I recently bought a new domain name for a side venture, and registered for a free email with domains.live.com. It is the hosted domain equivalent of an Outlook.com address. The premise is identical to Google Apps for Your Domain (GAYD). But, because GAYD is no longer free, I decided to give Microsoft’s alternative a chance. It excelled in document creation and editing (as one would expect from the creator of Microsoft Office) but the e-mail couldn’t keep up with Google.
Version 2.0 of Gmail for iOS is here! The new look is great and all, but what I’m really excited about is the ability to use multiple accounts. Which means I can finally turn off all notifications on the regular mail app and move it to my Unused folder. That was one of the last few items left on my “Make iOS perfect” list. Still up: allowing me to make Gmail the default mail client.
Unfortunately, my iPhone is teasing me. It shows the update is available, but when I click Update, I get an error message saying it is no longer available. I assume this will be fixed soon, but in the meantime, getting it directly from the App Store worked fine for me.
Yesterday, Google finally announced Google Drive, a Dropbox-like expansion of Google Docs. Google Drive allows you to sync your files between multiple Windows, Mac, and Android devices, and an iOS app is coming soon.
So does Google Drive herald the beginning of the end of desktop computing? Possibly. But at the moment, it’s just a promising alternative to Dropbox, iCloud, SkyDrive, and similar services. Here’s an overview of Google Drive — and its warts.
Google sent out e-mails this morning alerting users about a change in their privacy policies. Dan Sherman explained in the LAB that the changes aren’t really changes. Instead, Google has simply consolidated all of its policies with the exception of Chrome and Chrome OS, Google Books, and Google Wallet. The changes also don’t apply to Google Apps users or other premium account users, such as government and education accounts.
Love PowerPoint or hate it, the bottom line is that most presentations need to be accompanied by a visual display, preferably with choice graphics, charts and styled data. With the newly enhanced Google presentations, you can now ditch the rather expensive and memory hogging Microsoft Office product.
Although PowerPoint now has a web app for online access to files, the less than creatively named Google presentations is built for the clouds from the ground up. And we’re increasingly all about the cloud.
New solos spend a lot of time thinking about technology, probably because picking out a laptop and setting up a website aren’t taught in law school. To make it easier, we’ve put together a “shopping list” for new solos so you can focus on getting and serving clients, not poring through document scanner reviews.
This probably won’t be everything you need, but it definitely contains the basics: everything you need to get a new law firm up and running.
Since this list is a bit out of date, you might want to check out our Law Technology Buyer’s Guide, which has up-to-date recommendations.
One thing I love about using Google services is that the company is constantly tinkering in an effort to make them better. Another benefit of Google services is that they are usually free and web-based, so you can generally use them from any computer. Google Docs is no exception and the service has just been updated with nice new features.
Gmail is great and I would highly recommend it to any solo or small firm attorney. It integrates with Google Calendar seamlessly, it can be searched along with Google Docs, and Google is constantly adding new features. Here are a couple of great ones.
The firm I work at uses Gmail along with Google Apps and I highly recommend both of them. Google Apps still has some downsides and I still think Dropbox is better for document storage than Google Docs.
That said, if you are using Gmail and Google Apps, there is a new search function worth adding to your account.
I first talked about the tools I use for law practice management in April 2008. It seems like a good time to do update my list.
Since the last update, my firm has gained one attorney employee and three independent contractors, but the software I use to manage my practice has been flexible enough to survive these transitions. The most-significant change is the switch from GnuCash to Quickbooks for bookkeeping. I ran into trouble with reports in GnuCash that caused me to have to file a rather expensive amended tax return. Quickbooks has been smooth sailing for a full tax season, though, and I am glad I switched.
I also added Basecamp for project management. Basecamp allows me to keep track of everyone working on a case without requiring them to use or install any software themselves. We use it on complex cases, as well as cases involving substantial collaboration with co-counsel.