Note-taking is typically a significant part of a lawyer’s life—in meetings, research, client conversations, and more. There are numerous ways to approach this simple task, but is there a *best* way? Dennis and Tom examine several note-taking methods to unearth the most advantageous techniques for your practice.
Later, the guys address a listener question on sketchy links and unsubscribe options in emails. Dennis and Tom love answering your queries! To submit your own technology question, call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Show Notes – Kennedy-Mighell Report #351
A Segment: Notes, Notes Everywhere…and Not One Note to Use
B Segment: A Question from a Listener
Intro: Web 2.0, innovation, trends, collaboration, software, metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can? Hear how technology can help, legally speaking, with two of the top legal technology experts, authors, and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to episode 351 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we celebrated our 350th episode, our sesquicentennial, for those of you who are wondering, and took the occasion to review recent new product announcements from all the major technology and computer hardware companies, and our kind of meh feeling about new tech these days. In this episode we wanted to revisit a technology and tools topic that has long been a thorn in our sides. Get ready to take some notes on it.
Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, before we do that, I just want to state for the record that I very much prefer semicentennial to sesquicentennial, because sesquicentennial just sounds kind of ugly; semicentennial, much more elegant, much more preferable. Argument decided.
All right, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will indeed be revisiting a recurring personal knowledge management problem for us and we suspect for many of our listeners as well. We’re going right to the root issue, how can we improve note taking and make the process work for us the way that we want to? Or I am going to add to this, or do some of us really need to?
In our second segment we’ve got a listener question to discuss. We’re very excited to have a listener question. Remember, we love to get your questions for our B segment. Don’t forget, you can leave a question by sending us a voicemail. That number is 720-441-6820.
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, we wanted to look at what I think — what we think is sort of the thorny problem of note taking. We touched on this topic in our recent episode when we revisited our Second Brain projects. But in the interim, Dennis has read a new book. It’s by an author named Tiago Forte. It’s called ‘Building a Second Brain’, somebody that I followed for a number of years, and has made improving his note taking a priority project for the rest of the year, following his fourth quarter personal quarterly off-site.
We’re also well past the point where, if it’s really important, I’ll remember it approach is not working so well for either of us. Although I suspect everyone is struggling to some extent with notes and note taking and how to capture and how to keep them and how to actually do something with them.
So we wanted to kind of revisit where we are with this and see if there are any solutions that we have or any ideas to solve the problem or at least make it better. Dennis, do you want to check your notes and get us started?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I do. I mean note taking has just been my weak link and it’s kind of funny when you think about that as lawyers, like part of your toolbox has long been the legal pad that you take notes on. But note taking, I am not great at because I think in some of the things I am doing now, it interrupts the flow of what I am doing and I do really feel that if it’s important, I will remember it, and that’s just not happening.
But there is a bunch of other things that happen for me that’s making note taking not work so well and I thought it was worth talking about it, because I do want to capture things that I need to remember and come back to and then make them actionable later.
Tom Mighell: So before we get started, I kind of want to make sure that our definitions are in line and I want to distinguish between the ideas of note taking and note making, because I am not convinced that I am a note taker. I will say I take notes for most of the meetings I attend for work. So my work meetings, I take lots of notes for them. When I am putting together deliverables for my clients, I make notes, I have notes for that, my work product and stuff like that.
But for my personal knowledge management, I almost never — I mean, sorry, or I never actually take any notes. I don’t take notes at all. I keep a lot of notes and we’ll talk more about that. I highlight information articles and websites and books and things I want to keep for later. So I am making notes and I am doing things with them, but I would not say that I am a note-taker when it comes to personal knowledge management.
And I don’t necessarily see myself as someone; we will get more into this, as someone who is going to become much of a note taker. It’s going to be more about how do I manage the notes that I make rather than the notes that I take. Does that make sense?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, although I think I use them synonymously, but I think that’s a good distinction there. I mean for me, when I think about — I guess part of — I sort of have this note taking envy in a way, is that I will be in a meeting and I will look and somebody is taking notes and they’re just like taking furious notes and I can’t figure out what they’re taking notes of. And then I’ve been part of meetings where I’ve volunteered to be the secretary for the group and take notes and then realize at the end that somebody else sitting there has taken more notes and better notes than I have.
But I would say there is that — I do understand the two things that you’re talking about Tom. So one is that I read something, I see something, I hear something, I want to grab that so I can return to it later. And then there is this other thing where I am sort of making a record of a meeting that’s happening and the key points and the action steps and those sorts of things.
So I guess what I would say that in your note taking, note making distinction, it seems like the note taking, there’s probably the social element, where there’s several people involved, and then note making, it’s what you’re doing for yourself. Does that make sense? Am I understanding it?
Tom Mighell: Well, sort of. I mean I think that where I would take notes, and I keep saying we’re going to get into this later, where we are actually going to get into all of this in a minute, but where I think about if I am going to be a note taker, it’s going to be where I take the notes that I’ve highlighted and I actually go and make something out of them. So what I am not good at doing and what I want to be better doing is let’s say that I’ve read a book and I had a whole lot of highlights. I want to be able to take that information and summarize it. I want to be able to distill it into the information that’s important to me rather than just have those highlights. Again, that’s part of what we’ll talk about a little bit later. I am not good at that. And if we consider that note taking, then that is something that I could be better at is I am really good at capturing stuff, but it’s not really good at doing anything after I’ve captured that information.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So to jump into this, I think that for me the fundamental principle is there are tons of note taking approaches. And for some people there are ones that are just perfection for them and they don’t tend to work for others. So I am really sort of agnostic about what people choose. Some people like to take with pen and paper. Some like to take them digitally. Some people dictate notes, all sorts of things. I think they’re all legitimate. But I think the one core thing, goes back to David Allen in ‘Getting Things Done’ is that what I want to do with notes, sort of my job with notes, is get things out of my head into a trusted space, where ideally I can make them actionable.
So if I am looking at what I want to accomplish and what I am doing a terrible job at is actually capturing the notes, which is like the very first step, I am really bad about that. So that’s what I am working on between now and the rest of the year.
Tom Mighell: Well, so when I think about GTD, to me GTD is about tasks. It’s not about second brain. It’s not about note taking. I like the idea of getting things out of my head, but for me those things go into the to-do list. If I am getting something out, it’s something that I need to accomplish, and it may become ultimately part of my quarterly plan, if I ever get around to putting one together, but it’s more of a task. It’s not a note.
Now, I think that one of the things that I was reading about one person who spends their time like walking the dog or when they’re out, they will basically just dictate a bunch of ideas into their phone and they use those, they transcribe it. They make those their notes of ideas that they’re having. I am really intrigued by that idea. I spend most of my time listening to things that I can then capture. So I have a different purpose when I am doing things. But again, it’s something that I am just not good at doing. I think that the stuff that I want to capture, I am capturing, but I kind of want to dive a little bit into the framework that Tiago talks about in his book before I talk more about it, because I really think I have a problem.
My biggest problem about the whole framework is actionability, and we’ll talk about that, I keep saying that, in just a minute, but maybe it’s time for you to kind of break that down right now and talk about what that means.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So I will do that in a minute Tom. So I did want to say that, for me, I go back to that first step, and I am trying to reduce friction and make taking notes easy and kind of make it a habit, because just the other day I was walking and I had this utterly brilliant idea, I mean just amazing idea and I said, oh, this is great, when I get back home I am going to write this down, and it’s gone, right? That’s where the problem is coming and as all of us get older, as we eventually do and inevitably do, that becomes more of a problem. So that’s part of what got me thinking about it.
But then I did read Tiago Forte’s book called ‘Building a Second Brain’ and his notion of second brain is conceptually similar Tom to what you and I are doing, but what we’re doing I think is different in some fundamental ways. So his approach is what he calls the CODE Framework C-O-D-E, and so he says, Capture, which means keep what resonates with you; Organize and save them in a place where you can make them actionable; Distill, which is, to me, review the notes you have and find the essence of them; and then something that he calls Express, which is, there’s no, and I think this may go a little further than he would go to, but there’s no point in having the notes and keeping them and organizing them unless you’re using them ultimately in a project or for something else.
So the framework is I think useful. It would cause me to change some things that I do that would really be difficult to do, so I wouldn’t adopt it wholeheartedly. But I think if you’re just starting to look at this type of approach, it’s not a bad framework to use.
So Tom, what are your thoughts on the CODE Framework?
Tom Mighell: So my first reaction when I heard that you had read this was and when you wanted to talk about it, it feels like if you were to adopt this, this would be a huge departure for you, for a couple of reasons, because when they talk about Capture, Tiago really talks about capture only the ideas that are truly noteworthy. I get this. This is what I do when I capture notes in books and things like that. There are things that to me are noteworthy, but I get the feeling from our discussions during Second Brain, Dennis, that you save anything and everything that you can and you have lots of stuff. So I sort of feel like that would be a challenge for you to do.
The other piece that I don’t like is the Organize part, which is he advocates organizing your notes only for action, for active projects, and I don’t like it because there’s a lot of things that I find that are interesting to me that may have some relevance in the future that aren’t part of an active project, and I want to be able to keep that. I know you’re already doing that. You’re already finding things that are interesting.
Now, I think they have to be truly noteworthy, I don’t just capture anything, but I really think that it’s limiting to only capture the things that I’m currently working on. So I struggle with that part of the framework. I get the idea of Distilling, we talked about earlier. I am not good at taking notes that I’ve gathered in the past and distilling them down into something that’s better and we’ll talk about this a little bit later. I think that artificial intelligence can help with that quite a bit and I want to try to think about how to do that in the future, but I really struggle with kind of the constraints of this framework and it probably would not work for me the way that he describes it.
Dennis Kennedy: Right, and I think that you’re right in identifying the tension for me, and this is the thing I have about subfolders and a lot of super organizational systems is that there is this fundamental notion that when you’re taking the notes and you’re organizing them, and especially when you’re distilling them down to the essence, do you actually know what they’re going to be used for and what is the most important piece of it when the notes could become important in a completely different context and that’s why I err on the side of capturing too much and then trying to put it together later.
So that one piece is very difficult for me to say, like, oh, I know when I am taking these notes that I’ve gotten the core of this, and then his approach of saying like, oh, and then I go through the notes again and I distill them, which for him is, he has this approach where he goes through it first and then he bolds the most important thing and then he goes through it later and highlights them again and then tries to pull it down to just the total core elements that he might use and I think that’s a workflow and an approach that will work for some people. It’s not the one for me.
So I think you’re right, it’s constraining, but if you like working with constraints, it’s not a bad constraining system if you’re the type of person who likes to have that level of structure.
Tom Mighell: So while we’re talking about structure, maybe it makes sense to also talk about the other framework that he has to kind of compare and contrast because Tiago Forte was known for a different framework before he wrote this book. Now he has another framework out, the CODE Framework and I am kind of interested in your thoughts on how they work together, because it feels like having a bunch of frameworks that you use makes things a little bit confusing.
Dennis Kennedy: So the other thing that he talks about is the PARA Framework. So P-A-R-A, which stands for Projects, Areas, Resources and Archive. So his approach is intentionality. So you should always be asking yourself what purpose something will serve and then save it that way. So you would say, does this note relate to a project? Good, I’ll put it in a folder or I’ll tag it together with a certain project, and I might put it in multiples, but he likes to put it into one project.
Then if I don’t have a specific project, but it relates to a certain area of interest, that’s sort of an ongoing thing, so you could say something like taking care of a parent sort of thing, then you’d say, oh, I found this note and I’ll throw it in there. And then there are these other things that are resources, which to me is sort of the scrap bag of stuff that might be useful to you sometime in the future. So I could say, like, I am thinking about learning to play the guitar sometime and so every time I find an inspiration or something that might be good for that, I throw it into the resource folder called guitar.
And then there’s this thing called archive, which is sort of, I am done with them, but maybe I’ll go back in there and look at them. So I think it’s useful. I’m going to experiment with it, frankly, but I don’t think it’s magic, and I know you have some thoughts on PARA as well. To me it’s sort of like, if you don’t have a framework, it’s an interesting one. If you’re not satisfied with your current framework of how you put things, you might take a look at this and say, might I adopt that or might I do some variation off of it?
Tom Mighell: So you’re right, I don’t like this framework very much and part of the reason is, is that when he first developed this, he was using OneNote as his primary note taking tool and he had a very rigid way of using OneNote that really didn’t recognize and he didn’t really recognize the new tools that were coming out, like Notion, like Roam Research, like Obsidian, the tools that are really strong in being able to take notes in different ways. It felt like it was not very flexible.
So the difference between this PARA Framework that we just talked about and the CODE Framework is CODE is more about what to do with the notes that you take; PARA is about how to organize those notes. So you’re organizing them in either Projects, Areas, Resources, or Archive. It is still just like CODE geared toward actionability. So what if you capture something that you like, but you don’t know what you’re going to do with it, is it a resource? Is it an area? If I put it in the archive because I don’t need it, do I need to remember that it’s in the archive to go look for it? Or I might need to look in resources area and archive because they’re so poorly defined. You’ve got to have a very strict taxonomy of what makes up these things to be able to do it.
I think it can get awfully packed full of stuff if you don’t pay attention. And I was reading kind of some criticism about it, and I found this quote of Steve Jobs that I think really kind of matches the issue with the PARA Framework and the quote that he had was, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
And that’s what I think the whole actionability part of the framework is. There’s a weakness there, because I want to be able to connect the dots with my notes. I want to be able to have something that I took five years ago connect with something that I just connected with right now so that I can make true value and it was worth saving that note. I think that the PARA Framework has come a long way and I think it’s a great starting point, but I am not convinced that it ultimately — it’s certainly not the way that I would consider organizing things because I just think it’s too confusing.
Dennis Kennedy: Right. And I would say that this is where, as you alluded to just a minute ago, this is where AI becomes really interesting to say, because if I am taking a note and I have to figure out which of four folders it goes into, then to me I’ve spent way too much time organizing. So what I am doing more is what if I use AI to help me with tagging. First of all, what if I just use tags and then I am able to do searches and smart folders and things like that, or what if I just use AI to kind of summarize it and capture those tags and where it might go and say that’s good enough because otherwise I’m going to be debating whether it’s a project, an area or resource, or which project, which area or resource subfolder it goes under.
All right Tom, we might be due for a break.
Tom Mighell: I think we’ve been talking long enough. Let’s take a quick break for a word from our sponsors.
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Dennis Kennedy: And we are back. Tom, after reading Tiago Forte’s book I captured two notes, which I’ll share in a minute that I plan to use as I move forward. What are you currently thinking about doing to improve your note taking approach?
Tom Mighell: Three things. First of all, and I sort of mentioned all of these, I want to get better at capturing audio information from podcasts. I am listening to a podcast, I like what I hear and I want to be able to do something with that information. There are apps that are out there that will help you capture that information. But to be honest, I don’t really like those as podcast apps. I have the Pocket Casts app that I really love. It doesn’t have that capability so I am kind of stuck, because these tools force you to use them, but I would only be using it after I heard something I liked in a podcast, so kind of hard for that.
For one of our more recent podcasts, on our Second Brain update, I had found a podcast that I really wanted to think about some of the points in there and so what I wound up doing was I just downloaded the entire audio file. I put it into a transcription tool, transcribed it and loaded it into my notes so that I could then take that information, search it and find what I needed and I uploaded into my Second Brain. It was great. I don’t know that I love that process. So I want to get better at audio and/or video and being able to find the things that are important to me.
I am also still very intrigued by tools like Obsidian. Maybe not so much Roam Research, I feel like Obsidian has kind of taken over the second place — the main place in kind of advanced note taking. I am intrigued by it because it makes great use of backlinking to connect all of your notes to each other. You can use infinite tags to connect everything together in a simple logical way so that you can always have access to the things that are connected to each other. It’s possible with Notion, you can do that, but I don’t think it’s as intuitive as it is in Obsidian. In Obsidian, it’s really just about typing a code and then a tag and you’re done and you’ve connected everything. So I am intrigued with that.
And then I am also intrigued with the idea of distilling the notes that I have. I’ve read a great book on some topic. I’ve taken a lot of highlights. I’d love to take all of those highlights and instead of me going through them and distilling them, I’d sort of like for a summarizer to take the first pass at summarizing it, telling me all the stuff that I am reading so I kind of have it in more bite-sized pieces to do.
So those are the three areas that are interesting to me. What about you Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I think you’ve identified some really important things that have entered the realm of what we might take notes on. So in some ways like the classic meeting or Zoom meeting these days is the easiest thing for us to take notes on. Then I think that if we’re sort of reading a book and it’s daytime or we’re reading, doing some research that’s fairly easy to start to take notes on. Like if you’re listening to an audiobook before you go to bed, and it’s really difficult to take notes on, as our videos, as our podcasts as you mentioned. And then I’m also doing a lot of things where I find something, say I’m reading at night, I might take just do a screen capture. And so I use Snagit for a lot of things and I would like to capture all of those Snagit screenshots into notes. So if I’m watching a Zoom presentation, I might take a screenshot of the slide that has an important point on it.
So we have like all these different sources. And so that’s why I keep going back to the setting of like instead of looking for the silver bullet of like one Notes app that works for everybody and works perfectly, I think it needs to be personal and we need to kind of think through what it is that we do, what we want to accomplish and then sort of what our processes are for doing it. Almost like in its own way, the sort of like this lean approach of process mapping. Okay, so what is it that I do? What’s the process for gathering these things? But I’m super focused on that capture piece and I’m just finding that the stuff I do capture to reuse gets captured in so many different places and so many different ways. That’s what I’m trying to say can I consolidate that capture process into something that makes that easier and has less friction for me to get things in.
Tom Mighell: Well, I appreciate all that, Dennis, and that’s all absolutely important stuff that you need to be doing but you avoided my question, which is what were your takeaways from the book? What are the things that you plan to either get better at or do more of or that sort of thing?
Dennis Kennedy: So I had two notes. And so one was to just to start to experiment with the PARA approach, just to test to see that would work. And then the second one was I thought that Apple Notes could be that simple intake tool that would get me 80% of the way that I wanted to get there and that I would, and this is going to sound weird to you, Tom. I think that going into Notion to take notes as opposed to organize them is more difficult than I wanted to be and I’m looking — I want to look to see if I can use Apple Notes on my computers, my iPad and my phone to be that intake tool and then I’m just going to say, look, getting the notes organized and into Notion is just a two-step process and the Apple Notes thing is pure capture and my hypothesis is that was what will work best for me and the focus will be using that simple tool and not some big fancy note tool.
So I’m not going to Obsidian (00:28:56). I’m going like the opposite direction to make it super simple and see can I capture as many things as possible which I take Apple Notes in its current version is going to get me a well down the road to do. Does that seem crazy, Tom?
Tom Mighell: Well, that does seem crazy and I don’t know why you think I’d be surprised. I don’t particularly like Notion as a note-taking tool. I use it primarily for the notes that I make from the different places. Like we’ve discussed many times, I still use the Readwise app that basically captures all of my highlights whether it’s in an article, whether it’s a Twitter or X, whether it’s in a book and it sends all of them into Notion automatically. But I think frankly what your goal should be is I think using Apple Notes as a capture tool is perfectly fine. I would want the goal to be once I’ve taken the note in Apple Notes, how do I get it into Notion? How can I move it there so I have one place to look for stuff and not multiple places. That’s what my goal would be is reduce the number of silos where I have stuff and see if there’s a way that I could get information in.
I just did a quick search and it’s like, you know, I think there is a way to import Apple Notes into Notion, but I don’t know that it can be automated. You know, I wish everything could be so simple as the minute that I do it or I take it or I highlight then Readwise will capture it and throw it into Notion but it doesn’t work for everything. So that would be my goal if I were to take that approach.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, and my early research suggests that I would be looking at some kind of scripting, you know, and whether that’s something I would have to do on my own, potentially could be and if this and that, there may be some other things out there and it’s not something where I see AI ultimately can help with that but I guess it’s possible that I could have ChatGPT, you know, give me a first take on that script that I would need you know, which could be an interesting use.
So I don’t know, Tom I mean, we’ve kind of talked a lot about this and I think it’s probably like a first step and for our listeners, I think it’s just like I think this is a good time to think about what you’re doing with Notes and what the jobs to be done you’re trying to come up with and what your current tools are and how you might modify them. I think this is one of the things where you don’t want to make wholesale changes, but I think it’s a good time to look at what you’re doing because there’s so many sources that we’re looking at and so much information coming to us that it’s good to develop your own framework and that’s what we’re doing, I think Tom with our second brain projects and it’s useful to look to see what other people are doing and say, hey this could help improve what I’m doing, this could modify something I’m doing, oh this helps explain why something I thought would work isn’t working.
So what I’m saying is I think I’ll make significant progress on note taking through the rest of the year and that will bring me on to my next big problem, which is once I take the notes to actually go back and look at them.
Tom Mighell: Well, I think that the fact that everyone has slightly different approaches to taking notes and capturing them and doing things with them I would issue a challenge to our listeners. If you have an approach, if you’re listening to both of us and says neither of you have this right, you’re both way behind, here is the way to do it. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to leave a message on our voice mail at area code 720-441-6820, leave us a voicemail and we love to listen to your idea so that we can feature them on an upcoming episode of the podcast. All right, we have more to talk about before we do that, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsor.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. We are excited that we have a listener voicemail question to answer in this segment. Remember, you can leave a voicemail with the question for us to discuss in our B-segment at 720-441-6820. Tom let’s go right to the voicemail and here’s a question from listener, Jerry Lawson and get your thoughts to start us off.
Jerry Lawson: Hi, this is Jerry Lawson calling from Burke, Virginia. I would first like to thank you for your relook at the second brain project. I think this is one of the most important things that you have done with your podcast. I also have a technical question. My understanding is that by visiting a sketchy website and clicking on any link there, you are opening yourself up to a malicious download and I’m wondering in particular when you get a message offering you to unsubscribe and you click on that in attempt to unsubscribe, are you exposing yourself to that risk? Okay, thanks.
Tom Mighell: Hey Jerry, it’s great to hear from you and thank you so much for your question. I think it’s a great question because we’ve all gotten the advice that clicking on links in email is bad for us. So, you know, I think we are naturally very wary on clicking on links even when that link happens to be okay. Here is my general rule for unsubscribing. If I remember subscribing to the site or to the email or to the newsletter or whatever it is that I’m getting, if I can recall that, I am generally confident that the unsubscribe link in that email is legitimate.
And I think that most security people would generally agree with that notion. But if I suddenly start getting email from services or places, I don’t recognize which happens a lot, I’m probably going to be very hesitant to click on those links. So I do one of two things and for me, it’s beneficial that I’m using Gmail as my personal email because there’s two ways that I can manage it. First is every Gmail message has an unsubscribe button in it. So you can click that button and Gmail will unsubscribe you without potentially clicking a harmful link, they will attempt to do that for you in a much safer way than if you were trying to do it.
The other way is within Gmail, I use SaneBox to manage my email. So I really only get important messages in my inbox that I have to deal with, I have a later a sane later box that it gets most of the other things I need to pay attention to, but there’s a folder that SaneBox creates for you called Sane Black Hole and you can direct an email into that folder and you will never see anything from that sender again. So it’s one way to unsubscribe if you’re you know, using Outlook or using other tools. There are ways to teach this tool that it’s spam and tell them that it’s spam and so you will not receive that. It’ll go straight into your junk file. So it is another way to protect you. You’re not clicking on that link, but you’re also not seeing or getting it. It won’t necessarily always prevent that email from getting to you unless you find a way to unsubscribe but it at least keeps it out of your inbox and it’s something you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to. Well then those are my thoughts on how I deal with it. What are your tips for this?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, first of all, I want to acknowledge the question which I think is great. So I sort of have these two long time cybersecurity mini(ph) concerns. And so one is actually clicking on the unsubscribe because I think somebody could be clever and put a malicious link in there and the other is something I recently learned is now called queshing (ph) with the Q, is actually big fear of mine, as QR codes are making a comeback is, if I click on a QR code, a link from a QR code, I have no idea where it’s going so sort of two versions of the same problem. So what I like to do — and Tom’s advice is perfect.
The other thing you can do is to try to look at the actual link, so you may be able to right click on it. There’s a number of ways that you could do this and get the actual URL that’s associated with that link that you would click on. Take a look at it and then if you think it’s you know, legit then open it up, go to a browser and open up in the separate window and then unsubscribe that way, you know, so those are things you can do but I think that, yeah, if you have any concern, I would just tag it as a junk mail, just let it go into junk mail folder from then on and not fool with it. But the building on unsubscribe feature, the time was talk about is actually really great for helping you avoid this issue. Now it’s time for a parting shot that one tip website or observation, you can use the second this podcast in. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: Well, I have two that are related. I have been thinking more and looking more at tools that allow you to create videos and I’ve noticed that Elgato which has the stream deck, offers the stream deck that I use to automate a lot of the processes on my computer has a new product called the Prompter and it’s a teleprompter and it’s something that you can hook your camera up to. You can hook your computer up to it, so that you can look directly into the teleprompter and have it all take care of everything. It can work as a teleprompter and you can read a script but the cameras also right there and in that place so you’ve got it all in one device being able to record things. I think it’s very interesting. It is not cheap so I’m going to look at this as maybe a future purchase. It’s about I think $275.
But one other tool that really caught my eye and I happen to notice this on social media was the tool we’ve talked about on the podcast before called Descript. Descript is a tool that uses AI to capture your voice and do actually artificial versions of your voice. It’s an audio editor that it will you know, it’ll take your audio, it’ll turn it into a transcript and all you have to do is edit the text and you cut the text out and it automatically edits the audio file. It’s a pretty magical tool. They’ve offering a new tool for people who are recording video and they call it Eye Contact.
And what it does is, is that it adjusts your eye in the video to make it look as if you are looking directly into the camera, even though you may be looking slightly off into a script to your left or to your right. They show the difference of what it looks like from here’s what I’m really doing and here’s what Descript can do. Again, it’s altering reality. We’ve talked about that a lot lately saying that that feels a little bit creepy, but you know what if you’re looking at a script and you want to make it look like it, I’m all for that type of thing because I want to make it look professional and this is really pretty interesting to me. So either the Elgato prompter or Descript Eye Contact, Descript is probably a little bit cheaper to experiment with and use but they both look like really interesting tools.
Dennis Kennedy: There’s so many cool little uses of AI that were just on the verge of. You know when I talk to students, one of the big questions is about this and I just, you know, and I’ll emphasize for our listeners as well that when you’re experienced with these tools, you are training the AI and so we don’t always know what that training is ultimately going to be used for. But on the other hand, it could be a big help but you need to weigh, weigh those things. So I have one parting shot plus a little bit of a shout out as part of mine. So from early on in my life, I was interested in something called the Whole Earth Catalog and there’s a whole set of — Stewart Brand is behind it. They had a magazine called Whole Earth Review. They were behind the original well which was an early part of the either the internet or the pre-internet depending how you find things.
They have now put all of those old Whole Earth Catalogs onto the internet at wholeearth.info and it was all about tools and thinking about things in new ways and it’s a great use of, you know, making these old and often still useful reviews and other works available to us now, so I’m a big fan and you know, wholly recommend taking a look at that. And then a little shout out, I want to congratulate the MSU Law Team which finished in third place in the recent Boston Legal Design Challenge with an idea about using AI to help people find housing. So congratulations to them.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up to 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 Legal Talk Network site or within your favorite podcast app. If you like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us on LinkedIn. If I haven’t mentioned it enough, we’ll mention it again. You can always call us and leave us a voicemail at 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. As always, a big thank you to the Legal Talk Network team for producing and distributing this podcast, and we’ll see you next time for another episode of Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together,’ from ABA Books or Amazon. And join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report only on the Legal Talk Network.