SITES FOR SORE EYES: 60 Sites from ABA TECHSHOW

Vol. 29 No. 4

By

Jim Calloway is director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program.


Every spring the ABA TECHSHOW brings to Chicago a large group of lawyers, law students, technology consultants, product reviewers, vendors, and law firm IT staff. It is a whirlwind of activity, and one might assume that by the end of two and one-half days of the intense focus on technology, everyone would be tired and ready to head home. Many of the attendees may well be tired, but there’s always a packed house for the traditional final session of ABA TECHSHOW: 60 Sites in 60 Minutes.

You wouldn’t think that a program covering 60 websites would be such a huge draw. After all, the conference’s planning board generously makes the list of sites available a few days after the show, even to those who did not register for and attend ABA TECHSHOW. But this presentation is much more than a list of cool and useful websites for lawyers. It is performance art, and an invitation to speak on this panel is a coveted assignment for the TECHSHOW speakers. The featured sites begin with useful and often obscure web resources, and then move on to the ridiculous and entertaining. One will rarely, if ever, hear this much laughter in a CLE presentation.

This year’s all-star team of “site masters” featured Reid F. Trautz, 2012 ABA TECHSHOW Chair and Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Practice and Professionalism Center; Daniel E. Pinnington, Vice President of Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations at Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company and former ABA TECHSHOW Chair; Natalie R. Kelly, Director of the State Bar of Georgia’s Law Practice Management Program; and Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of Law Practice Management and Technology for the Chicago Bar Association.

So now, on to a few of the sites they covered.

Jureeka! is a browser extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers that hyperlinks legal citations in web pages. This is really an amazing bit of technology. If you install this browser extension, then when you are viewing web pages that include legal citations, it will automatically attach hyperlinks to all the citations. The link will lead you to the full text of the cited opinion, federal rule, or patent. Last fall Jureeka! became powered by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII). You can read more about the free extension and scroll down to see an example at the Jureeka! blog. You can also download the extensions for Firefox and Chrome there.

A nice site for those contemplating a summer driving vacation is http://handsfreeinfo.com. This site has a frequently updated database of various state law on distracted driving, including what states ban texting while driving and what states require a hands-free unit for driver phone calls.

A great site for travelers who actually will have some time to spend in their hotel room is www.room77.com. This site lets you see the view outside of various hotel room windows. It will be interesting as people try to reserve certain room numbers that have a great view.

There is now a website that answers a question many of us often have: “Is this website down for everyone or just for me?” Now you can find out at the appropriately named www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com.

The panelists featured one of my favorite web services, join.me. This free screen-sharing and conference call service is very easy to use. You may be surprised at how you can reduce the time spent in conference calls if you can share visuals on your screen to enhance communications.

MyPermissions lets you examine and modify all the permissions that you have previously given social media apps to access your location or other personal data.

Ever see a photograph on the Internet and wonder where it came from? TinEye is your reverse image search tool. Either upload or link to the image to find other copies online.

Lawyers are often criticized for being too wordy and using many big words. Check out Thsrs, which stands for “The shorter thesaurus.” You simply enter a long word and receive several shorter synonyms. There is even a browser plug-in for Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Factory-Reset.com has the goal of listing the factory reset codes and procedures for all types of products.

A new site I learned about during the 60 Sites presentation is AlternativeTo. This site allows you to find alternatives to software programs and applications you are using. I also learned about GreatApps.com, which features 25 new apps each day. With all of the new apps for smartphones and tablets being launched daily, checking this list can help you keep tabs on the latest developments.

Of course there were the traditional sites presented just for laughs. These included My Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress, AwkwardWorkplacePhotos, and PhotoShop Disasters. For those who want to send something that conveys your honest feelings, there is PoopSenders.com, which lets you send a memorable gift. ABA TECHSHOW Chair Trautz featured Monk-e-mail, which allows you to send a greeting to someone with your voice spoken by a chimp. It is really quite funny.

The real reason I wanted to feature ABA TECHSHOW’s 60 Sites in 60 Minutes this issue is that the TECHSHOW website features not only this current year’s 60 Sites but a historical perspective as well. You can see a list of all the sites presented in 2012, plus the lists of greatest hits going back to 2001.

Spending some time looking over the last several years of suggestions from this annual presentation of websites for lawyers will no doubt add a few sites to your favorites or bookmarks. There are a lot of websites that “everyone knows about” but may have missed your attention. Some of the sites may have passed away and gone to Internet heaven. It is interesting to see what valuable tool of a few years ago has now been replaced by a competitor or something that is now incorporated into an application or browser. But you will almost certainly find some useful tools.

Many of the sites I learn about each year at ABA TECHSHOW become sites I routinely use in my work. I hope you will find something valuable, too.

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