Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 8/1/2003; 12:09:38 PM.


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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly is a line from Macbeth about commitment to action.  Well, I've acted.

For months I've been cautiously contemplating buying an Apple computer.  Yesterday, I threw caution to the wind and ordered a new 12" Powerbook.  What finally did me in was helping my dad with his new iBook.  Apple's computers are just too cool, and way easier to use than PCs.  And the OS X operating system is totally slick.

But how will I get along with the batallions of Windows-based PCs?  Easy.   I'll have a little extra time on my hands now that I will be cutting down on the amount of "configuration" I have to do (and I could use the extra time like this executive did).

The stork will be delivering my baby some time next week.  Come on over to Daddy you sweet thing.

8:33:42 PM    

At my law firm we use an E-mail program called Groupwise, which was probably so named because E-mail is a  great way for groups of people to collaborate.  It has other wonderful features that make it easy for us lawyers to work together.  For example, it has a function that lets someone who has to schedule a meeting send out an "appointment," which is like an E-mail except that it goes into the recipient's calender if she simply "accepts" the message.  This is a wonderful feature.

But only if the recipients actually use their Groupwise calenders.

Most attorneys in our office don't use their Groupwise calenders.  There are other features that would be helpful but they all depend on people keeping their calenders in Groupwise.  I mention this because it is always interesting when I hear discussions of "social software" and how it will revolutionize our world.

Weblogs are supposed to be revolutionary.  And there are even weblogs for "groups," which are called "Wikis."  Will these groupware tools allow people to collaborate in radical new ways? 

Maybe.  Or maybe not.

Recently, Clay Shirky, a really smart guy and keen observer of the role of technology in society, had some comments about social software in a talk called A Group is It's Own Worst Enemy.  Definitely worth reading.

8:07:05 PM    

Rory Perry, Clerk of the West Virginia Supreme Court, knows a lot about using technology to disseminate information.  He is also a proponent of the notion that Law Should be Free.  Here is a small excerpt:

"Overall, the legal publishing world as it is presently structured may be fine for attorneys and others who can afford to pay for content, but for many others, including pro se litigants and many attorneys and law firms tired of paying subscription fees or maintaining CD-ROM jukeboxes of constantly-updates resources, the legal publishing world is neither accesible nor productive. Before posting documents on the web became commonplace, commercial legal publishers provided a crucial public service. Now that most courts, including the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, post the full text of all opinions as soon as they are issued, the power of commercial publishers lies in their value-added content and analysis, not in their power to deliver instant content to the people."

I wish that more court officials were as committed to the values of open and timely information as Rory is.  After all, people are presumed to know what the law is.  So why shouldn't all the laws be freely available? 

7:12:34 PM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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