Archives - May, 2010



20 May 10

Recently, attorneys Kristin Anger and Sofia Mabee from my firm, Summit Law Group, did a presentation here in Washington about the “Legal Ramifications of Social Media”.  Much of this information stemmed from a presentation by another Summit Law Group attorney, Bruce Schroeder, at a public employer conference in New Orleans, LA in April 2010.

DISCLAIMER: This document is intended to be a general guide of employment issues and risks for employers to keep in mind.  Please do not use this guide assuming this is legal advice.  Your company’s individual circumstances should be discussed with your employment attorney.

Legal Ramifications of Social Media


Filed under: Social Media

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18 May 10

I’ve had a few interactions with friends recently about the Arizona Immigration Laws and thought I’d publicly share my thoughts.

Three things of interest to me that I haven’t seen being said is:

  1. Employers have a significant responsibility in enforcing immigration status.  And if employers can’t do it, I’m not sure how local police forces can be expected to do any better.  I’ve heard of the fake birth certificates and work credentials that are being presented to employers by illegals, but we don’t have a resource to verify the validity of such documents.  We just have to ask for them.
  2. If this issue truly is about crime, then police already arrest criminals that they catch.  Criminals get a background check already to determine citizenship status, don’t they?  Passing laws like this only provokes a mass revolt by real citizens who are falsely detained because they aren’t carrying legitimate paperwork.  Again, what paperwork would be sufficient? A driver’s license? A fake birth certificate?  Have the police been trained on how to verify birth certificates?  What about green cards?  Personally, I’ve never even seen one, let alone could I verify if one is legit or not.  Or is blond hair enough?  Are we going back to a “paper bag test”?
  3. Isn’t it the Federal Government’s responsibility to enforce border controls and immigration?  I’m curious if the states even have a right to intervene.  That’s not to say the states aren’t affected by it “more than the federal government”.  But I’m curious where the separation of state/federal responsibilities and rights come in.  If the feds aren’t doing enough to patrol our boarders for the criminals, then that’s an entirely different problem to address.  The crime issue and border patrol are related by funding.  Want more?  Increase federal funding for it.

I don’t think running a “police state” or essentially a Martial Law State can correct the problems Arizona is facing.

Are any of these three issues being addressed already?  Am I completely misunderstanding issues?  I’m sure I’m missing lots of facts, but these are the issues rolling around in my head telling me these AZ laws are troubling.


Filed under: Cultural,Legal

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17 May 10

I love my BlackBerry.  It does (most) everything I want.  With that said, I get technology envy.  It’s not a healthy condition to have, but like alcoholism and bulimia it’s something that requires professional help to overcome.

I’m about to give in to my technology envy after having my BlackBerry Storm2 for only 6 months.  My Storm2 is wonderful!  Best BlackBerry I’ve ever owned!  With that said, BlackBerry is quickly falling behind in technological advancement.  That’s NOT to say it’s not the most trustworthy and secure device on the market.  You’ll never hear me argue that point.  It is, everyone knows it.

So, what’s the latest/greatest allure?  The HTC Droid EVO being released by Sprint on June 4th.

I have to give it a try!  The specs for the device tell a general reader that if it performs they way it’s promised to it will be the “perfect, most advanced device” on the market.

Here’s a rundown of the specs that make me drool:

  • Main display: 4.3” WVGA (800×480) 65K colors (HUGE!!)
  • 3G/4G capability (4G only in certain markets right now, mine is one of them)
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ QSD8650 (1GHz) processor (fastest mobile processor on the market)
  • Google Goggles (Search the internet by taking a picture instead of typing words)
  • Google Navigation (FREE navigation software powered by Google Maps) (Also comes with Sprint Navigator for free)
  • 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability – connects up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices
  • 4G data speeds (WiMAX) – peak download speeds of more than 10 Mbps; peak upload speeds of 1 Mbps; average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps
  • Capture and share HD-quality video (720p) from your phone
  • Live video sharing with Qik
  • 8MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash and 1.3MP front-facing camera (DUEL cameras, one front, one back to do mobile video conferencing!! WOW! 8MP on a mobile device??)
  • FM radio and Amazon MP3 store

Crazy, right?

So, what am I worried about losing?

  1. Worried about Microsoft Exchange integration – I know it’s technically possible natively and through third-party apps, but not nearly as seamless as BlackBerry
  2. No “memos” integration between device and Microsoft Exchange.  I use the Notes feature in Outlook a lot, which shows up on my BlackBerry as “Memos”.  I have yet to find a way to sync those to my anticipated Droid
  3. Nervous about lack of applications developers – I KNOW what apps I have for my BlackBerry and have been able to acquire them over years, porting them from device to device, but I’m just not sure about the thoroughness of apps available to Droid
  4. I promise to miss you Verizon!  I have friends here in Seattle who work with Sprint and who are active in the local Social Media community.  I’m really looking forward to supporting them and their efforts to integrate into the local community.  I have yet to meet anyone from Verizon supporting events or participating.
  5. BlackBerry Messenger has become a staple in my life.  Instant communication with other BlackBerry users without the device battery drain of “normal” instant messaging systems (thanks to the superior “push” technology of BlackBerry)
  6. I promise to miss you Verizon! I know I’ve already said that, but I made the mistake once of switching carriers and suffered for one year with AT&T before returning home to Verizon’s superior coverage and clarity.  I can’t say that I’ll be affected by “poor” Sprint coverage or service or clarity.  I’ve never had Sprint, but I do know they don’t “have a map for that”.  I’m relying on my best friend who tells me he’s always had Sprint and has never had issues with service in the greater Seattle area. (He also enjoys the more inclusive pricing structures with Sprint)

Ok, so there you have it.  I’m going to give my BlackBerry the ol’ heave-ho!  I never thought I’d say that… but yet again, there’s always the possibility of buyer’s remorse.

So, should I just ditch my BlackBerry and fully commit?  Or should I keep it during the 30 day trial period knowing I’ll be able to switch back if for some reason the Droid fails me?  HELP!


Filed under: BlackBerry,Droid

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14 May 10

So, since my last MacBook Pro update, I’ve overcome some major obstacles and have created a few.  However, I’m surviving… although not yet thriving.

I pledge that a month from now, I’ll be LOVING this little piece of beautiful aluminum (pronounce that however you like).

So, what do I love?  Well, I’ve learned to love VM Fusion!  Saves my butt a few times a week when I have to login to my work computer, but can’t seem to figure out how to VPN in with my Mac.  But as soon as Fusion is loaded we’re off to the races!  I did have to give up on Parallels.  Never did get that to work.  Oh well.

My biggest dilemma when I started this journey was figuring out the file system.  More specifically, I noticed that if I imported photos into iPhoto, I could only edit them AND see them in iPhoto.  I’ve since learned there are ways “around” that, but it’s supposedly a precaution to keep you from accidentally editing photos with other software… or something.  Anyway, I guess my initial inquiry was really two fold: 1) the file system issue as stated above, and 2) what photo editing software do I want to primarily rely on?

My answer to that SO far has been Aperture.  I really like it, have grown to love it really.  Has great integration with Facebook, Flickr, email, etc.  Also easy to organize photos.  Good news is that tomorrow I have a full day class on Adobe Lightroom.  That should be fun, yet will further my confusion as to which software I should be using.

Photo editing isn’t really like any other computer software.  Each of them have their strengths and weaknesses.  For example, supposedly Photoshop does EVERYTHING, however, I can’t make it do anything because there are SO many things it can do all the controls confuse and scare the crap out of me.  So a step down from that is Lightroom and Aperture.  I find these both to be fairly thorough, yet fairly simple to use with some advanced features and add-ons available.  And then there’s iPhoto, Satin’s photo editor. Grrr…

So, back to my Mac.  I’ve been to my first official “One to One” and asked lots of questions about the Mac file system and did receive a pretty thorough explanation, none of which I can repeat back…. because I don’t remember it, that’s how “Greek” it was to me.  Doesn’t make a lick of sense.  Oh well, I’ll deal.  I’ll figure it out eventually.  One very complicated task I did figure out at my session was the whole pinch zoom thingy.  I know, I know, “everyone knows how to do that”.  Well SOME of us have never owned an iPhone, which apparently is why many Mac users know the pinch instinctively.  I felt like (and pardon the non-p.c. connotation) a retard!  I held my breath the entire time trying to zoom in or out on a photo or website.  THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE EASY!  But yet, I’m pretty sure I turned blue in the face on at least two occasions and nearly a third.

So, what do I LOVE?  Well, the battery life ROCKS my world!  Five hours of normal heavy use fully lit screen.  That’s pretty amazing!  Jumps by hours if I drop the screen lighting any.  However, I think the listed “9-10 hours” advertising might be if it’s just sitting there on the lowest light setting.

I also love that my cat (Phyllis for those of you who aren’t Facebook fans of hers) has figured out how to use the track pad!  She can even scroll pretty effectively!  Granted, she loves to sleep on my voluptuous belly while I’m “computing” and occasionally her little paw slides onto the track pad and then if I try to move my mouse I’m scrolling all over the place, of course thoroughly confused.  Phyllis approves.


Filed under: Mac,Technology

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10 May 10

Most of the top line social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter) all have a very easy way to display a customized URL to go directly to your page without having all the weird characters that you normally see.

As for Twitter, the URL is automatically shortened and customized.  So, mine for example is http://twitter.com/RL_Wood.  My pointers with Twitter are:

  1. Make your user as SHORT as possible.  Although “TheRampantTechnologyGroup” might best explain who you are, it makes “retweeting” (other circulating your information) quite difficult with only 140 characters to work with.  Remember and underscore IS a character and can help a lot.
  2. When you consider a Twitter handle, remember the handle is case sensitive.  So use case to your advantage!  If your handle was @robertespinozaesq, it might be more easily read if you wrote @RobertEspinozaEsq

With regard to Facebook, it’s quite simple to choose a URL that makes it easier for you to direct people to to your FB page.

  1. First off, login to your Facebook page.
  2. Next, go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ Here is where you’ll set your one0-chance only page name (can not updated it later on) (my direct link is http://www.facebook.com/LegalAdmin)
  3. Once you’ve chosen a name, if you go back to the http://www.facebook.com/username/ You’ll have to option of giving names to your “fan pages” (recently renamed just “Pages”).  These names are helpful for groups you’ve created like mine http://www.facebook.com/PugetSoundALA and http://www.facebook.com/QLawWA

Now on to LinkedIN.  Customizing the URL to your page is even easier than the other two.

  1. Once you’ve logged in you’ll see a tab/button at the top that says “Profile”, click on it.  Here you should see your profile.
  2. Just a few lines down from your picture you’ll see your “Public Profile” and it shows a link.  Likely you can’t really comprehend what the link is saying because of the strange characters and slashes.  Note the “Edit” button on the right of the URL!!
  3. Click on Edit and type in your new URL path!  Mine for example is http://www.linkedIN.com/in/legaladmin

Hope that helps!  By following these few tips it’ll make sharing your social networks in social settings MUCH easier.  Consider putting your LinkedIN and/or Twitter handle on your business card now that you’ve made it simple for your business partners to get to!


Filed under: Social Media,Twitter

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