Explorations with Information and Technology

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Uff da. What else can you say after you read this fellow’s account of what happens after his phone number is stolen? The domino effect it causes as he loses control of his online communication, social media, and bank accounts is both incredible and yet completely plausible for many people. I recently used a similar technique (Chrome sync’d passwords) to bypass my brother’s password manager. As I read the comments, these were my…
I’ve relied on Google as my primary search engine and Chrome as my backup browser for some time. Now that Chrome is segregating the enterprise (paid) users from the consumers for the purposes of ad-blocking, I’m downgrading it to my 3d place browser, after Firefox and Microsoft Edge. I’m starting to rethink my other participation in the Googleverse too. Search I have long since turned off my Google search activity being recorded, as wel…
We have been asked to find cost-savings in our 2020 budget. Unlike when an organization prioritizes spending, this amounts to going through budget lines and identifying whether our budget requests and our year end actuals are actually in alignment. As I was looking through our numbers, it seemed to make sense to make sure that we were looking for patterns as well as details before making cuts. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading…
A picture can say a thousand words. A reference interview that involves a remote researcher trying to use a database can involve word pictures. One thing I’ve seen in public (personal) and law library (professional) experiences is that a word picture may not be enough. Nor is a screenshot. So I was delighted to see how easy it is to create a quick screencast video with the built-in Windows 10 Game bar app. You probably…
Free CLE. Free pizza. Free legal research resources. I saw a headline recently that described law librarians extolling free resources to teach legal technology. Nothing is free but it’s a frequent theme in law library service delivery. As our law library looks at some minor cost cutting in 2020, I was thinking about the impact of law libraries using the term free and whether we miss opportunities to highlight when it’s a benefit rather…
This is a cautionary tale about using password managers. My brother is in a Russian prison and cannot manage his own electronic accounts. He uses a password manager but it has taken us 5 months to communicate and receive the master password. It’s risky, in his situation, since the Russian police have control of some of his devices. For reasons unknown, the password he passed through his lawyers to us didn’t work. Here’s how I…
I posted recently about law library kiosks in Washington State, kiosks being something I’ve rolled around in my head for a couple of years. There was an interesting discussion in Ontario about using them but it came to nothing. But I was inspired by Karen Sawatzky’s tweet, which is the next step: how do you do a kiosk? There are a variety of paths, I think, but they all share some commonalities. Here’s how…
“What should I use?” I was speaking to a new-to-Ontario lawyer audience in the semi-annual Professional Competence and Practice in Ontario series. My session covers confidentiality and using technology. When I started giving this session in the late Aughts, I focused on the tools that lawyers could use to mitigate the problems they might face. Increasingly, though, when I get a question about “what”, I try to refocus on “how” and “why”. The question…
If you are an American in Vienna and need help, you can now get consular support by going into a McDonalds and using a hotline. It’s one of those relationships that might sound funny but seems obvious once you think about it. If people need to get your services, why would you limit your reach to one physical location? In law libraries, we often think of remote access as the primary complement to a single…
Social media and get along but I find that the more social it is, the more likely it is to want to harvest my organs. Or at least my privacy. But I realize that law libraries look at social media as being where the audience is. It was interesting to me, then, to read about Wired magazine’s experience with paywalls and subscribers, and the continued importance of email. In particular, the analysis of data…