Cloud Computing

Meet Bondrew: Our Future ‘Freestyle’ Lawyer
Meet Bondrew: Our Future ‘Freestyle’ Lawyer 1024 518 Raymond Blijd

Freestyle Chess is a competition between humans, who are allowed, like in correspondence chess, to make use of any technical support for selecting their moves. Basically it’s an interplay between human intuition and computer calculating power to arrive at the best course of action. What if we had such advance algorithms similar to the chess paradigm, how would these system assist lawyers in picking legal strategies? And who would likely use them?

Freestyle
I’ve always been intrigued by the question how lawyers would use technology in the future. This interesting view of the future which mentioned the freestyle chess analogy reminded me once again: the future is already here, it’s just in camouflage. But to really understand the future of the legal profession I’d first needed a profile of a human (Who) using this advance technology and then look at the technology (What). I’ll will restrain myself predicting When this might happen.

Bondrew
Bondrew grew up somewhere in South America and has traveled the world. He is still always on the go and has never touched a desktop computer or worked in a traditional office. He received his law degree while attending an Technology & Law e-Curriculumof two years by following courses via MOOC* on his smartphone. He has never met his professors in person, yet managed to graduated “top of his class”. He majored in Advance Legal Networking which teaches the ability to leverage technology, peers, digital and tangible sources for legal solutions. He also passed the Litigation Predictions Bar** which automatically makes him eligible to litigate in all online jurisdictions***.

Future
He is not a lawyer in the traditional sense by any stretch but a trader and trafficker of legal information, in short a law information broker in a modern sense. He is adept at leveraging sources for information with technology and thus adds value to his legal practice. He’s able to scan the legal needs, deficiencies and risks of his clients and propose solutions in a matter of milliseconds. By continuously running simulations andquantitative analysis on different legal scenarios, he is able to adapt, predict and communicate his legal support in real time to clients.

Tools
Now if this is a possible future, which tools would he need? I’m hoping he would use the following:

  1. Zepp to network and connect legal sources to legal needs,
  2. Desh to update his legal practice and documents,
  3. Monocle for researching purposes,
  4. im·merse to assist with scanning and intake of new clients and predicting outcomes.

I’m wondering what Bondrew does in his spare time because he spends just 28 hours a week managing and growing his practice…

*A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MIT, Stanford among many other esteem universities around world deliver them. read more here: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

**Litigation Predictions Bar: by running digital simulations on actual and anticipated opposing counsel arguments one can predict in a non-jury civil law system, possible outcomes. It is a technique of preventing litigation and refining agreements. However, similar to chess, you’re also able to run actual litigation proceedings and be judged or settle them.

***I admit, it’s easy to fantasize about ODR but as a recovering lawyer it’s still hard to imagine a border less legal market.

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CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex
CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex 570 274 Raymond Blijd
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has taken root. In 2012, 38% of CIO’s expected to support personal devices. Now 82% of companies allow it and it’s posing new challenges for IT because along with these devices come a lot of new services in apps. All beguile you into accepting a new habit and immerse you. This has giving rise to the ‘Connect Your Own Service’ (CYOS) trend and its unintended consequences: a world more complex and disconnected which threatens to submerge you. Here’s why:

A Fog of Apps 
A glimpse into my computer life 2007-2013 :

  • I have downloaded over 900 apps in 6 years, a trend likely to accelerate due to the lowering prices of apps. Imagine doing this on a PC without running into a nasty virus and a tremendous bill.
  • I have journeyed through multiple operating systems and migrated from desktop to mobile.
  • I have moved most of my information into the cloud and choose software based on their cloud support and mobile clone.
  • I took approximately 7800 pictures and videos. The only category my wife beats me hands down.
  • Privately I’ve stop emailing anyone under the age of 70 and
  • I have shared more with my inner circle between the ages 14 and 70 than at any moment in our lives.

I have undoubtedly generated more data personally and professionally and…it’s liberating yet suffocating.

Say my name!
Each app or service I use will most likely ask me who I am. I will either have to remember my name(?!) from a previous encounter or make up a new and even sillier name. And then comes the dreaded password requirement which needs to be so strong its impossible to remember. I know there’s an app for that but my parents already gave me a name at birth and happily counted 10 little passwords. One company has smartly recognized this fact and hopefully I’ll try it this Christmas. Even though it isn’t infallible and can be hacked by my 4 year old, it’s far better than remembering 900 passcodes which are unbreakable with brute force attacks by global distributed networks. As beautifully presented in this dynamic visualization I suspect no company will ever be entirely safe from breaches.

A Forest of Data
Now the above doesn’t bother me as much as the disconnect between these services by creating silos. In previous posts I’ve mentioned losing information much to my chagrin. I’m already working on solving the bridge of cut, copy and paste and integrating tasks in a single workflow. But ultimately my aim is to dwindle the number of 900 apps. The disparate manner and ambition each service exhibit to solve my problem while struggling to incorporate my larger environment concerns me. Because I find they mostly ignore the context and intent I might have in harvesting and handling all my data and associated analytics.

If This Then What?
This problem has not gone unnoticed nor unexploited by others as even legal professionals have wandered into the cloud with Dropbox (58%), Google Docs (43%) and Evernote (23%). This is also reflected in their use of popular productivity mobile apps. However, these services only store my information but do not connect to my workflow. Moreover, they most likely ignore the intent of legal professionals. Now in order to get a handle on this divergence I starting mapping out my own information network and how it all connects based on how I use it. And then visualized my intent as a legal professional.

 

cyos1

 

Nowadays most services support some connections while some purposely block each other. I used RSS trickery or just simply emailing the service to connect my information. Lately I’m able to use smarter services that ‘cook up’ better connections. IFTTT is such a service which use “recipes” to help me reconnect. Even notable publishers like the NY Times have been getting in on the action. Its getting better but its less than ideal so my search continues.

 

cyos2As featured in DESH I would imagine creating rules such as: IF I receive news on Copyright Transfers I would

  • THEN save it to Monocle OR
  • THEN add a reminder in Zepp to email my client. OR
  • THEN update documents.

 

cyos3I have spend the first 26 years of my life learning, I’ve noticed spending the rest struggling to keep up with all I have learned. The internet serves to be an engine of convenience by connecting not diverging and we should continue to support that goal.

The Death of Legal Research on Desktop
The Death of Legal Research on Desktop 570 269 Raymond Blijd
I hear them…these voices all around me…whispering: they will never do legal research on a smartphone, the screen is too small! How can lawyers or any knowledge professional do research on a mobile device? These voices weren’t whispers 2 years ago, they were loud and clear and drove me to write about it. Mobile consumes and desktop creates, no if and’s or but’s. Now several events hopefully will exorcise these faint yet persistent notions and help us embrace our enlightened reality.

Extinction
While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. Those that cling towards a PC oriented design strategy will face extinction just as the operating system and software needed to run it.

death2


Man your Stations!

These whispering spirits are often accompanied by the argument: Legal Professionals are different. Legal professionals spend between 40-50 hours on computers. Yet, they spend only 15 hours (30%) on research. Now here’s my question: if 70% on computers is not spent on research, than what are they doing? I presume emailing, drafting,scheduling or reading the news? I haven’t gotten my hands on studies to confirm this. But if so, do you really need a desktop for those “non research” activities?

Read/Write/Research
The answer is No, emailing doesn’t need desktops anymore and drafting is slowly but surely going mobile. This entertaining post asks lawyers to share their iPad home screen. I wasn’t surprised that a word processing app was pinned to their task bar. I can imagine that formatting in MS Word still is a challenge on any screen but its not impossible. Moreover, at the rate of consumer innovation we are just a few swipes away from full-blown word processing on mobile. That leaves us with just those 15 hours chained to desktops (or laptops). Now, why do these voices persist? Because designing legal research is still a challenge on small screens.

Exorcism 
Legacy that goes all the way back to the shift from print to online has left walls we cannot see beyond. While the consumer tech broke down barriers and completely conquered businesses to the point of being unethical in some cases. Signs of changing times have shown the wait is almost over. In all corners of Wolters Kluwer we are rethinking and redesigning research on any screen size and in all environments.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I started drafting this post in Simplenote while waiting for my car to get repaired. I copied it to the WordPress app to add links and formatting*. Links I saved while reading the web on my tablet and smartphone in Pocket. No desktops were harmed during the making of this post. So I hereby say farewell to my ghosts.
*Due some technical difficulties and app design issues formatting was finalized on desktop, but at least I tried 🙂

Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader
Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader 1024 539 Raymond Blijd
Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st. It has been my filter of the internet and a window to the world for over 8 years. It helped me focus in the chaos of content on things that matter to me. I can honestly say it has made me smarter by helping me discover countless artifacts and precious information I would otherwise have never seen. Now my mission is to find a replacement and if I don’t, I will build one. Here’s what I’m looking for.

There are numerous articles deliberating its demise and many more posting alternatives. The decision to stop may be understandable, but it belies the cries of a declining but vocal minority. I must admit that lately Google Reader was just the engine that fed my other apps which have more modern design and features. In a previous post, I explained how to create a personalized newspaper. Now I’m chasing something more ambitious.

1. Is it convenient?
Google Reader was a simple app but what made it special for me is the following:

  • It was the first cloud app enabling me to access it on any PC
  • It was my first mobile app which made me use it daily
  • RSS feeds enabled me to aggregate information from across multiple sites, sources and topics
  • By tagging, I was able to group and filter based on my own interests
  • Not just news but it doubled as a personally curated repository for research

In short, it gave me the freedom to be diverse and to balance work and play.

2. Will it make me smart?
There’s still the attraction of one window for all information, but now I crave more. The speed in which you can cycle through content, the clear presentation and sharing features are delightful. However, I’m looking for a service that will help me easily filter or mute the noise and help me schedule consumption. One that can correctly alert me and integrate with other apps and silos of information. It doesn’t need to have an elaborate feature set but must strive to eliminate copy-paste or window switching. It should be able to gauge what I know and most likely what I want to know and, therefore, find, filter and organize that what I need to know.

3. Is it Mona Lisa?
There is a wide variety of services which are capable replacements. I have gone through some established names and encounter a few unusual suspects. Most differentiate on design and presentation, some even have a few neat tricks, but I haven’t found my “Mona Lisa”.

I lifted this quote from a video ( (32 min. mark) of Roger McNamee (Elevation Partners and Facebook investor): “.. content protection would be similar to that of the Mona Lisa …It’s hard to paint something like the Mona Lisa…”. I believe this rule also applies to any product or service that aims for loyalty or retention.

Leonardo Da Vinci drew 750 anatomy sketches, but only one resulted in the Vitruvian Man. Below is my first sketch and according to innovation scholars I have 3000 to go.

Desktop Optional: 6 Tips To Go Completely Mobile
Desktop Optional: 6 Tips To Go Completely Mobile 640 480 Raymond Blijd
I rarely use my laptop at home. All the major tasks I used to do on my laptop, I now do on either my iPhone or iPad. Yet, I’m still tied to my desktop at the office. However, I’m now slowly migrating these office PC tasks over to my iPad or iPhone and i’ll reveal my secrets. Here is a guide to help you do regular office tasks with apps on your iOS device.
Apple recently launch their push in to offices with their “iPhone in Business” site. Thereby signaling they are serious about business. Here are a few tips they haven’t mentioned:
1. Communication
The standard iOS Mail app can be setup to work with multiple accounts including Microsoft Exchange server. The trick to make it useful is to ask your IT to limit your email storage capacity to e.g. 2 GB. Most servers also limit attachments to 10 mb so 2 GB would roughly translate to 1 year’s worth of emails for a regular user. This will allow you to safely sync all your emails and not max out storage on your device.
2. Search
I also prefer the email search tool in iOS over MS Outlook because it’s just faster in showing results. I do not use an external keyboard on my iPad because I like to travel light and keep things simple and short. The ‘suggest’ and ‘define’ options available by long-pressing on a word anywhere within iOS are sufficient but I do miss using ‘synonyms’ from the context menu in MS Word on my desktop.
3. Scheduling
If your corporate exchange mail is synced you’ll also have the option to add calendar, tasks (called Reminders on iOS) and contacts. I’ve opted for the first two and I’m pleased how the calendar app lets you easily manage and schedule appointments based on Outlook’s Meeting request. When iOS recognizes a date in your email its provides you with the option to quickly schedule it in your Calendar.
I use the “show in calendar” option frequently and it works far better than on a desktop. Proposing a new time is a hidden gem or just bad design by Apple: if you want to propose a new time you can add a comment and decline. Your meeting organizer will receive a notification with your note. See the pink arrows in the Skitch image below.

mobile2

4. File Management.
My make-shift corporate file manager is also my Mail app. Most documents have at some point been emailed so I can retrieve them with search from my inbox and view them in Mail or a wide variety of apps. I still haven’t tested Fileboard which claims to let you browse files across corporate and personal email and also supports cloud storage likeDropbox and MS Sharepoint in a single UI. But from what I have seen it looks very promising.
5. Email Attachments
Now the biggest draw back to using email on iOS is attachments. I still haven’t found a way to attached documents to an existing email thread but I do have a few workarounds. You do have the ability to paste several images from the Pictures app in an email so here’s what I do: Evernote Skitch let’s you annotate images so I grab a screenshot of any attachment I receive and annotate the snapshot. Copy and paste the annotated snapshot back in the email thread.
Goodreader is a great PDF annotator and file manager which also works with iCloud and Dropbox. However its often overlooked feature is the various ways it allows you to send attachments. You’re able to zip and unzip files or add multiple files to an email but – again- not to an existing mail thread.
6. Document processing
I’ve resisted doing content creation on mobile except for email, notes and image / video editing. I was waiting for the right apps to come along that actually make it moreconvenient. One such app is Keynote yet its biggest drawback is lack of support for other then iCloud services like Dropbox.
So I sometimes use Cloudon. It does an amazing job of bringing the MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) experience to the iPad. They unfortunately also highlight the shortcomings of non-touch enabled design of MS Office. Nonetheless, you now have a way of viewing and managing track changes in MS Word or adding those SmartArt objects into your deck with PowerPoint right on your iPad.
We are heading mobile and it’s just a matter of developers, designers and publishers catching up with the needs of mobile users. Wolters Kluwer is leading the way with one of the best apps in publishing: Wolters Kluwer Health UpToDate
A Dynamic and Intuitive Legal Research Experience in a Automobile
A Dynamic and Intuitive Legal Research Experience in a Automobile 1021 643 Raymond Blijd
 Location: A5 en route to Wolters Kluwer Corporate Office.

Driver: summary!
Car voice: you have a 58 unread messages and 18 alerts.
Driver: please tag and provide urgency?
Car voice: tagging complete and the most urgent are 4 messages from your client “LegalComplex” which match with 2 alerts. Is this urgency correct?
Driver: yes. Please proceed with research?
Car voice: research indicates that 2 briefs and 1 IntelliConnect document match messages tagged “LegalComplex” and “Urgent”, would you like these to be linked?
Driver: no, just save to client folder and schedule in calendar…

Ok, I may have gone off the deep end here but bear with me. I’m in no way proposing to try this in your own car. The ‘car’ is a metaphor which personifies an ultimate goal: to build a research system that needs as little physical interaction as possible e.g. no typing or clicking. While voice recognition still seems tricky at times, Apple’s Siri comes eerily close to its ability to decipher the human voice. The key, in my opinion, lies in the understanding and relaying general tasks such as: calculation go to Wolfram Alpha and restaurants go to Yelp.

Loup.002

Therein lies the opportunity. With domain-specific information in hand, vertical search engines can work better at providing immediate answers whereas universal search just provides lots of hits. As previously discussed, filtering and narrowing down sources for us to search through is essential for our professional market.

In the example above, the alerts (based on the personal agents) combined with customers messages may provide a sort of ranking by urgency not much different than creating rules in Outlook. The messages can be grouped similar to Gmail priority inbox and then matched with previous search alerts and predefined tags.

Now a client has sent me a couple of questions on a certain topic which coincides with news alerts on that same topic. Based on client history and configured tags, the system can suggest a ‘urgency’ of the matter. Subsequent search of personal and proprietary documents provide a most likely match for the information you may need to answer the questions. But the system lets me be the judge of that.

Here’s how it might look like in a 2012 Mercedes-Benz:

Here’s my dream…

Concept Zepp: Solving Personal, Research, and Social
Concept Zepp: Solving Personal, Research, and Social 960 540 Raymond Blijd
“The next big thing needs to be a proactive approach to knowing where data lives and what it means. It needs to include tools to keep data organized and secured regardless of location.” I lifted this quote from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog because it sums up part of Zepp, a concept that I have been thinking about for the past few months.

The Challenges
In some of my previous posts (the LegalComplex Library and it’s precursor post) I looked at the analysis of the current and future environment of knowledge workers. The challenge which many knowledge professional face is that they have a multi-verse of applications and solutions to do research tasks in sequence and within one workflow.

Example: How can one capture web content, annotate, save, organize it for easy retrieval, and share it while preserving context and within this process also be rewarded with a pleasant experience and the ability to showcase your work and expertise? This would ultimately benefit the user through recognition and perhaps more profitable assignments.

The Workflows
Let’s run through this: You’ve discovered an important argument for a copyright case on the web while browsing. You now want to save, annotate, and share it. A browser’s core function is singular in the sense that its main focus is rendering web content. The save, annotate, and share parts are just add-ons.

So one will have to just copy and paste the content and hyperlink (! must not forget) to a word processor. Depending on your tool of choice, you will either have a canon or water pistol in your hands to do the basic saving and annotating. You head over to your email client, hunt down your work via the ‘attach file’ dialog box and send it. It’s now gone and only you and your recipients know what has transpired.

The Solutions
So far we ran through 3 applications (Browser, Word, Email) and I haven’t counted the retrieval part yet. Depending on your set-up you are faced with having these 3 add-on features (Browser History, File Search or Email Search) to do the retention/retrieval or have a fourth application to tie it together.

Some tools might even add a layer of knowledge management but this is most often an afterthought. You could use something like Apple’s Reading List, however, you would still be faced with figuring out the initial integration with your other solutions.

The Social
Most of these applications will not have the goal to help you promote, showcase or profile your work. As indicated in this post on The Next Web (“In Social Media: Doctors, Lawyers, and Financiers, oh my!), ’chances are, when you think “open,” “social,” and “sharing,” your doctor, lawyer, and financial person are probably not at the top of your list…But doctors, lawyers, and financiers are people too.

The above link and this article delve into a paradigm of these heavy regulated industries and why being social is so difficult because of compliance or policy. On our own Solutions, Blog Cathy Betz talked about it here and here for the Drug Industry and Leanne Summers also made a passionate plea for sharing with colleagues.

The sheer number of users on Facebook (700+ mln), Twitter (300+mln) and Google+ , reportedly the fastest growing in history, make the case: it isn’t about traffic, searches, or page views anymore, it’s about users and sharing.

“Social Business” is not about technology, or about “corporate culture.” It is a sociopolitical historical shift that is bigger, broader and much more fascinating.” (Social Business Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does, Neither Does Enterprise 2.0)

“Zepp it”
To sum it up, the core activities to be tied together and simplified are:

  1. Discover (Search, Read, Browse)
  2. Organize (Save, Annotate, Group)
  3. Share
  4. Profile

Copy/pasting, multitasking and app switching has become so ingrained in our daily workflows that we have grown accustomed to it. We tend to forget the frustration and tediousness until we have to do it on a 3.5-inch screen with no keyboard.

So Zepp is first and foremost an acknowledgment that these four essential research activities for any knowledge professional can and must be simplified and…pleasant. The video below demonstrates how Zepp would look like…plus a sneak peek at what’s next, Enjoy!

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Apocalypse 2014: the End of Three Mobile Myths
Apocalypse 2014: the End of Three Mobile Myths 980 431 Raymond Blijd

1. Consumption or Creation?

A recent report by usability guru Nielsen on the iPad reiterates a common understanding about the iPad, which is that it’s mostly for media consumption. Email is “the only slight exception to the rule.” This might be true now but it is not a sign of things to come.

The main reason why consumption is more prevalent is simple: good consumption apps far outnumber good creation apps. The internet started out the same way until Web 2.0, Cloud and SaaS.

The ultimate example of mobile creation – microblogging (Twitter), photography, notes, to-do and other productivity apps aside- are in fact the Apple apps. Garageband, Pages, and Numbers are excellent examples of creation on the tablet. Especially iMovie on the iPhone I find extraordinary. I’ve created over 15 iMovies ( a mix video, photo’s and music) and loaded them onto YouTube in HD straight from my iPhone.

overview_imovie_20110302The trick is to figure out the usability and tasks and refitting them to the mobile form factor. It’s design led by format as oppose to desktop-based workflow.

Mobile-Personas

 

2. Apps or Web apps?

A Forrester report stated, in general, to do both because it deemed the distinction irrelevant. But here’s the quote from their blog post: a majority of consumers across the globe will access the Internet, not apps.

This is especially true for areas which do have ubiquitous and ambient connectivity. Those areas are expanding. Moreover, real-time and streaming will always be preferred over sync, update, and download. I heard somebody once say: You need real-time data if you want to cross a street. Just as Cloud and SaaS are getting the traction we should not revert back to the notion of “installed software” and its drawbacks.

3. Mobile vs. PC

Taking the above into account the question is not if but when mobile will replace the traditional concept of a PC. Laptops have already replaced the workstation in most business and homes. Smartphone are doing the same with cell phones just as the iPhone is replacing Blackberry.

Predicting the tipping point is a challenging endeavor but here’s my attempt: 2014

mobile-internet-growth