Solo Practice = Better Get To Know Your Computer System

Once again, I learn the value of adaptability.

Working diligently on my laptop with two external monitors for a three-screen setup, the two external monitors froze with the image of whatever they were displaying.  Since the cursor was on Display #2, for a moment it appeared that the computer froze.

After some research on the remaining active display, I learned that the problem was probably the docking station (Toshiba Dynadock).

One firmware update, one DisplayLink update, several reboots, lots of plugging and unplugging later, I am finally back up in running in triplicate!  The last piece of the puzzle was to unplug the docking station to get those images out of the memory and off of the two external displays.

Previously, the biggest issue with the docking station was due to the fact that if it was plugged in at startup, Windows wouldn’t launch.  This means unplugging it every time I turn the computer on.  Since the update, I have been able to boot up with the docking station attached to the laptop so far.  We’ll see if this continues.

Chalk up one hour of time not spent doing legal work and billing.

My Favorite Apps For Work – url2pdf

Have you ever found yourself reading a webpage on a mobile device and thought, “I wish I had a .pdf of this so I could mark this up and save it”?

Since I read a lot of cases and article on my tablet that I share with you good folks (you’re welcome), I was tormented by this thought.  Or concerned.  Or mildly annoyed.

url2pdf does just what its name suggests.  It takes a URL and converts the page into a .pdf file suitable for framing.  I use it for highlighting or marking up documents as I would a paper file.

The interface is sparse, to be charitable.  However, it is easy to use and doesn’t require much in the way of instruction.

It is amazing how such a small, free, simple app can make portable devices so convenient.  It is another tool that turns that turns my tablet from a glorified reader to a mobile workstation.

 

My Favorite Apps For Work – LectureNotes

I never used a tablet at The Big Firm.  I had the firm-issued Blackberry and my own iPhone, but I was not a fan of integrating my personal electronics with the firm’s system.

I was also not an early adopter for tablets.  However, since I went solo, I started using a tablet frequently.  I tend to use it for reading articles and as a replacement for printouts.  This leads me to LectureNotes.

LectureNotes is an Android app for taking notes on the screen.  Simple enough, as there are many apps that do this, including the native apps that were pre-installed on the tablet.

LectureNotes is great for the note-taking function, but what really sets it apart is when it is paired with PDFView.  PDFView renders .pdf documents for viewing and marking on LectureNotes.  You can import .pdf’s to have them available to mark them up as if they were paper documents.  You can customize the size and color of the “pen” you use and note deletions, insertions and notes.  It also allows you to organize your documents in a customizable way.

You may say that Adobe Reader does the same thing, and it does.  However, I found that there is far less latency in LectureNotes when I am marking up a document than when I use Adobe Reader.  The fraction of a second latency in Adobe Reader is enough to catch my attention and break my concentration as I stop to make sure the program recognized that I was writing.

LectureNotes is priced at less than $5.00 at this writing and worth it.  PDFView is free.  Paired together, they are responsible for a great deal of changing how I interact with documents.

 

Finally Completed CLE For The Year

My CLE year, that is.  With about a week to go, I had 0.5 hours remaining for my outstanding required CLE credits.  One Supreme Court Securities Law Litigation Update a buffet lunch of pot roast at the Dallas Bar Association, and I’m 0.5 credits ahead for 2014!

I will be posting about CLE resources for the solo practitioner soon.  It is another of those adjustments from big firm life that must be considered.

Be Your Own IT Dept. – Applying a Protective Screen Shield to Your Mobile Device

Due to very pressing professional needs that had nothing to do with Angry Birds, I bought an Asus Transformer tablet.  I wanted an Android tablet rather than an iPad since I do some Android development in my spare time.  See my apps here.  And buy them.  This blog ain’t paying for itself.

Since I intend to use it as a paper substitute with a stylus, I figured I needed a screen protector and settled on Armorsuit.  Unfortunately, the application method involves “washing hands” and “solutions” and squeegying.  The final product is streaky and bubbly, but from the comments I read this is to be expected while the solution dries.

I’m supposed to leave it off for 12 to 24 hours and the bubbles and streaks should eventually go away.  The website says it can be removed without residue, so I have that going for me.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s how YouTube says to do it:

Best comment:  “If I leave my phone off for 24 hours, my family and friends will most likely think I’m dead.”

The High Cost of Avoiding Higher Costs

I have a very long ‘to do’ list for setting up the new solo practice.  There is a ton of stuff that my old firm used to handle for me.  I never paid any mind to any of it.  And now I have to arrange for lots of stuff, including professional liability insurance.

Where to start?  I was going to go through the Texas bar program for insurance, but I read that they won’t write insurance if your securities practice is too large.  My may become too large, but its difficult to know since I won’t have any clients when I start.  I got a recommendation for a broker from a friend who had a solo practice a few years ago.

I await the estimates for the policy early next week, but the securities coverage is expensive.  The securities rider to the application was lengthy and was not particularly well suited to a new practice that is disconnected to the old practice.  For example, as a solo practitioner, it is unlikely that I’ll be representing underwriters in initial public offerings, but that had been a major part of my practice over the last few years.  And yet, the rider was focused on extrapolating the last year or so of my practice over the next year for coverage.  We’ll see how it turns out.