Just in time for the holidays, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell bring you their latest list of must-have cool tools! They offer a variety of recommendations for inexpensive (or even free!) products that will make life just a little bit easier. In their second segment, they return to one of their favorite discussion topics–cybersecurity issues in collaboration tools. The people you collaborate with may have differing standards for security, but Dennis & Tom have tips for assessing risks and maintaining your cybersecurity safety while working with others.
Don’t forget to check out Dennis & Tom’s, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, Second Edition” on Amazon.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow.
Mentioned in This Episode
Segment A – Cool Tools
Segment B – When Bad Security Hurts Your Good Security Practices
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Even More Cool Tools!
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode #249 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we would like to thank our sponsor.
We would like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted, prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And we wanted to mention that the second edition of our book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies’ is available on Amazon. Everyone agrees that collaboration is essential in today’s world, but knowing the right tools will make all the difference.
In our last live episode we discussed the recent Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting in Phoenix and our learnings from it. In the interim, we also rebroadcasted an earlier episode where we talked about some our favorite cool tools and that was in preparation for this new live episode in which we wanted to revisit that popular episode and do a new and updated version of it.
So yes, we are going back to the land of cool tools. Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will indeed be discussing even more of our favorite useful and just plain cool tools that we use on a regular basis.
In our second segment we will discuss some ways that others make protecting our cybersecurity even more difficult than it already is and the dangers that it might raise in collaborative environments.
And as usual we will finish with our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, one of our favorite topics, thanks to Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder and their Great Cool Tools Podcast and the website and the Recomendo newsletter, we really like talking about cool tools, and what’s interesting about following the Cool Tools Podcast and everything is that, no matter how many different people they have on their show, there is no end to the number of cool tools. They are always bringing up different tools. I would have thought they would have run out of useful examples by now.
So we want to do the same thing, we did it, you heard the rebroadcast in our last episode, we want to do it again, because again, apparently we have no end of cool tools to talk to you about.
Before we get started, we probably need to provide a little bit of explanation. So Dennis, what do we mean by cool tools?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, by cool tools, I just — for me, it’s just a cool tool that’s extremely useful, that it’s hard to imagine your life before you had it around and it just makes life so much easier.
The other thing about cool tools is when somebody describes one of their favorite cool tools to you, it’s almost like you immediately want to run to Amazon and buy it, which is often the feeling I have after listening to the Cool Tools Podcast.
So we did the rebroadcast, so I know some listeners probably re-listened to that, but we thought maybe Tom that we should do a quick reminder without really explaining anything of the cool tools that we listed before.
So I don’t know, Tom, why don’t you take the main tools that we mentioned in that podcast and I will cover the bonus honorable mentions that we had.
Tom Mighell: All right. Well, Dennis, in the first episode your cool tools included the OXO Good Grips Jar Opener with Base Pad, the Teavana PerfecTea Tea Maker, Spotify for ambient music and work soundscapes and PowerPoint Presenter View.
I mentioned Rocketbook Notebook.
Dennis Kennedy: Which I then bought.
Tom Mighell: Microsoft Teams, the Tacklife Electric Arc Lighter and the KaVo Smart remote.
Dennis Kennedy: And then we had some quick bonus honorable mention. So Tom had the OXO Good Grips Meat Chopper, Tunefind, LiquSnug and OneTab, and I mentioned one of my favorite cool tools, OmniFocus, the Value Proposition Canvas, Kettlebells and my AirPods.
So Tom, do you want to start with our cool tools for this episode with your first one?
Tom Mighell: Absolutely. So my first cool tool is the WaterField Gear Pouch. I know that a lot of you may be fans of the WaterField products; they do a lot of great computer bags and accessories. I have been looking for a good gear pouch for a long time and I have actually stuck with this. I have had this for a while and it’s kind of a testament to how much I like it that I have had it for so long, because it’s always I think a challenge to find a container that can hold any of your cords and your dongles and the other stuff that you may need to carry with you in your bag that relates to the technology that you have.
Yes, the WaterField Gear Pouch looks a little bit like a bag that you put cash in at the bank, but it is made from extraordinarily sturdy, really wonderful material. It’s the right size for all of my cables and my cords and everything that I need. It’s a great tool. It just is something that I have been able to use and it goes with me wherever I go. It’s always in my backpack, and it always has the things that I need in it.
It’s not — by necessity they can’t be that big. They can’t be huge pouches because they need to fit in your backpack or in your bag, and so this doesn’t always fit everything, but it fits what I need for a trip. It’s $49 and it’s from WaterField Designs. We will make sure we put all the links to all of these tools in the show notes.
Dennis, what about you? What’s your first one?
Dennis Kennedy: So the first one that I have really illustrates what a cool tool is in so many different ways. So recently we had our first winter storm up here and my wife held up the ice scraper I am going to recommend in a second and said I love this scraper and that’s sort of the feeling you have about a cool tool.
And also, a lot of the cool tools, especially on the Cool Tools Podcast and Recomendo are actually quite inexpensive. So in some ways I found this tool even more useful when I was in St. Louis, because there tends to be more ice storms in St. Louis than here in Michigan, but it works in both cases.
And so this is the CJ Industries F101 Fantastic Ice Scraper with Brass Blade, and it really is fantastic. And so the notion is it has this metal brass blade, which will initially cause you concern that it’s going to scratch your windshield, but it’s a softer metal, so that’s not an issue, and it just does an incredible job of clearing your windshield, especially of ice.
And it’s just an amazing tool and it’s $5.95 on Amazon and once you have it, you will never go back to using anything else to scrape off ice and you will wonder like how you lived without it before.
Tom Mighell: And actually I have looked it up and the link to that on Amazon, you can actually get a 4 pack for $12.95, which is an even better deal.
Dennis Kennedy: You will make a lot of friends with that, it would be great stocking stuffers.
Tom Mighell: Or one for all of your cars, right?
All right, my second cool tool is a free app and I am probably being unfair in mentioning this, because it’s not available I think to everyone right now. I don’t think that my friends who have iPhones can use this, but it is so useful to me and it is such a nice cool app that I wanted to mention it anyway, so that maybe with anticipation my iOS friends could look forward to getting this at some point in time.
It’s called the Google Recorder. It’s a free app and it’s a recording tool. It’s available on Android phones. It originally was only available on Pixel phones, but now I believe it’s available on anybody who wants to — on any Android phone who wants to get it. It’s a very simple, straightforward recorder.
The difference is, is that — and what it does is, is that when it records, it will either record your voice if you want or it will take an almost flawless word for word transcript that you can then save and view in any format that you want to.
What’s nice about this recorder is that it works offline as well. So you can do this, even if you don’t have an Internet connection, you can make the recordings and you don’t need an Internet connection to be able to do it.
So I am not sure that I can say much more about it. You press play, it records, when you are done with the recording, you press the pause button, and then you can either delete it, you can resume it or you can save it, and it will save both the recording and it will save the transcript as well.
So pretty straightforward, but for free it’s a great little app.
Dennis Kennedy: How good do you say the transcript is?
Tom Mighell: I think that the transcription, the word detection, assuming that it’s able to — it’s a pretty clear connection is pretty flawless and it’s doing it on the fly. You can watch it on the screen as you talk and it’s changing the words, if you say something that’s clearly a proper noun or something, it doesn’t quite get it at first and then it realizes that’s a proper noun and it corrects it in there. It’s I think very fast and so far it’s been extremely accurate.
Dennis Kennedy: Cool. So my next one — so in the last one I was talking about how I like soundscapes and ambient music to work by. Well, I have sort of extended out into what I would call sleep soundscapes, and so that became really interesting to me as a way to kind of help me fall asleep in and sleep better.
And so then I combined another great tool, which is the Eye Mask, or Sleep Mask into something called the Perytong Skin-Friendly Wireless Music Bluetooth Sleep Eye Mask, $24.
Tom Mighell: That’s a mouthful there.
Dennis Kennedy: $24, and then I just hook it up to a device to play Spotify and there is some great Spotify playlist just for sleep and deep sleep and falling asleep and all those sorts of things. And then there are no wires to get tangled in. It’s a great sleep mask, super comfortable, and the speakers sort of move around in there, so you can get them situated either on your ears or near your ears and in the way that best suits you. And it’s just a super useful device either at home or I think in some ways even better traveling, if there is like noise in the city or other things like that. But a great way to combine soundscapes and sleeping, so two great things that people like to do.
Tom Mighell: All right. And my third one is called the Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer. I am not a fan of the name, Kitchen Gizmo sounds a little too pop bang to me, but it is a great strainer. I am used to using colanders to strain pasta or things from pots. I would rather not go to all that trouble and have two things that I have to worry about.
The Kitchen Gizmo literally snaps on to the size of your pot. It’s designed, it’s made out of silicone, so it’s flexible, it’s designed to fit on pots of multiple sizes and it has a colander built into it. When you snap it onto the pot, it’s about — takes up about a half to a third of the side of your pot and then you just turn the pot over in the sink and you can use both hands with the pot. You don’t have to worry about anything else.
And what I like about it is it’s nice on the clean up, because the silicone doesn’t get dirty. You just rinse it off, put it back, you are good to go. It’s a great time saver to strain things and it makes it extremely easy when I am not a big fan of using colanders anymore and this one has limited my need for having a colander now and I use it almost all the time when I have to strain things; vegetables, pasta, whatever it happens to be.
The Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer, it’s $16.99 at Amazon.
Dennis Kennedy: And it’s on my Amazon wish list. So my next one is something called the Bike Peddler Take A Look Cycling Eyeglass Mirror, and the compact version, $13. So I lost one of these recently and it just made me realize what a great tool it is and how I have to have one.
And so there is a number of ways to do mirrors when you are cycling; you can put them on your handlebars, you can put them on your helmet, but there’s a group of these tools and this Bike Peddler Take A Look one mirror is an example of where you just clip it to your glasses, so it could be your regular glasses or sunglasses. And then you have like a nice rearview mirror and it improves your feeling of safety immensely, because you can see what’s coming up behind you and it doesn’t slip off and you don’t have to do this adjusting and a lot of people don’t like to use the handlebar mirrors because it’s kind of hard to look, you can take your eye off the road as you are looking at them.
This is great, because you just kind of glance with your eye and you can see what’s behind you. For $13, it makes you feel like $13,000 safer.
Tom Mighell: All right. My number four is the Life360 App, and those of you who are parents may already know about this app, but I have come to this app from a different direction in that now I have become sort of the parent to my parents.
The Life360 App is an app that’s designed to basically show the location of where the people you love happen to be on their smartphone. So it’s essentially a location sharing app, but it has a few extra bells and whistles. I think it originally grew up as being something that you could put on your children’s phone so you knew where they were, but I, with an elderly father, who is still out and about and driving, I find that it’s also useful to know where he is. If anything goes wrong, I am automatically notified and I think it’s nice to have that as a tool to be able to be there in case something goes wrong.
The price for it is free, there is a free version, but it’s a little bit limited in its features and so I really recommend that you look at one of the subscriptions, it goes to I think $2.99 a month or $7.99 a month for the premium and you can get, not only location sharing, but battery monitoring, which is so useful to me, because I know whether my dad’s phone is about to die or whether it did die and that’s why I haven’t heard from him because his phone is dead.
There is crash detection, so if they are in an accident, the app will notify you, in addition to providing emergency response. And then there is also a driver report, where you can tell how fast they are going, whether they have hard braking. It basically shows you where they go. It’s a little bit of the stalkery type thing, but I am — and my dad agreed to do it. He agreed to do it. He can see where I go all the time. I really think that it’s useful to be able to keep track of someone that you love so that you can help out in case something goes wrong. And it’s, like I said, it’s free to $7.99 a month. I will put the link in the show notes.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to the Personal Surveillance Society.
Tom Mighell: There you go.
Dennis Kennedy: For good cause. So my last one is something I use every day, even though I don’t commute, and so it’s the Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug, 16 oz, available in a two pack, because you have got to have two, $34.99 for two of them, so half of that for one. This is just great. It seals perfectly, keeps your beverage hot or cold for an amazing length of time, and it’s super easy to use and to clean.
In a way I sort of feel like it has become my adult sippy cup, so I don’t spill my tea and other drinks anymore in this, because if I knock it over, it’s all sealed up and so I use it at home as much as I would use it in my car, and I just cannot recommend it highly enough, it’s just the greatest tools.
And Tom, we love tools and so let’s wrap up this segment and I will ask you if you noticed that there is a new Cool Tools book that’s coming out.
Tom Mighell: There is a Cool Tools book and frankly, if I were doing a lot of podcasts, which we are, maybe we should do a book on what we learned during our podcast, but that’s essentially what it is, is that they have taken all the great suggestions that come up on the podcast and they have turned it into a book, which I think frankly for those people who don’t listen to podcasts, I think it’s a great way to spread the word.
And although I listen to the podcast all the time and I don’t need to read the book, maybe those of you who don’t have time to listen to the podcast may have time to catch a few pages every now and then of the book, it might be a good read.
Dennis Kennedy: So maybe we should do like the — we are close to like 500 parting shots, maybe we should do like a parting shots book one of these days.
Tom Mighell: There you go. There you go. I am ready. I am in. Start publishing. All right.
Dennis Kennedy: As long as I do the work, right?
Tom Mighell: No, no, no, so as long as you — you have got to get started and then I will catch up to you.
Dennis Kennedy: All right.
Tom Mighell: All right. So those are our cool tools. We hope you like them. Give us your examples of cool tools if you want to. And before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsor.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. So, one of our favorite topics that no one else seems to like to discuss, especially lawyers, is cybersecurity when using collaboration tools. So even when you have great security hygiene, the others that you are working with can create problems with their sloppy, inadequate, or even nonexistent security practices.
So I have two pet peeves that I noticed lately. And so the first that I really hate is the online providers who have you sign up for and create a new account and then they basically forbid you from using symbols or they do other things to keep you from creating a standard strong password and I just don’t understand that.
And the second that I ran into is when you are at a conference and you are on a Wi-Fi network and it won’t let you connect to the Internet unless you turn your VPN off, and there is a technique I would describe as geofencing, because it looks like that your device is connecting from somewhere say in the middle of the US or in Canada or wherever you have your VPN bouncing off of, and so then you have to turn the VPN off to use public Wi-Fi, which is not a great practice.
So Tom, I just wanted to kind of bat around the notion of why do others make it so hard for us to implement good security practices.
Tom Mighell: Now, I will say, not to quibble, but I will say that I haven’t had the second problem that you have had about VPN. There are lots of public Wi-Fi where I have to turn the VPN off before I can join it, but then I can immediately turn the VPN back on again and not have any problems. So that’s a new issue that I have seen.
My bigger issue is actually something that was frankly addressed in the Cool Tools this past week, where they talk about how to force public Wi-Fi to give you a login page, because there is oftentimes where I try to connect to Wi-Fi and it doesn’t even want to connect to me and connect me to the login page for a couple of reasons, and I will recommend that page on Cool Tools if people are interested, I will put it in the show notes as well.
So here is my — actually my answer to this question is pretty straightforward and maybe simplistic, but to me it’s a simple answer. I think the obvious explanation is that everyone has a different way of defining security. I would like to say that there is not one good set of standards for what people should be doing. When someone is setting up information security, I would imagine that people don’t go to any one place. They look for best practices information security. I would say that a lot of people do that, but they shouldn’t be.
I went to — I actually went to the NIST page, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is where I would expect to see standards like this promulgated and sure enough there are. There is a set of standards on passwords, but guess what, the minimum length for a password is 8 characters and they don’t even require certain characters in there, because in the past couple of years they have recognized that wha-wha, passwords are hard and it’s kind of disheartening to see that guidance, because it makes it sound like, look for something that’s no less than 8 characters, no more than 24 characters and that it’s easy for you to remember.
And I get it. I get that it’s hard. I get that people aren’t going to buy Password Managers, but not everybody follows NIST, not everyone is required to follow it. I was sort of disappointed to see that that’s the only standard; I mean not the only, but that’s one of the standards that’s out there and it doesn’t require stronger security on things.
So I suppose that’s my short answer. Everybody is allowed to decide on their own what constitutes security and the standards themselves aren’t always satisfying, at least not in my opinion.
Dennis, how do you feel about that?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I mean that sort of comes back to our point, which is that we can be doing all the best that we can, and if we are collaborating with people or we are in some kind of collaborative environment, that somebody else’s bad practices or weak practices potentially have an impact on us, because it’s just not as safe for you to have passwords that aren’t strong, and if you eliminate one of the four factors; uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols, if you eliminate the symbols, then it just makes it easier for somebody to break those passwords, significantly easier.
So it’s just one of those things that concerns me that — I think you are right, people are saying okay, we have security and what are the standards and we will do this and then the times change, the attacks change, the threats change and people aren’t — don’t keep up with that.
What I don’t like though is that I can’t override. It’s sort of like either you do it their way or you don’t do it at all, but I can’t override and make a more secure password. So it’s one of those things.
To me, I just noticed a couple of these things recently and I guess you are right Tom, I didn’t notice that whether I could then turn the VPN back on. I actually don’t think I could in that situation without losing the Internet. It just illustrates the point to me that we have been talking about a lot is that in the collaborative world that you have really got to think through all the different people who potentially have access to your information or your devices or your network and whether their own security practices are safe enough for you.
So now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second this podcast ends, which may become a book in the near future. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: There’s been one thing that I have been trying to do for a while and that is to find better ways to use the Todoist App. I have talked about it on the podcast before. It’s my task manager of choice. It is an incredibly strong and powerful app to use for task management and I am only scratching the surface on how to use it.
And so I went looking to find people who could talk about it and I found a YouTube page by a productivity guy, whose name is Carl, and I know I am going to mispronounce his name, it’s either Pullein or Pullein, I am not sure how to pronounce his last name, but he has a whole series of productivity videos, way more than I am ever going to watch on Todoist, but he is not just limited to Todoist, he also has a lot on Evernote. He also talks about Mac apps and how to be productive using those.
His videos are digestible. They are not longer than — most of them are between 7 or 8 minutes. The longest I usually see is between 12 and 15 minutes. They are very digestible. He has actually pulled up the computer screen. He is showing you how to do it. He has got 250 separate video episodes on Todoist that I am never going to get through, but I sure am interested in trying to learn some more about it. It’s a great page. I recommend that you go look at it, Carl Pullein Productivity Videos.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So Tom, before we started recording we were actually talking about videos and how it’s interesting how you can do these short videos in a lot of ways. So recently I have been asked by I don’t know how many people for tips about how I published my latest book and the new LinkedIn book that Allison Shields and I did on Amazon as a direct to Amazon book. And I think I could just do a video of me kind of talking through those tips, so it’s kind of like an interesting new medium for me that I haven’t explored, but I would like to.
So my parting shots, I have two of them, an ongoing parting shot, I just want to mention my 57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law, which is a free PDF download of tips, which you can find on my website.
And I do want to mention the LinkedIn book that I just mentioned. So Alison Shields and I have written a new book on LinkedIn for the legal profession that’s called, ‘Make LinkedIn Work for You: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals‘. It’s available on Amazon as paperback and in the Kindle version and it’s very nicely priced and a great gift for the upcoming gift giving season.
Tom Mighell: All right. And so that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thank you for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode, ah, you can find show notes at the Legal Talk Network website and the page for this podcast. We are not going to be using tkmreport.com anymore for show notes. We thought that it would make more sense if we could have the show notes be in the same place as where the episode is and where the transcript of the program is. So you can go to the Legal Talk Network site for this episode and you will find all the show notes there.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site, where you can find archives of our previous podcasts and with the aforementioned transcripts.
If you would like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us on LinkedIn. Remember, we still love getting voicemail. Send us a voicemail at (720) 441-6820 and we might feature you on our B Segment.
So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts, and we will see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.