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Scrivener for lawyers

WordPerfect 5.1 is legendary among tech geeks of a certain age, and still has devoted users. I used various incarnations of WordPerfect as my main word processor and brief[1] writing tool until just a few years ago, when I succumbed to the inevitable force of change, and switched to Microsoft Word. Now, though, I’m not even using a traditional word processor as my main brief writing application, because I’ve discovered that Scrivener is a fantastic tool for that purpose.

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Writing Legal Briefs with Scrivener

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Easy navigation, powerful AI, and quick search make DEVONthink a nice alternative to lugging around thick files.

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DEVONthink for Lawyers

30 Days of Roc (and Some Free iTunes Gift Cards, Besides)


Late last spring, we talked about a tool that allowed you to make music right in your browser. Roc was in alpha back then, and was still ironing out the kinks, but Aviary has been hard at work making their online music creator one of the easiest ways to knock out a loop. There are currently (as of this writing) 167,843 saved music creations on, and people have been using the tool to create everything from ringtones to full, multilayer tracks by combining Roc with Aviary’s audio editor (also free and online), Myna.

Aviary has decided to kick off 2011 with a bang, and are in the middle of what they are calling 30 Days of Roc, where they will release a new instrument pack every weekday for 30 days, adding 50 new instruments to their already expansive library. As with all of the instruments in Roc, the new sounds will be licensed under Creative Commons attribution, which means that they can be used even in commercial projects without costing the user a dime. Don’t you just love free stuff? Yeah? Well, then you’ll like the contests that they’re running alongside the instrument releases too!

Image from Aviary Blog

Aviary’s sister site,, is offering up challenges related to new instrument releases. Generally, the task is to create the best new track (in a specific timeframe) for the instrument of the day, meeting specific criteria. Winners get an iTunes gift card, usually in the $10-$20 range. Don’t worry if you’re not some super-talented beat-maker or composer; Roc is ridiculously easy to use — just point and click and see what you come up with. If you need help, check out the Roc Tutorial video at the bottom of this post.

The new instruments that Aviary has released for Roc so far are surprisingly good (and fun) for sounds that you don’t have to pay for. The first day of the 30 (February 4, 2010) saw a set of five Human Beatbox instruments, and subsequent days have brought about bells, chimes, vocal FX and jazz sounds, singing vowels, tabla bols and konokol, animals and birds, sounds around the house, body sounds (it’s not what you’re thinking…), a thumb piano, and more — just to name a few. And they are only on release #14 as of this writing.

If you are even halfway interested in creating your own ringtone or mucking about with loops and beats, you should dive in and take another look at Aviary’s online music creator. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover you’re the next Kanye West or Dr. Dre.

It could happen…


Roc Tutorial

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