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Xerox Seeks New Image

Xerox, a company that’s been part of your daily life for seemingly ever, is fed up with our thinking “copy” when we hear their name. (Hell, I still use xerox as a verb.) They do many more things than make copiers and want “a brand identity that reflects the Xerox of today,” as their vice-president of advertising says. So they’ve ditched the capital X and now will use this new logo:

I can’t say I’m impressed by the ball thingy. The 3-D look that’s popular nowadays will soon be out — if it isn’t already — and weren’t we using . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The EULAlyzer

Having been trained in the law, we all know better than to just click “I agree” to the next software licence agreement that pops up when you try to install that new widget on your computer. Of course, none of us do actually read the agreement, and the software ends up changing your start page and installing the yahoo toolbar into your browser.

If you have no interest in reading the lengthy contract, but still want to know whether you can expect that widget to also serve you some pop-up ads, the EULAlyzer promises to do the reading for you. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

OA at the NIH, and Reactions.

On Dec. 26 the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a legislative requirement (see here, choose HR 2764, and browse for National Institues of Health, then see sec. 218) to make all of its publicly-funded research results available online for free. A summary of the event with comments and links to reactions was published by Peter Suber in his SPARC Open Access Newsletter on Jan. 2, and, here is a preprint of an article on the news, which is to appear in an upcoming Information Today. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Facebook and Publication Bans

Howard Elliott of the Hamilton Spectator, in today’s editorial, says “Facebook … is threatening to render some Canadian laws irrelevant.” Noting that two youths had been charged with first degree murder in the case of Stefanie Rengel, Elliott complained that the two accused were “still legally anonymous. Except on Facebook, where they’ve been identified repeatedly by name and photograph.” Elliott calls for an end to the double standard, “in the name of civil society in cyberspace.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Wikia Search Engine Online

The alpha version is out of Wikia, the search engine from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame. Note the clean uncluttered Google-look. And note, too, that it quite correctly brings up Slaw first when searching on “slaw.” Apart from that, though, the Wikia team confesses that: “We are aware that the quality of the search results is low…” But they hope to improve them over the next little while.

You can get an account and help out, if you want, in true Wikipedia fashion. Jimmy says:

Right now, the most important thing you can do is help with the “miniarticles”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

08 Predictions

As this is my first post of ot8, I thought I would plant my tongue firmly in cheek and make some semi-serious, law-technology-Slaw predictions:

Over the next year…

  • Online/Technology Privacy will become a much bigger issue in the mainstream.
  • Someone or thing makes a small dent in Google’s search monopoly owing to privacy concerns (see Ask Eraser).
  • The settlement of the Hollywood writer’s strike will have implications for the online distribution of content that are not yet anticipated.
  • Google, MS or another larger fish will make an astronomical offer for Facebook.
  • There will be a Federal election.
  • There will
. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Practice Imperfect

At the Chicago office of Perkins Coie, partners recently unveiled a “happiness committee,” offering candy apples and milkshakes to brighten the long and wearying days of its lawyers.

No this is not a joke. According to Alex Williams, “The Falling-Down Professions” in Sunday’s New York Times, other firms are trying to retain associates with means that appeal not simply to a sweet tooth, means such as money, for example, while others use a simple, dignified “Thank you.”

This is all part of a broader examination in the article of the unhappiness of some lawyers and doctors under the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Malaysian Edict

The Malaysian government has told a Christian publication, Herald, that it may not use the word Allah to refer to the Christian God. The story is carried by the BBC and, later, the New York Times, though I first heard about it on the sterling Language Log.

I’ve not been able to get my hands on the wording of the prohibition. It’s been put variously by the news sources, which typically say that the rule is that non-Muslims may not use the word Allah; but this, as Language Log pointed out, doesn’t seem right: the Herald would likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

The Friday Fillip

There are times when a challenge is what’s wanted and then there are other times. For me, at least, this is one of those. Other times, I mean. Gimme victories, lots of victories: too much snow, I think, too much cold, too much work piling up…

So, for those of you who, like me, don’t mind the occasional success no matter how easily arrived at, I present a couple of fun but winnable online games.

The Four Colour Problem offers you a small map of make-believe countries and four colours; you and the computer are to colour each land in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Readable Laws

There’s a U.S. wiki called Readable Laws that attempts to make American legislation come closer to plain speech than it does when leaving Congress. Because it’s an open wiki, this is a collaborative effort among those interested enough to join — which will make legal specialists shudder, no doubt.

Let me give you something of the flavour of the work being done. Here’s a passage from the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 (which seems sort of appropriate), a bill that has passed the House:

§2 (c) Limitations on Content of Information- The content of any testimony or document

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ditch the Resolutions

Welcome to January, the stern sister to December. While December is about gift giving and celebration, January arrives like the dreaded morning after bearing with it bill payments, back-to-work anxiety and of course the latest batch of New Year’s resolutions: “I will lose weight, build up my Linked-In network, post to my blog twice a week, go to the gym, and meet my billable hours target.”

There has got to be a better way to herald the New Year then marching to the orders of our inner drill sergeant.

I’m a professional business coach, goals and resolutions are the heart . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What “extinct” Research Tools Do You Miss?

The American Asssociation of Law Libraries sent an email to members today asking the following question: What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why?

They will publish the results in their Spectrum magazine and I will report back here on their results. Since I assume most of their responses will be based on American law-related resources, I thought I would throw the question out here specifically for any Canadian responses. What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research