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Archive for October, 2010

Blekko—the New Little Search Engine That Just Might…

There’s a new kid on the block, the block owned by Google. A search engine named Blekko launched mere minutes ago and I think you’ll want to try it out.

Search engines come and search engines go, as we learned most dramatically from the case of Cuil. Bing may still hang in there, but it seems as though Yahoo! is in decline.

So how do you find a place in a world dominated by Google? You differentiate yourself by offering different sorts of results. WolframAlpha is perhaps the extreme example of this, positioning itself as a “computational knowledge engine.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Negligence and Young Children

Most Slaw readers will have read from one source or another that a New York trial court has ruled that a child still four years of age can be sued for negligence. The child defendant was riding a bike with training wheels when she and her friend ran into an old woman, knocking her down; the fall broke the woman’s hip. (The woman died three months later of unrelated causes.) The story in the New York Times provides the basic facts.

The judgment, Menach v Breitman, is available as a photocopied image in PDF. I’ve OCR’d that judgment . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Sedona Canada Commentary on Proportionality in Electronic Disclosure & Discovery

Last week, the Working Group 7 of The Sedona Conference – “Sedona Canada” – issued a public comment draft of “The Sedona Canada Commentary on Proportionality in Electronic Disclosure & Discovery.”

As explained by Justice Colin Campbell in his Foreword, proportionality is not a new concept in civil procedure, but has become a critical practical imperative and conceptual ideal given the impact of electronically stored information on litigation. He says, “Civil litigation simply becomes cost-prohibitive and burdensome without early and careful attention to identifying key sources of potentially relevant data and ensuring that only potentially relevant and unique data is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Using Chrometa for Time Management

Any lawyer with a busy practice regularly turns around and wonders where their day went. With Chrometa you can identify where you tend to use your time and evaluate if you can be more efficient while at work.


Chrometa will tell you which applications you use the most, such as your word processor, web browser, or e-mail program (i.e. Outlook), keep track of your breaks, and chart your productivity per hour during the day.

For those of us stuck with billable hours, it also allows you to record different projects related to specific clients.

It’s only available as a beta . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Appeal of Gomery Quashing Denied

Last week I covered the litigation from the Adscam controversy relating to journalistic privilege in Globe and Mail v. Canada. This week, the Federal Court released Canada (Attorney General) v. Chrétien relating to the Gomery Inquiry (pdf), the Royal Commission charged under the Inquiries Act with investigating the scandal.

From the outset, the inquiry was burdened with charges of bias and conflicts of interest. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien then sought judicial review of the inquiry of the Commission’s findings, which quashed the findings. The current appeal was an attempt to overturn this decision to quash . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CCME Air and Water Plans

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment have coordinated a new plan for reducing air pollution, according to this Communiqué, and also this Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat press release. The air pollution plan is based on the recommendations of a multi-party committee that included government, NGO, and industry experts. That report is not available, but may be soon. Check here, or sign up for their emails. The plan is “comprehensive” (though subject to provincial jurisdiction), will up air quality standards, and

[u]nder the new system, Canadians would have ready access to information about air quality

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Online Arbitration and the Statutes

The Uniform Arbitration Act (1990), in force in six provinces (and passed years ago in PEI but never proclaimed in force), sets out what were then modern rules for the conduct of arbitrations, with powers of arbitrators spelled out in default of agreement by the parties, and with restrictions on court intervention in the proceedings, as well as enforcement provisions. So far as I know, it works fairly well. (Ontario had a bit of controversy a few years ago about its application to family arbitrations conducted under religious law, and the statute was amended to better harmonize with family law . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Can Your Phone Do This?

More to the point, maybe, can you?

If you had an iPhone — and Everyday Looper — you could at least try. Reggie Watts, comic and musician, wows Sirius Radio interviewer, Ron Bennington, with an improvised concert on the only equipment he managed to bring to the interview.

I’ve tried to think how lawyers might make business use of Everyday Looper on their iPhones, but it’s Friday, so I didn’t try very hard. But if you can come up with ROI ($5.99) ideas, by all means let us have them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Avoiding One-Click Participation

As social media tools become easier and simpler to use, more of their value seems to be draining away. The last few years have seen an unmistakable trend towards social media tools and habits that push the absolute minimum of effort and commitment, with the result that the promise of social media — better communication, broader networks, stronger personal connections — is in danger of falling by the wayside.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

The new ReTweet (RTs): Time was, if you saw a tweet you liked, you copied-and-pasted it into your own screen, prefixed with an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

QR Codes & Mobile Marketing

Have you come across a QR code yet? See this as an example:

All you need is a QR code reader built into your mobile phone – either natively within Android phones, or a free QR app for the iPhone. Then scan the code, and instantly your phone will execute one of a number of predetermined tasks:

  • hotlink the phone’s browser to a URL – scanning the above image, for example, takes you to the homepage our blog at Stem;
  • initiate a phone call;
  • display an image, business card, etc;
  • download a v-card;
  • or display a simple text message, to
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology, Technology: Internet