Finding US Code sections quickly with your Macintosh - Larry Staton of Legal Mac blog has created an AppleScript that allows a user to input the title and section of the United States Code, then, after clicking the "Display" button, the default browser opens to a Web page with the requested statute displayed. It is available for download. Great job, Larry!
Today's Law School Exam Question - I'm late here with this story about Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame, but for those of you that want to know what the legal definition of "assault" is read this. Kudos to Mr. Jillette for taking the time to assert his rights. Oh, and he's got some good Trust & Estate's advice too.
Cell Towers - Dan Bricklin (inventor of VisiCalc) has a great blog, where he has a comprehensive review of the Treo 180 phone and also talks about cell phone towers. I didn't know that they hid cell towers by making them look like trees (he even has photos), and I didn't know some of the things that he wrote about the Treo, even though I've owned one for about 4 months. It's nice to have smart guys like Dan posting to the web.
Tablet PC envy - NEC's new lightweight tablet PC is out, and I want one. A 933 mhz processor with 256k of RAM and a 20 GB harddrive that weighs only 2.2 pounds. Three USB 2.0 ports and a compact flash card slot.
No PCMCIA slot, but since it has built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a and 802.11b) and the three high speed USB ports I'm not sure I care about the PCMCIA. And best of all: it looks totally sleek. SeePCWorld review.
CloudTravel doesn't have far to travel to cover the Blizzard - My friend Chris Cloud lives in N.Y.C. and is covering the blizzard first hand. If you haven't checked out his travel blog, you should. And remember to brush your teeth.
Data Storage costs are low, but beware of "data extinction" - Rick Klau posted a great comment to my post about the economics of e-storage versus paper storage, and referred to this article about data extinction. Rick, of course, is right that this is something to be concerned about. But here's how I look at it.
Whenever they don't want to accept a new technology the first thing the luddites do is look for the boogiemen. With lawyers using E-mail the boogieman was "weak Internet security" (as though letters going through the mail were shielded by impregnable barriers that would thwart malefactors bent on discovering their content). With data storage the boogieman is going to be "data extinction." And, just like with emails, focusing on this boogieman misses an obvious point: a lot of this data is being warehoused for a limited period of time anyway.
Consider my firm's lovely off-site storage area where we keep our former client files. There are boxes upon boxes of paper that no one will ever want to access, and which we are only obligated to keep for a certain period of time (most lawyers around here don't know exactly what the time-period is, but they know there is one.) When that mysterious appointed period of time runs for a given file, does an alarm sound anywhere to alert us that we can now order the documents to be destroyed? No. So we pay for continued paper storage that now we don't need. All because it's "off our radar screen."
Data extinction is a problem only for data that you don't want to expire. Of course, Anthropologists would prefer that everything be preserved. Lawyers and other professionals, have obligations and needs to preserve certain data, but not forever. If there is electronically stored data that we lawyers are still using productively ten or twenty years from now, then something tells me that the incentive will be there for someone to develop a system to migrate the data or preserve it. But that is still easier to do with electronic data than it is to do with paper.
I certainly don't suggest that Rick is luddite. Quite the opposite. And I share his concern about the need to focus on the problem of data extinction. But I fear (I see Boogiemen too) that people will use the idea of data-extinction to continue resisting the ineluctable transition to an increasingly digital world. Data flows more freely in a digital world, and that free flow leads to efficiency. Yes, paper has a wonderful tactile quality that is honest and familiar. And it is not going away anytime soon. But there is a hidden transactional cost to dealing with paper. It is hidden because paper is familiar to all of us and so we rarely, if ever, have to justify using it. But soon we will because the cost differential is becoming obvious, even to the non-techies.
Data-extinction is a future problem, and one that presumably can be solved. Inefficiency is a present problem, and the causes for it are not always technical.
Questioning Copyright law at the root - Mark Nadel boldly contends that current copyright law not only doesn't stimulate creativity, it actually hampers it. Geez, who'd of ever thought that were possible?
The Amazing Kreskin should get a blog - but until he does this guy is filling his shoes.
Korean Law Blog discovered early this morning - It appears that the blog, called Aurora Law Offices, is run by Brendon Carr, an American lawyer living in Seoul, Korea. And guess what? XML feed avavilable.