Whether you’ve got a summer trip planned or not, it’s always a good time to start a really great book. Dennis and Tom talk through their personal summer reading goals and how they approach the curation of book lists that hit business and pleasure in equal measures.
Later, what the heck is the Fediverse? Twitter’s slow death has us all a bit annoyed and increasingly disengaged, but social media is still a big part of how we humans interact, so what’s next? Dennis and Tom explain “federated platforms” and what they promise for our future social media experience.
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: Summer Reading Lists
B Segment: Federal of Social Media
Intro: Web 2.0. Innovation, trends, collaboration. Software, metadata. Got the world turning as fast as it can? Here 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 340 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 shared tips on how to set aside time for spring cleaning your tech or more accurately how to pay attention to tech cleaning and maintenance year-round and make it part of your own routine. I also adhere to Tom’s ban on me discussing generative AI and GPT on the podcast to the letter of the law. Today in this episode with summer just around the corner we thought it’d be a great opportunity once again as we do most summers to talk about the summer reading list. I will again comply with Tom’s prohibition on discussing AI and GPT. Tom, what’s on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Dennis, you literally said the word twice in like the last 30 seconds, so I don’t know what compliance means in your world but in this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell report. We will indeed be discussing the importance of summer reading and sharing our top book recommendations for the season. In our second segment, we’re going to introduce a new term to this podcast. The Fediverse and dive into the fascinating concept of the Federation of Social Media Platforms and its potential implications 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, let’s talk about the importance of summer reading. Summer reading lists offer several benefits that can enhance your reading experience. Make your summer more enjoyable. Dennis thinks our approaches to summer reading and reading lists have evolved, but I’m not so sure about my approach. Dennis, what do you see as the benefits of summer reading and summer reading lists specifically?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, you know, this summer I focus on personal growth and development. You know, exploration, discovery as people commonly use reading for and you know escape and relaxation which I think is all part of the summer. I also like the fact that summer just allows you to set aside some time and a little priority for doing some reading or even doing some re-reading of some of your favorite books or books that are important to you. So, in its own way, it’s kind of like the notion of a digital detox to say like, well, this is a good time to just set aside some time and do some reading and learning and maybe a little bit of escape and relaxation, how about you, Tom?
Tom Mighell: Sounds like someone who doesn’t have a job for the summer because for me it’s never about a summer reading. I don’t really — that’s why it’s different for me because I don’t really stop to think that my reading habits change because the month is June, July, and August. My reading habits are the same but I’m always doing personal growth and development, exploration and discovery, and escape and relaxation, although probably more escape and relaxation most of the time because I’m working a lot and I need an escape from books. So, you know I think the only thing for me that might be different is to the extent that you are able to take a vacation to the extent that you are able to get away from work. Some of us are longer than others so I think that’s a good time to set some time aside and do some reading. I tend to feel better about the escape and relaxation part of reading during that time of the year but I do agree that it’s always a good time to learn more to better yourself. A lot of my recommendations are about that and if not summer, why not any? Anyway, I guess summer’s the best time to do it.
Dennis Kennedy: Well said Mr. Taking a cruise pretty soon guy. We did mention that reading has evolved and I’d like to reflect on this because I used to do a lot of my reading came from just stopping by the library or a bookstore and I actually read books. And we’ve talked over time how especially as you get older, you tend to move away from books. You know, because fonts and the print size and stuff can be a hassle and you know, I’ve really moved to audiobooks and Tom, I’ve learned something that you mentioned and you’ve talked about for a long time with the audiobooks. Is that part of the experience is the book itself on the story or what’s the content of the book but the other thing is who the reader is and how it’s done.
If the reader doesn’t match the book well or doesn’t do a good job you might have actually really enjoyed the book, but you just can’t listen to it. And so that’s the evolution for me, I also say, people rarely hand me a book to read anymore and say like, you got to read this. And then the other thing I’ve learned with the audiobooks is it’s a lot easier for me to say like, I don’t need to read this all the way at the end. I can stop and get rid of it. So, that’s where I talk about in terms of the evolution of my own reading approach.
Tom Mighell: I honestly don’t think that my approach has been modified because I don’t know, the last time I read a paper book. It’s been years and years and years and I’ve just been very happy reading electronic books and as I think we’ve mentioned in past Summer Reading list podcasts. I routinely am reading two books or three books at a time and one of those is always an audio book. I feel sometimes as if an audiobook is cheating. I feel like it’s not really reading the book because you’re listening to it but I totally agree that the performer I’m not even going to say the reader. I’m going to say the performer makes all the difference in the world because there are books that I have read that I really don’t enjoy reading but if I listen to it. It is like listening to a movie or listening to a very entertaining drama and I will always choose the audiobook version of certain authors over the print version because it’s just so much more enjoyable. But I’m still sort of powering along. One book on the Kindle for pleasure, one book on the Kindle for personal growth and development, and one book on the audio and I can very rarely listen to nonfiction in audio. It puts me to sleep very quickly.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, that’s sometimes a good test for an audiobook. I sort of have this rule, that if I fall asleep twice on an audiobook, I probably don’t need to finish it. Also, I think that with reading even in this summer there is this competition out there and for me that’s long-form TV series. I don’t really do gaming. I know, Tom that you do but those are, you know, things that people do that I think substitute in many ways for reading and so yeah, you try to fit that’s why I sort of analogize the summer reading approach to being like this digital detox. Even if you used digital forms, it’s like let me just reserve some time to actually just reading some books.
Tom Mighell: Well, and it is competition for me too but just like everything else we’ve talked about today. It’s not just summer competition for me, I mean, long-form television and games are all the time competition for books which is why I have decided on my task list. I have kind of routinized reading as something I want to do. And so, I’ve made it to where I can do kind of streaks. How many days in a row can I read my nonfiction book? How many days in a row can I read another book? So, I’ve got a little checklist so I make sure I’m always telling myself to read because sometimes I forget because I’m doing other stuff. All right, we’ve taught — we’ve kind of navel-gazed for too long on how we read and why we read and how it’s changed. Let’s go into some of the book recommendations of things that maybe we’re going to read things maybe we’ve already read that we think people should read. What’s your first up, Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, as you know, I taught a class in AI and Law at Michigan State this semester and it was a crazy time and fun time to teach that class. And when I started the class, I was looking to find a really plain language, a great introduction to AI from somebody who was in the field for a long time. And I found this book called ‘Artificial Intelligence’ by Melanie Mitchell and it fits the bill perfectly. I’m going to re-read it this summer after having taught the course and you know, obviously, we read it in the class and the one piece of feedback I got from all the students, they loved this book as the introduction to AI and they felt, it really helped them kind of understand what was happening in this sort of plain language way. I mean, there are places you can dive into more technical stuff but it covers all the issues and the approaches and how it works and it’s just super useful and it’s the book that I recommend to anybody these days who wants to learn about AI you know from a solid foundation.
Tom Mighell: Well, I will add that if you’re going to read a book about technology, it needs to be the kind of book that tends to be timeless is probably not the right word but it needs to be something that can withstand the test of time which is why you’re not going to see a single technology book on my list today because I would rather learn about technology on more online ways than in book ways because by the time you know we talk about it all the time.
By the time print appears, what else has changed. I mean if there was a book on ChatGPT, I mean it would go out of currency in like literally 30 minutes. So that’s why I’m not talking about. So instead, we’re going to spend a lot of time here on this personal growth and development piece, because there are a lot of books that I want to read. This first one is called — I recommend is called, ‘Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’ by Oliver Burkeman. The title is based on the number of weeks that an 80-year-old person would live, if they live to be 80 years old, you would be living four thousand weeks. And what it is, is it’s a time management book but it’s looking at time management in a different way. It’s looking at it not about being a slave to productivity and not being a slave to all of the tips and tricks that you see all over the place on how to manage time. Instead of being more efficient it’s about learning what to neglect. It’s instead of having limitless choices, it’s better to burn bridges than to keep your options open.
He talks about — he describes that Four Thousand Weeks as the outrageous brevity, which is kind of kind of scary and sobering, when you think about it and about how to construct your life, that does justice to that period of time. I am always in pursuit of something making me more efficient and maybe what I really should be looking for is something that teaches me more about limits and routines and finding a better way to think about it.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So my next one is called ‘Ideaflow’ by Jeremy Utley. So I often get called an idea person, and I really think a lot about ideas and approaches to ideas and trying to get better at that and to do that in structured ways so that I can learn how to do that. And this book which I haven’t read yet, but I’ve definitely read articles in her podcasts involving the author is something I want to read because it does look at ideas and getting a flow of ideas, and how do you set yourself up to get better about that and how to get that going in structured ways and I think that having that large quantity of ideas is extremely useful in the times that we are in these days as we’re facing a bunch of different challenges and there’s new technologies and all these changes happening to be able to generate a lot of ideas, and then choose from them is one way of dealing with that, that level of change that we’re experiencing.
Tom Mighell: All right, my next book is, we’ve talked a little bit about time management, now I’m going to move onto I guess health management, and the book that I am — actually currently reading right now is called, ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’ by Peter Attia, he is a doctor. I listened to The Huberman Lab podcast, I don’t know if you listen to it, I highly recommend it, it’s a great podcast hosted by a professor of neurobiology. He has tons of great doctor guests on there to talk about different ways of improving and optimizing your health, great podcast I could not recommend it more.
One of his guests recently was Dr. Peter Attia who wrote this book. The book is called ‘The Science and Art of Longevity’, the argument that he makes is, he is not trying to tell you how to live as long as you possibly can. It’s how to maximize the time you have left to live in terms of health to make those years enjoyable. So he’ll talk — he’s talked about why your cholesterol test is not going to tell you enough about the actual risk of having a heart attack, how exercise is probably the most potent for longevity drug out there and why you should focus less on diets and more on something called nutritional biochemistry and then why ignoring emotional health is a huge mistake. Lots of great tips in there. I sort of feel like at the age I am, I am a little late to this book, but I’m hoping that there will be enough information in there to do something about it even at my advanced years.
Dennis Kennedy: So my next one is really something an approach that I try and I haven’t made a decision yet, but I like to in the summer concentrate on one author and then read a number of books by that author during the summer. So I’m at the point where I’ve narrowed it down to two choices.
And so one is William Dalrymple who has written a number of books on the history of India and the British Empire and has a really highly rated podcast on related topics and has written some, some well-reviewed books. So, he’s one possibility. Other is Barbara Tuchman who I love re-reading from time to time her book, ‘The March of Folly.’ She’s also written about the beginning of World War I, which has some uncomfortable parallels with our current times. But I’ll probably go in one of those directions. And, you know, Tom, it’s kind of interesting, I think the deciding point will be availability of which author’s books are most available in audiobook form.
Tom Mighell: And it reminds me one way, so I guess I should say here is one way that my reading has evolved over the past couple of years is, I used to be a huge reader of history, either historical fiction or just straight history and the past for I guess, six, seven, eight years, made me not want to my reading. I wanted my reading to be about escape. I wanted my reading to be about not the real world whether it was history in any form or current times and that really hasn’t changed. I occasionally will look at a book about history and think about it but that’s one thing I used to read lots of History. I don’t read it very much anymore.
My last book for this segment is a book called ‘Think Again’ by Adam Grant and I think that to talk about the kind of this day and age, it’s a book about something we probably all could be doing more of and that is the art of rethinking things, learning to question your opinions, learning to help open other people’s minds of things. You know, he talks about the joy of being wrong, harnessing the advantages of imposter syndrome, which is something I need to obviously learn more about because that seems like it would be very useful to me.
The message though, is to let go of views that no longer serve us well, to start putting mental flexibility and humility and curiosity over consistency. So it’s kind of a different way of thinking and I guess, can you tell from my choices Dennis, that I’m, I’m looking to better myself in some way and I like these ideas because they — I think they will be challenged, all of them will be challenging sort of my notions about health, about time management, about just general overall opinions. So, those are some of the non-fiction books that I plan to read. We got more to talk about. We have more books to talk about, but let’s do this real quick and take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Dennis Kennedy: And we are back. Tom, what else is on your list?
Tom Mighell: I’m going to close out my stuff by really talking about fiction books. I will tell you that I would highly recommend the ‘Rise and Fall Series.’ If you are a fan of fantasy books, this is by a guy named Michael Sullivan. He has written one book a year for the last three years. He started writing during the pandemic. He has the final book coming out and it’s about a civilization and each book takes place many hundreds of years after the book before it. So that there are ties to the past book but not in ways that are immediately apparent. And it shows how a civilization begins and ends through the series of three books. And I’m waiting for the third book, that book is coming out in August, so maybe not technically a summer read this time, but the first two books, very enjoyable, great books to read. If you are science fiction, and this is a little bit out there, but there is, ‘The Final Architecture Series’ by an author named Adrian Tchaikovsky and it’s set in a future where Earth is long gone.
And met many species from other worlds and I’m not even sure I can do a description justice. There is something called unspace where you can travel fast and go in between and slip and get to different parts of the universe by getting into unspace and certain people are able to help you do that. What I like is that it is science fiction E, but it is more like a space soap opera because the characters are fun, they’re enjoyable, there’s a ton of action, but it all takes place in between planets with all sorts of weird looking aliens and other species and it’s just a lot of fun to read.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, for me, I like to stay a little closer to the ground and I’m a big fan of detective novels and detective TV shows. And I just finished the last of the DCI Banks series of detective novels by Peter Robinson, and it’s the last one because Peter Robinson died recently. So I think there’s 27, 28 books in that series. So I’m looking for a new detective series or maybe even two to try this summer. So, I think that will be fun and I’m again looking for something that’s an audio, probably something that has a kind of unique twist to it and definitely know serial killers because I’m so bored by that whole genre.
Tom Mighell: I will only just add because Dennis is looking for a detective series. I know that Dennis has, I think, also exhausted the ‘Inspector Gamache’ series, but I’m still quite — ‘Inspector Gamache’ by Louise Penny is to me an ideal book for audiobook. I really can’t read the books as well as I love to listen to the audiobooks. His new book out is ‘A World of Curiosities.’ What I like about it is it’s not just about a mystery. It’s about lots of other things going on. So there are lots of other cross stories and other plots that are happening throughout the book and she develops her characters so well. They just have such great personalities. Some are very funny, some are very serious, all are great characters. So I highly recommend any Louise Penny ‘Inspector Gamache ’ book.
Dennis Kennedy: I have read that book, Tom, already and no spoilers for you.
Tom Mighell: I’m in the middle of the audiobook right now, so looking forward to it.
Dennis Kennedy: So with my success on the Melanie Mitchell book on AI, I teach a class in the fall at MSU on cybersecurity and data protection. So I want to find a good overview book on data. So, basics of data, data law. So the one I’m going to read in preparation for the class is by Elizabeth Renieris. It’s called ‘Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse’ and I’m always looking for new approaches to data, data privacy, data protection, and how we think about data, which is in data ethics as well, not just the metaverse, but obviously this huge issue in the world of AI. So that’s my prep for next semester over the summer.
Tom Mighell: But see, that sort of, to me, is the proof of my argument before because the title of that book has the word metaverse in it which do we hear anything about the metaverse these days? Does it even exist? It has taken a huge backseat to Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT. So I won’t say that that’s gone out of date already but it just feels awkward because no telling. All right, I have two recommendations for you. These are books I’ve already read and can highly recommend them. The first is ‘Demon Copperhead’ by Barbara Kingsolver. It just won the Pulitzer Prize, or I guess it co-won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. It is a retelling of David Copperfield but in West Virginia with an orphan, it is heartbreaking. It is wonderfully told. I could not recommend this book highly enough. It was just a great book. I balled at the end of it. I did also listen to this as an audiobook. In fact, these two are audiobooks. This other one is rather kind of something you may not aware is out there. It’s called the ‘Beartown’ series’ Fredrik Backman is an author, is a Swedish author, and so all of his books are translated into English. I happen to watch the television version of his first book called ‘Beartown’.
It’s about a Swedish town where hockey is the only thing that matters and a lot of not great things happen to the town and they sort of learn to come together and then I totally missed the fact that it was a series of three books and I caught the third book that had such good ratings, and the third book just totally captured my heart. It’s just so well told. I generally am not always a fan of translations because I don’t necessarily feel like I’m getting the full feelings, but this was so well done. I highly recommend all of the series, and even if you listen to or read the last one, you don’t even have to do the other two to get the feeling of it but I would definitely look at them all, the ‘Beartown’ series by Fredrik Backman.
Dennis Kennedy: My last one is a sort of small and short book and serve my one word for this year is clear, and I’ve been thinking in terms of like, “How do I clear things, create space for myself?” So this book is called ‘Work Clean’ by Dan Charnas and sort of the premise of the book is he applies the notion of mise en place which is used in the culinary world to the way that we organize what we do and our productivity and the way we plan and execute on our days, from everything to like how you arrange your desk, how you do things, how you open up your work day, how you close it down, all those sorts of things like that and I’ve been using that as an approach that I want to develop more, and I keep returning to that book. So it’s sort of like a different perspective on the getting things done approach that I sort of live in, but sort of more physical in some ways about getting more control of my space. I’ve sort of taken to heart what Tom has always says, that there are fillers and there are pillars, and I feel like I’m definitely a pillar who needs to kind of break that habit.
So this book is, I think, going to help me on the path to that. So I think that’s what we have, Tom. I mentioned that it used to be that people would say, “Oh, here’s this amazing book”, and they would hand it to you and say like, “You need to read this.” I don’t think we do that much anymore for any number of reasons. So I’ve been thinking a lot about starting or finding a book club, maybe even a monthly legal tech and innovation book club that I would start and try to put together, or I don’t know, Tom, maybe we should even start the Kennedy-Mighell Report Book Club, but I’d be curious what people think about that and see if there might be a way to get critical mass as a kind of way to share. I guess in that sense, the book club would be more focused on legal tech, but I’m intrigued by that. Tom, what else do you have to say to kind of wrap things up?
Tom Mighell: Only thing that I will say is, Dennis, for someone who is as active on social media as you are, I am still amazed that you have not taken advantage of the opportunities on Goodreads because that whole “here’s a book you should read” is really what Goodreads is about. I get an email every day to say, “Here’s what your friends are currently reading.” And what’s interesting to me is that occasionally I will get a note — I’ll get an email, and it says, “So and so has put this book on their list of to read books.” Well, that was a book that I just read and I just rated very highly. So it is absolutely a place where you can recommend books to people, and people will say, “Hey, what’s so and so reading? Oh, they ranked it as three stars. Well, I’m going to stay away from that book.” The other nice piece about Goodreads is you can create your own book club on Goodreads and recommend books and talk to each other. So not a bad platform for discussing books.
Anyway, all right, we’ve done enough talking about books. We’re going to talk about other — we’re going to get back to the technology, full-fledged technology topics on our next segment. But before we do that, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsor.
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Tom Mighel: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. We love to dive into new areas where there hasn’t been much conversation yet in legal. In this segment, we wanted to take a look at something called federation, which refers to the interoperability and decentralization of social media platforms, sort of the opposite of where we are now with these siloed and centralized social media platforms. So that means that users of the platforms, the sort of federated platforms, had the ability to connect and interact across the different social media networks, and it breaks down the barriers and silos. So, you can have this interconnected, seamless experience, the concept as we’re trying to promote user choice and freedom and to actually encourage healthy competition among social media platforms. With it comes things like unified feeds, the ability to engage from the different platforms and communicate with friends and followers regardless of the specific platform they’re using. So, there are other benefits, sort of conceptually, that the people who’ve created these platforms think about. So, greater control over your personal data, kind of dealing with that concentration of power in the big tech companies and promoting a more diverse and inclusive social media landscape. So, Tom, what piqued your interest in federation?
Tom Mighel: Well, it’s not so much that my interest is piqued, it’s that this is a topic that we need to be talking about on the podcast. We always try to introduce concepts that aren’t necessarily being talked about in legal technology circles and this is one of those. I think that federated platforms may very well become the future of how we use social networking. I think it came up for me mostly because we are watching Twitter slowly die or slowly become something that we don’t want to pay much attention to or be a part of and we watch competitors like Mastodon and Bluesky come up to challenge it. And as we record this podcast, Instagram has just announced that they’re going to create their own Twitter-like product. So where do we go from here and federation may very well be the answer.
So, to explain a little bit more about Dennis’s description of it, let’s compare federation to a telephone network. If you make a phone call, your provider is going to connect you to the phone provider of the person you’re calling no matter where in the world you happen to be, no matter what network that person happens to be on, because all phone networks talk to each other. That’s just the way that it’s built. They all talk to each other and federation or I guess the increasingly popular term, which feels a little crazy, a little geeky, but the Fediverse, it works the same way. It’s a collection of thousands, probably thousands of independent social media servers that talk to each other in a seamless way, which means that everyone can interact with each other as if you’re on a single social network, just like if you were all on Facebook together, or all on Twitter together, or all on TikTok together, but you’re all on different sites.
Mastodon is probably the best example of this right now. It’s a Twitter alternative, but instead of being like Twitter, which is hosted in one place, in one server, it’s hosted on hundreds or maybe thousands at this point of different servers. You join your own Mastodon server. But once you join, you can then talk with users who are on every Mastodon server all around the world. It’s just like the phone network. There are Fediverse servers for photo and video sharing, for live streaming, for book clubs. Hey, that’s maybe an idea. They all use this common standard and so if you — here’s another term for you to pay attention to, it’s called ActivityPub. It’s been around since 2018, which is really something that is helping to connect all of these platforms. And ActivityPub allows you to appear as if you were all in the same place no matter what site you’re on. So, let’s say you’re using Mastodon instead of Twitter and you follow someone who’s using a site. There’s a site up there called PeerTube, which is a little bit like YouTube. You can share videos on it and if that person, that friend, publishes a video even though you’re not on PeerTube, it will automatically show up on your feed in Mastodon.
And then if you comment on that video in Mastodon, even though if your friend isn’t a member of Mastodon, that comment will immediately show up next to the video on PeerTube as if somebody was commenting right on that site. So, it’s nice, it’s as if you were able to post something on Facebook that someone who is in Twitter could read, I guess is the best analog to that. It’s interesting is this technology has been around since 2008. A lot of the things we talk about as if they’re new on the podcast have actually been around for a long period of time. But I think we’re still in early days, mostly because the past 15 years have been dominated by big tech, by Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, all those — Twitter. But with Twitter starting to decline in popularity, I think more people are starting to look at the Fediverse as a real possibility and I think we have to pay attention to it as well. If you want to learn more about it, there’s a great site out there called Fedi.Tips, F-E-D-I dot T-I-P-S great guide to all things about the Fediverse. Lots of good basic videos and explainers and things like that. Dennis, I did a whole lot of talking there, anything more to add about Federation?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I think it’s an interesting approach that has the potential to grow. I mean, it solves some problems that you have and it became apparent, as you said, as Twitter kind of started to self-destruct and give us examples of things that we didn’t like to see. So, one thing is to say like, if I want to go to move from Twitter to Mastodon or I call it Bluesky, I don’t know why, it just looks like it says Bluesky and not Bluesky. But if I want to move to one of those, what I would like to do is automatically be able to find and follow like the people who I was already following on Twitter. That is at this point still very difficult to do. So, you feel like you’re moving from one silo to another. You would like to say, “I would like to kind of under the surface of things, have this connection going so I can find all these things, like no matter where people are at, and not get back and leave this world of silos.” So, if you go way, way back, Tom, to the early days of email when you were like, “Oh, I have email, but I’m on CompuServe so I can’t email you because you’re on AOL, it’s sort of as you try to move between social media platforms you get that feeling and it is early days on Mastodon and Bluesky and some of the others and finding people there and deciding whether they’re going to work for you is really difficult. But we’re facing the real difficulty of Twitter not being a place that it feels like you want to be associated with anymore. So, definitely worth taking a look at and for the legal community, it’s going to be another way where you’re saying — it’s hard enough to find people on social media and their Facebook accounts and these sorts of things, but now there’s this whole Fediverse of other places that they might have information, communications, other things, and that could have implications for law practice. So, it’s definitely one of those areas that I think we’re going to find that you need to know just a little bit more about and watch developments there. So now it’s time for a parting shot at one tip website or observation that you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighel: All right, so I’m giving a surprise-surprise, a Microsoft 365 tip, used to be that it was hard to checkout new versions of upcoming editions of certain Microsoft tools by being in the early preview edition. But I think that they’re trying to give just regular users the ability to see what’s coming out and what’s available. And you may notice if you open up either your Outlook application or your Teams application, you may notice up in the corner something that will say “try the new Teams or try the new Outlook” and it’s a toggle switch. And it’s great that it’s a toggle switch because it means you can go back and forth, you can try the new Teams and it will open up a version of new Teams with new features in it that you can test out. You can use full time if you want to, or you can switch back at any time and use the old version. Same with Outlook, you can click the Try the new Outlook button, it’ll let you use the newer version. You’ll notice they’re starting to move away from the complicated menu version of Outlook and moving towards something that’s a lot more streamlined, looking more like the online version than the application-based thing but I like that idea. I like the ability to go back and forth and test it out and see if there are anything new in there that I want to see.
So, if it shows up for you in Outlook or Teams, give it a try, just click that toggle button and you can always switch back if you don’t like it.
Dennis Kennedy: So, for me, I have two quick ones, Tom. So, one is the Libby app, which is the book checkout app that a lot of public libraries use. When I look back since time I was a little kid, I love going to a library and going to new book sections and just sort of by serendipity finding interesting books and Libby kind of takes that place for me and it’s a great place to get audiobooks and I really enjoy it. And if you aren’t aware of it, just check, see if your public library uses it, then download the app and you can check out books of digital books, both Kindle-type books and audiobooks from your library for free-sy and then the other thing is that I’ve been looking at GPT-4 as a book recommender and doing some experiments. So, there’s the sort of obvious things like, “I like this book, suggest more books like this one or I like this author, who else might I like?” those sorts of things. But I did some recent experiments where I said, “I want to learn about this topic, what are the best books to start with?” And the results were really interesting and useful. So, I think there are some ways that you can in sort of the non-traditional ways and maybe more creative than that simple recommender — you bought this book, you might want to buy these other ones — that you can have some more sophisticated recommender approaches using GPT. So, worth taking a look at that.
Tom Mighel: And before we close up, let’s just take a quick look at the tape and I’m going to rewind back to the beginning of the podcast and oh yes, it says, Dennis says, “I will again comply with Tom’s prohibition on discussing GPT” penalty.
Dennis Kennedy: To the letter of the law.
Tom Mighel: We’ll see how that works out in the next podcast. But until then, 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 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 podcast app. If you’d like to get in touch with us, remember, you can always reach out to us on LinkedIn, maybe occasionally on Twitter. Remember, we love to get that voicemail, that number again 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 podcasts. 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 Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon. Join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report only on the Legal Talk Network.