking phone called the iPhone. Building on the unprecedented success of that novel invention (and using its sizable wad of cash), Apple keeps upping the ante with a new model that is so bright and shiny, it makes last year’s model look so, so…well, dated.
BILL AND PHIL’S GADGET OF THE MONTH
KEEP YOUR GADGETS AND COMPUTERS SECURE DON’T GET CAUGHT NAKED ON THE INTERNET
We could not help but notice all of the publicity about hackers who broke into iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities. Apparently, these hackers were able to post several nude pictures of these celebrities on a website called, “4chan.” Several people have contacted us and queried why a celebrity would post such pictures of themselves and post them to iCloud. Bill responded by saying that he had posted several such pictures of himself, and no one had ever attempted to access them (just kidding!). It is obviously a bad idea to post confidential information, intimate information or data of any kind or other such secret material in storage on the Cloud. In all likelihood, at least some of these celebrities did not even know their pictures were automatically being posted to their respective iCloud accounts.
Consequently, we decided that we would use this opportunity to take advantage of all the publicity and write an article about maintaining personal security on the web.
Ahh. The collective sigh you hear from our lips is because of the reduced weight in our backpacks as we trudge through the airport en route to yet another Bill & Phil Show presentation. Being the tech geeks that we are, we’re usually not satisfied with just one computing device stowed away in our overstuffed backpacks. Of course our smartphones are ever present, but in addition we almost always pack both a tablet PC device and a more traditional laptop computer. It should come as no surprise that we are certainly not in the “all work and no play” camp. During work hours, the laptop comes out and the billable hours begin to accumulate. During leisure hours, however, whether it’s games, music, books, or just internet browsing, we both prefer using our tablet devices. Well, now the ground has shifted. With the release of its third generation Surface “tablet” device, Microsoft has allowed us to remove both the traditional laptop and the tablet from our bag and replace them with just this one device that is the best of both worlds.
Microsoft released the Surface Pro 3 in June 2014 and we quickly picked one up from our local retailer. Yes, we bought the first Surface way back in 2012 (and quickly sold it on eBay). We tried again with the Surface Pro 2, which was much improved, but still was not the killer device that we had hoped. Warily, we forked over a credit card for Microsoft’s third bite at the apple (no pun intended). Upon unboxing our $1,000 i5, 128GB Surface 3, we immediately noticed that Microsoft had indeed raised the bar. The tablet itself is noticeably thinner and lighter than its two predecessors. Impressively, the Surface Pro 3 sports an incredible 12-inch display in that lighter, thinner frame. The only thing that we have really seen to date that compares with the Surface 3 display was the 12.2-inch Galaxy Tab Pro that we first saw at the 2014 CES. We love having the larger display for doing serious work (word processing, spreadsheet editing, litigation document review, etc.) without adding bulk and weight to the device.
We enjoyed presenting for the NALS (Nashville Chapter of the Association for Legal Professionals). Here is a link to the slide deck as promised: http://1drv.ms/1nihnsu
– Bill and Phil
We have recently re-discovered a great software tool that has been around for quite a while; but with its latest update has become much more attractive as a really useful productivity tool. The software is Microsoft’s OneNote, which functions as a digital notebook. The latest version, OneNote 2013, comes bundled with the Microsoft Office 365 subscription option (which we think is a great deal). What OneNote allows you to do is to ditch your legal pad/steno book/clipboard…whatever you use to write down notes during meetings, conferences, depositions, etc. You simply open OneNote on your laptop, tablet, or even smartphone and begin to type in notes or use a stylus to write just like you would on a legal pad. No more losing your notes or ruining them with spilled coffee….your notes are stored digitally and saved instantaneously.
BILL & PHIL’S GADGET OF THE MONTH
Elmo MO-1 Visual Presenter
We have become spoiled to all of the nice tech accoutrements now readily available in newer federal and state courtrooms. All one has to do is just walk in with a laptop or tablet, plug in to the in-house multimedia system, and begin presenting their case. Often, however, we are tasked with using trial presentation technology in an older courtroom or in a more rural area. Then, we begin thinking about how to make up for the lack of in-house tech resources in the courtroom so we can still use technology effectively in presenting our case. Such was the case recently in a matter being tried in a rural jurisdiction. In our pre-trial assessment, we noted that the courtroom did not even have a document camera, commonly referred to as an “Elmo”, which is actually the brand name for a very popular document camera found in many courtrooms.
For several years now, Apple’s iPad tablet has been an inseparable companion for many legal professionals. And for those several years, we along with many other users have sought for the perfect app that would replicate the functionality of the software that we use most frequently in the course of a normal business day, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). There were many app downloads, many test drives, many failures, and a few satisfactory solutions. But, alas, many of us were resigned to the fact that when using Office-aping apps on our beloved iPads, it would always be “not quite” the real thing. Our collective heads turned on a swivel, however, recently when Microsoft finally announced the release of bona fide Office apps for the iPad. And they were free to boot (sort of). We, along with millions of others, immediately queued up to download this long-awaited addition to our iPad app collection. So, was it worth the wait? Read on.
BILL AND PHIL GADGET OF THE MONTH – Drive Test: Galaxy NotePro 12.2
In this month’s column, we are reviewing another Samsung device we saw at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show, the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2. When we first saw this device on the floor of CES, we both said, “what a cool and usable device.” However, when Bill picked up the device, he announced, “This is too big to be useful.” Within a few months, however, Bill went down to Best Buy and shelled out $850 for a 64 gigabyte model of the Galaxy NotePro 12.2. Now, he loves it. While there are some problems with the size of the device, its usability and the power of the device more than make up for any shortcomings.
First, we admit the device stretches the upper limits of what can be easily called “a tablet.” Its screen size makes it more like a competitor to 13-inch laptops or Ultrabooks, rather than a tablet competitor.
In spite of its size, the Galaxy NotePro is surprisingly light. It only weighs a few more ounces than the classic 10-inch iPad. (It weighs 26.5 ounces, and a classic iPad weighs 23.5 ounces. However, an iPad Air weighs about 17 ounces.) The increased size means that it is very difficult to handle with one hand, but, on the other hand (no pun intended), its size allows it to accommodate a full-size onscreen keyboard. One can comfortably type on the onscreen keyboard, but for our money, we believe that it is better to add a keyboard case by Zagg or Samsung to make typing even easier.