29 September 2011

Lots of old re-posts

You may have seen a lot of re-posts lately - I have moved the management of my blogs from my old Google account to another. You shouldn't see any difference (although I'm still investigating whether RSS feeds have changed.

The address of this blog is http://blog.calvin.it, but you can also get here using the old address http://blog.calvin-au.com. If you're interested in our holiday travels, keep an eye on http://holidays.calvin.it from time to time. You can always email me at andrew@calvin.it.

While discussing the blogs, I've been interested in the new dynamic templates that Google has released. I'd like to use one for this blog, but they lack a few features such as the right-hand column. Maybe one day... but in the meantime you can see the templates on the calvidays blog.

Thanks for reading!

28 September 2011

AustLII for iOS - iPad, iPhone and iPod

If you haven’t tried the AustLII app for iOS yet, you should. It’s very handy for looking up legislation in particular.
See this page on AustLII or click here to download http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/austlii/id440459400

26 September 2011

Simple accounting software for lawyers

I regularly (and was recently by an old university colleague) get asked about simple accounting software for lawyers - i.e. where no trust accounting is required.  

  1. One question that has to be asked, unless you're a barrister, is whether you are completely sure you won't need at least something to help you with controlled monies or transit money.  See for example in New South Wales s 256 of the Legal Profession Act 2004. Your State may have other regulations. 
  2. A good starting point is to contact your professional association (Law Society of NSW, Law Institute of Victoria, Bar Association etc) and find out what other people are using. They probably won't want to recommend anything, but it is useful to know what other practitioners in your situation are doing.
  3. If you're just going into sole practice for the first time and you attend a practice management course, it's a good idea to discuss this with your fellow students and lecturers.
  4. The various law societies often examine and certify software - while this is normally only for trust account packages, you will often find that the same vendors offer other modules that will do the job for you.
  5. Be careful when purchasing cheap packages - if you want or need support one day you may not find it forthcoming!
  6. Ask your bookkeeper what he/she has used in the past, is familiar with, or can suggest.

Do you have any suggestions? Please post them in the comments.

© 2011 Andrew Calvin

Cyberspace October 2011

Facebook in the courts
A USA court recently ordered a defendant to return his Facebook page to its original, allegedly infringing, state on the grounds that there was spoilation of evidence. In Katirol Co., Inc. v Kati Roll & Platters, Inc (http://goo.gl/P5sJM) the USDC in New Jersey dealt with a claim for sanctions against the defendant who had removed his profile picture which infringed the plaintiff’s intellectual property rights. The plaintiff issued a a take down request, and the defendant complied, but the plaintiff wanted the picture put back on Facebook so it could obtain PDFs of the evidence. The court held that the defendant had “spoiled” the evidence by modifying the Facebook pages. The defendant argued that it was a public site and the plaintiff could have PDFd the pages at any time. However, because the pages were in the control of the defendant it had a duty to preserve them for the purposes of the litigation. The pages were put back in the original state for a short time so that the plaintiff could PDF them for evidence.

In State of Connecticut v Robert Eleck (AC 31581) the Conn Court of Appeal dealt with a claim that the trial judge erred in not admitting (attacking credit) a Facebook printout documenting messages sent to him by a victim after an assault. The victim admitted that the Facebook account used was hers, but denied that the messages were sent by her. She claimed that the account had been hacked, the password changed, and she was locked out. The appeal point turned on whether Eleck could authenticate the authorship of the messages to the required standard. The court considered a similar case involving MySpace where messages were excluded due to lack of appropriate evidence.

A key point was that “we recognize that the circumstantial evidence that tends to authenticate a communication is somewhat unqiue to each medium.” The evidence required will differ for a telephone call, paper, email or other medium. The court held that there was insufficient evidence to connect the victim to the messages. 

Who’s the defendant?
You may recall that New Zeland has enacted the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, which provides for simplified actions against internet account holders, but has the very real risk of punishing the wrong person. This was discussed in Boy Racer, Inc., v Doe (USDC Calif C-11-02329 PDG)  (http://goo.gl/fnaHD). The Plaintiff (a copyright owner) used a BitTorrent monitoring tool and discovered that a computer at a certain IP address was torrenting one of its works. The Plaintiff’s lawyer stated in a court filing 

“At this time, the remaining unidentified Doe Defendant ... who used IP address to illegally infringe on Plaintiff’s copyrighted works has not been served for the simple reason that he has yet to be identified.  
While Plaintiff has the identifying information of the subscriber, this does not tell Plaintiff who illegally downloaded Plaintiff’s works, or, therefore, who Plaintiff will name as the Defendant in this case.  It could be the Subscriber, or another member of his household, or any number of other individuals who had direct access to Subscribers network.  ... Plaintiff will require further discovery in this case, including  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 Request for Production of Documents and Things.  That FRCP 34 Request will specifically ask to inspect Subscriber’s computer, and all those computers that subscriber has reasonable control over/access to (my emphasis), for the limited purpose of discovering who accessed the BitTorrent protocol, entered a swarm containing a File with Plaintiff’s copyrighted video, and unlawfully downloaded it.  Of course, Plaintiff’s discovery will stop there” 

I couldn’t say it any better.

© 2011 Andrew Calvin

Guess where the programmer lives?

This is an app from SAP showing a map of Sydney. In the right-middle can you see the one street out of the many thousands in Sydney that has a name? :-)

09 September 2011

Navigation on iOS with Tom Tom live traffic

I've been a fairly happy user of Tom Tom Australia (and Europe) for some time. I'm pleased that we'll see an iPad native version soon, and live traffic recently came to Australia.

I subscribed to the traffic service for a month ($9) to see if I would take it for a year. Sydney traffic is pretty nasty, particularly on weekends, and I had high hopes.

They were dashed. I was in heavy traffic in Pymble for quite some time last Sunday without a peep from the Tom Tom. However, Google Maps showed it (for free).

In all, it was sometimes helpful, but if Google can do it for free then Tom Tom should do better.

© 2011 Andrew Calvin andrew@calvin.it