by Bradley W. Miller, Burton Law LLC
CNN.com recently posted a list of 50 new tech tools that they believe you should know about. Most of these tools are mobile apps for your phone or tablet and are under $5.
The tools range from location-based social networking apps to iPhone photo software, but there are several that may have practical application for lawyers that I think deserve mentioning. I have not used CardMunch, but the other apps listed below currently have a place on my iPad.
CardMunch (www.cardmunch.com) is a free app for your iPhone from LinkedIn that converts the business cards you get from bar association and other networking events into digital contacts. After downloading the app, you simply take a picture of the card. Along with creating a digital contact with the information gleaned from the card, the app will show you the LinkedIn profile of the person and any connections you might have. Besides being a great way to get rid of all those business cards you have sitting on your desk, this could be a great way to find out who you know in common.
Flipboard/Zite (www.flipboard.com / www.zite.com) are social magazine apps for both iPhone and iPad that can help you stay current on the legal topics or outside issues that interest you. Both take the blogs you read, Facebook pages you subscribe to, and Twitter accounts you follow and combine them into a newspaper-like experience. Flipboard is visually stunning, having a clean interface with lots of images and featuring smooth swiping between pages and stories – it feels a lot like you are reading a highly-personalized electronic magazine. Zite uses a proprietary algorithm to find other stories you may be interested based on your reading habits and app usage. I personally use Zite a couple times a week to keep on top of technology issues and share articles with my social networks. Both apps are free through the Apple App Store.
LogMeIn (www.logmein.com) provides remote access to your desktop PC or Mac via your iPhone or iPad – in essence, your own personal virtual private network (VPN). This means you can be sitting in court, or even on your living room couch, and log into your computer at work. The basic service is free, with a premium version that allows you to access HD videos, transfer files, and receive tech support. LogMeIn also offers standalone products for Mac and PC, which makes it great for accessing your parents’ computers to install updates, or allowing your college-age son or daughter to fix your tech issues.