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Will MSM Kill the Internet Star?

In today’s Star, David Olive notes an interesting phenomenon,

A funny thing happened on the way to blogosphere dominance of the global conversation. Many of the most prominent bloggers have hitched their wagons to the traditional mainstream media (MSM). Yes, the same MSM that bloggers, or Internet diarists, ceaselessly ridiculed as slaves to conventional wisdom…

It works the other way, of course. The Toronto Star is in the company of scores of MSM outlets, broadcast and print, in “repurposing” traditional journalists into bloggers. Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman completes the points he makes in his New York Times

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Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Statutes and URLs, Part 1

I had occasion recently to work with some URLs for legislation and was struck yet again by the peculiarity of fetching and “citing” statutes in this way when on or linking to the internet. I have some narrow, specific concerns, that I’ll talk about in this post; and then in Part 2 I’ll wander a bit in the land of speculation, to see how else it might be done.

Here and now I want to complain about long, illegible URLs, the kind that represent the raw output of queries to a database. This is not the first time by any . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Firm Guest Blogger: Borden Ladner Gervais

Our firm guest blogger this month is Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, who have kindly provided us with this firm profile:

At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), It Begins With Service.

BLG is a leading, full-service, integrated national law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions for our clients. With more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo Region, clients turn to us for assistance with their legal needs, from major litigation to corporate finance and patent registration.

Our goal at BLG is to provide our clients with

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Notes on the Panopticon

Simon makes a very good point. Some footnotes from this week’s internet eye:

How difficult is it to disappear, now that most routine life events require a login? Wired article:

Financially he was beyond overextended. A gadget lover whose spending always seemed to exceed his income, he had begun shifting his personal expenses to his corporate credit card — first dinner and drinks, then a washer and dryer, then family vacations. In early February, when an Eaton official emailed to inquire about his expense reports, he felt everything closing in. He began devising a plan to escape.

Even . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

The Friday Fillip

The internet is a panopticon. Not the prison that Bentham designed (“a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”) — that charming role has now fallen to CCTV, thankfully not on the public internet and not so widespread in Canada as it might be. No, I’m thinking of the humble, ubiquitous webcam. Thanks to those little devices and hundreds of thousands of volunteer computers, we can see pretty much whatever we might wish to, from wherever we might be: tourism as voyeurism (if it wasn’t that to begin with).

The very first . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Supreme Court Decisions Now Announced on Twitter

This is just a quick note to say that I’ve added announcements of recent Supreme Court decisions to the roster of Twitter feeds at CanCourts ( As with announcements about court of appeal judgments from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, these are provided by the RSS feed from CanLII, and so they are a week or more behind the actual release date.

I should mention that this link between the RSS feeds and Twitter depends upon a free service provided by They depend on donations, so if you use these feeds you might feel like supporting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

A Grumpy Post on Manners….

♬We’re talking ’bout manners, nice manners,
Manners make you feel good
Manners, nice manners.
Manners make you feel so good,
They make you feel so good.
They make you feel so good.♬

Lyrics and music by Cathy Bollinger, “Manners”.

Perhaps it is a factor of growing older…perhaps it is a recognition that social etiquette (along with ethics) are not just welcome but necessary, or perhaps it is just a fact that I seem to have an increasingly striking resemblance to a certain disgruntled elf in Snow White (as an aside, if ‘disgruntled’ means grumpy, what does ‘gruntled’ mean????? Was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

25 Years of PowerPoint

The BBC reminds us today that Microsoft’s PowerPoint (love it or loathe it) is twenty five years old.

Two Slaw contributors (Dan P and Simon C) have a sideline as the PowerPoint Twins and have illustrated the best and worst of the programme to audiences in three countries. We can dazzle you with the absolute worst slides you’ll ever see in two minutes,

Here is the handout from a presentation in Mexico and Simon F’s ambiguous relationship with the pervasive presentation tool.

Notwithstanding Edward Tufte and David Byrne, PowerPoint is here to stay.

Of course what every PowerPoint . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Technology and Tequila

Tom Shumate has a good article up on Law Practice Today titled Computers, Tequila and Hand Guns: Controlling Technology So It Doesn’t Control You. The tips he offers on managing technology are all good reminders of taking a common sense approach. See the section headers for those recommendations:

  • Double-Check Everything
  • Slow Down
  • Set boundaries
  • Schedule it
  • Monotask

The funny part for me is that I’ve met Tom at some of the LPM section events, and he’s as polite as they come. Almost Canadian. So for him to lead with a quote about “tequila and hand guns”; and then . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

URL Shorteners Unite

The Christian Science Monitor reports today that a number of URL shortening services have agreed to cooperate by sending data to a common storage mechanism created as an archive for this purpose.

There has been a good deal of discussion — and concern — recently about the fate of shortened hyperlinks should another shortening service close down, as did not long ago. The hope is that this archive, currently hosted and managed by Gnip, will preserve crucial linkage between long and short URLs even despite the failure of a service.

The CSM reports that “, Twitter’s default link . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Flat World Texts: Sort of Free, Sort of Good, Sort of in Your Future

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman declared in his book that “The World is Flat,” by which he meant that globalization had levelled the playing field so that all countries might now compete on more or less the same terms. Since its first publication four years ago, technological changes have only made the world flatter yet, as anyone who has taken a look at legal outsourcing to offshore jurisdictions must realize.

Flat World Knowledge, a publisher of texts, wants us to see how technology can make books more readily and cheaply available to college and university . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Current Awareness in the Current World

How do I monitor things, let me count the ways. The many, many, many ways.

Twitter, Google Reader (yes, I switched), Facebook status updates, LinkedIn groups, internal firm communications, and very significantly print that comes in the mail.

One item that I used to monitor in print is the Canada Gazette. I made a decision to monitor it in print years ago because I was afraid of missing something if I had to remember to go to a website to retrieve it. This unfortunate choice of media nearly caused me to miss the proclamation of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous