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Author: Evan Kline (page 1 of 56)

Appearance at Legal X Conference This Week

The Legal X Conference takes place this week in Park City, Utah, running from Thursday, September 14 through Friday, September 15. Legal X focuses on issues in Plaintiff Law, and takes place at the Treasure Mountain Inn at the top of Park City’s Main Street

I’ll be speaking this year. My topic is “Set Your Practice on Auto-Pilot,” and I’ll be talking about automation tools to up your personal productivity game. Other topics will cover how to hire and train your staff, effective case management strategies, facilitating the intake process, and more.

I believe there are still a few openings, so you can register for the conference.

How to Make the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar Useful

All of the good ones are taken.

That’s how I feel when it comes to keyboard shortcuts on my Mac. Between Keyboard Maestro and app shortcuts in System Preferences, I have used up all of the easy to remember shortcuts. Enter the MacBook Pro and the Touch Bar. When used with BetterTouchTool and Keyboard Maestro, some commonly used shortcuts are just a tap away.

BetterTouchTool allows you to configure the TouchBar on a per app basis, and also globally. You can configure TouchBar buttons to execute certain system commands, and also to type keystrokes. That last part – typing keystrokes – is huge. If you trigger a Keyboard Maestro macro with a keystroke combination, you can map that keystroke combination to a Touch Bar button via BetterTouchTool.

For example, check out my “End Call” Touch Bar Action in the screenshot below:

You can see I’ve mapped my “End Call” Touch Bar Action to the Option-Command-H keyboard shortcut. Over in Keyboard Maestro I’ve set up a macro that is triggered by that same keyboard command. The macro hangs up the VOIP software phone on my Mac, so I don’t have to hunt down the VOIP application to end a call.1 With the combination of the BetterTouchTool Action and the Keyboard Maestro macro, I press a nice red phone button on the Touch Bar, and the call ends. I have a similar Touch Bar button set up for answering calls.

In future posts, I’ll break down some more Touch Bar layouts to show what I’ve done with the Touch Bar, such as adding Markdown bold and italics buttons for use in my firm’s case management system, and more.

BetterTouchTool currently is sold under a “Pay What You Want” model, with a minimum price of $4.99 and a suggested price of $8.99. It’s sold directly from the developer’s website.

BetterTouchTool

  1. Even on my iMac, I typically keep apps spread between several Spaces. I didn’t want to have to hunt down the VOIP app, or tab between open apps, to go to the app and end a call.

Add Your Favorite Mac Mail Client to the PDF Print Menu

On the Mac, you can email a PDF of almost any webpage, photo, or other document, by selecting the print command and picking “Mail PDF” from the dropdown menu at the bottom of the dialog box that pops up. This automatically opens Apple Mail, regardless of what you’ve set as the default mail client on your Mac. What if you want to mail the PDF using a third party mail client?

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BetterSnapTool for Better Screencast Resolution

If you embed screen recordings (i.e., screencasts) into a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation, rule #1 is that your audience has to be able to see your screencast for it to be effective. If you are recording from a device with a Retina display, you might find that application windows sometimes become unreadable when later displayed with lower-resolution projectors. Images and text just become too small. While you can fix this by adjusting your monitor’s resolution either in settings or with third party apps1, my preferred solution is to use a Mac app called BetterSnapTool.

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Put a DEVONthink Sorter in the Menu Bar With Dropzone

One of the tools included with all Mac versions of DEVONthink is the Sorter. The DEVONthink Sorter is an optional tool that hangs out at the side of your screen. You can drag files to it, and send them off to preconfigured locations within DEVONthink. I liked the functionality of the Sorter, but didn’t like it always hanging out at the edge of my screen, so I came up with an alternative that resides in my Mac’s menu bar.

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Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts in Apple Mail

I recently enjoyed using Gmail shortcuts in MailMate, and wanted to bring those same shortcuts to the default Mail app on macOS.1 GMailinator, the only Mail plugin I could find to do so, hasn’t been updated in four years, so I didn’t bother installing it. Instead, I started looking for another way, and I think I’ve found it.

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I Put Han Solo on Trial (video)

I’ve mentioned this already on Twitter, but realized I’ve never discussed it here – back in October, I put Han Solo on trial, and I have the video to prove it. I acted as the prosecutor and Edward Paskey, Esquire acted as defense counsel in a mock trial before the Honorable Joseph C. Adams, President Judge of the York County Court of Common Pleas. The name of the case was The Galactic Empire v. Han Solo, and it was presented before approximately 60 “jurors” who were on hand to get a CLE credit.

The point of the “trial” was to demonstrate the use of the iPad and other technology in the courtroom. After making our closing arguments, Attorney Paskey and I deconstructed how we used technology in our respective cases, including the use of timelines, medical exhibits and models, exhibit annotations, maps, transcript call outs, and more. The main tools we used were TrialPad and Keynote.

Judge Adams recorded the trial, and edited it into a final product that is quite slick:

I don’t practice criminal law, which is probably obvious from the video. In preparation, I also worked backwards – I started with the technology and videos I wanted to demonstrate, and tried to craft a somewhat coherent argument around them. While this isn’t how you would want to handle a real case, I think the “trial” went off well for its intended purpose.

I’ve uploaded a digital version of the information we gave to attendees at the trial/seminar.

I want to give a special thank you to Mark Metzger, from whom we stole the idea. He did something similar at the MacTrack Legal Conference (then called MILOfest) in Orlando in 2015.1 Mark was also kind enough to send me many of the Star Wars assets we used in the trial.


  1. If you use a Mac, this conference is a must-attend. 

ABA TECHSHOW 2017

If you’re a lawyer interested in technology, ABA TECHSHOW should be right up your alley. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be presenting at the conference this year. The conference and expo takes place from March 15-18 at the Hilton Chicago. TECHSHOW regularly draws over 2000 attendees and 100 exhibitors. Whether it be the conference sessions, the massive EXPO hall, or just rubbing elbows with fellow geeks, this is a really fun and educational few days.

I’ll be co-presenting at two sessions on March 17:

  • Set Your Mac on Auto-Pilot, with Katie Floyd, at 9 a.m.
  • Your Office, Don’t Leave Home Without It, with Channa Loyd, at 3:45 p.m.

Registration is open now, with early bird pricing through January 30 UPDATE: Early bird pricing has been extended through February 13. You can find pricing and registration here:

http://www.techshow.com/pricing/

Airmail to TaskPaper

I’m currently trying out TaskPaper as my task manager of choice, after almost five years with OmniFocus. More on that in the future, but for now don’t read too much into this – OmniFocus is a great app, and if it works for you, I don’t recommend switching.

TaskPaper has many strengths (again, more on that in the future), but one weakness is its lack of integration with third party apps when it comes to capturing tasks. On iOS, for example, native TaskPaper integration isn’t built into any email apps. There is a thread in the TaskPaper forums that points to a workflow, using the iOS Workflow app, to get Airmail email links into TaskPaper. I couldn’t get that working, though.

Instead, I stumbled upon a thread with instructions on how to get items from the Reminders app into TaskPaper (scroll down in the thread for the script). I set the JavaScript in that thread up on my Mac, and have Keyboard Maestro run the script every 10 minutes. That script slurps anything that appears in a designated list in Reminders into TaskPaper. Of course, for this to work, you’ll need to make sure you have Reminders syncing between your Mac and your iOS device.

Suddenly, TaskPaper is WAY more functional for me. I can use any iOS or Mac app that supports Reminders to get tasks into TaskPaper. One of those is Airmail, and the task contains a link back to the mail message.

More to come on how I’m using this Reminders integration to open up all sorts of possibilities with TaskPaper.

Use Your Wemo with HomeKit

wemo-and-homekit

In my last post I discussed how I was able to get my Liftmaster garage door opener working with HomeKit, even though it wasn’t officially HomeKit compatible. I used a HomeKit bridge called Homebridge, running on my Mac, to accomplish this (Linux would work, too). Setting up Homebridge and the first plugin (Liftmaster) was the hard part. From there, getting the Wemo plugin set up and installed was easy.

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