John Cord Law, LLC

Helping Lawyers Create Compelling Content

Tech Update: The Eye Mouse

Tobii Rex, courtesy Tobii

Most of my sci-fi news comes from (if you try to correct me and tell me it’s, I’ll give you an earful).  It’s not exactly on the cutting edge of science and technology news, but their report on a new type of computer pointing device was the first I’d heard.  

The Tobii Rex is what’s called a “gaze-tracker” (I like “eye mouse” better).  Basically, the computer tracks your pupils with such accuracy that it is reportedly as accurate as using a mouse.  You can use your eyes to move the cursor, select items, scroll up and down, and zoom in and out.  

With tablets and touchscreens as the growing interfaces of choice over the past few years, we are getting closer direct contact with our computers.  The Tobii Rex is one small step removed from thinking directly at the computer.  The device will certainly have profound implications for people with limited use of their arms and hands.  

Expect the Unexpected: Trial PowerPoint Presentations

Last week Elisha Hawk and I moderated the 2012 MAJ Technology/Social Media Seminar in Columbia, Maryland.  You can see the sign-up form here, which has a list of the presentations and speakers–if you missed the seminar, you can purchase the video and handout materials directly from the MAJ office at 410.872.0990.  

The seminar was fantastic, but I was reminded of the First Rule of Technology:  Expect the Unexpected.  We were using the MAJ office’s laptop computer for the PowerPoint presentations.  I wasn’t familiar with the laptop, but we had downloaded all of the presentations onto it.  Partway through one of the presentations, I noticed that the laptop had one of those automatic shut-down messages–the kind you get when the computer tells you it is trying to install updates, and will automatically shut itself down to complete the installation if you don’t tell it to do otherwise.  

For some reason, you can never cancel those messages–you can only delay them.  So, I kept “snoozing” the message, hoping to keep it at bay for the last two hours.  The message would snooze for about 15 minutes at a time.  

Then, the unthinkable happened.  It shut down.  I’m sure I hit the snooze button, so I don’t know what happened.  But right in the middle of Carolyn Elefant’s presentation on Social Media 101 for Lawyers, the computer shut down.  Leaping to action (okay, I stood up and moved 2 feet to the computer–I’m not a superhero), I tried what I could, but the computer had to restart, then  register the updates, and blink back to existence.  It probably took about 2 minutes.  To Carolyn Elefant’s credit, she took it all in stride, and kept the audience’s attention riveted on her instead the potential disaster staring at me from behind a Windows computer screen.  

I’ve been through enough presentations (seminars and trial presentations) to know that the unexpected should always be expected.  Technology sometimes goes wrong.  Lawyers must be prepared in two ways:

  • Have a technological back-up:  Make sure you have extra batteries for the remote, a spare disc with the video deposition, and maybe even a spare laptop with everything downloaded on it, waiting in sleep mode for easy activation.
  • Have a non-technological back-up:  Keep a full paper copy of your PowerPoint so you can go through your presentation without the benefit of the PowerPoint.  PowerPoint is sometimes used as a crutch–even though it’s a terrific guide, you must know where you are and where you are going in your presentation.  Also, for trial particularly, make sure you have hard copies of important evidence–8.5″ by 11″ color blow-ups of all exhibits, and maybe a few foam-core boards of the really important exhibits.  Just in case.  

With preparation, even the unexpected problems can be reduced to minor inconveniences.  A self-deprecatory statement will endear you to the judge and jury, and you can get back on track.  These problems don’t happen often, but that preparation will give you the confidence and ability to shrug them aside.  

For more information on our trial presentation services, contact us at 443.850.4426, or send us an online request for consultation.  

Law Technology News

For those of you who have never seen it, the website Law Technology News is a fantastic source for everything technology-related.  For iPad fanboys and girls, check out the article on TrialDirector for iPad.  If you want to know how to use your iPad at trial without any cords tethering you down, see our post at the Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Blog on Using iPad Wirelessly to Present Your Case at Trial.

Do-It-Yourself Trial Presentation for Under $1,200

Check out part I and part II of our article for the Maryland Association for Justice:  ”Do-It-Yourself Trial Presentation for Under $1,200.”  Most firms already have some of the technology and software, so you can probably do it even cheaper.  

If you’d rather have someone else take care of it for you, see our Trial Presentation services page, call us at 443.850.4426, or contact us for more information.