The Droid Lawyer™ Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Lawyers using Android mobile devices Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:16:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google Announces Solar Powered Partnership Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:48:58 +0000 Google is an environmentally friendly company, and now Google’s (sort of) giving residents the ability to go green and save money.

SunPower Home

Google announced a $250 million partnership with SunPower Corporation to deliver solar power to residential customers. Here’s how Google describes the partnership:

We’re creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar. Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money.

Of course, the idea sounds fantastic, but there’s little, if any, information on how homeowners can lease the panels for residential use, or even get more information about qualifying for the program. I also suspect some states will try and limit (or charge) who can install their own solar panels — check out what Oklahoma’s BigEnergy conglomerate is proposing. And let’s not even talk about Google’s gain from all those users.

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Google Calendar Now Adds Locations from Google Maps Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:08:35 +0000 Early last week Google teased us with rumors of a new Calendar app update that automatically added locations from Google Maps. The update finally arrived to my device this morning (I could have sideloaded the app, but I was lazy).

Admittedly, the new feature isn’t that revolutionary — I kind of thought, “duh, why isn’t this already a feature” — but will show just how important getting on Google is. At least that’s my opinion of what the whole thing means.

Calendar Auto CompleteI’m pretty sure Calendar arranges its suggestions based on the popularity of a location — national restaurant chain versus local place — but the predictions and suggestions are fantastic and useful.

I added a couple of doctor’s appointments and other locations simply by clicking the suggestion.

I did notice that the autocomplete feature might not be available for group events that you don’t control. For instance, I have an upcoming planning meeting for a charity event. I didn’t create the invitation, so I couldn’t add a location. However, I have another event that I created with other attendees where I could use the autocomplete feature.

The autocomplete feature will simply add more usefulness to Google Calendar.


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New Giveaway: Lumsing 10400mAh Portable Battery Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:20 +0000 You read this blog because you’re someone who likes free stuff. I get it. Well, I’m someone who loves to give away free stuff, so we have that in common, sort of.

Sadly, after some of my past reviews (here, here, and here) — where I actually kept the stuff — nobody got to take any of my schwag home. Fortunately, I’m constantly reviewing items and Lumsing sent me another portable external battery. I don’t need another portable external battery, at least right now.

Lumsing 10400 External Battery in Box

In fact, if you notice from the picture, Lumsing actually sent two devices.

And yes, they’re both up for grabs (one is my slightly used test model), which means one of them could be yours (if you live in the US or Canada). Here’s how to win:

Leave a comment on this post (email or RSS subscribers you’re going to have to click over to the site) that answers the following question: My phone died at the worst possible time when ____________.

Just fill in the blank with your story.

And unfortunately there are some rules:

  1. You must be over 18.
  2. You must fill in your real name and real email — that’s the only way I’ll contact you if you win, and I won’t share your information.
  3. You must answer the question.
  4. You must get your answer in before Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:59 p.m CT.

I’ll select two winners at random from the eligible entries. Void where prohibited, and all that other legal jazz (consider the language included, if I needed to say something).

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Bitcasa Introduces Chromecast Streaming Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:35:04 +0000 Apparently, Bitcasa wants to be a serious player in the digital media streaming business:

With the world becoming increasingly connected, it only makes sense that you should be able to see what you want, where you want, on what device/screen you want.

At Bitcasa, we’re committed to making all your content-viewing dreams come true… one device at a time. Today, we’re excited to share that our latest Android update will include our first step towards full Chromecast support. We are enabling cast for videos and music in addition to providing a few core controls: pause, play and volume adjustment.

What does that really mean? It means you can now stream any of the content stored in your Bitcasa account, to your TV via Chromecast. Want to broadcast your son or daughter’s embarrassing baby pictures during her birthday party? Done! Want to reminisce over that time you sang “Baby Got Back” at a karaoke bar? Done!

When it comes to sharing and viewing content with your friends and family, mobile and PC just don’t cut the mustard. Now you can sit back, relax, bring out the popcorn and view your content the way it should be viewed, reliving your best-captured moments on TV! Because your cat deserves to be admired in HD!

As you try out the first iteration of Bitcasa’s Chromecast support, we’d love to hear from you so that we can integrate your feedback into our plans for a more immersive casting experience.

Yup, according to this post on Bitcasa’s website, the unlimited data storage company added Chromecast support to its Android app.

I haven’t had the opportunity to test this yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this performs.

Update: I had the chance to play around with Bitcasa’s new Chromecast feature. You connect to Chromecast directly from the app’s home screen. I was able to play most compatible media types, though picture files worked the best.

I still find that AllCast has the best video player. I never did get Bitcasa  to play any videos.

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Product Review: Lumsing 10400 mAh Portable Battery Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:15:53 +0000 Once again I’m reviewing an external battery fresh off the slow boat from China — in this case though, it’s 2 day shipping. This time, the harmonica shaped power bank comes from Lumsing (who also makes this keyboard), a new Amazon retailer.

Check out this unboxing video for a quick look:

First impressions

First off, this isn’t my favorite designed power bank (that goes to this one), simply because I’m not a big fan of the side plugs.

Lumsing Battery

But I can look past the side plugs and see the true beauty of the device, especially the sleek plastic-metal casing. I also love that the battery pack comes with a small pouch — the side plugs make carrying the device in the bag while plugged in difficult — to transport the battery pack and USB cable.


You can pick up this 10400 mAh external battery on Amazon for $19.99. That’s a fantastic price for 10400 mAh of charging power — most cell phones have a 2000 mAh battery.

The battery has two charging ports, one 1 amp and one 2.1 amp.

Lumsing Charging Ports

The charging speed of this Lumsing battery impressed me. I left a nearly dead Samsung Galaxy S5 to charge, and return about an hour and a half later to a fully charged phone.

The 2.1 amp port is great for quick charging smaller devices, or  your larger devices, such as a tablet.

The battery has 4 blue LED lights to indicate the remaining charge.

Lumsing Blue Lights

One light equals 25%. Incidentally, I still had 75% power remaining after charging the S5.

The harmonica shape of the battery means it’ll easily fit in one hand, even with cables sticking out. However, this battery weighs 240 grams, so you’ll definitely feel the weight of this battery.

Lumsing tells me that this battery is capable of 500+ charges, so you can feel assured it’s going to last awhile.

Parting thoughts

I believe this external battery is the least expensive of the 10000+ mAh batteries I’ve reviewed. The $19.99 price is enticing enough for anyone to pick up. This battery is especially nice if you have a sealed device, where you run a risk of needing an extra charge while you’re out and about.

The battery comes in a white or black model.

If you’re mobile a lot, this battery is something you’ll really want to throw into your travel bag. The $20 price tag means this baby’s a “no brainer” buy.

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Hangouts App Gets SMS and Chat Integration Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:07:27 +0000 One of my biggest hangups with the Hangouts app is the fact that there’s no unified SMS and chat. Thus, if I want to send a text message or chat with a contact, I have to open two separate windows. That’s time consuming and confusing.

Google+ Hangouts

Today though, Google announced some serious improvements to the Hangouts app:

And right there on the first line is merged conversations:

Merged conversations: SMS and Hangout conversations with the same recipient are now combined into a single conversation. You can control whether you want to send a message via Hangouts or SMS with the flip of a switch, and different message types will be easy to tell apart in the conversation. Of course, you can always merge and unmerge conversations if you’d like.

Fantastic! Look for the update soon.

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Product Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mon, 21 Apr 2014 19:51:49 +0000 Samsung’s newest device in the phone arsenal is the Galaxy S5 smartphone. Overall, the Galaxy S5 builds on Samsung’s already impressive line of devices.

Samsung Galaxy S5 in Box


The Samsung Galaxy S5 sports a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED screen, and one of the fastest processors you’ll ever see.

ANTUTU Benchmark Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 weighs a mere 145 grams, which actually seems lighter than my Nexus 5 because of the S5′s small form factor.


Of course, the S5 features a removable back with battery and room for up to 128GB in expandable storage.



The back seals on the new Galaxy S5, which gives the device a water-resistant effect. I’ll admit, I didn’t test this feature for my review, but there are plenty of videos showing protection.

Performance and handling

The Galaxy S5 definitely performs well. Of course, the device has Samsung’s Touchwiz launcher, that’s easily replaceable with the Google Experience.

S5′s camera is simply amazing, and offers a number of different camera modes depending on your pleasure. You can really see the performance difference between the Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 cameras.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 Scene Shot

Nexus 5Nexus 5 Scene Shot

Although both cameras work well — the Nexus 5 is running the new Google Camera — the 16MP camera in the Galaxy S5 sends your head spinning with the amount of detail and quality of the picture.


Camera lovers will definitely love this camera. Now, if we could only get an optical zoom . . .

Other features

The Galaxy S5 has a few other nifty features, including the most talked about fingerprint scanner.


You can see some more of the speed and “skills” of the Galaxy S5 in this video:

Should you buy this device?

Overall, if you’re looking for a sleek new phone with bells and whistles, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the phone to get. This is especially true if you love SD cards and removable batteries. Unfortunately, I should mention that the S5 doesn’t have built-in Qi (wireless) charging, which I think is a necessity for any device, but especially phones. You can buy a wireless charging cover on Amazon ($29.99), but I’m not sure how it will affect the water and dust resistance.

A lawyer’s experience

You don’t have to take my opinion on this though. I asked Nichole Moisant, a lawyer and iPhone lover, to give a short review of her experience as a convert from iPhone to the lovely Galaxy S5:

I was #teamapple for 6 years. When I started referring to my iPhone 4s as “my phone with a cord,” because it was always plugged in and charging, I knew it was time for an upgrade.

I use my phone as a mini-tablet. I spend 50% of my day in courtrooms using my phone to look up cases, docket new dates, and to catch up on email/drafting while waiting for other attorneys or judges. I rely heavily on Google apps (Gmail, Calendar, and Drive) to make my office more mobile and “courtroom” friendly, but I also use a client management software. My iPhone 4s was long overdue for an upgrade — it was dying before lunch most days and limited my productivity while waiting on other attorneys/judges, because there was always disconnect between my Google apps, my client management software, and my iPhone.

When I started shopping for new phones, I knew I wanted three things: bigger screen, longer battery life, and a better camera. I also wanted a phone that seamlessly connected my Google apps to my phone and made my down time more productive. For me, the Samsung s5 met all of those requirements. Though it took me a few days to learn the new system, the transition has been easier than expected. I knew I would love the S5′s screen size, external battery option, the fact that it would sync with my Google apps, and the impressive camera, the most pleasant surprise has been the apps available on my Android.

With Apple, I routinely paid $2.99-12.99 for apps that ranged from photography to calendaring to PDF editing. With my Samsung, I have found the same apps (or apps that are incredibly similar) that I was paying for in the Apple Store for free in the Google Play and Samsung stores. Having access to free apps has made my S5 even more of a workhorse while I am in the courtroom.

When I am out of the courtroom, the photography apps, fitness apps, and lifestyle apps have made my weekends more enjoyable.I am still slightly awestruck as to the balance of function and features on the S5— it can track my daily steps, edit a Word document, and pull up the open Chrome tabs on my PC. It can take better pictures than my DSLR camera and edit them with free apps. I can work on my phone all morning and not have to sit next to an outlet at lunch while I charge my phone.

After 6 years of #teamapple, I am officially #teamandroid.

Nichole also followed up with this Tweet:

And the verdict is . . .

The cons

Samsung’s Touchwiz launcher is excruciatingly painful to use, as are some of the native apps. It’s hard to compare the Nexus 5′s dialer with Samsung’s, but because I’m partial to my Nexus setup, I lean that way. Regardless, I couldn’t stand the Samsung messaging app, and any prolonged use of the device would have got me looking for a much better text messaging program. Perhaps Hangouts, but who knows.

The S Health app is cool, but you can find most of the features in other applications, and in my opinion, the heart rate monitor is the only “necessary” portion — replace that on your device with one of these. The S5 has other sensors too, such as a barometer, that will enable you to use the phone with a number of different apps.

I’m on board with fingerprint scanning, and the Galaxy S5 does it right, sort of. There’s obvious flaws in the program (sometimes as many as 5 swipes to enter), and reports that the security is already cracked. Those are obviously worries with any lockscreen security, so I wouldn’t put too much flavor into that broth.

The S5 has covers over all the important pieces, which adds to the water and dust resistant protection.

S5 Charging Port Cover

I’m not really a fan of these types of covers, especially if they’re made from flimsy plastic. My HTC Droid DNA had a similar cover, but the flap broke off after about 3 days of use and charging.

Finally, even though I love bigger screens on phones, the Galaxy S5 felt too big, perhaps too awkward. I wasn’t alone. One of my associates (with bigger hands) who also checked out the phone felt the same way. The S5 only has a slightly bigger screen, and actually less of a profile, but the phone still felt too big.

The pros

Generally, if you love Samsung’s line of devices, you’re going to love the Galaxy S5. If not, look elsewhere.

I liked the call quality, and the speaker’s sound was decent. The audio quality is one thing I love about Samsung’s overall designs. Despite placing the speaker on the rear of the phone, so you have to cup your hand to project sound back, Samsung gives the speaker enough “umph” to actually hear the audio.

The S5 has an impressive battery. I’m sure Samsung’s “power saving mode” helps, but I left the phone on the counter for 2 days and found it still have 25% battery. Admittedly, I didn’t use the device, but still, even my Nexus 5 can only survive about 20 hours.

Update: I should have added a little statement about one of the S5′s coolest features, multitasking. Certain apps have the ability to operate at the same time, and run side-by-side with each other.

Multitasking S5


Simply drag the app into the multitasking window to view two applications at once.

Multitasking S5 Windows

If I had a complaint about multitasking, I would say it’s just not too useful on a small screen. I’m sure the function is great for tablets.

The window sizes are adjustable depending on which screen you need.

Samsung produced a quality device that I think many attorneys will love. If you’re in the market for a new device, the Galaxy S5 could be a contender.

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My Materials from ABA TECHSHOW 2014 Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:40:32 +0000 There were a couple of recent requests for my materials from ABA TECHSHOW 2014.


Since I like to share all documents, I’ve created links to the presentations.

My first session, Office 365 v. Google Apps doesn’t have any materials because we used a live broadcast format.

The second session, I presented Android Settings & Customizations to Up Productivity. Click here for the presentation and other materials.

My final session with Dan Siegel was 60 Apps & Widgets, and if you click here you can view our list of applications. Most of the apps also have accompanying widgets.


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Google Teaches People How to Get a Job at Google Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:50:33 +0000 Jobs at Google

Laszlo Bock is the guy at Google when you want to talk people. Well, jobs actually. In today’s New York Times, Lazlo offers advice on getting a job at Google. This is the second part of his interview (part one and part two).

I suggest that everyone reads the interview, but here’s a summary of some important elements.

First, Google looks for five key attributes: general cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise. But expertise isn’t that important, since “most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer.”

Google also isn’t too concerned about college degrees — their job board seems to read differently:

Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so many nontraditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one — besides brand-name colleges. Because “when you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.” Too many colleges, he added, “don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] an extended adolescence.

Though you shouldn’t discount the value of a college education, but “Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work . . . most [18-22 year olds] don’t put enough thought into why they’re going, and what they want to get out of it.”

Google also seeks “grit and determination,” as Bock points out in this story:

I was on campus speaking to a student who was a computer science and math double major, who was thinking of shifting to an economics major because the computer science courses were too difficult. I told that student they are much better off being a B student in computer science than an A+ student in English because it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load. That student will be one of our interns this summer.

Bock’s interview is helpful for everyone who wants to fine tune their resumes and employment prospects, regardless of whether you’re seeking new employment. You can apply Bock’s small suggestions, especially regarding resumes and interviewing, to any situation, including getting more clients for your law firm.

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Google Loves Easter . . . Sort Of Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:30:58 +0000 Google’s employees’ favorite holiday must be Easter, since they enjoy placing many “Easter eggs” in their products. Easter eggs, for the uninitiated, are coll gimmicks Google hides in its products for amusement. Here are some of Google’s famous eggs.


KitKat Easter Egg

If you go to Menu > About phone and tap Android version really fast several times you’ll find the Android egg.

“Beam me up Scotty”

Beam Me Up

Tell voice search to “beam me up Scotty” for a fun result.

Tilt and barrel roll

Google Search Tilt

Have fun with Google Search by searching “tilt” and “do a barrel roll” (tapping Z or R twices works, too).

You can also get someone’s “Bacon number” or decode “Anagram.”

Bacon Number

Some YouTube faves

The “beam me up Scotty” command also works in YouTube.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget to search for “Ponies” or “Bronies

And finally, “do the Harlem shake” creates a fun experience.

Unicorns in Play

Play Store Unicorns

Click enter in a blank search box and Google Play will whisk you away to everything unicorns.


Seinfeld fans will love searching “Festivus“.


Or even try “Google Gravity” and click a result.


Google will also run the Fibonacci sequence.

Play Breakout

Atari Breakout Easter Egg

I spent hours playing Atari’s Breakout. Now, Google gives you the chance.

Unlock unlimited free searches

Playing on the Contra game for Nintendo, if you use voice search for “up up down down left right left right” you can unlock unlimited free Google searches.

If you want to keep exploring, you can check out the list of Google’s Easter eggs on Wikipedia.

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