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ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90’s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at] or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

What do you expect from social media?

Courtesy of my colleagues on LinkedIn and the geeks at interactive insights group comes this handy list of websites designed to help measure the “value” of social media (is there any?).

What do you expect from social media such as FaceBook, Twitter, and the rest? Can the reality live up to the hype?

Dear Semantic Web: We’ve been growing apart for some time so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’ve found someone else and her name is …

Dear Twine

I had such very high hopes for us. You were the apple of my eye. The solution to problems I didn’t even know I had. But then, as often happens, things cooled down; the passion slowly seeped out of our relationship, and a more muted kind of relationship began. This one was based on cold hard reason – not just infatuation. And that’s when the trouble started.

Look, this isn’t easy. I wanted to believe. Really. We’ve been together for months and I’ve been telling all my friends about you. But now I can’t help feeling that the semantic future has fallen a tad flat. Maybe we should have dated for a while before moving in together.

But now I know that behind your sexy promises was just another social bookmarking service.  Oh sure, it’s great that you already know how to tag something when I link to it … but that’s like putting a new set of tail fins on the Buick: it’s still just a bookmark – not the dazzling self-referenced master work you promised.

That’s what hurts the most: you broke a promise to the one who defended you, stood by you, cared for you. Was I a fool? I thought the point of semantic applications was to bring relevant information out of the cloud (whether that cloud is the web, the desktop, etc.) and insert it into what I am already doing like an invisible reference clerk working tirelessly behind the scenes. If I have to halt my thought process to search for, find, and insert that perfect word/information/photo/metaphor to express my idea or support my arguments then the whole point is lost. You’ve become just another gold-digging web-slut. There I said it. You’ll put out for anyone. We’re not exclusive. And you’re not even ashamed. I feel sorry for you.

But I really feel sorry for me. Why? Because instead of bringing order out of my chaos, you are leaving the cluttered drives that hold my most sacred stuff just as you found them. A mess. A millstone around my neck. And that’s how they will remain until the cloud of information on the Internet (hereafter simply “the cloud”) become self-aware enough to seek relevant places in which to insert information in my work instead of waiting for me to identify relevant information for you to insert.

So now I must find another to be that silent reference librarian and more – to be the constant, streaming feed of relevant information I need. One intelligent enough to find its place in my calendar, documents and e-mail, aggressive enough to suggest relevant information at every turn, yet gentle enough to stay with me even after I’ve ignored them time and again. In other words, I need a better semantic application.

Am I asking too much? Who knows. I may never find what I’m looking for. In the meantime though let me just close by saying … it’s not you. It’s me. Good luck and I hope you find someone that loves you despite your flaws.

– Mazy Hedayat, (former) Twine devotee

ABA TechShow 2008 – presentation materials available

AI – Advanced IT/Security
CR – Client Relationships
ED – E-Discovery
GG Going Green
IN – Internet
LF – Large Firm / Corporate Counsel
LT – Litigation
MA – Mac Track
MO – Microsoft Office
MT – Mobile Technology
PO – Paperless Office
RM – Records Management
RT – Roundtables
SSI – Solo / Small Firm I
SSII – Solo / Small Firm II
SM – Show Me How

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ABA TechShow 2008 – I came, I saw, I blogged …

Author’s Note: This year I got to blog the ABA Technology Show once again as I did last year in this pair of posts here and here. In addition, this year I was given the opportunity to publish my work in the prestigious publication TechnoLawyer. And on a related (and equally important) note, this was the second year in a row that I was sponsored by the august DuPage County Bar Association, thanks to the hard work of directrix and champion of technology, Glenda Sharp. To Glenda and this year’s bar President, Fred Spitzzeri, a great big Thank You! Here’s to doing it again next year …

I Attended ABA TECHSHOW 2008 and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

Eliminating the Paper Chase: From Boxes to Bytes (Paperless Office Track)

A Real World EDD Motion Hearing (Litigation Track)

The Mobile Office: Take Your Desktop in Your Pocket (Mobile Technology Track)

Outlook Tips and Tricks (Roundtables Track)

So You Want to Be an ABA Author? (Special Session)

Beating the Startup Blues: A Tech Survival Guide (Solo/Small Firm II Track)

Grand Finale: 60 Sites In 60 Minutes

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: SQ Global Solutions

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Legal Bar by BEC Legal Systems

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Electronic Discovery

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Adobe Acrobat Professional

A Report from the Exhibit Hall and Suggestions for TechShow 2009