Looking for some simple ways to make life just a little bit better? Dennis and Tom challenge themselves to fire through 20 simple technology-related tips in just 20 minutes, from useful shortcut commands, to favorite apps, to smarter tech habits, and more!
On “Hot or Not?”, they discuss whether making cell phone calls is really useful or necessary in this day and age and what types of issues still exist in regard to network reliability.
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, Colonial Surety Company, ServeNow, and Nota.
Mentioned in This Episode
A Segment: 20 Tips in 20 Minutes
B Segment: Hot or Not – Making Cell Phone Calls
Intro: Web 2.0. Innovation, trends, 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 289 of the The Kennedy Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell, in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors.
Dennis Kennedy: First of all, we’d like to thank Nota, powered by M&T Bank. Nota is banking built for lawyers and provides smart, no-cost IOLTA account management. Visit trustnota.com/legal to learn more. That’s N-O-T-A. Nota. Terms and conditions may apply.
Tom Mighell: Next, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bonds you need, get a quote and purchase online at Colonial Surety.com/podcast.
Dennis Kennedy: And we’d also like to thank ServeNow. A nationwide network of trusted, pre-screened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process litigation process. Visit Servenow.com to learn more.
Tom Mighell: And finally, with so many new podcasts announcing their debut these days, we occasionally like to mention that at 15 years and counting, this is the longest, continuously-running legal tech podcast out there.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode, we took a look at summer reading lists, what it means to read books these days. And some of our recommended books for your summer list. In this episode, we decided to dig into our tech tips faults, and share some of our recent favorite tech and non-tech tips for you to take advantage of this summer. It will be a jam-packed episode, and we’ll include as many as we can until Tom calls time on us. Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: All right, well Dennis, in this edition of the The Kennedy Mighell Report, we will indeed be talking about tips, tips, and more tips. Well, 20 tips to be exact. In our second segment, we’re going to do another round of our new hot or not topic. And as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots that Onetip website or observation you can start to use the second that this podcast is over. So, I guess, make those 22 tips that we’ll be having in today’s show. But first up, our version of the popular legal text staples, 60 tips in 60 minutes. We don’t want to keep you that long, and you don’t want to hear us talk for that long. So, we’re going to go for a sweet 20 and 20. So Dennis, no preambles, no delays. Let’s jump right in. Would you start us out with the first tip?
Dennis Kennedy: I’ve been thinking a lot about just trying things, and starting over, and the whole notion of undoing or erasing. And so, sort of a three for one here. So, Ctrl Z, which is a simple way to do the undo Ctrl Shift T, which is a great way to restore a tab in a browser when you accidentally closed it, and the SumoGrip eraser for those of us who like to use pencils. An amazing eraser out of Japan.
Tom Mighell: All right, so my tip is actually a pet peeve that I’ve been having lately because I’ve been noticing since we’ve all been locked up, and locked down, and people have been attending a lot more meetings by video is that, instead of getting a good headset, and a good microphone, people are choosing to use the microphone that’s on their own laptop. And to me, it reminds me of the days when I’m listening to people talk by speakerphone; they turn on their speakerphone, and then they lean back, and it turns really way far away, and I hate it. Get a headset or a microphone so that we can hear you up close. And I will say, “That doesn’t just apply to your business meetings or meetings that you have, that applies to those of you who are on podcasts.” I’ve got to say, since I get this podium to rant, I will say that, the number of people who either record podcasts or guests on podcasts who you can barely hear because they haven’t, and don’t care enough to put a good microphone up to their mouth is just amazing to me. Use a headset and a microphone.
Dennis Kennedy: I couldn’t agree more time, and even worse with people who lean forward, and back, and so, there’s no consistent thing where does not make sense to tell them to get closer to the microphone, because you don’t know what they’re going to do next. My next one is, TextExpander, which is a way to put together pieces of text, and then automatically insert them. You trigger them with keyboard code like a slash or something. And I use this for scheduled Tweets for parts of blog posts other things like that, creating stationery of all sorts of things. But just a perfect example of a simple macro that can really help you.
Tom Mighell: I have lately been using tools to help me quickly add tasks to my To Do List. Now, those of you who listen to the podcast know that I use To Do List., but I think that this should apply to most of the major task list applications, which is, one go, and find a widget that will work either on your Android phone or on your iPhone will that allow you to press a button, add a task, hit enter, and it’s done, it’s added. You can go back and deal with it later and add a priority to it, and what day you need to put it on. And you can deal with it later, but if you’re out and about or just something comes to you, the ability to just sit, there hit a quick widget, one button, type it out, you’re done, it’s quick. If you don’t can’t even touch your phone, I’m also using a lot of the time on my Google Nest. I am able to talk to To Do List. there, and I basically just say, “Hey G, let’s add a task to To Do List., and here’s the task.” And it gets added, and I can go in, and deal with it later. So, I’m really finding it useful to have different ways to add tasks quickly, and on the run when I’m not in front of my computer.
Dennis Kennedy: And on a similar note, I have a tip of having a few keyboard shortcuts, but not too many. And so, I used to just say like, “Hey, just right click, and menu will come up, and you can do this. But actually, there are some things that you do often enough, it makes sense to use the keyboard shortcut, but not too many of those. I know people who memorize all kinds of stuff, but even if it’s just like a Ctrl C, Ctrl V to copy and paste, if you have a few of those that you use a lot, it just saves you time and effort.
Tom Mighell: Alt Tab is the best shortcut ever. So, I may have mentioned this on the podcast before, but I’m going to mention it again because it continuously comes in handy for me. More and more websites are asking that you put in security answers, and I used to think I was so smart by putting in my mother’s maiden name because it was so unique, and then I got my identity stolen, and I realized that it got stolen because it was so unique, and it was easy to figure out. So, what I do now with security answers is, I put in completely nonsense answers, things that no one will ever guess. So, when people ask me what high school I went to, I will say something like, “I went to Venusian High or I’ll say something they couldn’t possibly ever figure out.” But I need a place to put that. That’s where the password manager comes in. You can add a secure note into your password manager for that website, and I’ve got all of my secret answers there that I know, that no one else will get to, and they’re all nonsense, so people will never be able to get past those secret questions.
Dennis Kennedy: I thought you did go to Venusian High, though?
Tom Mighell: I flunked out of there, and I graduated from a different one.
Dennis Kennedy: A common tip I give over the years, and I find this to be, I get reminded every time that I get a new computer or like, reinstall things. And that’s just from time to time, maybe it’s like, twice a year revisit your preferences, and properties. So, similar things on a Mac and Windows, and you can do like, the overall OS properties and preferences, which will tell you where you’re going to the default folders, you’ll save to. all sorts of other things. But you can really customize your experience either on the OS or in the Microsoft programs or other places to make them more useful to you. And just from time to time, take a look there, because you might have more control. And sometimes the thing that annoys you the most is just, a matter of checking or unchecking a box, and you’re totally happy.
Tom Mighell: I am going to shoutout to friend of the show, Debbie Foster not for giving me this tip, but for reminding me to say it because I keep forgetting about it, and how helpful it is. When you’re on a Zoom call or really any video call, but I’m talking about Zoom this time, there’s nothing more panicking than when you start to talk, and people say, “You’re on mute.” And then you race to go find the mute button and unclick it, and it’s a big pain. Instead of doing that, press the space bar. If you press, and hold on the space bar, it unmutes you temporarily. You can say what you need to say. Then when you release the space bar, it puts the mute back on again. So, it’s a little bit like, pressing the little microphone button when you are in class or in a big auditorium, and doing that, it makes it much easier for you to unmute and unmute without having to scramble for the mouse.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m big on personalizing, and customizing. And one of the things I find when I have problems with something and it’s just an annoyance is, I figure out that’s actually because it’s designed for right-handers rather than left-handers. And there’s a lot of options that you have, and things that you can get to make your life as a left-hander of the 10% or so of us who are left-handers so much easier. And I recently found this thing as, the Kokuyo soft ring binder and it’s like a regular binder that you normally have like the wire thing down the side, which if you’re left-handed like, does immense damage to your arm if you rested on it because you have all these marks all over. But it’s made out of a soft vinyl on the binder, and it’s just one of those simple things that’s just so great makes using this notebook great, because I never have to see these marks all over my arm.
Tom Mighell: All right, now I have a PowerPoint tip, and this is a tip that I really don’t see people use that often or at least I’m not in the right presentations to see them, and that is, the PowerPoint’s relatively new captions, and subtitles feature that you can actually enable subtitles, and you can enable it for any kind of language. So, let’s say, that you’re giving a speech to an audience from a different country, lawyers from a different place, you can set the subtitles up for about 30 or 40 different languages. You can set where you want them to appear on the screen. This will work not only for online presentations, but also when we are back in the world again, if you’re giving a presentation out, it will show across your PowerPoint slide. I think that if you have audiences who either might have some accessibility issues or audiences who have trouble understanding English or whatever language you’re trying, I think the subtitles is really an interesting idea that I just haven’t had enough opportunity to try out.
Dennis Kennedy: I’m thinking about those text dents lawyer slides, and then adding subtitles to it, it’s actually making me a little anxious as I think about that. So, my next one is, just the basic installing updates. So, few people do this, but I was reading a book called, “This is the way they tell me the world ends” by Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times. It’s about cyber hacking, and especially state-based cyber hackings. And she focuses a lot on zero-day exploits. And the fact is, it’s zero-day exploits are called zero day because zero day means zero day, and they take effect right away. And the only way you can protect yourself is, to install the updates as soon as you can, because you’re vulnerable on an ongoing basis. So, set the automatic updates, and then check from time to time. And if you’re running around, and it used to be somebody, a legal tech speaker I know who used to brag about how far behind he was on updates, don’t be that person.
Tom Mighell: All right, we’ve mentioned on the past that we have or at least, I have moved over from Chrome to Microsoft Edge. I’ll make a pitch for that again here, and give some tips about it. Microsoft Edge is based on the Chromium browser, so it’s very similar to Chrome, but unlike Chrome at least what I’m finding anyway, is it doesn’t, it’s not quite the memory hog that chrome has been. And two, because it’s offered by Microsoft, I get the feeling that they might not be collecting quite as much information about me than Google happens to capture about you. So, I’m very much enjoying using Microsoft Edge including two new features: one is, something called, collections. You can open a side window, and you can create a collection of links of documents of anything you find on the web you’re searching for it, and you drag it over into the collection, and it’s a little bit like saving bookmarks. But I think, it’s designed to be more than that. It’s designed to be kind of a research set of tools, very compelling and interesting. And then the other one really is great I think because I’m so tired of horizontal tabs. They now offer vertical tabs. You can switch to see tabs running up and down the left side. They may even do the right side, I’m not sure. But to the left side of your screen, instead of seeing the tabs running all the way across, they can run down the left side if that’s more convenient for you. I think it’s a great idea.
Dennis Kennedy: Vertical tabs rule. So, again on the security side, I’ve seen lately people just flat out saying that, “Your best protection against ransomware, and other attacks is two-factor authentication, sometimes known as MFA or multi-factor authentication.” So, two things, that you absolutely have to be doing is, enable two-factor authentication every time you can. And for God’s sakes, use a password manager.
Tom Mighell: All right another Zoom tip, and you may know this, but I think it’s so useful. I keep forgetting about it. I noticed that when I’m on a Zoom meeting, I tend to look at myself far more than I really need to. I’ve just sort of drawn to looking at me to see what’s going on. And that can be a little exhausting, a little bit anxiety inducing. And so, what’s really nice is to be able to click on my picture, click the hide self-view option, and it removes my camera from the screen, so I don’t see myself. And really, that’s how it should be, is that, you shouldn’t see yourself, you should just see the other people that you’re talking with. It’s a lot more liberating, and freeing, and I enjoy those meetings a lot more without having to look at myself the whole time.
Dennis Kennedy: And PowerPoint is something fairly new. It’s been around for a while. That to me, is an example of small AI. A small AI feature, it’s called, design ideas. And what you do is, you put together a slide where you go to the design tab, there’s a little choice that says, “design ideas.” And it will give you half a dozen or so suggestions for your slides to format it, to put backgrounds on it, to do all sorts of things. You can keep your slide deck consistent, you can add a bunch of choices, it does a great job of centering things for you, and it just happens, and it’s one of those things that, if you’re comfortable with good enough, and we all should be on a lot of these things, it will save you a ton of times, and give you a nice, consistent, professional look to your slides.
Tom Mighell: For those of you who are using Microsoft 365, and you use Outlook, I would suggest trying out to the extent you’re not already doing this; checking out Outlook on the web. And the reason why is, one reason is, I keep hearing rumors. I’m not sure how true they are. I don’t think that’ll happen, but you never know, that Microsoft would love to retire the Outlook application in favor of its web browser-based version. But what I really like about it is, Microsoft purchased a number of emails, and calendaring programs over the past years, and they’ve slowly been building those really useful features into Outlook on the web. And so, they’re actually, the Outlook on the web is, getting new tools before the Outlook application is. So, for example, it now has predictive messaging where you can be typing, and it will learn how you type, and how you speak, and it will suggest things that if you just hit the tab button, it automatically completes your sentences for you. It will automatically show you and give you messaging when meetings are coming up in a way that’s different from what the application does. And I think it’s generally more useful, and friendly than the application itself is. I’m still going to go back to using the application because of the one add-in, the simply file add-in that I love to death. But I’m really enjoying the new features in Outlook on the web, and I think you should give it a try.
Dennis Kennedy: A number of people recommend Outlook on the web for Mac users as well, because the Mac version or Outlook —
Tom Mighell: –has historically not been good.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. My next tip is a variation on something that that Tom mentioned, which is a Microsoft’s or mic technique for Zoom. As Tom knows, a lot of people are just going mic-less. To me it’s like, headset is super easy. It makes a world of difference. If you don’t want to be, if you think that having a headset somehow infringes on your freedom, then for $15, you can get a decent corded Lav mic, pin it to your shirt, and you’ll sound great. And the people listening to you will “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for that.”
Tom Mighell: All right, Dennis that was your last tip. This is my last tip. And I know that Dennis has talked in the past about the ambient, and other types of playlists on Spotify. I’m going to give a pitch for two websites that you got to pay for. And one is, called Brain.fm, and the other one is called Focus@Will. And they have a lot of different focus, relaxation and sleep type of tracks that they both go into a lot of detail about how science says that, this type of music really helps you get in the groove working wise, and make it easier for you to do it rather than get distracted by other types of music that you might want to work with. This is something that I’m just now starting to try out. So, I can’t say personally whether it’s working for me or not, but I’m intrigued. I think that the offerings are great. I’m tending to look at Brain.fm as one of the tools, but they both have great playlists on them. So, either one of those would be interesting if you need something to help keep you from being distracted when you’re trying to work, get some deep work done
And that does it, we’ve done 20, in I guess, close to 20. I think that we’re pretty close. But before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the The Kennedy Mighell Report, I’m Tom Mighell —
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy, and we’re catching our breath after that tip segment, but it’s time for a new segment we call, Hot or Not. We pick something people are talking about or at least, we think they’re talking about it, and argue whether, we think it’s hot or not. We might agree, but odds are that we won’t. So, let’s get started. Tom, where do you land on actually using smartphones for phone calls, and the whole topic of cellphone reception in general these days?
Tom Mighell: Well, I will ask, it sounds like the person who’s writing this Hot or Not question is much younger than your or mine in our 50s, and otherwise age range, because I feel like, this is a generational question that we’re talking about. It’s an unfair question to ask me, because I’m dealing with a father who is 90-years-old, which means, I’m actually on my smartphone talking to him frequently. I am on the phone talking to people he deals with frequently. So, I have to say, I use my smartphone for phone calls quite a bit, not necessarily for work. In fact, I very rarely use a phone for work anymore. It’s all online calls, whether it’s Teams, whether it’s Zoom meetings, whether it’s anything like that. So, I that’s a fact.
Tom Mighell: I know that younger generations are hardly using a smartphone for phone calls anymore, but I think that mine is more a function of the other people that I have to communicate with, and this is the only way to do it, is using a smartphone. as far as reception is concerned, what’s interesting about that in my perspective, and I’m not sure what you’re getting at by the question, but what’s interesting about me for cellphone reception is that, 5G connectivity is starting to make its way into the Dallas area. And my phone is automatically connecting to a 5G network, and I can’t say that it’s good thing that it’s happening. And my reception and my data are not that great when I’m in those areas. So, I have to say, my reception in general is not terrible, but it never has been terrible. So, I suspect you may have a reason for asking this question.
But I have been finding that as 5G is moving in, it still needs a little baking to do. It still needs a little bit more time before we can say that, we’re all happy with how fast our 5G networks are. So, I’m going to say, lukewarm. It’s neither hot or not for me.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I think this is actually cold, and getting colder. I’ve never heard so many people complain about cellphone reception as I have in the last few months, and like all around the country, not even places that were notorious for having bad reception. So, I’m curious if there’s something going on out there. To me, one aspect of Zoom is that, sometimes people say, “Let’s just do a regular phone call for a change. I’m so, so, tired of Zoom.” And you call them, and they go, “I’m having trouble hearing you.” Or like, “I’m not sure you’re speaking into the phone, so I can hear you or the call drops.”
I was talking to my brother the other day, and in a 20-minute call, we had to call each other back five different times. And at one time, he said, “I didn’t even move one step, and it dropped.” So, I just find it really hard to deal with phone calls. I think it’s harder for me to pay attention. I think that people on the other end, typically, are doing other things even though to a greater extent than using Zoom. And I think it’s actually really hard to have conversations on the phone especially for an extended period of time. So, I think it’s sort of cold, and I just sort of see the value of my smartphone on phone calls is like, pre-identifying spam, giving me access to voicemail, finding out if somebody’s available, and I didn’t even do that. I just rather text or do something else, and have it done by Zoom. So, I’m curious whether we’ll see big return to phone calls here in the near future. But it just seems like such a limited, and constrained medium of communication now after Zoom just feels so much richer, and in many ways more reliable at this point for me.
So now it’s time for parting shots Now, it’s time for our parting shots. At Onetip website, or observation. You can use the second till this podcast ends. So, Tom takes it away.
Tom Mighell: So, on previous versions of this podcast, we have mentioned I some of the various AI tools that will help you schedule meetings; where you can add your AI personal assistant as a cc to an email and say, “Amy,” I think Amy was one of the big ones. “Amy, please make sure you schedule a meeting.” And then the AI tool will then look at your calendar, and then get dates from the people that you’re attending the meeting with, and automatically schedule the meeting.
Tom Mighell: Well, I’ve been waiting for a long time, and finally it’s here, that AI tool is now being baked into Microsoft 365 or probably, more specific, it’s an add-on that that is created by Microsoft, so it’s designed to work with Microsoft 365, it’s called, Microsoft Scheduler. I don’t believe and I’m not sure if it’s fully ready or not, but you can go to and we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can go there, it does cost. It’s not free as part of Microsoft 365, which is really what I wish they would do. It’s about the same cost as any other AI tool would be, these previous schedulers. It’s $10 a month per user. So, I’m not sure that I’m going to wind up using it in my company, but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad that Microsoft is finally getting to this point, and I think, it will be a useful add-in to help the meeting scheduling issue.
Dennis Kennedy: And gosh, darn it. That time, I still want to mention virtual browser tabs even though you won’t let me do it in this segment. But I have two quick things: so, one is that, I’m constantly trying to improve my eye contact during Zoom calls. And I’ve mentioned this before, but I just find this really useful. So, it bears repeating is, I just put a couple pieces of color tape near the webcam on my laptop, and it helps my eyes, and my brain remembered to look directly into the camera. And the other one, it’s just a kind of usability tip for your readers.
So, on Twitter, I’ve become known for my creative use of hashtags, and one of the things that I learned as I started to experiment with hashtags was that, if somebody has a vision problem, it’s actually better for the tools they use to capitalize each word in a hashtag. So, if you have a hashtag that is of multiple words. Like, you do hashtag the more things change. If you capitalize each of those words, it’s actually better for people with vision problems who are using certain tools. So, if you use hashtags creatively, just a little tip to remember.
Tom Mighell: And so, that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Networks Page for the show. 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 all of our previous episodes along with transcripts.
If you’d like to get in touch with us, remember, you can reach out to us on LinkedIn, we’re both on Twitter, or remember, leave us voicemail, we’d love to feature your question in our B-segment. That number is, (720) 441-6820. So, until the next podcast, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. And you’ve been listening to the Kennedy Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an internet focus. If you like what you heard today, please rate us in Apple podcast, and we’ll see you next time for another episode with The Kennedy Mighell Report, on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy Mighell Report,
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Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com