Archive for May 2015

Internet Access on Changing Networks

How many networks are you on each week? If you are like me, it’s a bunch – home, work, friend/parent’s house, coffee shop(s), courthouse, opposing counsel’s office, mediator, etc.

When working away from the office (or home) network speeds greatly vary. With Dropbox and OneDrive, any changes to local files need to use the internet to update the copies in the cloud. In addition to these services, there are many other programs that are accessing the internet. This constant traffic can substantially reduce the bandwidth that I have available to get work done.

Little Snitch is a network monitor that allows you to block the programs that you choose from accessing the internet. Initially, there are a lot of pops up asking you whether specific programs can access the internet. Many of the programs you will recognize: Firefox, Outlook, 1Password,… Other are totally unknown: AssetCacheLocatorService, AddressBookSourceSync, assistantd, and automount (and those are just some of the “a”s). After a day or two, 95% of the programs that will try to access the internet have done so – and they have either been allowed or rejected.  Initially, the program is annoying – but the annoyance ends quickly. Honestly, I’m not sure how useful this feature is – as long as your not infected by malware or some other nefarious program – as I have other anti-virus / internet security programs.

What I have found to be quite useful is the profile switching that allows you to block certain programs when based on the network you are using. For instance, if I’m in a coffee shop, I can block all internet access except for Outlook and Firefox. That means that no bandwidth is taken up by Dropbox, OneDrive, various Apple programs, etc. Better yet, you can set up Little Snitch’s automatic network profile switching to do this for you when you join a known network. If you join an unknown network, you will be asked which profile you want to use for that  network.

A step by step setup guide can be found here.

Top / “Must Have” iPad Apps for Lawyers

Below is my list of the Top 9 “must have” apps for lawyers using their iPad in their practice. Of course, this is MY list. For example, I know many lawyers use Evernote a lot. I don’t. I’m not including apps that everyone should have such as a mail app, news reader, calculator, etc. I am going to make this list its own page on this site and update it when necessary. As always, any feedback is welcome.


1. Word – the definitive text editor for the iPad. Many (but not all, of course) of the formatting and functionality I use for drafting documents is the same as on the full version. You can access your files on OneDrive and/or DropBox. Of course, most of my file creation and editing is done on my MacBook Pro, but I have had occasion to edit a file at a hearing and email it to the judge’s assistant. Trust me, the judge was mighty impressed. Free app to view files, but requires subscription to Office 365 to edit files.

2. Notability – Take notes as PDF files. Sync across devices with iCloud and Dropbox. Notes can include text, handwriting, photos, audio and video. $3.

3. GoodReader – opens all PDF files – small or large – including PDF portfolios. Files can be annotated with text, handwriting and hi-lited (all in various colors). Now that all seminar handouts are done via PDF, I find this app very useful to view and annotate those files. After the seminar, the PDFs can be wifi synced with a computer for storage or further editing. $5.

4. Wunderlist – syncs tasks/notes across all devices. You can set due dates and reminders. Tasks can be assigned categories (personal, school, medical, by client name, etc.). Also, you can share an items or a list with someone else. Free.

5. Scanbot – takes photos of documents and converts to PDF. Allows for “smart naming” of file based on date, location, event or custom input. Upload to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Evernote, Box, and more. Annotations (including adding digital signatures). OCR. Also allows for creation of multiple page PDF files. I have found this app particularly useful to scan receipts and combine them into one PDF for an entire business trip (CLE, plane, hotel, meals, … all in one file). Free, but $3-$5 in app purchase for “pro” features.

6. Vonage for Business – if you use VOIP (and I do), then you need an app to access voice messages and the settings. I use the app to set up simultaneous ring and to forward work calls to the phone of my choosing. Also, any other function of the VOIP can be controlled from the app. Other VOIP providers have their own apps. Free.

7. Quicksign – allows you to add your previously saved signature to a PDF. The PDF can be downloaded and later uploaded to/from DropBox, Box, or Google Drive. Or you can take a photo of a document and convert it to PDF before adding your signature.

8. 1Password – you know (or should know) about the many functions of this app. It has its own built in browser, but is now integrated into many iPad browsers (Safari, Chrome, Mercury,…). Free, but has $10 in app purchase.

9. Dropbox – an obvious but still necessary inclusion on this list. Allows you to view DOC and PDF files (and others). Also has option to open files in other apps. Free.