Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks: My Phone Explorer for Android


One would think it easy to find snapshot apps for Android smartphones.  And it is; if your phone is rooted.  As someone who obviously loves to tinker with technology, I would like to play with that, but my phone isn't a toy – it's a tool.  I tried a lot of stuff and was resigned to the fact that there simply wasn't a good app for this purpose.  That is, until I came across My Phone Explorer from FJ Software Development.

This product does much more than create excellent images.  It's a complete syncing and management suite that's very highly rated by its customers.  However, the only module I use is the "Phone Keypad", which created the images for my prior tutorial as well as the above sample.

There's a desktop component (there I go with the word, 'desktop', again) and an app that's loaded on the smartphone.  Launch the app first, then start the desktop component and you can save your snapshots to the desktop.

Oh, and for those who think I just gave away the company store…that's a simulated image…it ain't my phone configuration!  But, it does raise a good point.  If you're going to share images with others, take a moment to ensure that nothing in the image has the potential to violate you, your family's – or your employer's – security and privacy.

Tips & Tricks: #HTTPS Everywhere

I just checked…I haven’t done one of these since late October, last year.  A general hat tip goes out to many of my colleagues who, through social media, reminded me about EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere, which is an extension for Firefox and, as of this posting date, currently in beta for Chrome.  Here’s their own description of the product:

“HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.”

So, why didn’t I simply Tweet that?  Well, actually, I did.  However, there are a couple of things you might want to consider before installing it.  As with all products, that’s usually the easy part.  Will you read the installation notes or the FAQs?  Probably not.  At least keep these two things in mind:

  1. Some users experience degraded performance.  I’m using Firefox and I’m seeing markedly degraded performance.  However, the benefits outweight the detriments, so that’s not a showstopper for me.
  2. Occasionally, the product will add an ‘s’ to ‘http’ addresses on the command line.  To most, this is meaningless; until they start sharing/embedding those links, that is.  Sometimes, this will cause errors at the other end, unless that user’s system also has the extension or ‘understands‘ what’s happened, as my IE9 browser did.  Luckily, this is rare.

Tips & Tricks: I’m Suffering from Writer’s Blawg…

MP900448495It seems like all I'm doing these days is writing.  Writing, writing, writing…

I came across this post from my colleagues at K&L Gates ("Electronic Discovery Law" on my blogroll).  They've created a comprehensive list – with links – to all of the states that have enacted e-Discovery rules

This is simply a fantastic resource – and it's why they're on my blogroll in the first place!

I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Tips & Tricks: A Password-Protected PDA May Save your Bacon One Day

MP900405586 Remember this post from precisely three months ago?  Well, I'm here to tell you; lightning does strike twice – and I mean exactly!

I'm out of town – in the same place I was three months ago – and once again, my Blackberry was working fine this morning…then it wasn't.  It was virtually the identical problem to last time (frozen solid), except for two glaring differences; 1) I haven't made any modifications to the device in a while, so there wasn't any clue as to why this happened and, 2) (this is critical) I could get to my password screen and unlock the device.  I would also like to note that I have virus software and upon reboot, was able to run a sweep before the device froze again – no sign of any contamination.

So, I went over to the same retail outlet, where some of the same people tried to do the same thing (a software repair push).  Fail!  I basically told the techs (same as last time) "I don't care if you have to wipe it out, I have no problem restoring from backup." (Yes, I have a recent backup, just like last time).  I also told them, "Whether this works or not, I have to walk out of here with a working device."

But – just like last time – no love.  They couldn't wipe the device, either.  Now, here's where it gets ugly.  Last time they had a spare Tour in stock – this time, they didn't.  So, they offered to have a new one shipped to me via overnight courier.  Normally this would be completely reasonable.  Unfortunately this happened today, and on this particular day, this device must work.  I can't forward my cell number elsewhere because I'm out of town, on the go and I need to be reachable (is that even a word?)

This is where the password-protection comes in.  With a Blackberry (not familiar with how other PDAs handle this), when password-protection is enabled, a companion security setting automatically enables a 'doomsday' scenario – and you can't turn it off (unless you disable password-protection altogether).  That's right; it doesn't just fail to unlock the device – it allows you to select the number of incorrect passwords you'll allow (from 3-10), then if that threshold is reached, the device wipes itself out.  Even the techs at the store didn't know this.  So, as a last resort, I suggested, since the only thing that did work was the password screen, try repeatedly entering an incorrect password to trigger doomsday.  Even though the device was frozen otherwise, I hoped that enough of the O/S was running in the background that it might work.


Most of you know I tend to be vague about my devices, but most of you also have long since figured out my PDA is a Blackberry.  The reason I mention it this time is, I'm afraid I'm worn out with them.  Just like my clients, I cannot afford to have a primary device crashing for no reason.  I lost more than half a day resolving this in the short-term, but for the long-term, I'm switching to a Droid.

Tips & Tricks: EDD Toolkit App

MP900448277 The last time I linked you to some eDiscovery calculators was over two years ago.  What’s new?  Well, I happened upon one for my PDA from BlueStar Case Solutions, and the cool thing is, it’s available in Blackberry, iPhone, Android and Windows 7 flavors (even though it says “coming soon!” for Blackberry, the app is available).

Now, you know I don’t endorse products (I’d never even heard of BlueStar until I saw this) – and aside from fiddling with this app, I can’t tell you whether the calculations are accurate or not.  But, if you’re in the middle of a conversation or meeting – or sitting at your desk – and you want to get an idea of what the project cost or time might be, you can create a quick estimate; it’s not like you can’t run the comprehensive numbers later to confirm…

One handy module is an eDiscovery Glossary, with definitions for well over 100 of the terms we use on a daily basis.  So, if you’re just getting into this space, that might be helpful to you as a kind of ‘cheat sheet’ (of course, you may refer to it as ‘reference material’).  I knew the definition to every single term, without having to check.  I’m not sure whether I’m proud or worried!

Tips & Tricks: Passing the Bar Board Game


For most law candidates, the next administration of the bar exam is about a month from now.  Those of us who have already had the pleasure of preparing for the exam would probably say that tedium is one of the worst parts of it.  There's a lot of repetition involved. 

I'm not without sympathy, so when I happened upon this bar prep board game, aptly named "Passing the Bar", I thought I'd pass it along.  It's a fun way to focus on MBE questions, especially if you already have a study group together.  I checked out some of the questions and they do pass muster, in my opinion.

Caveat:  For those who intend to turn this into a drinking game, you're on your own!