Mobility

5 Confessions of a Trackaholic
5 Confessions of a Trackaholic 1024 481 Raymond Blijd
On Sunday, February 22, at precisely 16:44, my Fitbit Flex stopped syncing with my iPhone. I just finished 20 minutes on my elliptical trainer and I was feverishly waiting for my workout to appear…I realized I was shackled and gripped by the fear of losing my metrics. These stats made me healthy and happy so I didn’t want to let go…but should I?

 Fear Zero

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I was a pack-a-day smoker until one Wednesday, after recovering from yet another flu, I decided to quit. I wanted to see how long I could go without smoking a cigarette. Since my brain was a bit preoccupied suppressing nicotine urges I decided to ‘outsource’ keeping track of time to a robot.

Smoke Free keeps track of several metrics, but the most important one for me was: Time. I started with seconds, then minutes which turned into hours, days and weeks. With each new record, my fear grew that these stats would return to zero. That fear kept me going.

Most champions agree: retaining a crown is very different than winning it the first time.

What I learned: my most powerful motivator was not the excitement of achieving a new record but rather the fear of losing my stats.

Meanwhile, another war was raging in my body: Fat. I ballooned to a panda-like 84 kilos. According to every app I used to calculate this I was obese. Then I met this wonderful person who told me a little secret: You can eat whatever you desired and still lose weight…Wow! It’s incredible! I was super excited I found salvation and consciously downplayed what came after…by counting Calories.

Diet Disillusionment

 

tr3I set out to find the perfect robot to help with this minor calorie caveat. Myfitnesspal was the best because it did 3 things right:

  • Have a rich database including some obscure Suriname dishes
  • Was supported by a wide range of apps and services i.e. Argus,Runtastic’s Six Pack andPush Ups;
  • Most importantly: they did not hold my data hostage by playing nice with others.

Now everyone warned me it was a bad idea to quit smoking and diet at the same time but in hindsight, it was brilliant. I was literally consumed by thoughts of food for months while battling a nicotine addiction. Under duress, my brain couldn’t multi-thread and was forced to pick a craving. Each time it picked food over cigarettes.

What I learned: Hunger trumps nicotine hands down.

Calorie Cap

 

tr4I hit my goal of 75 kilo in 6 months -losing over 7 kilos in the process by trying to stick to 1470 calories-a-day.

While April- June were pretty tough, I caught a wave in July and headed for a race to the bottom.

Here’s when Fitbit entered my life and gave me a much-needed boost.

I couldn’t stay under 1470 unless I burned more calories. However, I couldn’t precisely track how much I burned with just my iPhone motion tracking. I simply didn’t have it on me all the time.

With Fitbit Flex, I was able to literally track myself 24–7. Without a heart rate monitor, it’s not as accurate but at least it gave me some guidance on burn rate.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the fact that I kept count which helped me achieve these changes but the fact that I had to transform my life to do it. Not only with my nutritional choices, but my approach to life changed. I learned to get comfortable with continuous disruptions of my routines.

What I learned: Hacking Habits should be your habit as well. Dare to try something different every now and then.

Sleep Debt

 

tr5After conquering my demons (or perhaps just silencing them), I turned my focus on perhaps the darkest frontier in tracking: Sleep.

Raising babies reminded me how vital a good night’s sleep is. Better yet, sleep deprivation is equal to waterboarding in terms of effective torture techniques.

I set out to find a method to properly measure my body’s battery levels. I foundSleepdebt to be a simple and straightforward way to accomplish this.

Sleepdebt uses the Fitbit API to pull in your numbers and calculate your charge in terms of time.

However, adding this minor metric to my arsenal of stats finally made me come undone. It meant wearing my Fitbit Flex to bed…shackled in my sleep.

I never wore a watch. My dear old Dad, God rest his soul, always insisted I wear one but Imay never yield. Yet I wore this wristband while asleep so I would not be a grumpy jerk while awake. After 131 days of sleeping with Flex, on February 22, I was finally set free.

What I learned: I’m much happier being Untethered

Unshackled

tr6In writing this article, I made some discoveries:

  • Counting calories actually taught me about nutrition i.e. what to eat and how much;
  • My data is dispersed and siloed across the web, but that’s adifferent agony;
  • Freedom encourages -not inhibits- my discipline.

In my pursuit of self-improvement, I discovered what metrics really matter to me and how I can measure it.

Build, Measure, Learn is not only the cornerstone of any lean startup but eventually for any lean life. We are Born and then we’ll Measure and Learn to stay Lean.

This post was originally posted by Legal Complex on Medium.

Five Stages Lawyers Need To Embrace In a World of Robots
Five Stages Lawyers Need To Embrace In a World of Robots 1024 576 Raymond Blijd

The Kübler-Ross model describes the five emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Similarly, change is an irreversible and unapologetic event. Here are 5 alternate stages for legal professionals to help navigate change in the legal market.

1. Acceptance
In Suriname, a mourning process is accelerated by having a party during and after the burial. It is believed that one should celebrate death. This is taken literally as coffin bearers joyfully dance with the deceased until they reach the final resting place.

Legal professionals aren’t shy about adopting new technology. Just look at smartphone and tablet adoption rates among lawyers in the past 4 years. I believe the pager, cell phone, and blackberry enjoyed similar successes.

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5-3However, adoption is not the acceptance of a new reality. The technology examples above just empowered existing workflows; it did not fundamentally change the dynamics of the marketplace. Technology like smartphones, just enabled lawyers to communicate more efficiently not necessarily differently.

We are now in the midst of a revolution whereby the core value of a legal professional(providing legal counsel) is shifting towards platforms, algorithms and data (Robolaw).

It’s not a faster way of drafting an agreement, it’s accepting the fact that you do not ever need to draft one.

Acceptance of the new reality should be a feast: a celebration of the fact that thetedious & repetitive have died and made way for the joy in legal work.

2. Trust
My faith in technology is derived from a belief that it has saved my life. Yet faith alone may not suffice in winning the hearts and minds of legal professionals. We’ll need evidence that robots can do a better job before we trust them.

Proof is mounting that platforms (crowdsourcing) and algorithms outperform humans in predicting legal outcomes. However it’s not like IBM’s Watson has already passed the multistate bar exam and is now a licensed attorney.

Legal work isn’t a chess match or an equation, but a complex nuanced construct of emotions in text. And herein lies the problem: the sheer amount of ambiguous texts.

 

5-4Due to data overload, it has become humanly impossible to find justice without the assistance of algorithms.

With Predictive Coding we have effectively conceded that the days of manually reading through stacks of documents have come to pass.

Trust in technology can be derived from either faith or evidence. However, in trusting legal technology, we may have already passed the luxury stage and ventured into necessity. Ultimately, we may not have a choice but to trust robots.

3. Mobility
I read this inspiring story: ‘Barefoot’ Lawyers Teach Ugandans Their Rights.’ It seems 97% of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people within the capital. The remaining 3% are left to serve a population of around 36 million in the rest of Uganda. In order to alleviate the travel burden covering an area of 241,038 square km, Ugandan lawyer, Gerald Abila, uses volunteers and a range of technologies like social media to educate and provide legal advice.

I’ll compliment Gerald on embracing technology to bridge the gap and his story highlights a fundamental principle about legal work: it is most effective if served in person. Mobility is the cornerstone of the legal profession. It is one of the main drivers of technology adoption among legal professionals.

If only the mobile tools were as good on the road as they are at home. I have dedicated most my writing in the last 4 years on this subject. I even went as far as to declare the death of legal research on desktop. I believe the cause of this imbalance has many factors. A root cause may also lie in the very nature of legal professionals (see stage 5).

4. Simplicity
#Robolaw: A World Without Law elaborates on the necessity of simplicity. Driven by the rise of digital currencies, the world is moving towards a frictionless reality – one where simplicity is handsomely rewarded and complexity is not welcome.

Yet, any legal framework is built upon barriers. The law revolves around setting rules and exceptions. Its goal is to avert risk and minimize misunderstandings. It is there to protect us from ourselves.

Nevertheless, legal products, and services need to become as clear and simple as a hand Shake. Actually, it may become invisible, even in the event of disputes. This future is more likely to happen if we let robots do the negotiations and dispute resolutions- just like we will trust them to drive our cars. We may only need a notification or a glance.

5. Adventurous
In the search for simplicity, one characteristic will truly serve us: experimentation. There are penalties for failure in every profession; in some the consequences are far more severe than others. However, I believe this new era is giving us a license to try new stuff. This era of relentless change has set us free from a stigma of dumb and has opened a world of daring.

One time a customer, a jetsetting lawyer, had an extreme request. He wanted me to create a product only he would use, custom made and tailored to his needs. I told him I could not because I couldn’t justify the costs versus return. I stated that if we had more customers like him I may be able to justify it. He said, “No, I hope there aren’t any. I want to be unique and my calling card is using these special tools.”

By now, you may have guessed what he asked for. He was clearly a risk taker and dared to be different.

My best friend and godfather to my youngest is a physician. He’s my reminder: I am allowed to dare & fail. Some really do not have that luxury.

Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables
Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables 1024 880 Raymond Blijd

 

Maybe I was wrong about wearables because I needed to go beyond my comfort zone to see what’s around the bend. I too easily settled for limits. Seymour is the project name for one of the ideas that took shape during the Innovation Tournament and while it’s a technical challenge, it may not be entirely without merit and here’s why.

Business Intake made Easy 

I once attended an Intellectual Property audit for a niche software company to support their Intellectual Asset Management. We had an extensive paper questionnaire and preparation meeting to ensure our visit would be fruitful. The goal was to get as much of the questions answered without making the client feel like it’s an inquisition. When we arrived, it was a bit chaotic and nobody managed to get all the answers. We left with boxes of documents to help us finalize the form.

Modern day logic would dictate we would need some kind of database for the intake. Even better if it was a mobile app with just a checklist and we could divide the load across the team during our visit. It would help if we already had information pre-populated and we just needed to fill in the blanks. Looks good on ‘paper,’ right?

Well I believe in the last decade, our process thinking has resulted in convoluted systems. We used the wishful add-on: “it should be easy to use and intuitive” like a sprinkle of angel dust to make the core product usable. Assuming the core product, the database, iswhat it is all about. No, it isn’t because nobody can use an empty database or worse – outdated data. So the time of laborious data entries should be in our past.

Seymour, See, Save, Share

I suspect wearables will play a major role in this space. Wearables will be the fastest way to grow any database simply because data entry will be more convenient. Forbes reported this as the first useful Glassware and seeing their video, you might agree:

“Sullivan Solar Power …developed a Google Glass app that gives its field technicians “volumes” of electrical system data in a hands’ free, or close to it, manner—which I would imagine to be a welcome delivery mode for someone wrestling with heavy equipment on a rooftop.”

Being fed real-time contextual information in situations where it’s slightly awkward to break out the laptop and do desktop legal research seems extremely powerful. Only consuming information might not make it ‘killer’ for me but if you can combine it with creation it will be close. A quote from this Glass wearing president and creative director:

“…The thing I use it for the most is taking notes. I tap it and say, “Take a note,” and then a microphone shows up and it will accurately dictate everything I say for about 30 seconds. And then when I stop talking it sends it to Evernote. At the same time, if someone else is using Evernote, they can send the note to me and it will appear in my screen.”

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First Look: Evernote for Google Glass

This maybe farfetched, but the possibilities of having a checklist as Glassware and just ‘nodding’ off the list would be quite cool. Better yet, just tapping your wrist will be even cooler:

Tick off checklists for groceries with the Pebble, which syncs to Evernote, for a hands-free shopping experience. Evernote Reminders are supported, so you’ll always have your notifications and to-dos close to you.

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Evernote on the Go: Introducing Evernote for Pebble

If we just infuse the right legal context into these workflows, we can even make legal research fun again. Shopping for groceries is not that different from shopping for Intellectual Property, it can only be made more pleasant by the tools we use.

Going off the grid

There was one little caveat with wearables, actually any internet connected device: its needs an internet connection. Well maybe not. Let me introduce you to “Wireless Mesh Networking.” This enables device to device communication in a free-form, non-internet dependent way. And that’s almost perfect for having wearables talk to our phone – or each other. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the latest iOS 7 and what Google is betting on to extent wearables and even home automation.

Last year I just had a name and a notion. Now it’s slowly making sense and Seymour is my reminder to keep going beyond the bend.

 

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.

 

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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.

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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 🙂

DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense
DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense 570 287 Raymond Blijd
Lately, I’ve been intrigue by the sudden urgency from developers to solve the “big” problem of email. A rush to be your personal assistant and to make your lives easier. Moreover to anticipate your every move and predict your need. I thought I might as well take a stab at it and create my own rendition with a legal twist. In the process I learned a couple of things.

 

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First Search, Then Filters, Now Sense
I’ve already delved into the philosophy of filters as opposed to just search. Since then I noticed a shift. First, we started using computers in different environments and under more natural conditions. We no longer are in a seated position behind a desk in a building…and our computers know that. We also interact differently with computers by using less peripherals like a mouse or stylus and more gestures and touch. In some cases the software we use personally is more advanced that what we use professionally. All this has generated an explosion of data about us as human beings being at work or at play. And our computer can sense this also. This presentation illustrate this transition in the devices we use.

Who Am I
I have always wondered: was the information I needed in the places I was looking for it? However, in this new reality I can reverse the question and ask: why hasn’t the information come looking for me? My smartphone changes time automatically when I cross time zones. It can tell me where and what to eat (based on ratings) wherever I am. I figured that if my phone is that smart, surely it can tell me whenever I’m providing sufficient legal counsel for my clients. At the very least it can anticipate if I would commit a legal error. We are not there yet but a small step in that direction is the concept below.

DESH
This concept explores the question what services we can provide with all the data a user has generated. How can we honestly and transparently transform this data into a benefit for the user. Going back to my lawyering days I remembered this: whenever there was a law change or new jurisprudence, I needed to track down each contract or brief I had ever written for each client and update it. Moreover, it was paramount I did not miss the announcement in the first place. Nothing is more embarrassing to a legal professional than when they are being updated by their clients on legal changes.

Basically DESH is a dashboard for keeping you abreast and updating you on any developments that matter to you based on your data. It senses if changes needed to be made on any of your documents and will make intelligent suggestions – not based on ratings but based on legal premises and personal preferences. The simple UI is simulating 4 basic workflows: messaging, tasks, current awareness, and drafting. The aim is to be straightforward and the goal is to be convenient. Can it be done? Yes, and we are going to do it.

 

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Age of Immersion
Age of Immersion 570 344 Raymond Blijd
We are at the dawn of an age of immersion. We can no longer ignore the fact that our reality will be perpetually augmented with data and information. Computing devices that can beam information directly into your retina are reality. Lets face it, the number of people who drive around without GPS navigation or leave the house without an internet connected smartphone are increasingly dwindling. So let us embrace and prepare to seize the opportunity to power ‘Commander Data‘.

 

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The Focus on Experience

There are two major drivers in this new world to augment our reality. The insistence todesign for experience as opposed to just complete a task and the pervasiveness of computing in every aspect of our lives. Wearable computers loaded with sensors connected to the network and our lives are just a start. The way in which services will model our behaviors and reprogram our habits will be the net effect. Example, for me it has become cognitively impossible to forget my smartphone. This is an inevitable result of meticulously engineered software aimed to immerse us. So after the initial backlash andawkwardness we will adapt and then thrive (or be enslaved ) by this “new reality” of augmentation.

The Blur of Reality
So how will we experience this new reality? We will wander our physical world and see every object and instantly know its properties. Every sound we hear can be traced to itsorigines or we can search the meaning of speech right away. We will become smarter on every subject because we can be fed every aspect in real-time, up close, in context and personalized. You could walk into a forest and “know” the latin names of the vegetation. You will never wander aimlessly in a store looking for an item because you will be ‘navigated’ by advertisements. And you will always be just a single click away from purchasing anything maybe influenced by ‘friends’ that also bought it. You can not lose your keys because you probably wouldn’t need them. You will not pay in cash and it will be harder to get lost or tell a lie. So, while we still can go hungry, the distance between you and the nearest restaurant is always in view.

The Future of Legal
While some already see implications in jury selection with the ability to pull up profiles and do background checks in real-time. You may also be able to access stress levels of witnesses during cross-examination by monitoring their heart rate with a camera. I see a world whereby any word or sentence can be instantly parsed and dissected for meaning and context, based on who speaks them, when and where. So while hearing the opposing counsel making their plea, you will be able to capture their arguments and choose rebuttals immediately. Better yet, you will be able to predict your opponent more accurately.

The legal profession will have to lean on creativity of crafting arguments rather than ability to find them. If all information is distributed evenly your only differentiator will be the ability to conceptualize and articulate alternate versions to benefit your client. You will be able to create your own algorithms, run simulations and predict outcomes.

Heads Up!
Now back to the present. If we rewind from the future depicted above, what are the actions we should take today to ensure we are ready. One may assume that challenges with creating, compiling and retrieving legal information will be solved comprehensively. As a matter of fact, we will be engulfed by it. The actual challenge will lie in the interaction between data and the brain. How can we interact with matter to craft information into a winning case. I belief it will depend on the filters we develop, the focus we can provide and the convenient tools we will deliver to assist our users to conceive something new.

Now this gave me an excuse to doodle a Heads-up display inspired by Mark VIIHUD specifically aimed at legal information. We might not have this in stores tomorrow but aim to make any legal professional feel like Tony Stark. Back to you, Jordi.

 

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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.

Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter?
Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter? 1024 653 Raymond Blijd

Recently Apple has been awarded a patent for the virtual book page turn. Now imagine such an event in the age of the printing press. How would we navigate books or other printed materials? The tools and the methods we used in the physical world are slowly coming to live in the digital world. Skeuomorph design has blazed the path to copy from the physical to the virtual world. Yet, without a better understanding of the real world, will it help or hurt?

Not Flipping
I do not despair the page flip patent. To the contrary, I salute the fact that we will one day seize to use remnants from an inexpedient paper past and replace it with more convenient digital methods. Although we measure the power of a vehicle by horses we do not use their techniques to advance engine technology. So while we slowly transition from tangible to digital with clever tricks that ease our reluctance and broaden our acceptance, we will also surely break with tradition at some stage.

Epiphany
This has triggered my venture to seek out those methods that will likely make us smarter in the future. I’ve looked at the techniques we’ve been using to capture, preserve and reuse information, the things that help us remember, navigate and connect the dots. Not only prepackaged tools such as table of contents or book indexes. But also whatever we create ourselves like highlights, annotations, linking and citing to help us (re)organize information and easily consume it. I’ve sought the deeper meaning of why we need to have these techniques and then…I completely abandon them.

Red Highlight or Blue Highlight?
I could not find a viable way to translate the paper methods we are accustom to using in an efficient manner to a digital screen. I will not substitute the hardship of thumbing through indexes references, going back and forth in pages with the ease of simple search boxes or hyperlinks. Or digitally flipping pages and waiting for each page flip animation while a simple swipe with a continuous scroll that ‘rubber-bands‘ naturally seems a lot more appealing. Even the fundamental purpose of highlights seems a bit archaic if your primary goal is to filter out the contextual noise and focus on a phrase. In my humble opinion, the truth does not lie in any particularly fancy visual design but rather designing the animation of the interaction. In short: the presentation of the animation.

Awards and Rewards
I’ve now embarked on a crazy quest to seek out and find or create the perfect animations and interaction designs for seemingly mundane tasks such as highlighting. I’m not aiming for any awards just for real life applications and usefulness. I belief the secret of our intelligence lies not in the amount of information we can access but rather in the manner we interact with it. What makes us smarter is not what we read but how we understand it and remember it.

Now if you follow the logic of D670,713, see if you can spot the concealed patent in the video below. First correct answer in the comments will be rewarded.


The video is an announcement of a future of digital research and the departure of paper.LegalComplex’s mission to explore different options and challenge the status quo through a belief that digital tools are here to enhance not facsimile our intelligence…everywhere.The path to profit was never a straight line yet it was a well marked road. Now, it’s more a adventurous journey towards an elusive place I call Convenience, where profit resides in a hi-res glass house.

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