"Pzizz Offers Help for Power Nappers"

Helpful "be more productive at work" find from the folks at Web Worker Daily. Yeah, actually napping at your firm during the day might not be a good career move. But what about all-night document productions?

"We’ve written before about the benefits of an afternoon “power nap” in helping you get through the day and attack problems with renewed energy. But some folks have trouble getting to sleep in a limited time slot. For reluctant nappers, the downloadable application pzizz promises help. It runs on either Windows or Mac systems, and I had a chance to give it a spin this week.

"Pzizz is easy to use: you launch the application, choose a preset (the 'Default Energizer' preset is designed for a 20-minute power nap), and tell it to generate a soundtrack. Then you can play your soundtrack directly on the computer (useful if you have headphones and enough space on your desk to put your head down) or export it to MP3 for playback on another device (likely to be more comfortable for most users)."

So, what do you think about the usefulness of power napping?


"PowerPoint 2007 Takes On the Fear Factor"

Here's where presentation-savvy paralegals [PPT] can save the day (or at least the PowerPoint slides). Still, it's good to hear that "Microsoft Corp.'s upgraded presentation tool adds user-friendliness to increased visual interest."

"The very word 'PowerPoint' instills grim fear in the hearts of would-be speakers and dread lethargy in the minds of would-be listeners. No other software application can boast such ominous power over sophisticated professionals.

"I've personally witnessed scores of skilled attorneys desperately plead for help in using Microsoft PowerPoint to express their stilted, creative side; and conversely, I've been in the company of many audiences that collectively cringe at the sight of another text-laden, bullet-pointed slide. (The FutureLawyer also feels the "pain of PowerPoint" eloquently illustrated by comedian Don McMillan).

"While the solution to many of these issues requires an organic acumen of presentation techniques and psychology (Dennis Kennedy and Cliff Atkinson's book are great places to start), the Microsoft Office 2007 team recognized that some adjustments had to be made to PowerPoint. Team members on the PowerPoint & OfficeArt Team Blog lamented the fact that 'the vast majority of users fail to create [stunning] documents [and presentations]' and vowed to make it easier to design visually effective presentations in PowerPoint 2007. That apparently was one impetus behind the development of Office Themes."

Author Brett Burney writes a monthly legal technology column for LLRX.com and contributes to ALM's Law.com Legal Technology section and Law Technology News magazine.


"Exterro Gets E-Discovery Down to Business"

Quite readable article about new litigation software -- "centralized management of litigation lifecycles" -- with helpful "show & tell" screenshots:

"Exterro isn't the first software vendor to apply a business-process-management approach to the legal discovery process, but with the launch of its flagship product Fusion, it is breaking new ground with a solution that combines BPM with collaboration capabilities and centralized management in an integrated environment.

"Aimed at law firms and corporate legal departments, Exterro's newly unveiled Fusion is essentially a portal for controlling the discovery process. However, Exterro's chairman and CEO, Bobby Balachandran, prefers to call it a litigation-support-management platform, from which his customers can monitor progress, track costs, set and manage schedules, and evaluate vendor performance.

"'During complex litigation, negotiations or time-intensive governmental investigations, the process of managing legal teams needs some automation, otherwise it all just gets away from them,' Balachandran says. 'We're trying to bring reliable management control and predictability to a process that is typically loaded with surprises and unexpected costs.'"

BTW, there's currently an open position for Litigation Support Consultant (scroll down; position is in Chicago or Portland with flexible work hours!).


"Cognition Launches New Linguistic Search Engine"

This new search engine could be very helpful for litigation support paralegals:

"Every searcher's fear is that a search will produce too little of what you want or too much of what you don't want. And, even if you get a nice collection of the right stuff, is it all the right stuff out there or does it omit things you need to see? In technical terms, does your search strategy balance precision and recall effectively? Linguistic and semantic search engines have long held out the promise of helping computers "understand" concepts, rather than just search for terms. Cognition Technologies has launched CognitionSearch [PDF link], a linguistic search engine that supports ontology, morphology, and synonymy, tapping one of the world's largest computational dictionaries. Initially, the company will market a vertical enterprise service for legal litigation support and for life science and health research. It also offers an open Web service to demonstrate the technology as applied to MEDLINE and PubMed content, to judicial and legislative sources, and to political blog content." [Emphasis added.]

Find more info about the company & its products here.


New Estrin LegalEd TeleSeminar Series

Introducing the new Estrin LegalEd Paralegal Passport:

"Finally, a TeleSeminar Series of exciting workshops specifically designed for all levels of paralegals. You don't have to leave your desk to get top quality training to boost your career and become the firm's MVP (Most Valuable Paralegal).

"The Paralegal Passport offers paralegals, attorneys, litigation support staff, secretaries and management at participating law offices and in-house legal departments unlimited attendance at more than 100 live Estrin LegalEd TeleSeminars for one flat annual company fee.

"Here's how Estrin LegalEd Paralegal Passports work:

  • Estrin LegalEd Paralegal Passport members may attend as many TeleSeminars throughout the year as desired. This opportunity for continous training enhances the paralegal's value to the firm.
  • Estrin LegalEd Paralegal Passport members receive an additional 10% off of any Estrin LegalEd event including Paralegal SuperConferences, Corporate and Trial Institutes and Paralegal SkillWorks Seminars.
  • A one-time annual fee."

"Now Your Computer Desktop Can Be Just as Messy as Your Real One"

Another interesting blog post about day-to-day worklife from Web Worker Daily [links below in original]:

"With a pen-like stylus and a 'physics-enabled' virtual workspace prototyped by BumpTop, you can organize electronic files into piles just like you do on your real desktop. I’m not sure whether this shows radical innovation or utter insanity; either way, it’s impressive.

"We’ve considered the virtues of messiness before, but you’re probably wondering just why we’d want to bring the mess of the real world into cyberspace. Well, this system is not really about messiness, but rather about a different kind of order than the folders and files metaphor used by desktop operating systems today. The idea is that the way we organize papers and other items on our desk into piles holds meaning — we might, for example, create a pile for each project we’re currently working on."

The video demo looks pretty cool!


"One Calendar to Rule Them All"

Whenever -- & those times are frequent -- a paper calendar just won't do [links below in the original Web Worker Daily blog post]:

"Some problems just seem to get harder the longer we work on them. Take keeping track of appointments, for example: you’d think by now we’d have that one all figured out. But somehow, between being online and offline, having multiple computers and mobile devices, it’s become harder than ever to know where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there. Some people have come up with elaborate schemes to keep all of their calendars synchronized, but as someone who has tried to do this across multiple computers and operating systems, I can tell you such things are tough to set up and prone to breakage.

"Enter Calgoo. Currently in public beta test, Calgoo is a Java-based application that runs on Windows, OS X, or Linux...."


"Word 2007 Review: A Ribbon Runs Through It"

Microsoft Word users rejoice! Getting the "biggest boosts to your daily productivity," as this author suggests, makes me want to give Word 2007 a try:

"We love it, we hate it -- we can't work a day without it.

"I've witnessed more people gnash their teeth over Microsoft Word than probably any other software application. But no matter how many times we cuss at the automatic bulleting/numbering feature, we will continue to use Word to edit documents.

[snip]

"The Ribbon has become the de facto moniker for the new look of the Office 2007 products, including Word 2007. For years, we've been programmed to use the 'File,' 'Edit' and 'View' toolbar commands at the top of Word. That's where things belong.

"The Ribbon in Word 2007 -- nobody choke here -- nullifies that bygone line of commands with an incredibly functional row of controls unfurled before our eyes.

"I know what you're thinking -- the same worries crossed my mind about how I finally learned how to use styles and create a table, and now Microsoft goes and changes everything. You won't believe me until you actually use Word 2007 for yourself, but the Ribbon could provide one of the biggest boosts to your daily productivity than you've seen in a long time."

Author Brett Burney writes a monthly legal technology column for LLRX.com and contributes to ALM's Law.com Legal Technology section and Law Technology News magazine.


"Do You Have an Office Supply Fetish?"

Isn't it fun to shop for office supplies? Well, here's what Web Worker Daily found [links from original post]:

"Stella Commute does:

Now, I can go to Staples any time I want and because I have a reasonable amount of disposable income, I can select the office supplies that make my heart sing. Color coded folders and matching labels? Done! Post-Its in various configurations? Check! Sharpies, Sharpies, Sharpies! And my latest addition: plastic-coated paper clips that make every grouping of papers hum with vibrant togetherness. Yes!

"I stopped at OfficeMax today to have new business cards printed and found myself drawn magnetically towards the pen section. I cannot resist trying new pens!"


"RIM announces Blackberry 8800"

Yay! It's way past time to get a new Blackberry, isn't it?

"Research in Motion (RIM) today announced a new Blackberry smartphone. The new 8800 merges the form factor of the traditional Blackberry with the piano-black design of the 8100. The new phone comes with integrated GPS and a n illuminated 'Pearl' trackball.

"Other than the original 8100 Pearl, the 8800 tries to appeal to traditional Blackberry customers with a security-focused, but enhanced feature set. As the original Blackberry devices, the 8800 is wider than the 8100 and offers a full QWERTY keyboard."

Oh yeah, it's stylish!