Minecraft Gameband? Apple Watch? Star Wars Battlefront PS4? The new IBM Watson Trends app uses tens of millions of online conversations to learn consumer shopping patterns, to help us all track, in real time, the hot toys and tech gifts this holiday season. Here at Attorney at Work, we’re tapping our dream team of legal technology experts and practice advisers for “early Black Friday 5” shopping advice. Forget about advising everyone else — we want to know what’s on their holiday tech wish lists!
Jim Calloway: Making a List, Checking It Twice
Personally, I need both a new home computer and a new tablet. (The crack in the old iPad 2 glass now bisects the entire screen.) I’d love for Santa to bring me a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (with the Core i5 or i7 processor, not the Core M3), along with the Type Cover keyboard. The Surface Pro 3 generated a lot of buzz for its useful features and nice style when it was released, and the Pro 4 seems to be a worthy successor.
For some, the Surface 4 Pro will function as part-time laptop, part-time tablet. But I am too invested in the Apple app universe to walk away, so I’d also want a shiny new iPad Pro. I know this is the biggest iPad yet, with a nearly 13-inch screen, but at 1.57 pounds it seems like it would still be easy to manage. I’ll finish up my wish list with the new Apple TV, which has a Siri remote. I’m sure it won’t be perfect, but controlling your TV with voice is so futuristic and cool, even if the traditional remote control may be simpler to operate.
Jim Calloway (@JimCalloway) is Director of the Management Assistance Program for the Oklahoma Bar Association and author of several ABA books. He blogs at Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips and co-produces the podcast The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology.
Reid Trautz: Beam Me Up, Alexa!
I’m lusting after Alexa this Christmas. She’s the voice of the Amazon Echo, the small Internet-connected device (about the size of a can of Pringles) for your home that listens for your voice commands to perform tasks such as playing music, telling you the latest weather forecast, and adding an item to your grocery list, among other uses. More people may be familiar with Apple’s Siri, but Alexa seems to be far superior for useful tasks. The Echo uses the Alexa cloud-based voice service to listen and carry out your requests. It also connects with several home automation systems to allow you to control functions such as lighting and security. For now, the Amazon Echo may be more toy than tool, but it will get more functionality over time. Beam me up, Alexa! (There are great ideas on this list, but if you want even more, I’ve just published my 11th Annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers with plenty more great tech ideas!)
Reid Trautz (@RTrautz) is Director of the Practice & Professionalism Center of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a blogger on the issues of business process improvement, technology, legal ethics and effective practice management. Reid is co-author of the ABA’s “The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success: Essential Tips to Power Your Practice.”
Nora Regis: Even Prettier Pictures
Say what you will about them, but I love taking selfies with my iPhone. Unfortunately, the flash in low light situations produces unflattering selfie results and makes FaceTiming difficult. This year I learned that celebrities have been combating this issue with the LuMee Case, and it’s been on my Amazon Wish List for months. This special iPhone case has a ring of lights around it, mimicking the ring light photographers use for portraits. The result is softer, even illumination for better pictures. At $55, I’ve thought it’s too trivial to splurge on, but the holidays only come around once a year.
Nora Regis (@noraregisCBA) is Trainer & Coordinator, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association. She is a former paralegal, specializing in litigation and bankruptcy. Prior to working in legal, she was a technology help desk agent at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dan Pinnington: Double the Fun
Two devices are on my wish list. First, a BlackBerry Priv. I love the big screen and two days of battery life I get on my BlackBerry Passport, but I’m finding the keyboard is a bit wide (and I actually have a very unhappy thumb from typing on the left-most keys). Call me a patriotic Canadian or a tech dinosaur, but I’m keen on the Priv, because I still get my physical keyboard, along with a reasonably large screen. It reminds me of my slider BlackBerry Torch — the best smartphone I’ve used to this point.
Second on my list is a Microsoft Surface Book. I have used a convertible or tablet laptop for more than a decade. I love having the tablet functionality for reading and browsing and a full keyboard when I need to do some serious work. While a tad expensive and a bit bigger than I think is ideal, I’m keen on having a full-blown laptop that also gives me the option of a separate tablet. Several months ago I did try a Surface Pro 3, but I couldn’t get it to work nicely with external monitors and found the keyboard wasn’t suitable for doing loads of typing.
I would love to get some Sonos audio equipment for home, but I don’t think Mrs. Claus would approve of the expenditure.
Dan Pinnington (@DanPinnington) is Vice President, Claims Prevention & Stakeholder Relations at LAWPRO (Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company). A popular speaker and author, Dan is co-author of the ABA’s “The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success: Essential Tips to Power Your Practice.” He blogs at Avoid a Claim, SLAW Tips and Lawyer Success Tips.
Sharon Nelson: Image-Palooza
We bought ourselves an early holiday gift just last week. Images are critical to legal marketing — and grabbing images off the Internet often proves to be a copyright violation. Been there, done that (not realizing it), paid the price. Shutterstock is a great resource for all types of images, whether you present CLEs, need website photos, do Facebook and Google or create other forms of advertising (even print). In 30 days, you can get 750 images for $249 (a steal if you know anything about royalty-free image pricing). Just make sure you have the time to download a lot of images. Go to www.shutterstock.com/subscribe and click on the Professional plan. Make sure you click on “1 month” and not “1 year.” Make doubly sure you turn off the monthly renewal option!
We downloaded over 100 images in two days. It feels like the holiday season with all these photos — gifts that will keep on giving us new clients for years to come!
Sharon D. Nelson (@SharonNelsonEsq) is President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a digital forensics, legal technology and information security firm based in Fairfax, VA. She has written or co-authored a number of books, including “The 2008-2015 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guides” and “Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers.” She blogs at Ride the Lightning and co-produces the podcast The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology.
Images courtesy Apple Computer, Amazon, Lumee and Microsoft.