It’s time for Jim and Sharon’s favorite podcast of the year – Tech Toys for the Holidays! In keeping with tradition, The Digital Edge hosts offer up their favorite practical and not-so practical tech toys, this year with plenty of remote work and COVID-related gift ideas in the mix. Pick up some wishlist inspiration for yourself and your favorite lawyer-nerds – a handy UVC sterilizer, the latest LegalBoard Wireless, ideas for your home workspace, a portable bug zapper (wait, what?), and so much more! Happy Holidays!
Special thanks to our sponsors, Clio, Scorpion, Blackletter Podcast, Alert Communications.
Mentioned in This Episode
2020 Tech Toys:
- Furbo Dog Camera – Treat Tossing, Full HD Wifi Pet Camera and 2-Way Audio, Designed for Dogs, Compatible with Alexa
The Digital Edge
‘Tis the Season Tech Toys for the Holidays 2020
Intro: Welcome to the Digital Edge with Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway, your hosts both legal technologists, authors and lecturers invite industry professionals to discuss a new topic related to lawyers and technology. You’re listening to Legal Talk Network.
Sharon Nelson: Welcome to the 155th edition of the Digital Edge Lawyers and Technology. We’re glad to have you with us. I’m Sharon Nelson president of SenseI Enterprises in information technology, cyber security and digital forensics firm in Fairfax, Virginia.
Jim Calloway: And I’m Jim Calloway director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. Today we are doing our favorite podcast of the year tech toys for the holidays in which Sharon and I offer up some of our favorite tech toys some serious, some maybe many not so serious and this year we’re going to call it the COVID edition of tech toy for the holidays because what it’s 2020 right Sharon?
Sharon Nelson: It’s 2020 it’s the label for everything Jim but before we get started we’d like to thank our sponsors. Thanks to our sponsor Cleo. Check out Cleo’s daily matters podcast for the latest on legal in the COVID-19 air. Listen to daily matters at clio.com/daily or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. We would like to thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this episode, if any law firm is looking for call intake or retainer services available 24/7, 365, just call (866) 827-5568.
Jim Calloway: We’d like to thank our sponsor the Black Letter Podcast, a show dedicated to making law exciting and fun with informative interviews and advice from esteemed guests. We’d like to thank Scorpion. Scorpion is the leading provider of marketing solutions for the legal industry with nearly 20 years of experience serving attorneys, Scorpion can help you grow your practice. Learn more at scorpionlegal.com.
Sharon Nelson: Well as one of my favorite actors would say, all right, all right, all right, let’s get this party rolling Jim. My first tech toy is Xdesk which is actually a company that puts out a lot of standing desks all hands crafted there’s lots of options, we’re going to of course at put all the links out on the website when the podcast goes up. It’s a toss-up for me when I hear one of these phrases more than the other. Number one is my butt hurts and number two is my back is killing me and John and I go back and forth all day saying both. So sitting certainly is the new smoking it is killing us so if you want to try standing up and doing some of your work it’s the ultimate power adjustable standing desk, the benchmarks for all standing desks and Forbes actually said not all standing desks are equal the top pick is the Xdesk Terra T-E-R-R-A. So just read the features list but don’t expect to get away cheap because they run especially the top of the line runs from 1,500 to 1,800 dollars.
My second toy is well maybe not a toy so much it’s the Amazon Ring Car Cam, 199.99 and it’s expected to be available shortly on Amazon, it was just released a little while ago like. The camera carrying ring doorbell, the car cam can shows you who’s messing around with the groceries in your back seat thanks to two cameras one that points forward out the windshield and the other that films the vehicle interior and just like a dash cam these are on when you’re driving but they’re also in guard mode when you’re parked ready to turn on as needed. So if there’s a disturbance around your vehicle detected then a notification will be sent and a short video will be sent to your phone in the ring app. Another car cam feature and this is the one that got all the news recently it’s called Traffic Stop which feels like an exceptionally good fit for 2020. If you’ve connected the car cam to an LTE cellular network which requires an optional connectivity plan you can say Alexa I’m being pulled over when the flashing lights show up in your rear view mirror. The car cam will then record your interaction with law enforcement and save the files directly right away to the Cloud and if you set up a predetermined list of contacts, ring will notify them that you’ve been pulled over and send them the video as well. Somehow we’re living in a sorry world where we need that.
Jim Calloway: On the other hand it might be a great marketing plan for lawyers to save those videos.
Sharon Nelson: You know I was thinking of blogging exactly that advice.
Jim Calloway: Well Sharon 2020 has been a year for disinfecting and sterilizing I can certainly attest that I frequently use my phone soap device a whole lot this year that was featured in a prior tech toys broadcast but for a gift you might want something a little more unique. So the Clean Pod UVC Sterilizer is a handheld wand sterilizer for your phone and other devices including flat surfaces. With the press of a button a high energy beam of UVC ultraviolet C light is emitted from the LEDs, sanitizing surfaces without the use of chemicals in 30 seconds it’ll kill up to 99.9 percent of germs. Of course the big question is Sars COVID and some studies suggest it will, I’m no virologist who could determine that for you, you could do your own research online but definitely the wand will disinfect services that you can’t fit inside of phone soap only 90 dollars.
Sharon Nelson: Yeah we actually own one of those Jim and they work really well I think so John has been impressed with the performance.
Jim Calloway: Great well my next tech toy is informed by the recent ice storm damage in Oklahoma Share and I shared with you we had a major early ice storm when the leaves were all on the trees that resulted in hundreds of thousands of people going without power for a long time here in Central Oklahoma. So Sharon I know you have a whole house generator but the Now Light Kit is the total opposite end of emergency power spectrum from your whole house generator. This only costs 1,900 dollars and this device is a hand cranked power generator, it has six different brightness settings for the lighting and also a five volt USB port for charging your mobile devices. Now Sharon physically cranking your light source and phone charger may not sound like a great idea to you but guess what if you’re sitting alone in the dark with a dead phone it sounds awesome. So it’s also useful to bring along on camping trips.
Sharon Nelson: I got to tell you I like it much better when the power goes off and John says give it a couple of seconds, a couple of seconds later the power goes back on. It’s good to be the queen.
Jim Calloway: There you go.
Sharon Nelson: All right so my next tip is our toy is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. The review from PC world was really outstanding, it’s about 1,500 dollars but you can actually make monthly payments, I don’t know whether they always had that or whether that’s in response to people needing to make payments but it’s definitely a favorite. The surface — whole surface pro series has been a favorite of our IT employees who just log it with them everywhere and it’s very powerful and very reliable. So this according to the review continues the tradition of being a durable dependable tablet for the ages it has an internal upgrade to Intel’s 10th generation, 10 something ice lake chip I can’t read what I wrote and as a nod to the future a USB C-port so it is definitely an upgrade and I know my guys are going to be after me to put that in this year’s budget. And if you’re looking for a full-fledged computer that’s extremely portable and even work as a tablet the reviews say that the Surface Pro 7 is your best choice.
And from there let’s head over to another toy which is very useful and that is the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i which is 264 dollars. So if so Fujitsu ScanSnap is a portable document scanner designed primarily to digitize documents on the road or just when you’re on the move. So it makes document management a staff whether you’re at home digitizing receipts, bank statements or you’re a student maybe we’re law student with term papers or at the office capturing mission critical documents for a business trip. So it’s one touch scanning, scans up to 12 double-sided pages per minute, holds up to 10 pages in the automatic document feeder USB or AC powered in compatible with PC and Mac so you can’t go wrong.
Jim Calloway: Well Sharon’s covered a couple of really great tools for (00:09:05) to use so I’m going to head back to the toys into the spectrum with the Magnetic Levitating Bluetooth speaker. It is a futuristic looking globe that levitates in the air on your desk while being illuminated with striking led illuminations. It promises high quality phone calls with its built-in noise canceling technology, I can’t talk about their promise but I can tell you that I promise everyone who comes in your office will want to ask what that floating globe is in front of you, currently reduced from 179 dollars to only 119 dollars.
Sharon Nelson: That is cool, that’s a cool one I might have to look at that.
Jim Calloway: Great picture. Okay if you’ve been working at home a great deal and that’s changing now don’t forget that your pets are going to have to adjust to that change as well. If you’re worried your dog will be missing your daily presence check out the Furbo Dog Camera Treat Tossing Full HD WI-FI, two-way audio designed for dogs compatible with Alexa.
It’s got a 1080p camera with night vision if you want to check in your dogs at night. 160 degree wide angle view a two-way audio and barking alert so it lets you know by sending you a text if your dog’s barking. Sharon I guess that’s kind of a nice idea if you’ve got a new dog but I kind of like the idea of missing the barking when I’m out of the house so I don’t know if that’s great. But singing the dog and talking to the dog is good but from the dog’s point of view the best feature of this device is the toss-a-treat where you can teach your dog how to play catch with treats ejected from the device 198.69 with free shipping on Amazon.
Sharon Nelson: I have to tell you Jim that our rescue beagles have us very well trained they don’t need a machine they have a human being who tosses them treats almost at their whim.
Jim Calloway: There you go, well before we move on to our next segment let’s take a quick commercial break.
Jim Calloway: The Black Letter Podcast demystifies complicated law and business issues by breaking them down into simple understandable bites. Hosted by Tom Dunlap of Dunlap Bennett and Ludwig, this show features fun and informative conversation with esteemed guests like CEOs and former AGs of the CIA, you can listen to Black Letter today on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Sharon Nelson: Welcome back to the Digital Edge on the Legal Talk Network. Today our subject is tech toys for the holidays and Jim and I will continue to host our tech party.
So I am being more serious than you that which the reverse of what we normally do sometimes but my next toy is a very good tool but some people have said that it really has saved their lives so it doesn’t work for everyone but I’m going to recommend the TP-link AV-1000 powerline ethernet adapter at 48.99. It’s worth taking a risk on of course you can always send it back if it doesn’t work but what it does is it turns your home’s electrical wiring into a wired network, moving data very quickly and for most people who are challenged somehow in their house and by the region so forth, we’ve had people say this thing changed my life we’ve also had a couple people say it didn’t really improve performance so I guess it depends on your particular situation. But the kit comes with two power line units that set up in minutes, it’s simple to use and they plug into any power outlet to keep wired connections strong where you need them.
My next toy is also not a toy-toy but something good for lawyers to have and it — we had this several years ago I think Jim the Legal Board keyboard is now 85 dollars and the big thing and the reason why I included it is because it’s now wireless so that that is a big thing. It’s a low profile sleek keyboard designed for lawyers that want the added mobility and flexibility of a wireless keyboard. So with the press of a single key you can switch into legal mode to access over 35 functions that legal professionals use all the time. So I’m not going to go through them all but you can add you know one of those miserable section symbols that’s in every legal thing, you know turn track changes on and off at an M-dash or an N-dash all sorts of things including turn on and off italics underline in bold and insert common legal terms and citations like court and id and fdot, second, all of that and I think that’s — it’s a board that a lot of people have really liked this keyboard and so I keep getting good feedback about that one.
Jim Calloway: I remember when that was announced we all thought it was an interesting novelty item and then they sold out in like a heartbeat.
Sharon Nelson: Yeah what did we know? And of course we didn’t invest in the company you know.
Jim Calloway: There you go. Well I must be looking ahead toward warmer weather because I have another tech toy that is related to camping perhaps. The worst thing about camping is always the bugs and the bug be gone may be just what you need and also may be perfect for socially distant outdoor activities at home. the Buzz B-Gone Zap is a rechargeable portable bug zapper that you can either set up right or hang from anywhere.
You just charge it with a micro USB if this name sounds familiar it’s because this is the improved second generation version of this popular gadget but seriously if you have a friend who has always complained about mosquitoes this may be a thoughtful holiday gift that’ll get a chuckle from all the other relatives. Pricing is a little hard to locate but when I went through the website and kept clicking like I wanted to order it told me I qualified for a discounted price of 39.99.
So on the other hand if you hate using the touchpad on your laptop you may be a customer for the Padron ring mouse, wearing this ring lets you use your desk or table or any flat surface as a large touchpad the video on this one is very intriguing you’d basically just rest your hand on the table and then move it around like you would with the mouse and tap with your finger when you want to click. Sadly Sharon this isn’t an item we can order right now it’s still in the vaporware stage but they say they’re going to start shipping by the end of the year and one should subscribe to their newsletter for notification of when you can start placing your orders.
Sharon Nelson: You’re such a tease Jim. Well I have one like that too so I guess I can’t give you grief. My next tip and trust me I know everybody feels like they’re doing video conferences all the time but we’re doing Webinars all the time. And so we have gotten — we’ve had to get really up our game in terms of how we do our production. So one of the things that I’m recommending is Amazon’s basic 60-inch tripod for a webcam, it’s really gives you your options for how to look your best which is very tough when you’re on video conferencing, it gives you positioning so that you can position an external webcam higher between say two monitors so you don’t always appear to be first too much right there in the screen and second you’re obviously looking away it’s a lot less obvious and a lot more natural when you have one of these tripods, which is great. So it has adjustable height legs and rubber feet compatible with most video cameras, digital cameras, still cameras so it only weighs three pounds and it’s 25.99, so again I don’t think you can go too far wrong with that if you want to try it. And we got, we were one of the early ones before the green screens had sold out and they are back in stock now we had gotten one I think at the time it was a hundred and ten dollars now I see it’s down to 84.99 available on Amazon it’s a backdrop continuous chromakey background I don’t know what they call it. But anyhow what it has is — we do love the green screens because they look really good and one thing we have noticed is that audiences really like that we can project a virtual background against a green screen and so when that happens you don’t look all wonky as I’m sure people have noticed that when you have a virtual background even though they’re kind of cool if you turn your head you know there’s this whiteness or what ghostly thing around you but when you have the green screen that doesn’t happen so you know we are often have Mount Rainier had to stop and think of the name in Washington where John grew up and we’ve had of course the 12th man flag behind us in the stadium in Seattle. So but it does really make a difference and this comes with the stand, the green screen, two clamps, two lamps with umbrellas, light bulbs and carrying case. So that’s really a pretty good price to up your game in terms of how you look when you’re video conferencing and/or presenting.
Jim Calloway: Sounds like a great price for that actually.
Sharon Nelson: It does.
Jim Calloway: Well my next tech toy is the iLite’s car heads up display and wireless backup camera. This is a bit more of a pricey item at 580 dollars 92 cents but if you just really love that classic car you’re driving or maybe you just don’t want a new car payment for a new car, this gadget will allow you to add both heads up display and a backup camera to your car without even having to drill a single hole. The heads-up display on the windshield is projected from your navigation tool of force choice on your phone. Backup cameras are certainly handy and combining that with the heads-up display really makes a lot of sense.
Next I want to talk about not losing your photographs. In case you missed it there are a large number of these inexpensive photo backup devices that have entered the marketplace. They’re essentially portable hard drives or USB drives that have software that will locate and copy all the photos on a computer to that drive. This is really more than a photo backup process although it’s a great idea if you have photos on a computer that’s not backed up, surely you don’t have that lawyers. But even if you have a backed up computer and it’s just handy to have all your photos on a single drive in a one touch operation. There were just so many of those I really couldn’t choose one and since I didn’t get a chance to try one so instead I want to mention for our tech toy a company called iMemories.
iMemories does this type of thing but much more and they will also which may be useful for lawyers with evidence if you have family memories or potential evidence that’s locked up on a VHS tape and nobody has a VHS player anymore, they will transfer your VHS tapes to video or to digital video for only 11.99 a tape, so that’s a pretty good deal, and movie films are 11.99 through 50 feet. So that’s not exactly a toy but I wanted to mention the photo backup devices for 30-40 dollars you can plug one into your computer give it permissions and have all your photos saved without the other things on your computer being bothered.
Sharon Nelson: You know that’s really a very good tip because I’ll tell you in the digital forensics world, the thing we’re asked to recover outside of litigation you know non-litigation kind of stuff is photos when people have all their photos are not available for whatever reason and they need them recovered from a device that’s what they’re willing to pay any amount of money to get their photos back so this sounds like a cheap alternative.
Jim Calloway: Before we move on to our next segment let’s take a quick commercial break.
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Sharon Nelson: Welcome back to the Digital Edge on the Legal Talk Network. Today our subject is tech toys for the holidays. So let’s wrap this party up Jim I finally I’m getting away now from all of my useful things this is useful I suppose and it’s more for the COVID part of our program title but this is called the Fitness Mirror, it’s not cheap it’s about 1,500 dollars but I did go there today and they had a 350 dollar coupon available right on the website. It comes with a stand and wall mount clips but it’s not just a mirror. It’s a cardio class, it’s a yoga studio, it’s a boxing ring, it’s your new personal trainer. It really is a rival to the Peloton which is considerably more expensive especially with that coupon and you will definitely be sore after a workout session with mirror. It’s really a screen that guides you through exercise classes and it does double as a full-length mirror so it’s not only a space-saving home gym but a piece of home decor as well. It’s great if you live somewhere that frequently maybe has inclement weather so you can run or walk outdoors if it’s nice or use the mirror if it isn’t there is just like the Peloton a 39 dollar per month subscription for on-demand workout classes with expert trainers. I thought about this Jim and I don’t know about you but I thought of standing in front of my mirror and my workout clothes and that just was not a good portrait.
Jim Calloway: Some say you should but maybe they’ll buy the mirror.
Sharon Nelson: Yes exactly and then there’s one that Jim gave me so thank you for that Rubik’s connected. The connected electronic globe that allows you to compare with friends and cubers across the globe, it’s really a reinvented version of the classic Rubik’s cube to fit the 21st century and certainly to fit the year 2020. The Rubik’s connected cube is an innovative app-enabled cube puzzle game that connects to your phone or tablet through Bluetooth and allows you to learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube, play mini games, improve your game and battle with other cubers around the world and the app by the way is free with the cube. It sounds really, really cool and I thank you for this tip but I am ashamed to say forgive me that I am a rube at Rubik’s cube and I’m not sure I’m salvageable. How about you?
Jim Calloway: No that was never one of my skill sets either Sharon so that’s fine.
Sharon Nelson: Oh good we’ll play each other and the odds will be even, all right.
Sharon Nelson: Okay Sharon I know you and John are going to want this next item. I’m absolutely convinced when you mentioned it to John you will get a strong reaction. Listeners if you don’t have enough voice command devices listening to you already how about adding the kitchen trashcan. Yes, simple as humans, Sensor Can with voice and motion control for only 200 dollars you can have a trashcan that responds to your voice commands with things like open can, stay open or you waving your hand over the can.
Sharon it has three microphones so the trashcan won’t miss a thing but I’ve been unable to confirm rumors that the CIA has already bought a dozen of their own.
Sharon Nelson: In today’s world that wouldn’t surprise me.
Jim Calloway: Your kids will really love you if you buy them the DJI Osmo pocket handheld 3-axle gimbal stabilizer with integrated camera. It’s only 298 dollars 99 cents and I think the quick translation of all that label that lawyers probably don’t understand because I didn’t is this device will let you take pictures and make great movies while you’re walking or on a skateboard because it automatically stabilizes all of the pictures. I hate to say the same thing twice in a podcast but you really have to watch the video of this one on Amazon for 298.99 to see how it really works because it is a very entertaining device and your kids can now be the ones to torture you with their home use movies instead of what used to be the situation while we were growing up Sharon.
Sharon Nelson: Yeah a long time ago Jim.
Jim Calloway: That’s right Sharon thank you so much for being my podcast teammate another year and for happily concluding another tech toys for the holidays.
Sharon Nelson: Well it was a pleasure as it always is Jim and I think this year, one of the things we’ve all learned is to celebrate friendships above all so thank you for another year of your friendship which is dear to me and I wish we could be together for the holidays or any other time but I guess we’ll just hope for all good things in the future, right?
Jim Calloway: That’s right.
Sharon Nelson: Well that does it for this edition of the Digital Edge Lawyers and Technology and remember you can subscribe to all of the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on Apple podcasts and if you enjoyed our podcast please rate us in Apple podcasts.
Jim Calloway: Thanks for joining us goodbye Ms. Sharon.
Sharon Nelson: Happy trails cowboy.
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