Sunday, January 29, 2006

How likely is a BlackBerry blackout?

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Is a BlackBerry blackout likely? Most experts say no; patent fight over e-mail device is at key phase here next month."

Via Howard Bashman at How Appealing

RIM vs. NTP - The Whole Story

Slashdot links to a story this afternoon about the history of the RIM vs. NTP patent war.
"The Globe and Mail has published an article titled Patently Absurd, detailing the whole history of the RIM vs. NTP wireless war. It is a blow by blow account of how a dispute that could have been settled for a few million dollars is now 'a billion-dollar dagger hanging over RIM.'
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Got shells? is back

Got shells? is back and posting. He has a pointer to some cool Sharepoint utilities as well. He doesn't say how his upgrade to Prolaw 11 went, but we roll ours out in a week.

Teaching lawyers tech skills

Last week Slaw pointed to a story about teaching tech skills to lawyers. The story says law schools aren't doing their part.

Slaw is the co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and IT, and they do a great job.

No graphic image or animations for main page

This tips comes via Kevin O'Keefe at LexBlog. As Kevin points out, "Graphic images and animations are going to leave blank pages for Google. Nothing to read or index." I ran into this problem last week when searching for a local IT services firm. Kevin points to Law firm SEO which is the source of his post. The orginial post is from Ken Chan at the Legal SEO and Marketing Blog from Justia.

Protecting confidetial business data

Bob Coffield at Health Care Law Blog points out a post from The Healthcare IT Guy about protecting confidential business information. In the age of HIPAA and Oxley-Sarbanes this is especially true. As Bob points out the FTC issued a $10M against Choicepoint for a data breach which resulted in the compromise of nearly 160,000 consumer records last year.

Update: Bob points out in the comments, it's HIPAA not HIPPA. I've corrected the post. If you can't tell by reading the blog, I'm dyslexic, and sometimes it bites me in the arse.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

An example of what not to do with a professional services blog

Shel Israel, co- author of Naked Conversations, offers the McDonald's blog as a good example of what not to do with your law firm's or professional services business blog.

Via Kevin O'Keefe.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Web 2.0 in the law firm has a great post about Web 2.0 in the law firm: The Uneasy Lawyer And IT Dialogue.

Patrick Cormier writes:

As I read two recent posts on the subject topic (Business and I.T. Must Work Together to Manage New "Web 2.0″ Tools by Dennis D. McDonald and Jeremiah Owyang and The Lawyer-IT Dialogue by Simon Fodden), I realized how much of a universal challenge the relationship is - between lawyers and Information Technology (IT). Why is this relationship challenging?

Lawyers share a common context with their clients. Lawyers must be familiar with the problems and issues of their clients. On the other hand, bankruptcy & insolvency lawyers, criminalists and litigators (for example) are not, by default, knowledgeable about Information Technology in general and Web 2.0 in particular1. The lack of shared context between lawyers and IT is unfortunate, because Web 2.0 trends and technologies can benefit lawyers and law firms in a number of ways.

Execs fear freeze on their wireless e-mail devices

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Office 12 and Outlook 12 blogs

The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog has a list of other Microsoft blogs dealing with upcomming products.

Keeping up with court e-filing news

Ernest Svenson at PDF for Lawyers points out a blog about Electronic Filing and Electronic Service in Courts in the United States and elsewhere, and its RSS feed.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Supreme Court rejects BlackBerry patent appeal

MSNBC reports Supreme Court rejects BlackBerry patent appeal.

The question is: what now? Many users are concerned about a shudown of the service.

Further down in the story:
Attorney Herbert L. Fenster, who represents RIM, said the company is fighting the injunction. But he said an injunction would not end BlackBerry use among at least 1 million of its 3 million users in the United States.

Fenster said he believes federal law prohibits U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer from cutting off BlackBerry service to federal, state and local government users and others who rely on the devices to communicate during a public emergency.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Five Blogospheres in One Blogiverse

Oncee@Blogger: Five Blogospheres in One Blogiverse

Steven Streight at Blog Core Values says there are 5 Blogospheres in One Blogiverse.
(1.) Social Connection Youth IM-Blogosphere: Xanga, LiveJournal, MySpace, etc.

(2.) Mature Personal-Hobby-Family Blogosphere

(3.) Business-Marketing-PR-CEO-Corporate Blogosphere

(4.) Meta Blogosphere (Blog Consultants, Blogologists, Blog Metric Analysts, Blog Trackers, Blog Content Syndicaters/Aggregators, Blog Services, Blogging Tool Providers, Blog Hosts, Blog Directories, etc.)

(5.) Professional/Military/Educational Blogosphere

I agree. I've had a Live Journal account since 1999. It's a much more social place than the rest of the blogosphere. I moved to Blogger a couple of years ago, because it was more "blog like."

Each kind of blog service has it's place. Diversity is a good thing.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Search anonymously

Reports Ambrogi reports anyone can search anonymously via Google and Yahoo using a site called Scroogle.

Open Office 2.0 in the law firm

Gregory Deatz at The Information Dirt Road says Open Office just isn't ready yet for the law office.

I've used Open Office on and off over the past two or three years. OO is just fine if you can't afford Word or Word Perfect, but there are a number of things it still doesn't do well. Read the review for details.

Eight mistakes when creating PowerPoint presentations

I had to create an PowerPoint presentation last week for the first time in years. It got me thinking a lot about PowerPoint.

Here's a great post, 8 mistakes when creating PowerPoint presentations, that looks at many of the pitfalls when using PowerPoint.

Friday, January 20, 2006

How to create an RSS feed for a static website

Here is a great post on how to create an RSS feed for a static website or a non-blog/CMS website.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

BlackBerry fights shutdown

Howard Bashman at How Appealing points to this report in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch: BlackBerry firm fights shutdown

Certifications come to KM

Ok, all of us IT guys and gals are already told we need MCSE's, A+'s, CCNA's, etc. Excited Utterances asks: Do You Need a Certificate in KM?

Great moments in law firm blogging

Here is a great example of law firm blogging. It has everything a great law firm blog needs: great layout/great content.

More info about great law firm blogging over here.

Thanks to Ernie the Attorney for the links.

Deep Web Research 2006

Tips on mining the deep web. My time as a law librarian is showing.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BlackBerry service cutoff still a possibility

"BlackBerry users would get a 30-day grace period to find an alternative device, according to briefs submitted by the plaintiff to a federal judge considering an injunction against RIM, the Canadian company that makes the popular BlackBerry wireless phone and e-mail device," according to Mike Wendland of the Detroit Free Press.

Mike points to this MSNBC story.

This story come on the comes on the heels of a Computerworld analyst says it would cost $845 per person to replace lost BlackBerry service.

New Bag and Baggage podcast

Darn it! I just removed the Bag and Baggage podcast from my iTunes, and Denise Howell just put up a new podcast.

$845 per user

Computerworld reports, Analyst: Replacing lost BlackBerry service would cost $845 per person. Most people I talk to say this will never happen. But what if the the courts shut down BlackBerry's service as part of an ongoing patent dispute between RIM and NTP Inc.

There are more than 4 million BlackBerry users worldwide. That's a lot of BlackBerry's in anyone's book.

In the meantime, RIM has gone back to the Patent Office to invailidate NTP's patents and to make the court case moot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Outlook Command Line Switches from The

Everyone know you can start Outlook by typing Outlook.exe. The has a long list of command line switches for Outlook.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Veritas Exploit in the wild

SANS reports ther is a new Veritas Exploit on the web.
FrSIRT has notified the ISC that a new exploit has been released utilizing the Stack Overflow vulnerability in Veritas Netbackup Enterprise Server. As a reminder, a specifically crafted packet, sent to the Volume Manager via port 13701, will cause a stack overflow, allowing the attacker to run code of her/his choosing. Authentication by the attacker is not needed to take advantage of this vulnerability. The vulnerability that this exploit takes advantage of is ~60 days old.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Multiple Word Technorati Tags for Blogger

I've found an easy way to add Technorati tags to Blogger. It's a Greasemonkey script. To use it you will need Firefox.

It doesn't add tags to post when you first post them, but it will let you add tags to post if you go back and edit them.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Blawg Review parlor game

The new blaw parlor game is trying to figure out who the anonymous editor of Blawg Review is. Since we know who deep throat is now, this is the last great mysteries. For the record, I am not the anonymous editor of Blawg Review.

Former Associate Says Ex-Firm Misused His Name on Web Site reports: Associate Says Ex-Firm Misused His Name on Web Site

Here's another reason to upgrade your static web page to a content management system, and get rid of the web master middle man.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Create an e-annoyance, go to jail reports:
Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

Update: Some commenters to BoingBoing clarify the legal issues. This is from an anonymous attorney:
The anonymous harassment provision ( Link ) is the old telephone-annoyance statute that has been on the books for decades. It was updated in the widely (and in many respects deservedly) ridiculed Communications Decency Act to include new technologies, and the cases make clear its applicability to Internet communications. See, e.g., ACLU v. Reno, 929 F. Supp. 824, 829 n.5 (E.D. Pa. 1996) (text here), aff'd, 521 U.S. 824 (1997). Unlike the indecency provisions of the CDA, this scope update was not invalidated in the courts and remains fully effective.

In other words, the latest amendment, which supposedly adds Internet communications devices to the scope of the law, is meaningless surplusage.

Author and attorney Daniel Solove says,
In a comment to my co-blogger's post, I point out problems with Declan's article. I write: Declan's article is misleading. The provision extends a telephone harassment law to apply to email. Declan describes the provision as applying whenever a person "annoys" another: "A new federal law states that when you annoy someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity."

But that's not what the law says. Instead it provides: "Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Note that "annoy" is part of the intent element of the statute -- it requires the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass. Far from an anti-anonymity provision that applies whenever a person annoys another, it is merely a prohibition on harassment.

Declan writes: "In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name." I don't see any basis for the law to apply in this instance.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

LexBlog's Xservs

Kevin O'Keefe reports LexBlog has some new toys: Xservs are out of the box and up at LexBlog. The Xservs are unix boxes running OS X . I've been trying to find a way of getting Xservs at my current job and came close a couple of times, it's hard to get away from Windows when you are running a lot of software that would become broken on another platform.

The Xserv would make a great file and print server or mass storage solution. If you are looking for new servers, give the Xserv a look.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

WMF: How to uninstall the unofficial patch an install the official patch

SANS has released instructions on how to proceed if you are using the unoffical WMF patch.
Many of you already know this if you receive advance notification from Microsoft. For everybody else, see their announcement about an early release of the WMF patch. The patch and details about it are available here. If you have installed any of the earlier patches or workarounds, here is our recommendation for updating:

1. Reboot your system to clear any vulnerable files from memory
2. Download and apply the new patch
3. Reboot
4. Uninstall the unofficial patch, by using Add/Remove Programs on single systems. If you used msi to install the patch on multiple machines you can uninstall it with this:
msiexec.exe /X{E1CDC5B0-7AFB-11DA-8CD6-0800200C9A66} /qn
5. Re-register the .dll if you previously unregistered it (use the same command but without the "-u"):
regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll
6. Reboot one more time just for good measure

We tested the patch, and it does block the attack just like the unofficial patch does.

If you experience any problems with the official patch, check and call the toll-free number listed for free assistance. Microsoft will not support the unofficial patch. As an alternative to the sequence shown above, you may want to uninstall the unofficial patch first. But make sure you keep shimgvw.dll unregistered until the official patch is applied. Either sequence works in our testing. Removing the unofficial patch later provides an extra layer of protection.

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Microsoft releases WMF patch early

Microsoft OneCare team WMF exploit fix

Alex Scoble points out the Microsoft OneCare team has release a WMF exploit fix. This is the closest thing we have to an offical patch at this time.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

WMF: Good news and bad news

Looks like Mike McBride over at Out of the Frying Pan, and into the Cube has been been fighting his own battles with WMF.

SANS has posted an explination of the WMF and workarounds here. The good news is, according to SANS, "The Internet Storm Center knows of quite a few goverment and larger organisations that did roll-out the unofficial patch, so your "peers" are might very well be doing the right thing right now."

The bads news is SANS says:
# The usual precautions, such as telling the users not to click or surf to bad sites, updating anti-virus, filtering email, ... will help just like a dop of water helps to fill a bucket. It's just not good enough by far.

* No user interaction is required. This is one of those where the user is a sitting duck, not the offender.
* Many anti-virus signatures still trigger on the payload, not on the call in the WMF and therefore might get a working signature long after you got hit if you are unlucky to get hit early.
* IDS/IPS can be easily bypassed by using off-the-shell tools already available to the bad guys.
* Firewalls will not prevent filesharing once the files are inside.

They also say, "The bad guys haven't released their worst (yet), but we know they have the tools and means to create it and we expect them to do so well enough before the official patches are released next week."

This is going to be a very long week for a lot of users and IT staff.

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RIM BlackBerry vulnerabilities and workaround

Security holes have been found In RIM BlackBerry Service. RIM has posted a workaround here.

RIM reports this issue effects BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.0 and later, IBM Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange, and Novell GroupWise.

A US-CERT Advisory, VU#570768, issued December 30, 2005, can be found here.

Today's WMF related news

There has been tons of news surrounding WWF today. Even CNN got into the act. I could link to all the news articles, or just point you to the WMF related articles at the Internet Storm Center.

SANS continues to the be best source of information on WMF and other security related issues.

We are using the unoffical patch on my network. We have seen no issues. While an unoffical patch is a scary solution, having unpatched systems running until Tuesday, the day Microsoft says it will release the offical patch, is more scary. We have seen one infection on our network so far. I'm looking for the current infection rates, but haven't found them.

If you have any information or question, please put them in the comments below, or you can email me at bill.gardner at

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Users want KM that looks like Google says users want KM solutions that look and feel like Google.