It’s Smaller. It’s Bigger. It’s Faster. It’s Firelite.
Question: What is 3.25” x 5.0” x .75”, weighs 6 ounces, spins at 4,200 RPM, and has a 13ms seek time? Oh yeah, and it fits in your pocket…
Answer: It’s a FireLite external hard drive.
The USB FireLite comes in 20GB and 40GB sizes configured for Windows, and you can get FireWire FireLite drives in 20, 30, 40, and now 60GB sizes configured for the Macintosh, or a 40GB drive set up for Windows. The 60GB FireWire drive lists for $329 (lower capacity drives cost less). SmartDisk claims transfer rates of 18MB/sec. for the USB drive in USB 2.0 (700KB/sec. in USB 1.1) and 22MB/sec. average (40MB/sec. peak) for the FireWire drives. In the real world, I copied a folder containing 7,039 files and 844.5MB of data from my laptop to the FireLite in 4 minutes and 20 seconds. I copied the same folder back to the laptop and it took 3 minutes and 50 seconds.
SmartDisk ( www.smartdisk.com) ships the drives with a soft protective case and a plastic rack in case you want to stack a few of them on top of each other. The drives have proven reliable, dependable and rugged. I regularly carry mine in a brief case or a backpack. I use it for backup and for moving large amounts of data from one computer to another. I have added an operating system and a number of applications to my 60GB drive and use it as a bootable emergency backup drive as well. I really don’t have anything bad to say about the drive. I think the FireLite is a great drive; I am extremely partial to the 60GB. It is a good size, has a nice form factor, costs a reasonable amount of money, holds up to 60GB of data, and is well-built enough to stand up to being moved around a lot. I consider it a must have for mobile lawyers. Reviewed by Jeff Allen
Simple Prompter: Document Creation for the Rest of Us
If you would like to have a simple and easy way to create a master form for text documents that you use with some frequency, take a look at Simple Prompter. Available for Mac and Windows computers, this Microsoft Word add-in allows you to create forms with blanks for fill-ins and to fill the information in manually or automatically from preselected choices. Your preselected choices can be of varying lengths and can include complete paragraphs (or several paragraphs). With the assistance of Simple Prompter you can create a document (a lease, for example) based on your selection of content from a series of options you previously set up or with a combination of previously established terms and new language crafted for the document.
The process is the same on both Macs and Windows systems. After you install the program into Microsoft Word, then you set up your master document. You use square brackets around each fill-in location to tell the program to invoke your choices ([number of children]). At each fill-in location you have the choice of using new language you create then, or picking from a series of pre-established entries. By using a pre-established entry to connect to the content of another word document, you can assemble a new document picking and choosing from a collection of terms that you have previously created, used, and saved.
The program uses a few simple commands to let you establish drop-down lists of single choices, choose one or more options, add multiple paragraphs, and so forth. For example, you create a closed drop-down list of choices by inserting “\dd1\” at the front of your bracketed entry ([\dd1\number of children\one\two\three\four]). By using “\dd2\” instead of “\dd1\”” you add the ability to type a choice not included in the drop down list. Simply bracketing a fill-in requires that you manually enter the replacement text.
When you create the master document, if you want to tie the choices to larger blocks of text (one or more paragraphs), you create a connection from the master to another document that contains the desired language. In setting up to use the program this way, you have to make each option choice a separate document. The choice selects the entire content of that document and incorporates it into the document that you are creating. To use SimplePrompt, you open the master document, select SimplePrompter, and make your choices. If the same choice appears in multiple locations, changing it the first time changes it globally.
SimplePrompter and Mac SimplePrompter each cost $100. The program is aptly named. It is simple to use and it works. It will easily pay for itself in time saved. Available from www.wordsite.com. Reviewed by Jeffrey Allen
Jeffrey Allen ( firstname.lastname@example.org) has a general practice in Oakland, California. His firm, Graves & Allen, emphasizes real estate and business transactions and litigation. A frequent speaker and author on technology topics, he is the Special Issue Editor of the GPSolo Technology & Practice Guide and Editor-in-Chief of the Technology eReport.
Alan Pearlman ( email@example.com) practices family and criminal law in Illinois. An active member of the ABA GPSSF Section, he has been a member of the Editorial Board of the GPSolo Technology & Practice Guide. He also works as a technology consultant, often writes for lawyers, and regularly speaks at continuing education courses for attorneys.
Neither the ABA nor ABA Sections endorse non-ABA products or services, and the product reviews in the Technology eReport should not be so construed.