Drown Your Cell Phone? Here's How To Fix It.

Cell Phone In A ToiletYou’re out in the rain with your phone and you drop it in a puddle. Or you’re talking while you’re in the bathroom (yes, I know you do it from time to time – stop with that, “Who, me?” look). Or you’re in the kitchen and the darn thing slips from your hands and lands in the sink.

Whatever – your phone is wet. And it’s dead. And that sucks because you just got a very cool, tricked out cell phone that does everything short of making you coffee in the morning (though wouldn’t it be cool if there were an app you could download for such a task?) and you don’t want to spend $400 on a new one.

I stumbled across this neat post about how to quickly fix a phone with water damage. Give it a read and try out the tips for saving your mobile buddy next time you need to (and you will).

Photo courtesy of jeremy.plemon.

Phone Tag And The Virtual Lawyer

Virtual Lawyers Maximizing Voice Mail Time For Increased EfficiencyAs we become more location-independent in our lives and practices, lawyers need to remember that they’re still going to have to keep dealing with phone calls.  Judges don’t use email as much as one would hope (they’d need to cc: opposing counsel every time they sent a message, which would be a pain), and clients sometimes need to get the “warm and fuzzies” by talking with their lawyer voice-to-voice.

And with telephones comes voice mail hell – phone tag.  I call you, you call me back, round and round it goes.  And the more time you spend volleying back and forth between voice mail systems, the less productive you are.

So you’ve got to reduce the time spent on messages, right?

How you leave a message impacts your phone tag footprint.  Here are four steps to reducing yours – and gaining value time for more productive pursuits:

  1. Before you pick up the phone to make another call, think about what you want to say when you hit voice mail (and you will).
  2. Clarify your questions prior to making the call.
  3. Be prepared to speak immediately (so you don’t waste valuable voice mail time on verbal pauses).
  4. In your voice mail, state (a) your name; (b) your phone number; (c) your email address; (d) the best means to contact you back; (e) exactly why you’re calling; and (e) what you would like the recipient of the message to do when they respond to your call.

By taking these simple steps you’ll reduce the back-and-forth inherent in voice mail messages, maximize the time you’ve got “on tape,” and start accomplishing more in your office.

Photo courtesy of jypsygen.

Untethered Video Conferencing Comes To iPhone

iPhone_with_fringFring is a essentially an instant messaging platform that allows you to use AOL, MSN, Yahoo and all the other popular instant messaging systems.  It supports Skype calls as well, and works on the iPhone.

Big deal, you say.  Skype has an iPhone app.

Ever make a video call on your iPhone with Skype?  As of now, you can’t do it.

You can with Fring.

Rock on!  Now you can make video calls with your iPhone using Fring.  How cool is that?

Hat tip to the VOIP & Gadgets Blog for the information about this new functionality.

Unbundled Legal Services Permitted In Kansas

On November 24, 2009 the Kansas Bar Association released Legal Ethics Opinion No. 09-01.  The opinion was prompted by a request from a Kansas attorney as to (a) whether the Kansas Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee approved the determination in ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 07-446 and (b) concerning the extent to which, if  any, the assistance of a lawyer under a limited scope of representation should be disclosed.

In response, the Kansas Bar Association held that:

Unbundled legal services are permitted under the Rules of Professional Conduct, so long as (a) the limited scope of representation is clearly communicated to the client in writing, (b) the client gives informed consent in writing, (c) any document prepared by the attorney is marked “Prepared with the Assistance of Counsel,” and (d) the attorney complies with all other applicable court rules, including rules of ethics.

The opinion can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on this link.

What do you think about the legal ethics opinion?  If you practice in Kansas, what does this mean to your business and how you deal with clients?

Hat tip to Topeka bankruptcy lawyer Jill Michaux for sending me the opinion.

Saving GMail To Your Hard Drive

GMail Backup

Lots of lawyers use Gmail for their email needs, be it the standard “@gmail.com” version of the wildly-popular Google Apps. But we get nervous when it comes to keeping all of that valuable electronic data in the cloud. What if the messages are lost? What if I don’t have Internet access just when I need to get that attachment?

You’ve got a few options.

First, just use IMAP to download your email from the Google servers and keep it in sync between your computer and the cloud. It takes awhile the first go around, but if that’s how you routinely access Gmail then it’s pretty quick and reliable.

This is the option I use, and it works perfectly.  I can access my GMail account 24/7/365, and I’m always confident in my ability to get my hands on important messages and attachments whenever I want to do so.

There is, however, a second option.  You could go with GMail Backup, which is free. This is especially handy if you’re bumping up to your storage limit and don’t feel like opening up a second GMail account.

GMail Backup saves and restores a full archive of your Gmail email account. The downside is that though It’s available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, you get a graphical interface only with Windows. If you’re on a Mac or Linux, you’re forced to work through Terminal to get it done.

I’ve used GMail Backup on my Mac, and it wasn’t a big deal to use Terminal and go it without a graphical interface.  But I’m a geek, so I get it if you’re not keen on the idea of tinkering under the hood.