Well, summer has been in full swing, with world events (ok, my actual day job and the whole “planning a wedding” thing really) drawing my attention away from blogging. I intend to rectify that as the weather cools down, and my wedding planning concludes. However, I couldn’t possibly go without keeping y’all posted on the newest apps available!
These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – July 2014:
Yeah, I know, this isn’t some great new app that every lawyer needs to have because it’s new and fresh. Nope, it’s the app everyone needs to have because Facebook decided they wanted to publish an app that everyone needed to have. Quite a simple business plan, really… (once you’ve gotten past the whole “inventing a once in a generation product” part, that is…)
The real reason? Well, Facebook has permanently separated your messenger from your Facebook app. This is part of what appears to be a number of features Facebook will rip out of their app and only allow you to use in a separate, stand-alone app. However, until we all decide to give MySpace another look, whatever Facebook does impacts pretty much everyone’s daily life.
On the plus side, it’s an instant messenger service that’s independent of your phone’s minutes. It’s a video phone for those who don’t like FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. It’s a trading hub for photos and videos. Oh, and if you’re on WiFi, it’ll only cost you the price of a full charge for your battery to use!
Ok, I realize that this app was primarily designed to share music and video with people who are paranoid about privacy. First, you should be paranoid about privacy when we’re talking about your clients. Second, it’s possible that alternative uses are far better than original intended uses (just ask anyone who takes Viagra if their blood pressure condition has improved).
Anywhoo… Wiper is an app with end-to-end encryption that allows you to text or call in “total” privacy (I put total in quotes given that nothing seems total when Eric Snowden’s ideal OS is no longer secure and Tor can be hacked by… maybe… Carnegie Mellon University). The app doesn’t keep any data on your messaging locally, so even access to your phone won’t be enough to see who you’ve called. Even better (creepier), you’re able to see if the other person has read your text or even if they’ve taken a screenshot of it. It’s a little over the top, but sometimes you really want to be able to wipe that conversation into nothingness… (eerie music plays)
I really enjoy learning about apps that seek to improve the decent, but usually feature-limited stock apps. Not least of which is to find out exactly what the app’s designer thought the stock app was missing. In this case, the Calendar app. And it was apparently missing a lot.
Using the fully customizable, five-view calendar system, you’re able to easily add events to your calendar, create and complete tasks, and other things every calendar app does. Here’s where it gets fun: Does your calendar app send “running late” text messages for you? Tempo does. How about allowing you to gain insights into people you meet by showing you photos, mutual friends, Facebook posts, LinkedIn details, Tweets, and other information? That’s what I thought. Oh, and Tempo does.
Refresh by Refresh, Inc., free.
So there’s a strange dichotomy in my apps this month. About half seem designed to maximize your privacy and security, ensuring you leave as little a footprint as possible. The other half are designed to improve your life by allowing you to one-stop-shop for information people put on the web. Refresh is in the second group.
They advertise themselves as a tool for making sure you’re up-to-date on your contact’s latest. Refresh pulls the latest information from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, and personalizes the information to provide context. It’ll even look to your calendar to make sure you know everyone in the room for your next meeting. I’m thinking that, in light of recent ethical decisions, there’s another place an app like this could be REALLY useful: jury selection!
Olocode by Olocode, Ltd., free.
Some may call us attorneys “old souls,” although I think most would call us “old fashioned” at best. We lawyers cling to our traditions, and none may be as offensive to the new paperless world than business cards. For most of us, they are social capital, to be handed out to colleagues and potential clients. However, I’d imagine most people view them the way Mitch Hedberg used to view fliers:
Olocode is the digital upgrade to your business card that I had hoped LinkedIn’s Card Munch would be. Someone hand you a new business card? Scan it into your Android phone and the person’s contact information is automatically uploaded. If they’ve got Olocode as well, trade your ID number, and anytime your contact info changes, your contacts will receive an automatic update.
So here’s a primer on the Clio Cloud Conference presentation that I’ll be giving in September (if you’re not going, WHY THE HELL NOT?!?): one of the most important things that your firm or company can do to improve security in a BYOD world is minimize damage from lost or stolen devices. What does that mean in the real world? If someone loses a phone or a tablet, you have to be able to remote-lock the device, encrypt anything on it, locate it via GPS, and, if necessary, wipe the memory from your office.
Not only does Theftie do all that, it boasts other impressive features as well. You’re able to remotely dial a number (handy for when the damn thing’s lost in the couch), send a text, and capture photos with the device camera! You’re even able to rescue your data to Google Drive, and erase data on the device drive and any SD card installed.
I’m not gonna lie, I feel bad for the Windows Phone people sometimes. We’ve had these apps for a while, yet for the Windows Phone crowd, they’re just seeing them released now. Or, I could put a positive spin on it: it’s like getting to watch a toddler discover how awesome ice cream is for the first time! Ok, I’m kidding…
Uber is your personal car service. Wherever you go (seriously, this thing works in like 40 countries), you can request a ride, compare rates, check out reviews on certain drivers, and even pay for your ride right from your Windows Phone. If nothing else, now you can see what all the fuss was about!
Yes, it’s entirely possible that I included this app because it’s funny.
Say you have a Windows phone, but you REALLY want an iPhone. Yet, somehow, actually getting an iPhone is just out of reach. Think it’s so silly? Ask my fiancee (trapped in a Windows Phone for work). It’s an actual condition. Well, since you can’t get the iPhone, at least you can make your Windows Phone look like an iPhone.
Seriously. That’s what this app does.