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Tech

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When you think of law firms, images of stiff lawyers in crisp suits come to the mind. Well, even law firms have woken up to the promises of technology for their operations.

Technology Updates

Here we discuss 7 emerging technology trends that promise to change the way law firms have been working.

1. Artificial Intelligence

If you thought that a law firm was the last place to have any use for artificial intelligence, think again. Artificial intelligence promises to make a huge impact in the way law firms store and process information. AI promises to help law firms extract trends and prepare cost estimates to a high degree of precision. AI will also be used to create accurate term sheets and consistent non-disclosure agreements.

2. Design Thinking

Design thinking refers to a novel approach to problem-solving within law firms. Thanks to design thinking, law firms will be able to shorten the planning horizons making it possible to generate revenues from new products faster than it had been possible until recently. This means that systems could be sped up to produce contracts, deeds and other legal documents faster.

3. Document Management Systems

It’s surprising how many law firms still lack this basic requirement of a modern workplace. Nonetheless, it is a good sign that they are waking up to it now. A good document management system can ensure efficient record-keeping and easy retrieval of information.

4. Interactive Websites

Organisations in other industries have been doing this for so long that it seems like an ancient practice. However, we must remember that the law industry is a traditional one steeped in old cultural traditions of the ‘old boys’ club’. Therefore, catching up with technology suggests that law firms are now seeing themselves as a commercial business like any other entity out there. An interactive website such as the one by Pottroff&Karlin offers clients a portal through which they can communicate with the law firm at any time of day or night.

5. Video Conferencing Software

The traditional image of lawyers traveling to meet with clients face-to-face is a thing of the past. Thanks to video conferencing software, lawyers can now hold simultaneous conversations with clients without having to leave the office. This will cut down considerably on the time taken to travel to opposing clients in order to get their side of the story.

6. Electronic Signatures

For a long time, there has been controversy about the legal acceptability of electronic signatures. Thankfully, the law has warmed up to the practicality of electronic signatures on documents of different kinds. With this major hurdle out of the way, law firms will find it easier to get documents approved, signed and filed.

7. Cloud Services

Realistically, this is one trend that even mainstream corporations have not yet embraced wholeheartedly. To see law firms making an effort to do so is an encouraging sign. With cloud services, law firms will considerably reduce their IT costs and be able to store all their data on third party servers. However, given the sensitive nature of data with law firms, it is likely that this trend will see the light of day after quite a number of years.

Nowadays, obtaining a degree and educating yourself is no longer as black and white as first perceived. The notion of traditional university being the only option to learn is becoming outdated, with many alternative options arising. Additionally, the way we learn at college or brick-and-mortar universities is also shifting.

Technology Influence in Education

Technology and innovative inventions are making learning and teaching easier, obtainable, and faster. To gain an education is not the same as it was a mere five years ago, and the same will surely apply to five years in the future. We live in a fast-moving world, where technology and digital platforms have transformed the way we learn, for the better. Here’s how technology is influencing the education sector, and how it will continue to in the future.

Online Study

Online study is proving more popular, fighting the stigma it accumulated a few years back. Nowadays, it’s viewed as a legitimate, convenient, and appropriate way to obtain a degree, without the high costs and inflexibility that full-time education at a brick-and-mortar college offered.

With the e-learning market worth an enormous $166.5 billion last year, online study is becoming a choice more people are making – a study informed that of 25,000 young people from around the world, 77.84% of them reported having taken an online course of some capacity. Other benefits include education for all, a vast variety of attainable courses, lower costs, and the ability to work full-time, in your career of choice, while studying. For example, you can study for an online health informatics degree while starting a career as an apprentice.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is slowly being integrated into the education sector, being utilized in multiple functions. For example, VR is being used to train doctors and surgeons, so they can practice surgeries and diagnosing patients. Unlike textbooks, VR is able to provide a deep engagement on many levels, and in numerous types of studies; it can also help individuals who perform and learn better through visual stimulation.

Pokémon Go is a raging success in the world of augmented reality, and due to its popularity, many other industry sectors are looking to different ways to implement this practice in everyday life. Augmented reality means superimposing digital content into a user’s reality, allowing them to interact with the images. Therefore, this could lead to better engagement rates, making learning easier and a more immersive journey.

Gamification

Our minds are changing along with the digital age we’ve entered, so there comes to a point where fighting the rise of technology is no longer effective and is, in fact, hindering. Not only are our attention spans smaller, but we now yield information differently. Rather than present students with textbooks and large amounts of writing, educational games are being developed to help students learn subjects such as algebra and spelling through game-like features. By using games as a way of teaching, students will become more motivated to learn, and raise their enjoyment levels.

With the advancement of smartphone cameras in recent years, conventional cameras may as well be a thing of the past. Whether you’re exploring exotic locales or documenting once-in-a-lifetime experiences, why carry around that bulky old camera when your lightweight, easy-to-use smartphone can capture and instantly share astounding travel photos within seconds?

Amazing Travel Photos

Below are seven ways to help you get the most out of your smartphone:

Keep Your Image Straight and Steady

From an abandoned farmhouse in an idyllic country field to the game-winning score, a quality photograph is one whose main subject appropriately rests within the frame without so much as a tremor. The best way to carry out a well-framed photo with a smartphone is to access the camera mode’s gridlines. This tool allows you to create a balanced composition every time you use it. Consider the use of a tripod to achieve efficient steadiness of hand when shooting your pictures. In this way, even the most kinetic of conditions will produce a clear and stable image to admire for years to come.

Be Mindful of Lighting

Depending on the time of day as well as the specific event being filmed, outdoor and indoor settings have one essential detail in common: lighting. Using your smartphone’s flash feature will likely impart an unwanted glare within your finished work. To avoid this eventuality when shooting outdoors, take note of the time of day so as not to run out of adequate sunlight. When taking pictures in notoriously dark interior locations such as bars and indoor concert venues, be sure to do the best you can to get the most use out of nearby artificial light sources.

Use Your Phone’s Tracking Autofocus Mode

Certain phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 from a carrier like T-Mobile, have a tracking autofocus feature that is helpful when taking pictures of subjects such as wildlife that abruptly move without warning. The tracking autofocus mode keeps these subjects in focus despite the excess motion and prevents the movement from ruining the shot.

Go Panoramic

St-Johns-Newfoundland

Your phone’s panorama mode is sure to come in handy when traveling to scenic destinations. How better to encapsulate these stunning views for posterity than to use this convenient feature when such an opportunity presents itself?

Augment Your Phone

One easy method to enhance the quality of your photos is to attach clip-on lenses to your phone. These allow you to really take your smartphone’s camera to the next level by adding to it a vivid range of versatility that varies dramatically from super wide-angle lenses to lenses that offer unique effects like the fisheye effect. There is a wide array of clip-on lenses available for a number of smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Employ Dynamic Photo Editing Apps

With the current lineup of photo editing apps available to smartphone users, shooting your photos is merely the beginning of the process. These apps contain many helpful tools that let you perform such basic editing tasks as cropping and rotating your photos, removing red eye, changing the image’s brightness levels, and adjusting the white balance as well as more advanced fixes that even include improving smiles. They also allow you to have some fun with your pictures with filters, saturation controls, and adding frames for your images.

Organize and Share Your Photos

Once you have finished editing your photos and like the outcome, you will need a practical method to organize, store, share, and generally manage all of your photos. There are a lot of apps out there that boast a plethora of user-friendly features and options that put you in total control of all of your photos.
As you adopt the above advice and explore the possibilities of your smartphone’s photographic output, you’ll likely find that your phone’s technical attributes greatly outweigh those of traditional cameras.

One last tip for taking amazing photos with your smartphone would be to remember not to be afraid of taking “bad” pictures. Always be willing to experiment throughout your travels. In time, you might just surprise yourself.

Image source

Life is full of surprises — not all of them welcome ones. Here’s how Apple, Android and Windows let your phone ride the Wayback Machine back to a time before things went wrong.

Factory Reset or Rebooting

There are three solutions built into every smartphone that could get you up and running again; a soft reboot, hard reboot or a factory reset. Here are the details on how each method works whether it’s for a Windows, Android or Apple device.

Try Rebooting First

The first thing you should try is a ‘soft’ restart to resolve whatever is the problem; this is as easy as turning your phone off, waiting a while and then turning it on again. Here’s how to reboot phones using the three major OS’s:

Rebooting an Android Phone

Rebooting an Android phone is as simple as holding down the power button until the power off/restart screen appears, but what if your phone is frozen, goes blank or is completely unresponsive? You need a ¬hard reboot.

For most Android phones simultaneously pressing the power and volume down buttons for five seconds will do the trick. Motorola phones are an exception, and need to be handled differently. Instead of pressing the power and volume up buttons, you need to press the volume down button.

Rebooting an iPhone

Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the slider appears. Now, drag the slider to turn the phone off. Once the phone is off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears.

An unresponsive iPhone can only be rebooted with a forced restart. The steps to force restart your phone: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo.

Reboot Your Windows Phone

Press and hold the volume down and Power buttons until the phone vibrates, then restarts. If the phone has frozen or is unresponsive, Microsoft recommends just pulling out the battery, then turning the device on after reinserting it.

Restore Factory Settings

Restoring to factory settings will erase all data from your phone, including:

  • Accounts
  • Apps
  • System settings
  • Pics, music, videos, etc.

This is the best option if you’re selling your phone or as a last resort when something goes seriously wrong. Resetting is an irreversible process; please remember that a factory reset will wipe everything permanently!

Android

The range of Android devices means that each phone model will have its own specific steps to follow. All Android phones can be reset to factory default either from the settings screen or using the hardware buttons in cases where the phone is completely unresponsive.
Check out this quick guide to resetting the most popular Android devices to ensure that this process goes smoothly.

iPhone

Resetting your iPhone to factory default is a simple process consisting of four steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on General
  3. Select Reset
  4. Choose Erase All Content and Settings from the list of options

Your iPhone will be restored to its ‘out of the box’ condition.

Windows

Like the iPhone; a Windows phone is easy to restore to factory settings, just follow these simple steps from Microsoft support:

  • Tap Settings in the App list
  • Tap About, then tap: Reset your phone.
  • Now you’ll see two warnings: If you’re sure you want to restore the phone to factory default, tap Yes and then tap Yes again.

Image by Flickr

Tools for Musicians

Starting out as a musician can be hard work at first, you have to get your work out to those who can realize its full potential. It can be easier said than done, so you need all the help you can get. By using the right tools, you can give your music that professional edge that could make all the difference.

These are some of the tools that a budding musician will need to get themselves noticed.

1. Trackd

Trackd is essentially a mobile recording studio for your smart phone. You can use it to record ideas, jot down lyrics and even record a rough copy. You can then send it to other band members for them to hear and make comments.

There is also a strong community on the site that could benefit you. It might be that you find that collaborator you have been looking for all this time.

2. Sparkplug

Buying equipment is expensive, so this site offers a great way to help those struggling to afford their gear. It is a network of musicians that offer their equipment out for hire to those who cannot afford it themselves.

It is a good idea, and it also means that if you have gear that is sitting around at home, you could earn some extra cash by lending it to others.

3. Adobe Spark

The Adobe Spark software comes with a free sign up and free software. It allows you amongst other things, to create album cover art for your latest work.

It has a very simple interface that requires no design experience. You can create your designs that will put your brand on your work.

4. MusicGlue

Every artist would like to make money from their work, some manage to do better than others, but you can still showcase your work using MusicGlue.

It is an online store platform that helps artists sell their albums to their devoted fans. There are a few well-known artists already using the service, and it helps raise some much-needed funds.

5. Wix Music

You have probably heard about Wix as a simple web building site. Well, they also have a section devoted to helping artists create engaging and yet cheap websites.

It is important for you to have an online presence, and sites such as Wix can give you that for a reasonable charge. The best part is that it is extremely simple to use. There are drag and drop sections that you can customize to match your brand.

There are many other sites and tools available for those looking to get help with their music careers. Software such as Artist Growth, for example, helps those artists who are on tour. It will help you to organize everything, which can be useful, especially if you don’t have a manager to do it for you.

With a few of these tools, you can quickly get your work out to your fans and hopefully get that break you need.

Cloud Computing

No one will argue with the fact that the Internet has changed practically everything about the modern business landscape. Digging even deeper, however, the true impact can be seen in cloud computing. Information is no longer tethered to local machines and can instead be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, opening up a new frontier for working and communicating remotely. Each year brings new changes to the cloud landscape, and 2018 will be no exception to the rule.

So, what does the near future of cloud computing look like? Here are 4 predictions on where things will most likely be going in 2018 and beyond.

1. Niche Application Availability

Most of the first applications to truly take advantage of the cloud were relatively broad-reaching in nature. Salesforce, for example, helped to pioneer the cloud and has been utilized across a wide variety of industries for years. As more and more players enter into the world of developing cloud applications, specialization and niche focus will naturally enter into the equation. This is a great thing for businesses looking to embrace cloud technology, as it opens up additional options and also drives more competition in the industry among software vendors.

2. Continued Integration of Business Process Management Software

Technology has certainly made it easier to manage many day-to-day business practices. Many organizations are still stuck in the dark age, however, utilizing outdated software that can only be accessed from a single PC or on a localized network. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is constantly in flux, which means the ability to access and edit information from anywhere at anytime is a prerequisite to success. Choosing an ERP on a cloud platform is always a better idea than the alternative, and such applications represent the future of cloud technology.

3. Hybrid Cloud Adoption

For organizations that have handled the vast majority of processes via a localized, on-premises network over many years, moving absolutely everything to the cloud isn’t always a feasible option. Sticking with an outdated approach won’t do a business any favors, either, which is why the “hybrid cloud” is likely to grow significantly in 2018. This approach essentially combines the best of both worlds, allowing for on-premises management of solutions juxtaposed with the convenience and rapid response times the cloud has become known for.

4. Increasing Departmental Involvement in the Cloud

Before cloud technology really began to take off, the IT department typically served as “go-between” for most departments in an organization. The cloud has made interfacing with technology easier than ever, though, which is why departments such as human resources, sales and marketing are now able to take things into their own hands. Thus, the reliance on IT professionals throughout a given workday will continue to decrease significantly in 2018.

The cloud is certainly a huge part of many people’s’ lives, but things are just getting started. One thing is for sure—businesses and organizations that don’t embrace the cloud fully by 2020 will only suffer as a result.

Eradicate Racism

The destructive power of racism can be overwhelming, but is there a way to effectively combat this social vice?

There are many ways to eradicate racism, but technology is seen to have the greatest potential to ultimately kick racism out of the world. In fact, scientists are currently exploring how technology can be used to build empathy and minimize tension between various groups of people. For this Transbeam SD WAN blog post, the purpose is to highlight how technology has played an integral in the fight against racism.

Hashtag Activism

Hashtag activism, or social activism, is the practice of fighting for a cause through social media, especially Twitter. It derives its name from the use of hashtags (#), which are normally used to talk about a cause on Twitter.

With this kind of activism, you don’t have to go out in the streets to protest. All you need to do is like share or like a post, or retweet tweets on Twitter. While it is born of a true desire to impact positive change in the society, hashtag activism is not without critics.

However, it has weathered all the backlash and criticisms, delivering real results, especially in the fight against social injustices like racial prejudice. It has gotten people fired. Moreover, people have been charged and laws have been changed.

It is also worth noting that many activist campaigns started on social media have evolved into real movements, creating lasting change. Take the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, for instance. The hashtag simply started as a protest over the of acquittal George Zimmerman who allegedly shot dead Tryvon Martin, an African-American teenager.

The hashtag has since been used over 12,000,000 times. It has transformed from a simple online campaign to an international activist movement, fighting against alleged systemic discrimination toward black people.

better world

Uber

Uber is another great example of how technology plays a positive role in the fight against racism. African-Americans have always had problems when it comes to flagging down taxis in the cities. Uber has tried to solve this problem, albeit unintentionally.

Namely, Uber’s primary goal was not to improve the life of any race. Nonetheless, the company accidentally achieved something that no anti-discrimination law, awareness-raising campaign, or social justice advocacy, could have lived to achieve.

While this does not solve the issue of racism entirely, it serves to show that technology is really changing how people of different colors experience the world. It is all the more noteworthy that it was not intended in the first place.

Pen Pals 2.0

Schools across the globe are utilizing digital tools with the aim of helping students work together and develop a cultural understanding with their overseas peers. This is another way that technology helps to entrench tolerance among various cultural groups.

Namely, when students are doing constructive work together, they get to understand that individuals from other countries are not that different from them. While they may look different, they are actually dealing with similar issues. They have the same thoughts and feelings. They have more similarities than differences. Isn’t this an excellent way to eradicate racism using technology?

Final Thoughts

Racism is deep-rooted in the society, in our institutions, public places, and even workplaces. It can be depressing and emotionally draining. That’s why institutions, experts, as well as individuals are struggling to eradicate it. There are many ways to deal with racism, and technology is one of them. The aforementioned are just a few examples of how technology can be used to combat racism.

Media Courtesy Pixabay