Post-Covid, the work-from-home lifestyle has become a lot more permanent than many of us thought it would. With this shift, many are realizing their home office setup might need some tweaks to become an effective workspace. So, where to begin? Dennis and Tom talk about their own experiences, lay out ideas for approaching your upgrades, and recommend products for lighting, desks, chairs, monitors, sound equipment, and more.
Later, the rollout for Windows 11 sort of came along at a snail’s pace. Why? Dennis and Tom introduce a new segment – “Bug or Feature?” – to discuss whether Microsoft’s slower software release schedule is a good or bad thing for its 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? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for the answers to your most burning tech questions.
Mentioned in This Episode
A Segment: Upgrading Your Home Office
B Segment: Slow Rollout of Windows 11: Bug or Feature?
Tom Mighell: Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors; Embroker, Clio and Posh Virtual Receptionists.
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trends, Collaboration, Software, Metadata, Software Service, Podcasts, Virtual Law. 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 315 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode, we had a great interview guest, David Tewksbury from Harman, the audio innovation company, and discussed ways to improve audio quality and your audio professionalism; tons of great information.
In this episode, we wanted to return to one of our favorite personal topics Improving Your Home Office Setup. We are looking for a great guest to interview on this topic in the future. It’s something we have devoted a fair amount of space to in our upcoming, soon to be released, brand new, work from home edition of our “Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies” book. In breaking news, we can exclusively report that we have turned the page proofs in and are expecting to get confirmation of the actual publication date very soon.
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 reporting on our latest thinking and approaches to your and our home office setup. In our second segment, we’re going to debut or sort of continue a new segment that we’re calling Bug or Feature. 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, what is our latest thinking on home office setups and will you agree with us?
Two years ago, when most offices were closed and lawyers were just starting to get the hang of working from home, we recorded an episode around the current best thinking for your home office technology setup. Now we fast forward two years, for many of us, our home offices have become more permanent than we expected or we’ve become part of the hybrid lifestyle where we’re spending more time at home offices and splitting time with our real offices.
So we thought we’d do an update episode. How is the thinking on the home office shifted? How has it changed in the past years? How has our thinking evolved on it, if at all? Some things have changed in my opinion, some things have just gotten or stayed the same.
Dennis, I figure where we’re headed at least initially is jobs to be done. Do you want to get those comments out of the way first?
Dennis Kennedy: Sure, I think jobs to be done is a great place to start, and that’s how I always like to ask myself, what am I hiring my home office to do for me and sort of the more clearly and specifically I can answer that question, the better I’m going to be. So what is the job that this home office is going to do for you?
I’m also intrigued lately with this sort of simple start with the end in mind approach. So if I look at my home office and I say, “Here’s where I think I want it to be in the future, what are the steps that I need to start with and then to proceed with to get to that ideal end” And so, what I guess to a little bit of a spoiler alert here, but one of the things I found is that I’ve actually kind of evolved my home office approach, and by knowing where I wanted to get this helped me kind of tweak what it is that I’m doing to make adjustments. So sometimes you can have this plan and be surprised by how things actually work. How about you, Tom?
Tom Mighell: Well, so, when you just said “evolution”, that’s kind of the word that I wanted to use, but when you talk kind of about doing experiments and things like that, I don’t really view this as experiments, because experiments means sometimes you fail, and when that comes to setting up a home office, failing could be an expensive proposition. So I prefer to think about it as an evolution starting slowly with a small piece or two or a small part of your home office setup and slowly evolving towards the end that you want. For example, how many of you two years ago, when it was time to do the home office thing, how many just went out and decided to outfit your whole office all at once?
You just said, “I’m just going to buy everything, and my next question to you is, had that work out? How is it going two years from now? Are you happy with it? Are there things that you would change?” For me that could be a disaster personally, because especially if the vision I had in my mind didn’t match up with the reality when I put it all together, because I will tell you many of the things that I decided to buy and put together in my office. When it actually got into my office, it did not look at all like I had envisioned it being, it wasn’t what I expected.
By doing it slowly though, putting it together a piece at a time, I had a better chance of success, I think you have a better chance of success, but frankly, we’re talking about this as if you’re just now putting your home office together, getting started with for the first time, which I’m assuming is not the case. So maybe let’s switch the question around and say, “How happy are you with what you have right now? Are there tweaks you want to make? Are there changes that you can make in how your office is?” One of the ways right now that you could upgrade or make sure that your office is something that you really are happy with?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, it’s almost like, I think of it as this is a great time to reboot your home office. And so you’ve had some learnings, there’s some things that work really well, some things that can work better. I just think we would all sort of benefit from taking that half a day or Saturday or something like that and just say, “Let me kind of work on the home office and see how much I can improve it.” So I think it’s important, as we said, to have a plan, but kind of keep it fluid and give it room to change and for you to adapt the plan. I also asked my question is how likely am I to get things right on the first try? So if we go back the two years and say, “I did these things and I had this table and I did this chair, these filing cabinets and these bookshelves and all these things.” And now you realize that they probably didn’t quite work. So, I think there is a bit of you’re trying some experiments and there’s a little bit of scientific method and building on what things work. But it’s kind of to me why I want to talk about this topic was that I think it’s a great time to just reboot and rethink the home office setup and make it better for where you are now based on what you’ve learned over time. And, Tom, I hope when you talk about things that surprise you, you’re going to tell the story of your desk that came and took three movers to get it into your office because it was much heavier than you thought.
Tom Mighell: That was surprising, but it was not disappointing. So it wasn’t that I looked at it and I go, “Well, this is not at all what I expected.” Because actually, when it got put together, it was 100% what I expected and I’ve been very happy with that. But I would say that, “Yes, there are always going to be surprises when what you get.” I would say, “I still push back against the notion of experiments.” Because if I had not liked that desk, I would be very unhappy thinking about it, “Oh, well, that experiment failed because that was a pricey experiment for me to have.” But to your point, I would say that to the extent that I’ve had experiments, it’s been around an office chair. It’s been around finding the right chair that is comfortable to me, and I probably went through four chairs, but this is going back to before COVID. I was looking at office chairs because I’ve been working from home for a long time, but I have been looking at them forever and I keep switching because I can’t find the right one, I finally settled on one. But that’s where I find that making the experiments are good, as long as you’re not spending a ton of money, I think it makes a lot of sense.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, and I think that the same thing for me is that if you spend a lot of money on your desk, you’re sort of committed to it. If you’re trying to decide, do I want like a regular desk or a flat surface, like a table, you can re-purpose a table and try it for a while and see if you need drawers, if there are other things that you need. I experiment with different types of lighting, with different ways, different containers, different placements of things, and then all the audio and video stuff I have. I think you’re right, there’s a point where you say the experiment is too big, I’ve kind of committed to it, but otherwise you can kind of say, maybe I could try something a little different, and then I would say also moving things around.
Sometimes like, one of the best things I did was just moving my desk from one side of the room, I’m into the other. So who would have thought that would have been so beneficial? So, Tom, I don’t know, maybe you want to talk a little bit about your current setup?
Tom Mighell: Sure. As we said before, sort of the center piece is the standing desk, and it’s a long-standing desk, it’s about six-foot long. What I really like about the standing desk is it has a glass top to it, which I can keep relatively clean. Although you wouldn’t know that right now because underneath the glass there’s a second, I don’t know, shelf or something underneath it that’s made of wood where I have all of my sound equipment that I’m using right now, I just keep it there all the time, I store my keyboard there, I store other little things, I put my remarkable tablet there, so whenever I want to write something, I can just pull it out. It helps me keep my desk nice and clean, because that’s one of the downsides to having a standing desk is, no storage. If you have a regular desk, you have the desk drawers around here, there’s no desk drawers in a standing desk, so that’s the downside to that, but I don’t miss it because I have extra storage here for all the stuff that I really need.
I have my glass desk mat, which I will never go back to plastic again. Not having grooves or cracks when I try to move my chair back and forth. This glass desk mat is amazing. Like I said, I finally got to the right comfort level chair. It’s called a LIFEFORM Executive Chair. Very comfortable, ergonomic, great chair to use.
I wound up putting two lamps on my desk. I had a lamp originally, and when I got the bigger desk, somehow, because it’s a six-foot desk, having one lamp at one end, it wasn’t bright enough to cover the whole desk, so it was very dark on one end. So, I went and bought an LED lamp that mimics the color of the light on the other side and I love it. It has light on both sides. It works really well.
We’ve already talked in multiple episodes about the webcam. I’ve got a webcam that I use both for my desktop computer and my laptop as well. I’ve got two microphones. I have a microphone that I use for work calls that tends to be better than my laptop microphone, but it’s not fancy. And then I’ve got the microphone, I’m talking into right now, that I use for podcasts for more professional recordings. So, I kind of have that what’s the purpose of — what’s the best use case for the microphones.
And then also we’ve talked again about my monitor. I really like the wide screen monitor. I have a 49-inch monitor that’s really great. Right now, I’m able to see Dennis right in the center of my screen but I also have audacity up on one side recording the podcast, and on the other side, I have the script that we use for this, and it’s all available, all very nice and big and beautiful. So, that’s my general setup. What is yours look like, Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: There’s some similarities, some differences, because I don’t think I ever want to do the stand-up thing. I go back to this observation, Tom, that you made of pilers and filers and I’m clearly a piler, so I need a lot of space. So, I’m actually in my experiment before making a final decision about what I really want, I’ve repurposed an old dining room table, and so I have a big surface, but I sit at, and then I have — to me, what is a big monitor, but it’s only 34 inches. And then I have two separate computers, one Windows, one a Mac, and then I have the other stuff that I use and lights. I found to say, probably you did, Tom, with if you have a large space, that if you have a lamp on one side that the light doesn’t get to the other side of the surface. So, I’ve had to make that sort of adjustment. And I have the boom for the microphone, a couple of different web cameras, and then all my jet pens, stationery and pencils and sharpeners and cool stuff like that.
And I have a whiteboard reasonably close by, that’s probably the big thing that I want to change these days. So, a more standard thing, the thing that I realized now and you sort of alluded to this is that if you go to the flat surface and you don’t have drawers, then storage becomes an issue, and you have to really think a lot about where you’re putting things and whether you’re going to start to accumulate these inboxes and trays and other things like that.
So, I think ultimately, I’ll end up going to something that has at least a couple of drawers available to me to put things away so they don’t pile stuff all over the place.
Tom Mighell: Well, let me just say here’s — and I may be cutting to the chase. This really wasn’t part of the script that the outline that we were following, but I’m going to talk about what I want to change now that I’ve gotten here, and frankly, this took two years to get here. This wasn’t something that like I said, I didn’t go out and buy it automatically just overnight, and I don’t recommend anybody ever do that. I mean, the desk didn’t come until a year after we were all shut down, and it took a while for me to decide what I wanted and I’m very happy that I was deliberate about that.
But if I could change things right now, the one thing that I don’t have the ability to do now is I want to have the capability to record videos as a content creator. And the way that my desk is set up right now, it doesn’t provide for a good way for me to put a camera there to record me in the way that I would want to. And so, I think that my setup right now is, my desk is right in the middle of my office. I need to put it closer to the wall so that I can have some stuff back up against me, but what that means is, I’m getting rid of bookcases and the only filing drawers that I have in my office because I can’t put them behind me, because what kind of content creator wants to have boring bookcases behind them that just look terrible?
So, I’m going to have to eventually kind of do a major redo of that just so I can get one of the main things to think of, and I probably should have started here at first is that if you want to record good video and I think we’ve probably talked about this on the podcast before is having the right background is surprisingly and annoyingly important, is making sure that what people see behind you is not detracting from it, but is also pleasing for people to see.
If you go on to Twitter, there’s a ratemyroom.com or Rate My Room Twitter account where they spent the first year of lockdown rating the rooms of people who were appearing from their homes on news channels, and it has become a thing, and there’s lots of articles. There’s actually professionals who will help you design your office so that it looks pleasing on a video camera, whether you’re using that for Zoom calls or whether you’re using that to create videos. So, that’s kind of where I’m headed next, is to try to I mean, I like the background I have right now for my meetings. I’ve got a lot of photos that I’ve taken, and they’re in frames on the wall, but I don’t think that’s ultimately where I want to go. I don’t know if I’m taking things a little bit out of order, Dennis, but maybe I’ll ask you what’s up for you on tweaks and changes you want to make?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I have three things that I jotted down while you were talking. So, one is that we’re at the time of year where it’s not really warm enough to turn on the air-conditioner, but it’s like a little bit warmer than it was in the wintertime in the apartment. And because I’m recording, I don’t have a fan on in the room or anything. And so, the first thing I jotted down was I need to look into a silent fan because it’s getting a little warm in here while I do this recording, especially if you have lights on you.
I also have not figured out where to put a whiteboard, that’s a workable place for me, and I don’t know what the solution that is going to be and I’m still kind of fiddling with the lighting and I do feel, as I mentioned, that I need to go to drawers. So, those are some of the things that I have.
I don’t know. Let’s go to thinking about getting started when somebody wants to start rebooting their home office, what are the places that you would suggest that they get started in that, Tom?
Tom Mighell: Well, if you are getting started or if you’re thinking about what you have done before is not working, so you want to think about a change. The first thing that I would really think about is whether or not you have your own space, because I know a lot of people who wound up taking the dining room table as their desk, which meant that every day they had to pack up and move off so that people could have dinner on it, and that’s not an ideal situation.
And so every piece of advice I’ve seen of people who talk about setting up your home office have said that claiming a space that’s not used for anything else, no matter how small it is, will be — something will be better for you in the long run than having a space. Because, let’s face it, a lot of us, we just don’t have enough room, we’re not fortunate to have a separate room for an office, we may have to claim that nook underneath the stairs or something down in a basement somewhere or we need to –
Dennis Kennedy: Closet.
Tom Mighell: — closet or the desk that’s a built-in in the kitchen to be used. But find it and claim it and make it your own so that you are not having to, and say, “This is my office. This is where I’m going to be doing it.” That’s my first tip. I think the second main tip there is to make sure that you have good lighting and good windows. Wherever it happens to be, try to be in a place where windows are there. Ad two reasons, it’s not just for good natural lighting to light your face up when you’re in meetings or things like that, so people can see you. I think it’s for good mental well-being.
I think being able to look outside to have the sun streaming in. It’s always a benefit to you, rather than being in a place with no windows or darkness or things like that. Even though you might have good lighting, I think windows are preferable. And if you don’t have good lighting, make sure you’re investing in a web camera where you can adjust the brightness. I mean, the web camera that I’ve got right now, I can go into the Settings, and frankly, what I wind up having to do is turning down the brightness, because sometimes it’s too bright here, but I like the fact that it’s adjustable, and I don’t have to live with the brightness that came along with my laptop or something else. Those are two main things I can think of, Dennis, anything you want to mention?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, a couple of things. And so I started to like this approach, which my daughter is a big advocate of, kind of just like setting up two or three columns that says, “Here’s what I really have to have. Here’s what it would be nice to have. Here’s what I don’t want to have.” That kind of thing, and just start to map out the things that you want and what works for you.
You can also say, “Here are some things that I would like to try.” I think what’s really important is to really think through what work you’re actually going to do at home, especially if you’re starting to go into the office or you’re in more of a hybrid setting and what you won’t do in your home office? So one of the things I found was I kept putting bookshelves and books close by where I was going to work and then I realized I never read in my home office. So it’s almost like I want to take all of that stuff out now.
And then, Tom mentioned this thing, there is this sort of realpolitik, you need to figure out negotiate with the others in your home space to say like, “Okay, what is actually going to work?” Then the one I think about is, what are your constraints? So it could be space, it could be other things. A lot of times it’s just pure budget, and so in my case, I like to say I have steel-cased dreams on a target budget because the steel case office supplies are so nice, but they’re very expensive. How are you going to reconcile those things and to make the right trade-offs?
So those are some of the things I think about and then, I guess the last thing that I would say on this time is that I’ve become intrigued by the vision board approach of saying, “Let me start to collect and put together a board,” and it could be electronic in notion, it could be just a poster board or something.
Just pictures of the stuff that you want are almost like inspiration office things that you’d see. Again, I go to the steelcase.com site and see some of their stuff and some of their layouts, and that gives me ideas to say, “I would like something like this,” and that visual element of an inspiration board can be really helpful.
Tom Mighell: So, let’s maybe talk a little bit more about technology that’s key, things that we want to talk about. So I’m assuming that we both agree that a monitor is something — that the type of monitor and how you have it is key. I still think the monitor was one of my most important purchases over the last two years. I am still a believer, that one bigger monitor is better than multiple smaller monitors.
Recently had the opportunity to swap out in another office here, a big monitor for my partner who instantly said, “I can’t believe I’ve been using two monitors for the past two years and this literally solved things within a day, so now I can keep everything together.” So I think that’s a big deal.
I think that figuring out what your computer is and I notice, Dennis, you have in here, is this the return of the desktop or is it still the laptop error? I tend to think that the desktop error never really went away. It just became a little bit less popular, but I still tend to think that laptops are still the way to go for a home office because the home office is really becoming more of a hybrid office. I mean, some people are choosing to work at home, but more-and-more people are splitting time between home and a traditional office and at some point, you’re going to need to leave and better to take the device you use with you.
So, I still tend to think that a laptop is the better one, which is why I think that one of the must have tools for a home office is a good docking station, is to have something that you can put your laptop into that will plug into that big monitor. There’s a really nice docking station that doesn’t exist yet from Logitech, where it will let you connect to your Microsoft Teams meetings with just a push of a button and it has a speakerphone in it and you get a nice, bright, beautiful sounding speaker that I’m really coveting, but whatever kind you get, there’s all types of docking stations out there. I think those are really useful.
In terms of other types of technology, if you don’t have the ability to get a bigger monitor or multiple monitors, but you have an iPad or you have a tablet, invest in some of the mirroring software so that you can make your iPad your second monitor for your laptop. Always better to have a couple of extra monitors and have that space if you need to. Those are also good as not taking devices, so you can do double duty. It could be your monitor, but you can also take notes during meetings.
But I will say that the one technology that you should not skimp on, even if you do have target realities with most of the furniture that you get, is do your best to get the best Internet service that you can get. Because I have — over the past two years – had to deal with clients and colleagues whose Internet connections have just suffered because they’re still using a relatively slow Internet connection and I think that’s the one thing that if possible, you should not skimp on. I would tend to pay for the fastest connection I could get. I think that’s your best investment.
Dennis, I’ve been talking a lot, anything to add there?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, just a couple of things. I want to echo your thing about the docking station in the context of a desktop. The parallel to a docking station is sort of like a USB hub, is the best way to think of it that may have multiple types of connections on it, and that can be really useful because I’m sitting here and I don’t even want to count all the USB things from lights to microphones, to cameras, to speakers, to all sorts of things that go into the different two computers that I have.
So having these hubs and you can get some that even have like, I think, 16 connections, but sometimes they have a combo of HDMI and other inputs. So there’s a lot of choices out there that can make your life a lot easier. If you find that you are kind of unplugging something and plugging something in a lot, the extra hub can make a big difference. I sort of feel that if you’re not going to the office a lot or you’re not traveling, you could probably go to the desktop-tablet combination, I think is really interesting these days. I think a lot about paper. There’s like a whole generation of young people who don’t even know what printers are. It seems like and printing is really difficult for them. What is it about printers? Do you really need one and they can take up a lot of space, like on a desktop or around you? Scanners and another thing where you want to say like, “How much paper is really coming in here and do I need a small scanner for something that is the equivalent of I need to take something, scan it and email it to somebody or as they would do back in the dark ages, to fax something to somebody.” So I think there’s a couple of things there.
And then the other thing that I have started to think about is that as you work through this, I do think you want to look at your own aesthetic and to say, what do I want to be on the walls? I like having ambient music playing, so I want better speakers; somebody might not care about that. The lighting, the LED that you can change the colors of is really cool and helpful in terms of warmth and coolness of the light, for me, but somebody else might not like it.
And then like I said, the aesthetic, do you have — do you want to fit in with other things in your living space or in your office and have a certain look that ties together or do you just want to have kind of — like just kind of found items. So I look at those things.
And then I guess the last thing I would say on that Tom is that there’s a part of me that feels like it might be worth just like hiring a design professional for an hour or two to kind of help you out and kind of point you in the right direction or an organizational or ergonomic person, so that’s something to think of as well if you really want to kind of really go in and kind of redo an office and build it in the way that you would like.
Tom Mighell: So we’re running late on the segment, but I want to follow-up real quick on your discussion about paper. I think that it is hard to get away from paper at this point in time. As little paper as I use, I mean I literally use no paper in work, but I am constantly still coming up against insurance companies and other vendors who require me to print something out and mail it to them. And so I think having a printer in the house — you should make it a wireless printer so it doesn’t have to be at your desk. It doesn’t have to take up room somewhere. I think that should be a printer/scanner combo so you don’t have two different devices, so you can scan things. Because I still get paper mail that I don’t want to keep as paper, so I scan every week so I can keep stuff electronically. I think a printer is important.
The lessons learned that I would think and my best tips would be; one, go slow. Be deliberate in what you’re trying to do and then to the extent we haven’t discussed it before, I would prioritize comfort. Investing in a comfortable chair, making sure your desk is something that you enjoy sitting at. I think ultimately, it’s kind of corny to say it, cliché to say it’s an investment in yourself, but frankly, if you don’t enjoy where you are and it’s not comfortable to you, and it’s in your house, then that’s just a bad combination all the way around. So whatever you choose, try to make it as comfortable as you possibly can.
Dennis Kennedy: I would agree with both things. And I would add that one of the issues for people who are being forced to go back into offices is they’re realizing like how their office space and sometimes it’s just cube or if you’re in an old office setting, it’s something worse than that, it’s not personalized. It’s not designed for you. It’s sort of least common denominator.
And so like in your home office, I would say like that’s the place you want to personalize. That’s the place where you say, I really want to enjoy what I am doing and it makes it easy for me to do the work that I plan to do in that home office. And that would be the big thing is — I would say I give you the permission and my blessing to design a home office that really works for you.
Tom Mighell: And there you have it. All right, 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 Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. We wanted to try a new format for this part of the episode which we call the B Segment. We’ll talk about something that many of us commonly take for granted and discuss whether we take it as a bug or a feature. We might agree or disagree, but you will learn something from our debate.
I’ve read tons of stuff lately about Windows 11 and feel that like many of us the organizational approach of testing and delaying updates of major software releases makes my actual experience of Windows 11 still a long way off. For those of you keeping track at home, the official launch date of Windows 11 was October 5, 2021. Windows 10 was launched in 2015.
Tom, is this very slow rollout of major software releases like Windows that we see in many organizations a bug or a feature?
Tom Mighell: So I think it depends on what you mean by major software. So if you’re talking about a computer operating system like Windows 11, then I would say that very slow rollouts are very much a feature.
According to the various stories that I’ve read, adoption of Windows 11 is maybe something close to 20% as of April 2022. That’s not an exact science, it’s usually people who are out there scanning different computers and it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on. But analysts are predicting that most businesses are going to wait until later this year or even 2023 for a couple of reasons.
First, most companies like to wait until Microsoft can iron out all the kinks and the bugs which usually doesn’t happen until that first service release, which hasn’t even come out yet.
Second, a lot of current office hardware isn’t even compatible with Windows 11. So my bet is there are a lot of companies are waiting for more of their equipment to age out, otherwise they’re going to have to upgrade a lot of equipment and hardware at the same time as they’re upgrading Windows 11.
I think it’s different for consumers. I mean I upgraded to Windows 11 with no issues because I had the right hardware. I am willing to put up with any bugs that I find, which frankly, I am not really finding any, nothing that’s standing out to me in any way. But businesses really can’t afford that with a piece of software that runs the computers of every employee in the entire company. If there are bugs or the hardware is not strong enough, then that seriously impacts business performance. It impacts productivity. Ultimately it impacts the bottom line.
So I am going to say that major delays with software like Windows is a feature and I might argue it’s a necessary feature. But if you define major software as something let’s say like Microsoft 365, that’s a major software too, then my answer switches to bug, with companies, law firms and whatever keeping their heads in the sand too long despite the fact that Microsoft 365 has proven to be a great tool. It works well. It’s stable. The advantage of having it far outweigh continuing to work with outdated on-premises software.
We’re still seeing companies who are just deciding to move to Microsoft 365 despite the fact that, actually — look, Microsoft 365 has been around as a tool for over 11 years and it’s been available as an enterprise tool to law firms and companies for five years now and still we have law firms and companies that are not on it. So operating systems feature, all other types of major software, I’d really call that a bug. Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, this probably won’t surprise people because I am an updater and I just see this, and I’ve always seen this as a bug. I mean I get that you might want to take a little bit of time on some of the stuff, but as you run old software and especially operating systems to your — you can be a lot more vulnerable to security issues. It annoys me an Windows environment when I know there are security updates and it’s a corporate level, there — the updates aren’t being rolled out.
But on these big things like Windows 11, it’s kind of like — I feel like I don’t even need to look at what the — what’s new about Windows 11 or what’s going on with it, because I am just not going to see it for a while. And I think that as — if you’re the sort of tech-forward employee who likes to have good tools to work with and new tools to work with, I just think it’s like — it’s demoralizing to say, like, oh, we don’t trust you with this new software and we have to test all these things.
And I’ve never worked in an IT department, so I don’t want to minimize what the issues are, but there is a point where you say, a year or two ago, there’s still big law firms on Windows 7, I think that there’s a point, and it’s probably once you’re five or six years into a release that this whole thing of saying, we need to test because we’re not sure about like a version of Windows that’s already being replaced probably just doesn’t cut it anymore.
So I definitely see this as a bug. You can convince me. I think a reasonable amount of testing obviously makes sense, but I think it’s off-putting to employees the longer that these delays go out.
Tom Mighell: So because you said, we may agree or disagree, then I need some time for rebuttal on this, because I want to say, first of all, it’s not as if — I agree with you, Windows 7, firms that are still running Windows 95, for example, are a walking security mess, but let’s not pretend that Windows 10 is a security nightmare, because it’s stable, it has security patches, but everybody — every operating software has security patches and Windows is going to support Windows 10 — Microsoft is going to support Windows 10 through 2025. So it’s not like it’s aging out, it’s not like it’s your grandfather’s Windows that we are doing, so sticking around on it, I don’t think is demoralizing. In fact, there’s a lot of articles out there saying, how to get the great features you have now on Windows 10 on Windows 11, because you miss Windows 10 so much. So I would dispute the demoralizing part.
I would also say that the delay is not because of testing on law firm parts; I would say it’s on, 1) waiting for Microsoft to get it right so that there aren’t bugs; and 2) there was actually a test when Windows 11 came out that you could run on your computer to see if your computer was strong enough to handle Windows 11, that has nothing to do with law firm wanting to test it; that has to do whether the hardware is capable of running it.
So I think that for all the reasons, everything that you described as a problem, I totally agree, if those were issues, it would be a bug. I just don’t see those as issues.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, you probably haven’t gotten as many emails and the conversations I’ve had that IT department still needs to test certain software with new versions of Windows, which I’ve seen as a very real thing. But as I said, I am an updater and I install updates right away and new versions of things right away, so it’s always going to be a bug for me.
Now it’s time for our Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: All right. So my tip is completely unrelated to the practice of law. I’ve probably mentioned on the podcast before that I take part in a charity musical production with other lawyers here in the Dallas area every year, and one of the things that we do is we spoof real songs, we put legal-ish lyrics to them and have a great time singing them, but some of the songs that we get, it can be a little bit obscure, it’s hard sometimes to find karaoke versions of certain types of songs where you’ve got all the familiar musical background to it, but you don’t have any of the voices involved.
But I found recently a website that just is called, it’s a very simple site called Music/Voice Separation, and what it does is, it uses artificial intelligence to basically separate the voice components of a song from the music track, and you can upload any type of song file to it and click Separate and it will flawlessly, in my opinion, in my experience, separate the track so you have a great karaoke track that we can use. We never use them for our actual shows, we just use them for rehearsal purposes, but I will tell you that it’s taken some very, very obscure music that would never see the light of day in a karaoke bar or any karaoke track and it creates a flawless track with music only and no voices. It’s called Music/Voice Separation.
Dennis Kennedy: I like these little tools of very specific artificial intelligence that give us a glimpse of some of the things that AI actually can do for us and get us away from the, will AI replace lawyers types of questions. I prefer to look and see, like what are the things that can be done and this is a cool application of it.
So I have two that I’ll give real quick. So Tom, you and I were talking about difficulty in remembering people’s names before we started the recording, and so one of my Parting Shots was an article called “10 Online Tools and Apps to Improve Memory for Seniors” on the online-tech-tips.com site and there will be a link in the show notes.
And the other thing is, is sometimes you just want to do like a cool little Venn diagram and I’ve tried doing it in Word, in Excel, PowerPoint, all these things and it’s always like a fresh attempt each time. So there’s a great article called “How to Make a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint” on smallbiztrends.com website, and I am not saying it’s like super-simple, there are a number of steps to it, but there is a great little Venn diagram making tool built into PowerPoint and if you ever want to do Venn diagrams, it’s super useful.
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 our show.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, on the Legal Talk Network site or in your favorite podcatcher.
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So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am 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 Podcasts and we’ll 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 Lawyers 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.
Conrad Saam: Hey Gyi. What’s up?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Just having some lunch Conrad.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, you mean that guy out there in the gray suit?
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Gyi Tsakalakis: There’s all those beautiful, rich leather-bound books in the background?
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Gyi Tsakalakis: I bet you he has got so many years of experience.
Conrad Saam: Like decades and decades. And I bet, Gyi, I bet he even went to a law school.
Male Speaker: Are you a lawyer, do you suffer from dull marketing and a lack of positioning in a crowded legal marketplace? Sit down with Gyi and Conrad for Lunch Hour Legal Marketing on Legal Talk Network, available wherever podcasts are found.