According to Tom, to-do list apps are actually the most important productivity tools out there. Essentially everything we do relies on a to-do list, even if we’re not particularly organized about it. So, Dennis and Tom talk about how to-do/task-management apps can help us do work better and share some of the most popular offerings amongst these types of tools.
During “Hot or Not?”, the guys discuss the recent update of Word for Mac incorporating Microsoft Editor, and whether unexpected updates like these can do more harm than good for the users.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? They’re angling for listener calls for their 300th episode! 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: To Do Apps
B Segment: Hot or Not
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trends, Collaboration, Software, Metadata, Software Service, Podcasts, Virtual Law.
Male: 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 298 of 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. First of all, we’d like to thank Nota powered by M&T Bank. Nota is banking built for lawyers and provide 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.
Dennis Kennedy: Next, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bond you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And we’d like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted pre-screen process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit ServeNow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And as we like to say with so many new podcasts announcing their very first podcast these days, as we rapidly approached our own 300th, we occasionally like to mention that at 15 years and counting, this is the longest continuously running legal tech podcast out there. If you have ideas for our 300th episode which is coming very quickly or a question we can answer in the B segment of an upcoming episode, leave us voicemail at (720) 441-6820.
In our last episode, we discussed how much progress and it’s been quite a lot that we’ve made on our second brain projects over the summer. In this episode, we’ve noticed lately or at least I have a fair number of people talking about changing to a new to-do application from their existing one. If you are one of those people, we might just have a to-do list for you to help you with that effort. Did you see what I did there Tom? Tom? I guess you didn’t see it. So what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Yeah, I guess I saw what you did there Dennis. Dennis (00:02:36), Kennedy-Mighell Report. We will indeed be discussing the Evergreen topic of to-do lists, one of our favorite personal productivity tools. In our second segment, we’re going to take our temperatures on the issue of software manufacturers making changes to their products allegedly without warning. And as usual, we’ll finish up 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, to-do lists, can’t live with them, can’t live without them or so it seems. We think to-do lists are the quintessential and I would argue most important productivity app that’s out there. Whatever we’re doing, it all seems to flow back to a list of tasks work or home so we thought we’d survey the current state of to-do lists, make some recommendations of what we’re seeing out there, the features that we think are most important. Dennis, we always talk about tools so you usually start right off with that jobs to be done, what are you hiring the to-do list for question. Is that where we start here?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, we’ll get to but not quite yet. So, I’m just curious whether you’ve noticed as I have that there are people who seemed to be looking at changing their to-do applications lately. I have a suspicion that’s a COVID phenomenon as people starting to work from home, have combined to-do list and there’s sort of less physical separation of work and home and maybe the to-do lists are starting to flow over and people are starting to see the leaks spring in their to-do app bode if you will. But I’ve noticed it, I don’t know whether you’ve seen that Tom.
Tom Mighell: To be honest, I haven’t. I haven’t seen it the way you’ve seen it. I haven’t seen people talk about changing their to-do app. I’ve seen a lot more people talk about finding a to-do app. I mean, I still think that the to-do list for lawyers is something that is still a manual effort, is paper-based, is something that they just create a Word document or put it in the spreadsheet. I had something really simple and basic and people aren’t taking advantage of some of the really great tools that are out there. So I see a lot more people doing that and I think that the work from home phenomenon, whatever we call it, has really kind of brought this to the fore.
I mean, that’s part of the reason why I turned to a task manager a long time ago because I’ve been working at home for so long. It just made sense because I had my work tasks, I had my personal tasks, I wanted to be able to keep them in the same place but yet separate and you really need a good task manager to do that. And when we’re working in the office and then having our personal life at home, it’s easier to keep those things separate. But working from home I think made that much harder to do. I think we’re just headed to the way that I think we should have been headed the whole way which is a single app that can keep our tasks separate but together.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. I mean, I think the problem for me always was I felt I had a great personal to-do app and approach for management and then almost a negative set of tools for work and I just really felt that separation so much. So lately, to be able to merge work into the existing system I had was so great. I guess the other thing is that maybe people are just show burned out from having too many to-dos that they just want to get it from this big list of paper that they see all the time into an app that maybe lets them feel they have more control over it.
Tom Mighell: I don’t know. I don’t know that there’s anything new about right now that we have more to-dos than ever that are making us burned out. I think we’ve always had a lot of to-dos. I will say that the one area and we’ll talk about this in more detail, the one area that I’ve really struggled with is, even though I’ve been able to keep both my work and personal together in my task manager without a problem, where I also have struggled is if somebody at work assigns me a task is that, where does that go and how do I keep track of it myself? And I’ve found a great way to deal with it and I’m really happy with it and we’ll talk about that more. But that’s kind of been the issue which is, it’s one thing to be able to write down your tasks, yourself here, the things I know I need to do but what if you’re working on a team somewhere or your boss or somebody says, “Hey, I need you to do this” and they assign it to you at work. How do you keep track of that someplace else? And I’ve got at least one good idea for dealing with that.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay. So now I think I’m ready to talk about jobs to be done and see my traditional approach of what are you hiring the to-do list or the to-do list app if you actually need one for question. And so, I think that this is what I see so much when people talk about technology is, I’m looking for the best app is usually where people start. And so, they seem to be looking for an app to solve what actually is a more fundamental and underlying problem. So like what are you actually hoping to accomplish with this to-do list and what is the outcome that you expect? And so, what does it need to do for you?
So let’s just look at people who are looking to change to-do list because even the people who are finding a new to-do app already have something that they’re using. So the way I start to look at things is if I’m looking to change apps or approaches, then something’s clearly not working right now and that’s what you need to dig into. So if you say, “I’ve tried a bunch of to-do apps and I just keep going back to a paper system,” you need to understand the why of that and start to break that into you can call it a checklist or put some way that you analyze what it is that you’re getting in one system that works for you and what’s not there or something that doesn’t work for you, put that together as a checklist and then I would use that as my guide to start to explore the different possibilities. So I don’t know. When I say that time, it sounds so reasonable to me. I don’t know if I’m actually going to get you to agree that it is a reasonable approach.
Tom Mighell: I think it’s a very reasonable approach. I just happened to look at it in a slightly different way and this is kind of an evergreen list of I would say requirements, things that I would want my — if I was hiring a new to-do list right now, here are the things that I would want it to do because I think you ought to be able to identify some of the things you want but let’s see if I can cover some of the things that you might not be thinking about.
Because when it comes to good task managers, it might be that you don’t know what you don’t know about what’s possible and what you should have. So let me try and go through this pretty quickly. Here, what I think is the list of requirements. Ideally, you want to have a to-do list that’s platform agnostic because whatever types of devices you happen to be on whether you use a Windows computer at work and you use an iPhone for your phone, being able to have it on multiple devices and have access to your to-do list wherever you are, whenever you need it is useful. So platform agnostic to me is my first thing because I’m on Android, I’m on Windows, I’m on an iPad, I need all of it.
There needs to be ease of task entry. Can you have a widget for it on your phone? Is there a place where you can press one button and enter a task on your phone? Can you add a task easily using Google Assistant or Alexa or Siri? Can you just tell your voice assistant, “Hey, add a task” and it automatically adds it to your to-do list? Tremendously helpful for me. I do it all the time.
Recurring tasks. Not all to-do lists can handle recurring tasks. Either a lot of tasks you say that I do this every week and I want to check it off that I’ve done it this week and I don’t want to have to create it again next week. So the ability to handle recurring tasks is critical and not everybody does it. You want one that has the ability to do good views so I might want to see what am I doing today across all of my projects, across work and personal? Maybe I want to say I just want to focus on the top 10 things I need to get done today.
So here are the highest priorities with the due dates in line and here are the 10 things that I want to deal with. You want a way to create filters and different views so that you can look at tasks in whatever way makes sense to you. You want it to be multi-list capable, you don’t want to just have one single list. You want to be able to multiple lists. You want to be able to assign priority. Not all tasks are created equal today. I might be working on five that are high priority and three that are low priority. You want to be able to distinguish between the two. You want an optional ability to kind of follow the GTD, the getting things done notion of how task management should occur. I like a to-do list app that allows you to put notes or attachments not just having the task itself but it’s able to provide some context around it.
And then because we are collaborators here at the Kennedy-Mighell Report, the ability to share, the ability to have a shared task list so that if you have a project with somebody, you can share tasks with them that they can do. To me, those are the features that are the most helpful when you’re looking for a to-do list or a task manager app. Dennis, did I miss anything?
Dennis Kennedy: I think it’s a great list. There’s two things I would add and one thing I would substitute but they’re sort of personal preference of mine. So, I think it’s really important that the to-do app has a project focus so that you’re able to group tasks into projects and do that easily so you can see what the next action to use the GTD language and I’m deep in the getting things done approached by David Allen so the project focus is really important to me. I’m not big on priorities. That’s just a personal thing so I would probably substitute the ability to do tagging for priorities if you gave me a choice because I could use a tag to say something is super important or whatever.
And then I really value something I call triage which is to say, let me look at that to-do list for today and say, “These other things have come up” or “This doesn’t need to be done” or “I think I need to move something off” and to be able to essentially in one click to bump it a day, a couple days, a week, whatever and kind of slim down the to-do list at the beginning. So, I don’t know Tom. I don’t know if those appeal to you or that’s a more personal thing with me or that jogs your memory or something else that you might include is essential but I think your list is a really good one.
Tom Mighell: Well actually, I have a filter set up in my task manager that I call my daily dashboard and I look at that actually every afternoon before I shut down for the day because I don’t want to start my day having to deal with my to-do list. I actually want to have it ready to go when I start my day. So what my daily dashboard includes and it brings parts of my task manager is, is that the very top of it is what I call my inbox. So any tasks that I’ve added from I may be have added by email or somebody assigned to me from someplace else or I added it via my phone, it all goes into the inbox and I process those kind of like in a GTD way.
I assign priority to them, I assign a date, I assign a project to them and then they go to the right place. And then I have tomorrow’s tasks and that’s where I perform that triage that you described. And then I actually also have the task for the next day that I take a quick glance at to make sure that I’m not missing something or that I’m not moving everything over onto the next day to where I’m going to be totally slammed. But that’s usually the exercise that I have is I process the new tasks and then I arrange everything for the next day so that I’m ready to go.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So I think we’re just sort of trying to reflect the systems that really work for us. So we’ve worked out over many years frankly in my case so, as I say, there are some things that to me personally makes sense that are going to sound like I’m speaking a foreign language to other people. But Tom, might as well dig into some of the basics because that’s probably what the listeners want to hear about which is what are we using?
So I’m using a tool called OmniFocus which is I think Tom you like to point out is one of the more expensive of these personal productivity apps but no need to pinch pennies if there’s something that really works for you. So I really like it. It reflects the getting things done approach, has a lot of features I’ve liked. I’ve used it for many years. I’ve been supplementing it lately with the notion of Kanban Boards, the sort of simple process improvement method, comes out of Toyota primarily that it allows you to just in a very visual way put in front of you the things that you are ready to do, the things that you’re working on and the things that are done and see them in one place and move things from column to column. Really helpful for me as a visual tool.
So I supplement the OmniFocus with that and that’s just sort of the visual right in front of me reminder and I’ve been playing as you know from the last podcast with second brain for something I consider more as tracking and some other things which is a little bit different for me than to doing. I don’t want to go into that because that’s one of those things that seems like time would be like a simple podcast topic and we’d end up doing 45 minutes and so on and not realize that we had so much to think about on separating tracking to doing. Where are you at these days?
Tom Mighell: So all I would say is that I wouldn’t harass you about OmniFocus for the price because I think that OmniFocus is truly one of the very best task managers out there and for that level of power, price doesn’t bother me so much. What does bother me about OmniFocus is, is it’s only available for the Mac and iOS and that’s it. It is within the walled garden of Apple and I will always complain about that because I think that I’d love to be able to access it on a Windows device which is what I use for other things. So, it’s limited in that. That’s my opinion, it’s limited.
Dennis Kennedy: What’s this Windows thing?
Tom Mighell: It’s what you use for work. It’s the computer you have.
Dennis Kennedy: Oh, the work computer?
Tom Mighell: That’s right. And it’s the thing that I use all the time because it’s awesome. Anyway, I am still with Todoist. I’ve been using Todoist for many, many years and like you with OmniFocus, I have no plans to go anywhere else but Todoist. It makes every single one of the requirements that I listed above, literally every single one. I can access Todoist from the web, from my Windows app, from an iPad app, from an Android app. If I had a Mac, I could access it from the Mac as well.
There’s a widget. I have just a little button on my home screen of my phone and I just press that one button and I can enter the task instantly. It connects to my Google Assistant so I talk to my Google Nest Hub all the time. I have recurring tasks. I have hundreds of recurring tasks that are entered. I combine my work and my personal list with filters so I have a top 10 priority, I have a simple today list. There are endless numbers of ways that you can do that. Todoist also has Kanban features and I have started to put together a couple of my lists in Kanban format so that I can look at them. It makes sense to look at them in a slightly different way.
Where I have struggled a little bit as I mentioned before is, what to do at work. I’m not going to get my co-workers to use Todoist. As we’ve discussed in this podcast before, all in on Microsoft 365 and so, we have begun to use for all of our projects and for other task assignments Microsoft Planner.
And Planner is essentially a Kanban style task manager not as powerful as some of the other tools you might use. I mean, I’m used to using Trello which is a great Kanban board tool. Planner is not quite there yet. Not sure if it will ever get there but it does enough Microsoft 365 gives you a task hub where you can look at tasks for all of your teams or you can have a “here are my tasks” feature but it’s just not quite what I have for Todoist. So what I did was if somebody assigns me a task, one of my team members assigned something for me to do, I actually created a flow using Microsoft Power Automate. And so, the minute that in Planner, a task appears that has my name aside to it, it automatically gets copied over to my Todoist inbox. So, the minute that I get assigned a task there, I have it on my Todoist inbox and I can add it to my task where I have everything really in one place. So I’m very happy with that workflow. I’m happy with the task manager. I think Todoist is just a fantastic tool.
Dennis Kennedy: You know, when you were talking about that Tom, it reminds me of a really important thing for people to keep in mind with the to-do list managers are that you’re able to do some of the things you’re talking about because you’re in a smaller company. And large companies and large law firms, you’re not going to have the ability to move from tools, you’re going to be kind of stuck with what you have. And that sort of brings up a point that I like to talk about and that is this word that we’ve used in our books, in our articles and speaking before which we call Co Collaboration.
So sometimes especially if you’re doing any kind of sharing that your choice has to be made in the context of other people you are working with. So that does come into what I would call like the jobs to be done approach because it is a constraint that you have to work with. And then what you talked about with Power Automate which I think is sort of where I’m heading in both the to-do list and in the second brain is, how much of what I’m doing can I automate to make it even simpler to get things in and to manage things once they’re in there? Because the more work you give me to organize things, the less likely I am to do any organization.
So Tom, I was just editing a chapter of very soon to be completed new book and I know that you’ve been looking at the to-do list tools and apps that are out there. So do you want to kind of summarize what the landscape looks like?
Tom Mighell: I’m going to keep this part short because I’m going to cover a little bit more of it in my parting shot today. If we are going to identify what I think are the leading candidates, to me that list is not terribly long actually. There are, and I’ll mention this later in the podcast, there are dozens of to-do list apps that are out there with varying levels of quality in terms of the features that they offer.
For me, the ones that come the closest to being user-friendly with enough power to do things really are Todoist. I think it should be on the list of you to look at. Clearly OmniFocus needs to be on the list if you are a Mac user. Obviously, if you’re primarily in the Windows world, you won’t be able to look at that. I really think that Trello is a great task manager from a Kanban board perspective. I think it’s really powerful. We have used it. We’ve been using it actually in our — Dennis and I use it in our Microsoft team. When we sometimes like to have guests, we keep track of our guests on the show using a Kanban board.
I hear a lot of good things about a tool called TickTick that TickTick is inching up closer and closer on Todoist. I’m not convinced on that but I see a lot of people who start using that. And then frankly, if you’re in the Microsoft 365 world or you are already using Microsoft tools, then it really pays for you to look at Microsoft Planner which is designed to be more the tool that you might use with your team to assign tasks with each other. And then Microsoft also has a personal to-do list just called To Do. They bought Wunderlist a while back. A lot of the Wunderlist users were unhappy that Microsoft had done that. From what I understand from those Wunderlist users, To Do is starting to show the same features that Wunderlist has probably not as fast as they want but I see that Microsoft is improving it all the time. So, I would give those two products a look to.
So Dennis, any others you would like to mention you think is worth making our list of leading candidates?
Dennis Kennedy: No, I think the Microsoft approach is really intriguing if you have the 365 environment because they’re there and it makes sense to try them and they are free. Although as we’ve emphasized here and especially for people, if you’ve turned around and look at your bookshelf and you see there’s half a dozen or more personal productivity or organization books, it does make sense to spend some money on a product that can really manage your productivity and to-do’s. And as I like to say that OmniFocus is the best money on technology I’ve ever spent and it just keeps giving me return year after year. So, I don’t know. Maybe some other points you want to make Tom? I talked about triage.
Actually, one of the things I liked about OmniFocus is you can kind of do these things by context of like where you’re at or as I get older, I realized that your to-do list, one of the big constraints is your actual energy level which is why I like the triage thing where I go like, “No, this is not the day that I’m going to write three book chapters” or something that and you just can bump it forward. So a to-do list that gives you that flexibility to deal with not just time but energy and the context of where you’re going to be is actually a really good thing and that’s one of the things I like about OmniFocus maybe a little bit about group planners which I don’t use as much now Tom but I do I know you do. But that’s I think a really interesting area.
Tom Mighell: I think the idea that lawyers will want to live in what we call a shared task management product that they would prefer to have a more individualized personalized approach task management, it’s a shame that lawyers think that way. But I think that if they kind of adopt the thinking that I have managed here with my work and my personal lists, it’s like if I’ve got a project team at work, I want to see all the tasks assigned to the team. I want to see what is everybody working on, what are the deadlines, what are people supposed to be doing. But at the same time, I want to be able to see all the tasks assigned to me from that team and I want to see it in my own area. I want to see it where I can manage it, where I can have some level of control over it and I think that the current tools the way that I’m using it with Flow and Planner and Todoist or Power Automate, I can have it both ways. I’m able to both use that group planning, group task management tool and also have my own, have the tasks in my own to-do list as well. So I don’t know that the two are mutually exclusive. I think it’s possible to have a situation where you still participate in a group list but also are able to have a more customized, individualized task management experience.
Dennis Kennedy: To me, (00:28:38) that shared setting, there’s really two things that you want to see happen. So one is the task management that we’re talking about, the other is, and I agree that you do want to see the tasks other people have, but there’s also this workflow management notion which I think is incredibly important part of project management and maybe a topic for another day. But I thought we’d wrap up why I kind of emphasized in point that this is personal to you so they call it personal productivity for a reason. So I can guarantee that some of the tools will work really well for me, will work for you and tools that other people swear by would be an utter disaster for me. I don’t know. So Tom, do you have any final tips or recommendations and maybe you can take us out on that?
Tom Mighell: Yeah. I think you’re right Dennis. I think that really, a task manager is among all the different tools that we talked about on this podcast really one of the most personalized things you’ll want and what works for Dennis doesn’t work for me and vice versa. So I think we’ve given you a good set of criteria to think about. Now go out and see which one of those criteria are important to you and find the tool that does it the best. All right, before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
Male: You went to law school to be a lawyer, not an accountant. Take advantage of Nota, a no-cost IOLTA management tool that helps solo and small law firms track client funds down to the penny. Enjoy peace of mind with one click reconciliation, automated transaction alerts and real-time bank data. Visit trustnota.com/legal to learn more. Terms and conditions may apply.
Looking for a process server you can trust, ServeNow.com is a nationwide network of local pre-screened process servers. ServeNow works with the most professional process servers in the industry connecting your firm with process servers who embrace technology, have experience with high volume serves and understand the litigation process and rules of properly effectuating service. Find a pre-screen process server today. Visit www.servenow.com.
Wish you could get a quote and purchase an appeal, trustee, estate or any other court or fiduciary bond quickly online, Colonial Surety Company has every bond you need and is a direct insurer that’s U.S. Treasury listed, licensed in all 50 states and territories and rated A excellent by AM Best so you can be confident it’s a trusted resource. Get started at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and it’s time for our segment we call “Hot or Not.” We picked something people are talking about and argue whether we think it is a hot topic that you need to pay attention to or not. We might agree but it’s harder that we won’t so let’s get started. Tom, what the heck is this Editor Panel that just started appearing when I use Word on my Mac? We were talking before the podcast about how nobody reads anything these days so it’s possible I had some announcement about this, but is this is another example of where vendors are making changes to standard software tools without warning us? And is that practice becoming hot or not?
Tom Mighell: Okay, so I was initially confused when I looked at your question in the script and my first question was, are you asking if Microsoft Editor is hot or not? And I can go on about that for quite a while if you want to once we’re done here. I think though however that your real question is, is making changes to standard tools and standard programs without a warning hot or not?
Let’s assume that’s what you meant. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and a small break because you use Word for Mac and updates for Word for Mac tend to be late. Microsoft doesn’t roll them out. But here’s the deal. Microsoft Editor was released in March of 2020, a year and a half ago, to be fair primarily to Windows Office users. However, it was also released as a Chrome extension and in the online versions of Outlook and Word so it wasn’t just available to Windows users, it was available to Mac users using a browser. I used it in Chrome long before I used it in the standalone version of Word.
I will point out that I included it in the July 3 edition. I mentioned it in the July 3 edition of my newsletter, the extra mile to which you are a subscriber so I’m going to assume you didn’t read that particular issue. On June 24 of this year, the Microsoft Insider blog announced that editor for the Mac was slowly rolling out. I think Microsoft actually has a great feature. I’m not sure what it is if it’s called the same thing in the Mac version. But in the Windows version of Word, there’s a little megaphone that’s called coming soon where you can click on it and see the latest stuff that’s happening. Mac, I think there may be a pop-up that says what’s new in Word but I’m not sure how often that actually comes up.
What I find though especially from Word is that, Microsoft is actually very interested in telling you what’s coming up. If you’re using the full version of Microsoft 365 and you have access to the admin panel, there’s a whole message center where they announce new features rolling out and when. And what’s actually aggravating to me is that they announce things that are rolling out months and months before they actually roll out which I really don’t want to know about it months and months. I want to know when it happens. So to come back to your question, making changes to standard tools without warning I say is definitely not hot. I think that’s definitely wrong. However, that’s not what happened here. Microsoft is I think pretty good at notifying and telling people and I would say you need to up your game on discovery but maybe that’s not where you want to head with this. Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. And I’ll let you throw in your praise of Editor before I admit that probably all these things were things I didn’t read or didn’t rise to the level of my attention but what do you like about this if you do like it?
Tom Mighell: You know, I do like Editor. So the part of what I like about it is, is that — because if you see it for the first time, it can be quite a shock because it seems to be much more than what your spell check used to be in Word. And what’s nice about it is that you can configure it to only check for the same things that your spell check actually configured before. So if you want to keep it the way that it was, you can do that. But to me, it’s like spelling and grammar on steroids.
And so, you can, I went and looked at the settings, you can check for a list of 20 different grammar errors, clarity in writing, conciseness, formality when you’re either too formal or not formal enough, it looks for inclusiveness language based on age, gender, cultural, ethnic and other bias. There are a ton of punctuation rules, Oxford comma anybody? There’s geopolitical sensitivities that it looks for which I think is just what? And then vocabulary. It’ll look for certain kinds of vocabulary and say whether you can or can’t use them. So, I have started actually using the heck out of it. I think it’s nice. There are other standalone tools that I think are good at doing the same thing that you might want to purchase but for the free version of what goes in Word, I am liking it quite a bit.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay, so I see the potential of this. I actually went under the help menu in Word on my Mac and see that there is something called what’s new in Word and it actually says Editor is there and then I do the drop down menu under tools and it says spelling and grammar which is exactly what I expect to see. And then it throws me into this Editor tool which I think has a lot of potential, it just kind of showed up one day and I was like, “What the heck happened here?” So I’m going to explore it more. But the fact is sometimes, already I notice it’s a bit too much. I just wanted to run the spell check ultimately and I’m not sure about doing that.
So to get to the question about these changes, there was one main offender that kind of prompted me to this. It’s like it seems like everybody is changing the default to the dark mode for better readability and there’s some things I just want to have with the light background or white background. And so, I’m going to say that the practice is actually warming up significantly but the main offender is the default to a dark background.
Tom Mighell: I won’t disagree that there’s a default background issue going on. My eyes with some retina issues really like the dark background so it doesn’t bother me so much. But there are times where I actually wish that I could see the light background so I agree that that maybe should not be the default. But it is becoming more the default especially if you’ve used it in the past and the products are learning from what you’ve done in the past.
Dennis Kennedy: Right. So now it’s time for our parting chat. If there’s one tip website or observation that you can use the second this podcast ends Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So Dennis mentioned, we’ve mentioned before that we are working on a new edition of our collaboration tools book. As part of that, we have in the past put together collaboration tools directory. We wanted to find a way to keep the links that we include, the tools that we find of which there are literally hundreds, we want to make sure that we have a place to put it. And we have struggled with finding the right way to do it because they just don’t make good kind of linked directory tools out there that I find are very useful. So instead what we’re doing is I’ve created and will be sharing with the publication of the book full collaboration tools bookmark set through the tool that I think mentioned on this podcast before, Raindrop.io which we both like quite a bit for bookmark management.
For this parting shot, I am making available the task management part of that collaboration tools directory so you can see all the probably 24 different task managers that we found off the top of our search that are relevant. We’re going to be obviously opening up the full list once the book is published but if you take a look there and you see that there’s a task manager that we don’t know about or that isn’t included, please let us know. Shoot me a message on Twitter or on LinkedIn, happy to add it to the list. But if you’re looking to do your due diligence on a task manager, then that’s the list that I would start with. Those are the main ones and then a whole lot of other also rants that you might want to check out.
Dennis Kennedy: Guess we’ll have a little hardware tip for change this weekend. So we sort of know that probably the best thing you can do these days to protect your cell phone cyber security is to use multi-factor authentication.
Probably the worst thing you can do for your own personal sense of usability is to have multi-factor authentication turned on because they work in different ways and it’s an extra couple of steps sometimes. So there’s always been an approach of a little hardware dongle called the YubiKey. There’s a new version of it that’s going to use biometrics so it’s more like going to give you the ability to use more like a smartphone thumbprint approach. And I think that’s a good that’s a good thing, about 50 bucks. You have to invest a little bit of time in learning how to use it and setting things up but I think it may be a better way to go and you might be seeing it in the workplace I think on a more frequent basis over the next year or so.
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 Network’s page for the show. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous shows along with transcripts. If you would like to get in touch with us, remember, you can reach out to us on LinkedIn, Twitter or leave us a voicemail. That voicemail number is (720) 441-6820. We are so rapidly approaching our 300th edition. If there is something you want to hear or something you want us to talk about, please leave us a message. Let us know. 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 of the Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Male: 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.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, it’s officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com