Need to know when the first law firm website went online? Take a look at Robert Ambrogi's "A Chronology of Legal Technology, 1842-1995." You'll find that Lexis was introduced in 1973; WordPerfect was launched in 1980; and in 1994 Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti became the first law firm to have a website. - K
An octothorpe is the "#" symbol, which you might call "pound sign," "number sign," or "square." Evidently, in the 1960s, some Bell Lab engineers wanted to give the symbol a special name and started using octothorpe. As you probably already guessed, the name didn't really stick.
It's Friday and the end of another long, full week. Perhaps a little inspiration is in order to help us get through the day?
Last night Corey asked me a great question. "What a mantra that you often say to motivate yourself?" I've always said, "Mistakes are our best teachers." Many times people become mistake phobic and a mistake becomes a point of shame. That's too bad because "mistakes" offer us a chance for reflection and improvement. - Beth Kanter, Are Mistakes a Bad Thing?
Have a good Friday and an even better weekend! - K
No? Well, good. Your sys admin probably doesn't want a hug from you anyway. But you should make certain to wish her or him a "Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day!" today.
It may look like they are just "playing on the computer," but they aren't. Sys admins work hard:
A sysadmin makes sure your network connection is safe, secure, open, and working. A sysadmin makes sure your computer is working in a healthy way on a healthy network. A sysadmin takes backups to guard against disaster both human and otherwise, holds the gates against security threats and crackers, and keeps the printers going no matter how many copies of the tax code someone from Accounting prints out.
A sysadmin worries about spam, viruses, spyware, but also power outages, fires and floods.
When the email server goes down at 2 AM on a Sunday, your sysadmin is paged, wakes up, and goes to work.
A sysadmin is a professional, who plans, worries, hacks, fixes, pushes, advocates, protects and creates good computer networks, to get you your data, to help you do work -- to bring the potential of computing ever closer to reality.
And we don't make their jobs easy. Nor do their families give them a break. (Imagine going home and hearing "Son, it's great to talk to you. It has been a while. So, I called because I've been having a problem with my computer at work. Can you tell me how to make [insert random ancient proprietary software package name] work?" or "Susie, I bought a [insert random piece of hardware name]. Can you configure it for me while you're visiting on vacation?")
So today, take a moment and thank your system administrator for the all of his or her hard work. And if you're feeling especially thankful, I've heard that they like gifts. - K
A recent episode of This American Life (7/10/09; 385) investigates the trials and tribulations of "pro se." Beginning in a self-help center at a Manhattan housing court, the episode explores the challenges of defending oneself, both legally and otherwise. -M
Be warned: this post is off topic. I apologize to those readers who are here for the good tech pointers and our opinions. This is neither. Feel free to skip to the next post. I won’t be hurt.
Still with me? Great. Get ready for a treat. Kevin Brooks, an English professor from NDSU and a board member of African Soul, American Heart, blogged about Andrew Filer earlier this week. Andrew wants to photograph every dot on the North Dakota map. The list of towns that he’s photographed is extensive, although he’s not yet made it to a few key cities: Fargo, Hankinson, Ray, and Zap. (How could he not start with the city famous for Zip to Zap?)
But Andrew has taken pictures of my hometown--Mayville, North Dakota. So, if you’ve ever wondered what Mayville looks like, here’s your chance. You can see pictures of my favorite drive-in, A & M, as well as Videos Plus, the local video rental store where my parents eat at least once a week. He didn’t take a picture of the elementary or high schools, but he has taken pictures of Clifford, Galesburg, and Portland, the three other towns in my school district. (That’s right. My high school, May-Port CG High School, had students from four towns, but my graduating class had just fifty-two students.)
And that concludes our tour of Mayville. Back to your regular scheduled programming.-K
FreeRice.com, a website that helps you to improve your vocabulary while you provide food for the hungry, has been around for almost a year now. Supported by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the United Nations World Food Program, FreeRice.com has raised over 44 billion grains of rice, which is enough to provide over 2 million days worth of food for hungry people. It's a great example of how one website can have a powerful impact.
When I visited the site recently, I noticed that they had added additional subjects: world capitals, chemical symbols, and non-English languages (Spanish, German, Italian, and French). I suspect that for most legal aid attorneys, chemical symbols aren't particularly useful, but if you are working on improving any second or third languages, this is a great way to build vocabulary and to do some good at the same time. - K
An item for the history fanatics among us: CNET UK put together a list of The 50 Most Significant Moments in Internet History. Included in the list are the proposal of TCP/IP, the release of Apache, and the start up of Amazon. - K
Within the self-help community, it is widely known that Tina Rasnow, the Coordinator of the Self-Help Legal Access Center at the Superior Court, County of Ventura, is passionate about increasing access to justice. In fact, this summer, the ABA recognized her with their 2008 Lawyer As Problem Solver Award.
What is not as widely known is that Tina is an author and has written a book to help increase access to justice in California - Norton Gets a Ticket. This short story is easy to understand and a cute way to help educate the public about traffic violations. - K
Many in the legal aid community have fallen in love with Battlestar Gallatica, Doctor Who, and other recent sci-fi shows but may not have a social network that let's them know when there is a new must-see miniseries. So in an effort to help, technola presents Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. (Yes, for those of you who are really, really into sci-fi, this was released a while ago, but I was only able to watch it last weekend.)
Dr. Horrible is a short, three-part "supervillian musical" created by Joss Whedon (the producer of Firefly and Buffy) and his brothers during the television writers' strike. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. For those of you who loved Firefly and Serenity, I highly recommend taking a look. - K
Matthew's gone to Johannesburg, South Africa for the next week, and he's instructed me to keep you informed about the high points in both the legal aid and technology worlds while he's away. (I told him no promises, but I'd try.)
What Matthew's trip really means, however, is that he's left me in charge of technola for the next week. Fortunately, for those of you who have come to know and love this blog, I don't have any radical changes in mind -- after all, Matthew will be back next week. But you may notice a little mission creep as I have a few posts in mind that go a bit further afield. Stay tuned. - K