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Technology 4 Lives

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

“Nutella covered person,” and other psychotic Google searches leading to my blog

Every so often, I like to check Google Analytics to see what search terms are leading people to my website. This is the sort of endeavor that always seems like a good idea until you actually do it, and then you feel a sort of dirtiness that all the soap, water, and acetone in the world cannot remove.

Most of the search terms were pretty obvious, consisting of the names of specific people mentioned in posts, and the occasional legal search term. A handful, though, range from amusing to bemusing to downright macabre. Screencaps and commentary to follow (click screencaps to embiggen).

I. A darkly-amusing variant on some previous posts:

Google search: how is john thomas ford doing in jail

Search term #45: “how is john thomas ford doing in jail”

I sure couldn’t tell you. As far as I know, he’ll be there a while. Ask somebody who cares.

II. I guess I could see how this led you to me, but…

Google search: "i don't heart caplocks"

Search term #46: ”i don’t heart caplocks”

Neither do I. People who type with caps lock on make me very, very ANGRY.

III. You came to the wrong place for this:

Google search: "boobs"

Search term #35: “boobs”

Nothing to see here. Move along….

Google search: "utah boobs"

Search term # 59: “utah boobs”

Um, I did once write a post with both “boobs” and “Utah” in the title, but that only explains my side of this equation.

Is there something about boobs in Utah that merits such a specific search? Have I been living under a delusion that boobs are pretty much the same all over the world? I tried Googling to see what I could learn, but I just ended up back on my own site.

Google search: "sexy pics online"

Search term #57: “sexy pics online”

The fact that someone actually clicked on a website called Wells Law Office looking for “sexy pics” makes me very, very concerned for the future of this country.

IV. Wait, what?

Google search: "nutella covered person"

Search term #54: “nutella covered person”

V. Now I am scared…

Google search: "rape sex in an elevator"

Search term #27: “rape sex in an elevator”

I assume this led to my post on “Elevatorgate” from last summer. I cannot fathom, nor do I wish to fathom, what one person searching three times expected to find.

Google search: "www.animalsdog.com xxx"

Search term #60: ”www.animalsdog.com xxx”

Ummm, uh…..I, uh……um…….

Thank you all for coming. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here, but I think it is clear that the internet is over. Everyone please back away quietly…..

At least I know that the people doing these particular searches did not actually spend any time on my site.

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Networked cars, and legal stuff that comes from that or something

Lexus Gen V navigation systemFor my second (and last) CLE session at South by Southwest, I went to something called “The Automobile As Network Node.” I’m going to quote from the course materials, because I really didn’t understand any of it:

Automobiles are increasingly connected to computer networks and are used to collect, use and share vehicle-related information. They also provide a delivery mechanism for driving, entertainment and other content and information. This panel will discuss legal issues arising out of and related to the collection, use and disclosure of vehicle-related information and related emerging legal issues of data use in or related to vehicles.

Aside from an unintentional bad pun, I can’t say I got much out of this. That’s entirely my fault, for not having any foundation that would allow me to understand the material. I did learn the word telematics, whose definition is roughly paraphrased as the “intersection of when the vehicle knows where it is located and has the ability to engage in two-way communication.” The original idea was to allow a person who needed help to call for it, using embedded mobile technology. I am fuzzy on the technology and the legal issues.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself, because this means I checked out on a seminar on intelligent cars. Dangit.

It did yield the best audience question ever, though: “Are self-driving cars plausible from a legal standpoint?”

I wish I could remember the answer.

Photo credit: Enigma3542002 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

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May I serve as a cautionary example to young lawyers everywhere (UPDATED)

As I attend the South by Southwest Interactive Festival this week, I suppose one could say my transition from a law-focused career to a writing-focused career is turning a corner or something. I’ll have to work on that sales pitch a bit more.

It got me thinking about anything I might have to offer young lawyers trying to do what I did over the past decade, and a few tweeting colleagues helped me realize the biggest piece of advice I could possibly give: get a freaking mentor.

'Manta Ray, Kona Coast, Hawaii' by SteveD on Flickr

I couldn't find a good stock photo for "mentor," so here's a manta ray instead

If you are a young, newbie lawyer condemned by the economy to solo practice, get a mentor. Stop whatever you are doing, I don’t care if it’s cooking breakfast, driving down the interstate, or even getting some. Just stop, ponder the type of law you are trying to practice, and find a mentor. A Twitter exchange yesterday between veteran lawyer Antonin Pribetic and newbie Stephanie Toronto encompasses the importance of mentoring. (Of course I had to respond too, and that inspired this post).

As a second, somewhat-related piece of advice, I’d say this: don’t obsess over technology. Gadgets are awesome, but technology changes constantly and the practice of law changes pretty much never. Young lawyers, myself included, can get hung up on having the most-efficient doo-dads. Read Scott Greenfield’s post about the dangers of tech innovation in a law practice, especially when you deal with serious legal matters like criminal or family law, where the cost of an inconvenient computer crash could mean someone goes to prison or loses custody of their children. Sometimes taking notes on a legal pad makes sense, is what I’m saying.

I did not have anything resembling a mentor for years after I started practicing, and it showed. In my first year, I left the courthouse almost in tears on multiple occasions (at least I waited until I got to the car, most of the time) out of a sense of shame, embarrassment, or just plain ol’ fear. Fear because I never quite knew what to expect when I walked into a courtroom. Of course there is always uncertainty when you go into court, but I mean I sometimes literally had no idea what was going to happen. That was bad for me psychologically, but it was potentially far, far worse for my clients. I was doing family law, and my then-law partners’ criminal practice had several assault with family violence cases that led to divorces. These were not simple cases. They were highly emotional and combative, with every conceivable issue that could be disputed in dispute. Luck was an enormous factor in warding off disaster.

I went to CLE seminars on divorce, and I took advantage of the list of more-experienced lawyers who had agreed to offer their wisdom to us upstarts. I always called them with a strange sense of fear or shame, as if I was exposing too much of my ignorance by admitting there was something I did not know. I have no idea where that notion came from but it is (and let me be clear) utter, complete, and highly destructive bullshit. Of course you don’t know what you’re doing – you just started doing it!

The only people who expect a brand new lawyer to perform perfectly in court are clients, judges, and juries.

And they are the only people whose opinions matter at the end of the day.

So how do you find a mentor? Again, I was never very good at it, but here are a few tips anyway:

1. The courthouse. If you’re there all the time, try talking to other lawyers there. You might get blown off a lot, but you never know who you might meet.

2. Local bar associations. Many cities and towns have their own lawyer organizations that offer opportunities for CLE, networking, and even mentoring. Some even have official mentoring programs.

3. Actually, that’s a long enough list for now.

Where should you not go to find a mentor? A few places spring to mind:

1. Craigslist

2. Answers.yahoo.com

3. Bus stops

4. Bars frequented by college students

5. Me

As a final note, if you are in court, arguing an objection, and you suddenly realize that you just recited nearly-verbatim an objection you heard Jack McCoy make on “Law and Order,” it is time to get a mentor. Or a new career. Up to you.

UPDATED (03/23/2012): Corrected an unfortunate spelling error.

Photo credit: ‘Manta Ray, Kona Coast, Hawaii’ by SteveD on Flickr.

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I wasn’t going to the ABA Techshow anyway, but here’s another reason

I received this in the mail a few weeks ago:

Yes, the keynote speaker at the American Bar Association’s annual technology trade show will be Ben Stein. Info/Law has a good rundown of all the reasons why the ABA should be embarrassed by this. I’d just like to point out something that I hope will be obvious to everyone.

Their keynote speaker is a man whose entire claim to fame is a cameo performance in which he portrayed a singularly bad public speaker.

Well played, ABA.

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Pinterest is going to change the world. At a quantum level. Or something. I really don’t know.

People Who Use Pinterest  via ilovechartsI don’t get Pinterest. I’m not going to deny that many, many people seem to love it. It seems to primarily appeal to women, so (a) I can accept that perhaps I am just demographically excluded, and (b) I’m not going to overly bemoan something that millions of people seem to enjoy so much.

Its status as the fastest-growing social network is both impressive (12 million unique visitors) and relatively meaningless (6 or 7 years ago, most people had no idea what “social media” was). I signed up for Pinterest in January, and every day I get new followers, mostly because you can register through Facebook, and it will auto-follow your Facebook friends for you–every time one of my Facebook friends signs up, therefore, I get a new follower on Pinterest. It’s like signing up for a free friend-delivery service!

I also created a “board” (where you “pin” photos that you either upload to the site or link to elsewhere on the web) out of a sense of sarcasm. After encountering a series of pictures of Nutella-coated bacon on the aptly-named Geeks are Sexy site, I had an epiphany. As soon as I figured out that Firefox’s cut-and-paste function for some reason does not work well with Pinterest’s code, the “Food porn” board was born. It currently has 182 followers. All it requires is occasional Google image searches of phrases like “key lime pie” and “bacon-covered meat.”

It should be no surprise, therefore, that this website, which only went fully public a little over a year ago, has “experts” in its use in small business marketing. Anyone with the ability to use the word “expert” with no apparent sense of irony can become a “social media expert” in this day and age.

Nutella-covered bacon, via Pinterest, via geeksaresexyOf interest to people who care about such things is the suspicion that Pinterest might actually be a massive, albeit possibly unintentional, mechanism for enabling copyright infringement. At its most basic level, Pinterest is a means to post other peoples’ pictures online with no requirement of correct attribution. Of course, the entire internet is a mechanism for failing to attribute copyrighted material correctly, but Pinterest has made it so much easier. It’s like Flickr for stealing.

Also, as everyone by now knows, the site may have some interesting ways of making money.

I’m not holding my breath that Pinterest is going to change the world. For every revolution aided by social media’s ability to connect people, there are around 2,000 boards that really only help some recent sorority member pick the perfect tiara for her wedding.

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You have until Thursday before Google gets all up in your stuff

Child Saluting American FlagAnyone using any sort of Google product has now had ample opportunity to not read the terms of its new “unified privacy policy,” which will align the various privacy policies of its many different services (searches, YouTube, Gmail, secretly searching for LOLcats saying dirty words, etc.)

As of March 1, 2012, the new policy will go into effect, and data collected from your search history will become available to other Google services, for marketing purposes (h/t ABA Journal).

You ought to know what that means: those late-night searches for pictures of tree sloths eating bananas will become part of the algorithm used to target advertisements at you. Some people may not want that.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who is fast becoming one of the most relevant advocacy groups in the world (thanks, SOPA!) has a step-by-step guide to removing your entire Google search history ahead of the big day.

I tried doing it, and Google is telling me that I do not even have have “Web History” turned on. I’m not sure how that could be, since I tend to sign up for new internet and social media services without even thinking about it, but maybe this means all my secrets are safe…

Of course, Google will record all of your searches no matter what, but you can opt not to have your history get shared for marketing purposes. Your search history will always be available to law enforcement, of course.

Just thought you should know about this.

Photo credit: Child Saluting American Flag by JefferyTurner, on Flickr.

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Grandpa lawyer doesn’t understand your newfangled technoggoly

I wrote the headline to this post on August 17, 2011, and I saved a draft that only consisted of four URL’s. Honestly, I have no idea exactly where I was going to go with this, but the headline was too, uh, weird not to post. Rather than try to piece together exactly what sort of thesis I was going after almost four months ago, I’ll just link to the articles that so inspired me.

Obviously it was something about older lawyers eschewing newfangled technology.

cat
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

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I knew Google Analytics was a good idea!

I signed up for Google Analytics three days ago. For those who don’t know, it is a service that tells you how people are getting to your site, how long they stay there (average 2 minutes 45 seconds so far), and what search terms lead people to your site. That’s where it gets good.

I’m flattered at item #5. Honestly, MyLife.com has nothing on this service.

It’s item #6 that has piqued my curiosity. Let me go on the record, here and now, that if you want information on getting laid in law school, I am the last person you want to talk to.

Carry on.

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