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Wikipedia Contributors to Be Paid

There are reports today that Wikipedia is about to start paying contributors for certain content. This represents a break from their roots as an all-volunteer project. The program, funded by a single donation right now, aims to improve the quality of the illustrations on the site – that’s currently the only thing they have plans to pay people for.

I’ve always found Wikipedia a good place to go for images, and have never felt a lack of good illustrations to be a shortcoming, but I’m for anything that could improve the site.

In other Wikipedia news, more schools have jumped . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

No Chumby for Us

There’ll be no Chumbies in Canada, we’re told. I’m not sure if that’s a sad thing or not. This USD180 retro tube, which is about the size of an old fashioned alarm clock, is an always on, content-constrained iPod Touch, connecting like it’s sleek sister through wifi, but unlike her only pulling in certain “channels” from the internet. This reminds me of the mini TV’s that you’d see (in the movies, okay?) in people’s kitchens back in the 60’s: always on: nothing much on.

Are you (a) sad? (b) indignant? (c) indifferent? (d) faintly pleased? (e) none of the above? . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Khadr’s Counsel Is Times’ “Lawyer of the Week”

William Kuebler is featured as the Times Online’s Lawyer of the Week. The U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander says of the situation facing his client, Canadian Omar Khadr, the first child ever to be prosecuted for war crimes:

[It is] a system where the deck is stacked heavily against him. The rules can change from day to day and, under the view of the Government of the United States, even if acquitted, our client could be detained indefinitely as an enemy combatant. We have to avoid enabling an illegitimate process and to keep our sights focused on creating the circumstances

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Portable (Wireless) High Speed Internet

Rogers’ version is, so far, exactly as advertised. Purchase a wireless modem, sign up for the service, plug the modem into a (working) socket, attach one’s computer etc., turn on one’s computer, and away you go.

Rogers provides a high speed and basic service. Basic is apparently about as fast as dial-up. High speed isn’t as fast as cable high speed, but it’s good enough for when one is away from one’s base, so long as one is within the coverage area. And, the price is right.

Read about it Rogers Portable Internet according to Rogers

Bell’s equivalent is called . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

UK Librarians Ask for New Book Titles RSS

UK law librarians are now following our lead, encouraging the UK legal publishers to produce a new titles RSS feed.

Publishing consultant Nick Holmes has been calling for this service for some time, and recently put the pressure on publishers by scraping their websites to create sample feeds, posting them on the infolaw site. He also wrote an open letter to UK legal publishers on November 2nd asking for RSS feeds.

Blogger lo-fi librarian reports that a Facebook group has also been set up to help build concensus amongst law librarians in their request for RSS feeds from . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Technology

Chamber of Commerce on IP Protection

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce weighs in on the IP panic, calling for the provincial government to become involved and join the federal government in the fight against “piracy and counterfeiting.” The report itself [PDF], as opposed to the news story, seems to be more concerned about the counterfeiting of goods and brands in other countries than it does about the copying of music or films.

Thanks to Slaw reader Bill Dimitroff for the tip.

As an aside, isn’t it about time that news outlets — and others — stopped using the term “piracy” in this connection? While it may . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

International Day of Disabled Persons

Today is the International Day of Disabled Persons, a day to think about how well your firms do with hiring and accommodation and to worry about whether Slaw is up to snuff.

In what is surely no accident, StatsCan released a Participation and Activity Limitation Survey today on The Daily. The lead sentence reports: “An estimated 4.4 million Canadians—one out of every seven in the population—reported having a disability in 2006, an increase of over three-quarters of a million people in five years…” The increasing age of the population was, of course, a factor in this 21% rise over . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous

Top Five Digital Landmines for Lawyers

There are a number of situations where a lawyer’s personal brand can take a hit on the modern web. From an unfavourable newspaper story being permanently codified within the paper’s archives, to casual web participation showing up in the search engines for a lawyer’s name. Reputation management has quickly become a very important consideration to how professionals choose to participate online. And since almost all content eventually hits Google, lawyers are now faced with the ongoing challenge to monitor (and mold) what clients and potential clients can see about them.

The intent of this piece is not to scare, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Tech Treats, Hard and Soft

There’s a new tech product in the offing that you might like to know about.

When, in the last 40 years or so, has that line not been true? Commerce, posing as news or progress or pleasure, has insinuated itself into every nook and cranny until every crook and nanny has a pretty heavy jones for technology, hard and soft. This is, of course, a blessing (and a reprieve?) for our market economy which, not that long ago, seemed on the point of exhausting itself in the creation and meeting of every (then) conceivable nuanced need. Now that a new . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

CANLII Tops Up Ontario Based SCC Decisions

Today’s press release:

Dear users,

The Law Foundation of Ontario has funded a large project to extend the historical coverage of CanLII’s case law databases. This project’s first results are already available to our users. All Supreme Court of Canada decisions originating from Ontario back to 1876 are now published on CanLII in searchable HTML and PDF-image format.

The project’s next phase will bring you all Court of Appeal for Ontario decisions that were appealed at the Supreme Court of Canada. In a third phase, CanLII will publish all reported Ontario Superior Court of Justice cases back to 1994.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

The Friday Fillip

Astute readers of this feature (and some of the rest of you, too) will have noticed that I tend towards non-verbal Friday Fillips, seeking, I guess, relief from the “jaw-jaw” that is law. Graphics, music — these are the stuff of nolaw. Well today I bring you a wondrous combination of these two. Kenji Kojima has created a small application (that runs on both Windows and Mac) called the RGB Music Lab. (The RGB stands for red, green, blue, the channels of instruction given to graphics programs to produce all colours.) The simple notion is this: you drop a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Another Research Lawyer in the Courts

We were discussing the role of the research lawyer in law firms the other day. In his post, Ted mentioned the oft-cited example of Bertha Wilson, the former research lawyer who, as we all know, went on to be a highly respected Court of Appeal and Supreme Court Justice. Today the federal Minister of Justice appointed Jo’Anne Strekaf to the Alberta Bench. Jo’Anne Justice Strekaf is (or was?) a leading competition lawyer, but also a longtime member of Bennett Jones’s research practice group. I am enjoying my perception that there is some significance in the announcement‘s express mention of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law