Category Archives: Uncategorized

Groupon woes (and stuff)

Revised Groupon merchant agreement

This is a sample merchant agreement from coupon phenom Groupon.

Complaints are beginning to surface about the terms of Groupon's contracts and the results it brings for merchants. The company's high valuation has caused the word "bubble" to be thrown around (again). So the question is this: is there really a problem or are Groupon detractors merely jealous?

FYI – the PM Blog has a new home at www….

FYI – the PM Blog has a new home at http://www.practicehacker.com. Find us there or direct your RSS reader to http://www.practicehacker.com/feed. Thanks!

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]mha-law.com or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

more law schools join the conversation

more law schools are Twittering

more law schools are Twittering

More law schools on Twitter, bringing the total to 36 (including my alma mater – the Blue Demons of DePaul)

American University Washington College of Law
Appalachian School of Law Library
Baylor Law School
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

DePaul Law School
Duke Law Publications
Hamline Law School

Harvard Law School
Lewis & Clark Law School Library
Marquette University Law School

New York University Law School

Oklahoma City University School of Law

Pace Law Library

Pace Law School
Pierce Law School

Stanford Law School

The John Marshall Law School

University at Buffalo Law Library

University at Buffalo Law School
University of Chicago Law School

University of Hawaii School of Law

University of Iowa
College of Law Director of External Relations
University of Iowa College of Law News
University of Nebraska College of Law Library

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Law

University of San Diego School of Law

University of Texas at Austin

University of Toronto Faculty of Law

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

University of Virginia School of Law

Valparaiso University School of Law
Wake Forest University Law School

Washburn Law School

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Widener Law

Yale Law Library

10 things that Twitter should do but doesn’t (yet)

Twitter

Twitter

From Six Revisions comes 10 Features That Will Make Twitter Better and in no particular order here they are

Enable grouping of friends and followers

Twitter’s increasing popularity has gotten many people on board and using the web application. With the growing number of active users comes the need for following more people. The ability to create groups (or categories) of Twitter users that you follow can reduce the noise in your Twitter feed and can help you immediately see updates from particular groups of users. For example, having a group for “co-workers” or “local tweeters” can help you quickly see what your co-workers are saying or find up-to-the-minute information on local events such as traffic accidents.

Auto Complete in Tweets

Figure 2 shows an auto complete dialog box appears when you type the @ symbol. Auto complete is an interaction design pattern that involves displaying a list of suggestions as the user types in text. Auto complete can speed up the process of sending a tweet directed to a particular user using the @username format. It will also help in times where you’re having trouble spelling someone’s username. Another application of the auto complete feature is for suggesting #hashtags (keywords associated with a tweet) to make keyword-tagging of tweets easier.

Text links in tweets

With a 140 character limit, it’s often difficult to have links in a tweet without robbing yourself out of precious characters. By allowing users to tweet hyperlinked text, not only will it give them a little bit more room for including additional characters, but will also make Twitter feeds look cleaner.

Tweets-threading

Twitter is a great source of information and is a wonderful forum for discussing various topics. Unfortunately, the current user interface doesn’t allow you to easily view a conversation between two or more people.Coupled with the “reply to” feature in the current user interface, threaded tweets can give users the chance to participate in (or follow along with) conversations taking place in several Twitter feeds. Threaded tweets can also serve as a means for people to find other Twitter users that are interested in similar subjects of conversation.

Allow Tweets directed to a group of people (“group tweet”)

Figure 4 shows a possible syntax for tweets directed to a group of users using a double @ synax. With companies and communities joining in on the fun, the ability to tweet to a group of Twitter users offers a convenient way of specifically targeting a set of people. For example, if you wanted to tweet to your co-workers, the syntax could be: @@friends I’ll be a little late for our lunch date, start ordering without me. The double @ serves to differentiate a tweet directed to a single user from one that’s directed to a group of users.

Display meta data through hover tooltips

A tooltip is an effective graphical user interface element that allows users to view more information when they hover or click on a text or object of interest without having to leave the current web page. They enable information-gathering with fewer clicks and fewer pages to visit. One way tooltips can be helpful is in seeing the bio information of a Twitter user when you hover over their username on your Twitter feed. If you see a username mentioned in an interesting Twitter update, simply hover over the name to see more information about the user that was mentioned.

Use the sidebar more effectively to display information

Twitter can utilize the right sidebar more effectively by showing relevant information and statistics. For example, a “Most Recent Replies” section or a “Most Used #hashtags” section can be very helpful in showcasing the latest activities and the hottest topics.

Add a page that displays tweets mentioning your username

Twitter users (me included) like seeing their names mentioned. Currently, only @replies (tweets that begin with @username) can be seen in the @Replies page. A nice optional feature would be to have a page that lists tweets where your username is mentioned or where a particular tweet of yours is re-tweeted (example: “RT @username”). A less self-centered benefit for this feature is the opportunity to find people who are interested in what you have to say, enough that they update their own Twitter feed with a tweet of yours, or to see what types of your tweets are popular amongst people who follow you.

Highlight specific users, de-emphasize others in feed

Figure 6 shows the first tweet as being highlighted, and the second tweet being deemphasized. The third tweet is how tweets normally look like in the current interface. Users who follow many people run into the trouble of Twitter feed overload where there’s just too much going on and too many tweets to read. The ability to mark favorite Twitter users, as well as de-emphasize users that you don’t care much about (but still want to follow for some reason), can give users better visual queues on what to pay attention to first when perusing one’s Twitter feed.

Add a Built-in URL shortener

With Twitter’s current user interface, hyperlinks are counted towards your 140 character count limit even if it gets reduced in length by a URL-shortening service like TinyURL.com after you hit the “Update” button. One way to allow users to enter more text – without having to go to another website just to shorten URL’s – is to have a built-in URL-shortening feature. This would not only save user’s some time, but also eliminates the need to rely on other websites to perform an action that should really be handled within the system.

BTW, why are the most viewed posts on th …

BTW, why are the most viewed posts on the pm blog some of the least interesting? “One Happy Meal Hold the Contempt Finding” and “Client Relations Desert” were both posted quickly and tongue-in cheek: and have gotten the most traffic over the years. It’s hard to believe these are the subjects on the minds of lawyers interested in technology … ?

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?