Volume 17, Number 8
December 2000

Product Reviews

GPSolo is proud to introduce a product review column to provide a platform for informing our readers about products that they may find helpful in their practice or otherwise. Look for our product review column in the December and June issues of the magazine, which are Technology & Practice Guide special issues.

TimeMap-Get it Now!

CaseSoft, a division of DecisionQuest, the people who brought you CaseMap, has now released TimeMap. CaseSoft designed TimeMap primarily as a litigation tool. It works admirably in that capacity, but also has the ability to assist in non-litigation matters. TimeMap allows you to create timelines to facilitate the organization, preparation, and presentation of your case.

CaseSoft sells TimeMap as a stand-alone product at a list price of $199. TimeMap works well by itself, facilitating the preparation of a chronological presentation of factual information in connection with your work. Any time that a chronological presentation of factual information will help, TimeMap can facilitate the creation of the presentation. Be sure that you get the most current version of TimeMap (version 1.5), because it offers significant enhancements over earlier versions. If you have an earlier version, you will want to upgrade as quickly as possible.

Using TimeMap as a stand-alone product requires that you enter each fact, together with appropriate date and time information, directly into the TimeMap program. The program will then place the fact in the appropriate location in a proportional timeline.

While TimeMap works well as a stand-alone product, it works even better when coupled with CaseSoft's outstanding CaseMap program. For those of you unfamiliar with CaseMap, it assists in the organization of people, places, events, and things in connection with your case. The newest version of CaseMap is 3.0. That version interfaces directly to TimeMap (version 1.5) and includes the ability to directly transfer data from your CaseMap files to TimeMap and instantly create a timeline. In earlier versions, TimeMap was exclusively a stand-alone product and did not directly interface with CaseMap. Accordingly, the earlier versions of CaseMap and TimeMap require a separate entry of each piece of information in both programs. The new interface between the programs avoids the double-entry requirement and significantly improves TimeMap's utility.

TimeMap creates a well-ordered and visually appealing timeline from the facts that you provide to it. You can augment the information contained in the timeline through the addition of text boxes explaining or providing additional detail for some or all of the entries.

You will find TimeMap fairly intuitive. Without even looking at the manual, I created my first timeline in about ten minutes, using the product as a stand-alone and manually entering each fact and its time/date information into the program. It took a few minutes to figure out how to transfer information from CaseMap to TimeMap. I ultimately discovered that the key to that maneuver is that you do not do it from TimeMap, you do it from CaseMap. Once I found the correct command in CaseMap and directed the program to transfer the factual information to TimeMap, the programs took only a few seconds to transfer the data and create a timeline visual presenting the information in a chronological and easily understood manner. After I figured out how to work the program, I took a look at the manual. It is simple, straightforward, and helpful.

TimeMap chronologies can make it much easier for you to deal with factually complex cases. The timelines make it much easier to get a good understanding of the temporal relationship of significant events in a case, formulate discovery requests, prepare factual summaries for briefs, and prepare to examine a witness. The timeline also makes a potentially valuable presentation graphic that can assist a judge or jury in understanding the order of events involved in a trial. You can also use the timeline very effectively to demonstrate the differences between two witnesses' versions of the time sequence of the events of a transaction. You will find an example of such a use and of TimeMap's output and other examples on the CaseSoft website.

TimeMap's utility is not limited to litigation matters. You can also use TimeMap to graphically depict any time-sequenced events. For example, you can use a timeline to set up and track timing and milestone events in the consummation of a business transaction. I also found another interesting use for the product during the course of my review. While I was experimenting with it, I got the bright idea of creating a timeline for a trip that I was planning to take. The program allowed me to reduce the entire trip and all the tourist and other activities to two pages. Could I have done that in a calendar? Sure, but it would not have been as much fun; nor would the result have been quite so convenient. I actually did have all the information in my calendar program on my computer and on my Palm IIIc as well. I found it easier and more convenient to pull out the two pages of paper and see the entire trip than to get my Palm Pilot out and look at it a day at a time.

If you feel like kicking the tires a few times before you buy (always a good practice with computer software), turn on your computer, go online, and set your browser to CaseSoft's website (www.casesoft.com). CaseSoft has done a good job with its site, offering you the opportunity to download working demonstration copies of the current versions of both CaseMap and TimeMap. The site also includes a copy of the user manual, articles about the programs and potential uses for the programs, reviews of the programs, and other information about how you can use the programs to make your life a bit easier. For $199, consider it an excellent buy. While you are there, download a copy of CaseMap as well. I think you will like what you find.

CaseSoft contact information: 5000 Sawgrass Village Circle, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082, 904/273-5000, 904/273-5001 (fax), 888/CaseSoft sales only, 904/273-5000 tech support; info@casesoft.com (general information), support@casesoft.com (general technical support questions), sales@casesoft.com (CaseMap and TimeMap pricing and order information).

Verdict: Ease of use: excellent; utility: excellent; value: excellent.

-Reviewed by Jeffrey M. Allen

HP CapShare 920-Take it with You

Have you ever wanted to have a photocopy machine with you to copy a few critical pages? Have you ever been looking at the courthouse records and found the one document you needed to impeach your opposing witness? Have you ever been in the police station or the district attorney's office and wanted to copy the police report for your client? Have you ever entered into a handwritten stipulation in a case, submitted the writing to the court, and then not been able to remember one of the provisions of the agreement?

Although you may have been able to hire a photocopy service for the large case, or received a courteous response from the person in charge of the document, or been able to remember all of the key provisions of the document, you now have another option. You can take with you, in your briefcase or jacket pocket, an instrument that will copy up to 50 pages of letter-sized material. Assuming no violation of confidentiality, your adversary need not even know that you're copying the documents. That's how fast and how simple it can be.

The best features of HP CapShare 920:

  • It can be used at the library-no more need to pay 10 to 25 cents per page or wait in line for the busy photocopy machine for the few pages you need.
  • It can be used to capture written evidence wherever you find it, in public or private records.
  • It can make immediate copies of important information.
  • It can be used to convert paper documents into editable electronic files for further editing.

HP CapShare is easy to use, but takes some time to install and become familiar with. RTM (read the manual) is always good advice, and seldom followed. HP has created a simple and short manual. Follow the instructions and your learning curve will be considerably shortened.

This is one gadget that is useful, and the more you use it, the more you will find a need for it. Like the telephone, I wonder how we ever got along without this. The CapShare 920 can store up to 50 pages at a time, and can be "cleaned out" (pages deleted). Photographs and images (graphics mode) can be copied as well. And, though I haven't tried it, CapShare can also copy flip chart pages; this is very useful when you conduct firm retreats for strategic planning and want to convert the information from the large pages into a useful memo for future action.

Transferring the information from the CapShare to your PC is done by cable or by infrared light (with newer PCs). Pages are transferred as graphics files (TIFF files) or Adobe Acrobat files (PDF files). These files may be e-mailed or faxed to others and may be stored, edited, and printed using a personal computer. They also may be printed directly, using printers equipped with an infrared port. The CapShare 920 uses standard or rechargeable AA batteries.

Despite the learning curve, the facile user of the product will benefit greatly. HP has priced this product reasonably: $299 retail, and less than $200 on sale. It is worthy of your further review. For more information, visit CapShare's website (www.capshare.hp. com/index.html). CapShare contact information: Hewlett-Packard, 3000 Hanover Street, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185; 650/857-1501 (phone); 650/857-5518 (fax).

Verdict: Learning curve: Takes some time; utility: outstanding once you are facile with use; price: reasonable at retail-but better on sale at technology shows.

-Reviewed by Ed Poll

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