MILOfest – A Review

logoMILOfest is the nation’s only conference for lawyers who use Apple products in their practice. MILO stands for “Macs in Law Offices.” This year’s MILOfest was held November 12-14, 2015 at the Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This was my second MILOfest as I also attended in 2014.

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Above, is this years agenda for the 3 days conference. There were about 45 lawyers attending the event.

Other than the subject matter of the conference, the best feature of MILOfest is its size. You are easily able to meet and talk to other lawyers including the event organizers Victor Medina, Mark Metzger and Brett Burney. The breaks sprinkled into the agenda allow the attendees to mingle, discuss the presentations and ask questions of the presenters.

You can review the agenda to see if any other the presentations would be something you are interested in. For me, as a solo practitioner, many were quite interesting and worth the cost of attendance.

Katie Floyd (of Mac Power User podcast fame) discussed the gear she uses/recommends for her practice. She recommends at least 8 GB of RAM and to avoid a rotational hard drive. I certainly agree with that recommendation. I have a 500 GB SSD in my MacBook Pro. The most important stat I can share about the speed of my computer is that after turning it on, I can be editing a document or surfing the internet in under 1.5 minutes. Try that with a regular hard drive!

Brett Burney’s talk involved using the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications. Basically, he is in favor of using the subscription model ($100 per year – less if you can find it discounted) so that you can install Office on 5 computers (PCs or Macs) and 5 mobile devices (iPad, iPhone,….). He preferred the subscription over simply buying the software which would only allow you to install the software on a single computer for around $200.

Far and away the hit of the event was the final presentation by Mark Metzger. He demonstrated the iPad app TrialPad in the context of presenting the prosecution’s closing argument in the trial of Han Solo for murder. He not only showed how TrialPad can organize documents, photos and videos, he also showed how the display of the iPad can be mirrored on a projector for viewing by a judge and/or jury.

All in all a very informative seminar. I’m looking forward to next years event which will be held at the same place on October 6-8, 2016.

Using AppleScript to add an OmniFocus action from FileMaker Pro

I use a FileMaker Pro Advanced (FMP) database to keep my client information in my family law practice. I also use OmniFocus (OF) as my task management application. I thought it would be handy to be able to add an action to OF from FMP. I set up fields in FMP for the action’s name, due date and due time. The action is assigned to a client folder in OF based on the client record currently in use in FMP.

The following AppleScript is triggered by the press of a button in FMP:



tell application "FileMaker Pro Advanced"

       — this is to ensure that no field is selected when the script is run. A value cannot pass from FMP to OF if the field is "active"
       tell layout "Client Information"
		go to it
	end tell
	tell layout "Layout #2"
		go to it
	end tell


	tell current record
              
		set ClientName to (cell "DirectoryName")
		set ActionDate to (cell "ActionDate")
		set ActionTime to (cell "ActionTime")
		set ActionName to (cell "ActionName")

		tell application "System Events"
			set DateAndTime to ActionDate & " " & ActionTime
			set dueDate to date DateAndTime as date
		end tell
	end tell
end tell

tell application "OmniFocus"
	tell default document
		set theProject to first flattened project where its name = ClientName
		tell theProject
			set newAction to make new task with properties {name:ActionName, due date:dueDate}
		end tell
	end tell
end tell

tell application "FileMaker Pro Advanced"

       tell current record
               set cell "ActionDate" to ""
               set cell "ActionTime" to ""
               set cell "ActionName" to ""
	       display dialog "OmniFocus Action Added to Client Folder: " & ClientName
        end tell
end tell


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The following is a description of what the script does:

  1. The switching of layouts is done to ensure that no field is selected (otherwise an error occurs in the script). In my database, the script is toggled from layout “Layout #2”. the layout is toggled to layout “Client Information” and back to layout “Layout #2”
  2. The values of four FMP fields are are assigned to variables in the script.
  3. The date and time of the action are converted from a text format to a time format.
  4. In OF, the correct client folder is selected. (The script assumes that the folder in OF has already been created).
  5. In the now selected OF folder a new task is created with the properties: name and due date (which includes the time).
  6. Back in FMP, the fields for the action name, due date and due time are erased.
  7. A dialog is displayed to tell me that the script was successful.