Posts Tagged ‘integration’

Sixth Sense Device – Out of the Box Computing

Imagine a world where the “digital world” merged with the “physical world”.  Combine a mini-lcd projector, a ccd camera, a cell phone, and a micro-processor in a device the size of an iTouch.  And then add software that support “multi-touch gestures”.  What you get is the vision of Pranav Mistry (a MIT professor) for what he calls a “sixth sense” device.  Check out the video presentation on TED.com (or click on the link below in the article).

The vision of Pranav is mind blowing.  Imagine projecting a number pad on your hand and dialing your phone with your fingers.  Imagine converting a blank piece of paper into a gaming device.  What he has done is expand the vision and role of computers beyond the “devices” into something that is ubiquitous and integrated into the real world.

The implications of his breakthroughs, and whether they are “ready for market” can be debated. But you need to see these videos to regain the “gee wiz” about computers. He gives new meaning to “gestures”.  Just as the invention of the mouse and the GUI (graphical user interface) revolutionized computing in the last 3 decades, so to will the gesture technology put into concrete form by Pranav revolutionize computing in the next fee decades.  Check it out.

Check it out yourself

About the Sixth Sense Device and presentation at TED.COM

Inbox backwards – XOBONI – The Ultimate Exchange Addon

If you use OUTLOOK or EXCHANGE, you must get XOBNI.  That is inbox backwards.  And it works that way.  It turns your inbox upside down.  From a morass of emails and other crap, XOBNI brings order.  And it does this without you providing any organizing principle.  No need for folders and rules etc.  Rather, there is a simple search box.  It indexes your inbox.  It creates profiles of all your senders and recipients.  It pulls their data automatically from LinkedIn, Twitter, Hoovers, Facebook and other social networking services.  It shows the relationships between that person and ALL your other contacts.  It takes your emails and threads them together in conversations (remember GMAIL).  And it exposes and makes searchable ALL attached documents.

So what is the cost … well FREE.  The free version should be adequate for most people.  For $35 you get a little more.  If you are looking for a needle in a haystack, XOBNI is your metal detector.  It sorts the chaff and out comes the needle.  Want to know who knows whom.  Use this handy little sidebar.

Try it.  You’ll like it.

TMSave Toolbar in Word after an Upgrade to TMW6

When upgrading from Time Matters 5 to Time Matters 6, many users will take a wait and see attitude. They will install Time Matters 6, but NOT install Time Matters 5. This is generally not a problem with the database, since Time Matters creates a separate database during the upgrade. However, it is a problem with the TMSave Toolbar in Word which will often continue to point to the old database. The TMSave toolbar and the menu items are inserted into Word via a Startup Template. This template is loaded when Word is loads. There is a TMW5 templates and a TMW6 template. When you uninstall Time Matters 5, it removes the TMW5 template. If you keep both active, you will have a toolbar with links to both databases. Both toolbars will look identical. Depending on which you click first, you will have links to the TMW5 or the TMW6 database.

The solution is to uninstall Time Matters 5. Go into Control Panel and choose add-remove programs. Find Time Matters 5 and click on Remove. This should remove the TMW5 template. Then restart Word. There is no requirement to reinstall Time Matters. In some circumstances, the TMW6 startup template may not have been installed in the first place. In this case you have two options. One is to reinstall Time Matters, but this time choose only Word-Processor links. The other option, is to go into Workstation Setup and click on Word Processor Links or Additional Product links.

What does “integrated” mean?

What does “integrated” mean?

A good lawyer defines his/her terms, hence a technology expert should define the term “integration” and the levels thereof.Case Management and Practice Management programs talk about “integration” with other programs, whether they be email programs, document management programs, or billing and accounting programs.A good lawyer defines his/her terms. “Integration” is a feature. And yet, not all integrations are equal. Some are better than others. Even in the same firm, integration can have different meanings.

In deciding whether (1) two products are integrated, and (2) whether this integration is of value, is a matter of “managing expectations”. True integration occurs when two programs share the same database entirely. This is the type of integration between Time Matters and Billing Matters, or Tabs and PracticeMaster, or ProLaw Front Office and Back Office. When a single vendor controls both programs, it is possible to have “consolidated data” so that an entry of a client for “case management” purposes is also the entry of a client for “billing and accounting” purposes.

Microsoft and Novell espouse “directory services” whereby programs share a common user-database of approved users. This works for security purposes (see use of Windows authentication for SQL server login and many other programs). However, this does not work in the much more data-intensive programs like billing, accounting or document management where the data is stored in separate databases.

So this gets me back to what does “integrated” mean. The answer depends on where you stand:

  1. As the Account supervisor, you want to enter a Contact as a client in your Billing program, and have them appear as a client in your iManage program and as a client in your Case Management program. If these programs come from 3 different vendors, contact information is stored in different data tables, and a “link” needs to exist between the programs.
  2. As the Attorney on the account, you want to create a document in your word processor, same it to your DMS (e.g. iManage) and then be able to see it listed on your matter in Time Matters.
  3. As the Paralegal on the case, you need to be able to review and sort a bunch of documents and notify the attorneys of any significant items that need their attention. You will likely be reviewing and reprofiling scanned documents in the DMS, and then seeing them on the document tab.
  4. As the secretary, you may be concerned about the Firm calendar, and want all the entries in Outlook to populate back into the Practice Management program.

Each of these items has a different “scope” of integration. Some of these items require user training. Other may require development of custom applications or dual entry of data. In reviewing claims of integration, do your due dilligence and check out the scope and manner of integration.

What does “integrated” mean?

A good lawyer defines his/her terms, hence a technology expert should define the term “integration” and the levels thereof.

Case Management and Practice Management programs talk about “integration” with other programs, whether they be email programs, document management programs, or billing and accounting programs.

A good lawyer defines his/her terms.  “Integration” is a feature. And yet, not all integrations are equal.  Some are better than others.  Even in the same firm, integration can have different meanings.

In deciding whether (1) two products are integrated, and (2) whether this integration is of value, is a matter of “managing expectations”.  True integration occurs when two programs share the same database entirely.  This is the type of integration between Time Matters and Billing Matters, or Tabs and PracticeMaster, or ProLaw Front Office and Back Office.  When a single vendor controls both programs, it is possible to have “consolidated data” so that an entry of a client for “case management” purposes is also the entry of a client for “billing and accounting” purposes.

Microsoft and Novell espouse “directory services” whereby programs share a common user-database of approved users.  This works for security purposes (see use of Windows authentication for SQL server login and many other programs).  However, this does not work in the much more data-intensive programs like billing, accounting or document management where the data is stored in separate databases.

So this gets me back to what does “integrated” mean.  The answer depends on where you stand:

(1) As the Account supervisor, you want to enter a Contact as a client in your Billing program, and have them appear as a client in your iManage program and as a client in your Case Management program.  If these programs come from 3 different vendors, contact information is stored in different data tables, and a “link” needs to exist between the programs.

(2) As the Attorney on the account, you want to create a document in your word processor, same it to your DMS (e.g. iManage) and then be able to see it listed on your matter in Time Matters.

(3) As the Paralegal on the case, you need to be able to review and sort a bunch of documents and notify the attorneys of any significant items that need their attention.  You will likely be reviewing and reprofiling scanned documents in the DMS, and then seeing them on the document tab.

(4) As the secretary, you may be concerned about the Firm calendar, and want all the entries in Outlook to populate back into the Practice Management program.

Each of these items has a different “scope” of integration.  Some of these items require user training.  Other may require development of custom applications or dual entry of data.  In reviewing claims of integration, do your due dilligence and check out the scope and manner of integration.

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