The Wow Factor of Tech

Whether in the courtroom, the board room, or (ugh) the college committee room, it’s important to impress. Tech is not a substitute for knowledge and preparation, but tech can help you appear knowledgeable and competent to peers and decision makers.

Just arriving armed with gadgets isn’t enough to impress. Nowadays it’s common for folks to come to meetings with laptops or tablets. Instead, it’s how you use your tech.

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Why 2 iPad Pros?

I have two iPad Pros: The 12.9 inch “Big Daddy” and the 9.7 inch “Baby.” Why both?

The reason is they meet two different usage scenarios. Big Daddy is the better laptop; larger screen + larger keyboard. However, Baby works better if I am holding the device while standing, sitting or reclining.

Using the courtroom as an example, in trial, I usually prefer Big Daddy because I am sitting, and the device is resting on a table. However, for an appearance, when I’m usually standing at the counsel table, I use Baby; Big Daddy just is too large and heavy to hold comfortably.

I am a gadget geek, so it doesn’t take much for me to justify purchasing a device. However, the two form factors do meet different usage needs for me. As for why I call my devices Big Daddy and Baby, you’d have to ask a psychologist.


Bose QuietComfort 25

Yesterday morning I had to hang out in a courthouse cafeteria for about an hour before the start of a hearing in “Club Dead” (aka probate court). I wanted to get some work done. However, there was a lot of noise from lots of other people — plus a loudspeaker from the adjoining jury assembly room.

Good time to try out my newly purchased Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones. These headphones did an amazing job of cancelling noise even without playing music. And once I played music (oldies of course) softly, essentially no noise at all. Got a lot of work done!

The only downside of the QC 25, in addition to the $299 price (ouch), is they are not Bluetooth. You need a wire from the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the cans to the corresponding port on your phone. Not as convenient as wireless. And if the iPhone 7 does away with the 3.5 mm headphone jack …

Actually, you can add Bluetooth functionality. I used a BTunes Bluetooth adapter. $99 (ouch again), but few alternatives which have all its features, including a microphone for phone calls. Since it’s an adapter instead of integrated Bluetooth, it does stick out a bit, but not too much. Still testing it, but so far so good.

Of course, there are other noise cancelling headphones that have integrated Bluetooth. However, the ones I tried either had inferior noise cancellation, or were large and less portable. Portablity is important for me. That said, one alternative which looked intriguing (though I opted for the tried and true Bose) was the AKG N60 NC.

iOS WordPress app

I am posting via the iOS WordPress app on my iPad Papa Pro (as opposed to my iPad Baby Pro 9.7″). Since you see this, it works. The app seems reasonably full-featured compared to its Windows desktop counterpart.

HP Elite X3

This Windows 10 Mobile smartphone was just announced at the Mobile World Congress. Specs are impressive. But more impressive is that it can double as a laptop:

  • HP Workspace software enables running of x86 apps via virtualization. This appears to eliminate the need to bring or connect to a Windows computer.
  • Desk Dock is similar to Microsoft’s display dock, enabling you to connect your device to another display/keyboard/mouse using Continuum.
  • Or you can bring your own display and keyboard.  Mobile Extender is a “dumb” laptop through which you can run your X3 via Wifi or USB type C.

Ambitious, particularly HP Workspace. I would be interested in seeing videos of use cases. There will be time, as this bad boy won’t be available until this Summer.

Taking Attendance with Attendance2


I teach computer science at a community college. I need to take attendance. I don’t use paper and pen; as my students say, “that’s so yesterday.” Instead, I use an iOS app, Attendance2.

Attendance2 enables me to use touch to record a student’s attendance status. In my implementation, that status toggles among Present, Absent, Excused and Late; you can customize status, order and color coding, and set a default status (which I optimistically set at Present). The app also tracks the totals of each status, and enables you to generate reports and perform backups.

Importing students is reasonably automated. My community college district enables me to export my roster to an Excel spreadsheet. I then use Excel save my roster to a comma separated values format, change a few headings, save the file to DropBox, and then use the app to import the csv file.

The app also supports a second status. You can use that additional status to record class participation, for example.

The cost of the app is a modest $4.99. For schools whose teachers are equipped with iPads, or use iPads or iPhones, Attendance2 is a good paperless solution. I also can see uses for Attendance2 in business scenarios, such as whether employees showed up for work.

ADR Mediation Tool

Compute_02-ADR-Mediation-ToolAttorneys among my readers who use iOS devices may find the ADR Mediation Tool of interest for their next mediation. I haven’t bought this app, much less used it, but iPhone J.D. has a thorough review.

The app appears designed for negotiations in which the offers and counter-offers are in absolute dollars. I’m not sure if the app may be too simplistic for complex negotiations, which involve percentages, sliding scales, etc.

Nevertheless, I probably will buy the app ($9.99) for my next mediation. Recording offers and counter-offers in the app is superior than my current method of writing them down on a pad. The app also has some interesting analytics, such as trends, and for the many smarter than me, Bollinger Bands and Linear Regression. Again, for $9.99, not much of a gamble.

Staad Attaché for iPad Pro or Surface Pro 4

staadThe Staad Attaché from WaterField Designs is my current go-to bag for transporting my iPad Pro or my Surface Pro 4 when I want to travel light.

Attorney David Sparks wrote this review.  My bag is black ballistic and leather rather than his waxed canvas and leather, but otherwise, my experience is similar to his.

The Staad Attaché looks very professional. I’ve carried it into the boardroom, the courtroom, and the classroom.

The Staad Attaché’s inner sleeve easily holds my iPad Pro with an attached Apple Smart Keyboard. The inner sleeve also is large enough to hold instead my Surface Pro 4 with an attached TypeCover and an Incipio sleeve cover.

In addition to the ineer sleeve, the inside has a couple of small pockets which I use for my MiFi, a portable battery and a presentation remote. There’s an area between the pockets and the inner sleeve which is large enough to store my small bag of cables and adapters and the like. This area also could hold some 8 1/2″ x 11″ files or pads, though usually I put those in a pocket at the rear of the bag.  Also in the rear is a handle slip which you can slide over the handle of a larger rolling bag and carry the attaché on top of the rolling bag. The two zippers in the front actually are two sides of one large area in which I stash my phone and keys. Finally, the buckle is convenient to use but secure.

In addition to the top handle, there also is a ballistic strap which attaches to the D-rings at the top. Even stuffed, the bag feels surprisingly light, whether using the strap or the handle.

The Staad Attaché is a great bag if you are traveling light. If you are carrying multiple laptops or otherwise a large load, you have other choices.

Like most stuff from WaterField, the build quality is excellent. Also like most stuff from WaterField, the Staad Attaché isn’t cheap. But you do get what you pay for.

iPad Air 3 – a mini-me iPad Pro?

To be announced March 15, and probably available soon thereafter.

My question is whether #3 will be a smaller iPad Pro. Rumors include a smart connector and Apple Pencil support.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a smart connector. It’s an easy way to support accessories such as a keyboard.

However, a smart connector would not necessarily mean a mini-me iPad Pro. But Apple Pencil support probably would.

My guess is that the iPad Air 3 will not be a smaller iPad Pro because otherwise would cannabalize sales of the iPad Pro. It also would make the iPad Air 3 more expensive, and cloud the existing differentiation between the two products.

Predictions? Thoughts?

Using netsh to manage WiFi


Our laptops and tablets usually use WiFi for connectivity. You can manage WiFi via the Control Panel. But you can do more from the command prompt using netsh (network shell). How to manage wireless networks using Command Prompt in Windows 10 shows you how.