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The Nerd Handbook: Who Me?

The blog Rands in Repose just published a Nerd Handbook, ostensibly aimed at helping someone attached to a nerd understand that nerd. Here the nerd is understood in terms of involvement with a computer.

You could, of course, understand the handbook as applying to lawyers or legal librarians, it seems to me. The fit isn’t perfect (observation 5 doesn’t carry over for lawyers in my experience), but it’s enough to give one pause.

Herewith the topic heads from the handbook, with substitutions suggested where appropriate, and a few quotes under the first heading to give you the flavour:

  1. Understand
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Legal Threats Database Launched


The Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP) today unveiled its new Legal Threats Database (, a catalog of the growing number of lawsuits, cease and desist letters, and other legal challenges faced by those engaging in online speech. This publicly accessible database — already containing hundreds of entries — will provide lawyers, citizen journalists, and mainstream media alike with a valuable resource for assessing the validity and possible outcomes of legal threats to online speech, based on actual cases and legal actions.

Center for Citizen Media Press Release

The Citizen Media Law Project is an affiliate of both Harvard’s Berkman . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

A Prophylactic for MTDs

The StupidFilter Project: Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.”
*MTDs = Memetically Transmitted Diseases, similar in concept to STDs. After all, communication is a form of intercourse. I haven’t seen this acronym before, so maybe I’ve coined one.
The dictionary (Random House Unabridged) includes these definitions of intercourse.

1. dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.
2. interchange of thoughts, feelings, etc.

Those of us old enough (or otherwise informed) will remember the remarkable euphemisim: “criminal conversation”. (It’s related to the third of the definitions.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Word Perhect

Click image to enlarge

Because we at Slaw work hard to ensure that you are kept up to date on the latest developments, particularly as far as technology is concerned, it is with great pleasure that we draw your attention to a new online word processor, Word Perhect. It is my consdidered opinion that you will find it a hoot, a riot and generally quite witty. As an extra bonus, there is the fact that it works, more or less.

PS. Be sure to try the food, drink and smoke buttons in the second toolbar.

[via Things Magazine] . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip: A Slaw Six

A Slaw 6 – It’s a Draw

Not one thing today, but six, “A Slaw Six,” a new flick of the fillip that I’ll try from time to time.

1. indexed

A blog of witty sketched graphs and Venn diagrams on 5 x 8 index cards.

2. Bob Truby’s Brand Name Pencils

“a visual encounter with the incredibly diverse world of brand name pencils”

3. JetPens

Japanese pens and stationery. (Okay, okay, and pencils too.)

4. (Online) Etch a Sketch

An oldie but a goodie. Draw, rinse, repeat.

5. Road Signs: Children’s hair-dress world-wide

Monsieur Jean – coiffeur – displays . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Meaning of Everything, by Everyone

Well, not by everyone, but by the efforts of thousands of people at least. That’s how the giant Oxford English Dicitionary was created, as pretty much everyone knows.

Reading The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester recently, I was struck by a few parallels between then and now — or, rather, between that and this. One thought was that this is a pretty good illustration of the wisdom of crowds, so popular nowadays. Of course, it depends on the crowd you hang with as to how wise the product will turn out to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Demonstration Outside Downing Street

The Law Society is calling for lawyers to participate in a demonstration at Downing Street about developments in Pakistan.

Supporting lawyers in Pakistan

Thursday 08 November 2007

The Law Society, the Bar Council, and the Association of Muslim Lawyers have raised strong concerns about the treatment of lawyers in Pakistan following their demonstrations in support of the rule of law. Andrew Holroyd, Law Society president said:

‘Events in Pakistan must be of concern to everyone who supports the rule of law, and they underline once again that the rule of law is nothing without lawyers. I can think of no . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

LegalPubs One Week Later

I won’t bombard Slaw readers with a weekly report, but wanted to relay my thanks after a really great first week for LegalPubs. Over the past 7 days, the website has averaged over a hundred visitors a day, and the RSS feed more than 3500 product views. See the stats graphic below:

After some tinkering, I’ve got the new product email alerts working, and have added a mobile version using the same service as Slaw. I’m not sure how many librarians are doing their collection development work on a blackberry, but it was a 15 minute addition, and certainly . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

News Re Pakistan via the Google AJAX News Bar

At the top of Slaw’s home page you should see an experiment with the new Google AJAX News Bar. I’ve asked it to return news of “Pakistan” “Musharraf” or “Bhutto”, giving you the search term, the source and the title to the item. Linked news items are set to open in a new window.

I won’t leave this in place forever, but I thought it might be of interest first of all because it demonstrates a new way of displaying a news search and second because of the concern I’m sure we all have about the state of law . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Social Media and Corporate Reputation

The Conference Board of Canada’s report “What Others Think of You Matters: Manage and Boost Your Corporate Reputation Using Social Media” (creating a free e-Library account is required to access the report) discusses the steps involved in creating an effective corporate social media strategy. The steps discussed include:

FIND: Begin with a reputation audit. What are consumers saying about you on Facebook, MySpace, blogs, etc?

LISTEN: Read the online conversations/comments about you.

PLAN: Make the information that you collected in the previous steps actionable. How do you want to position your company/firm? Do you want to develop relationships . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Powerset Labs Invitations

Back in June I wrote about Powerset, a start-up aiming to become an important natural language search engine. At the time I said, “I’m probably wrong, but this one feels like it might go a mile or two.”

Since then I’ve become one of the Powerset Labs volunteers, let into the alpha test phase, and if anything my sense has strengthened that these people are on to something important and useful. Along with perhaps a couple hundred other active volunteer testers — there’s growning bench strength, and I imagine more and more will move from passive to active roles . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous

World’s Silliest Laws and Weirdest Cases

The British Broadcasting Corporation has a report about a survey to choose the most bizarre and ridiculous laws still on the books in the UK.

Some 4,000 people took part in the poll by the British television channel UKTV Gold.

Among the silliest laws, according to the vox populi (or is that vox dei?):

  • It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
  • It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down
  • In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants
  • It is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation