LOMA : Articles
Cheap and Cool: Inexpensive Ways Solos and Small Firms Can Compete with Boys (and Girls) with Big Toys
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It is always a good time to save money especially with the
economy in the way that it is right now. Here are some tips and
sites to help you save some money.
Getting Stuff Cheap
Clearly you want to buy quality products from reputable dealers
but that does not mean that you cannot good prices.
One of the first places to search for good prices on computers
and electronics is Tiger Direct. It is worth going
to the site regularly just to see the Deal of the Day. The day
that I was there, it was a Kodak digital camera for $79.00 and I
actually bought it for an extra camera. Whether you need
equipment for your practice, your home or your student going to
college, this is a site worth viewing.
If you want to have a comparison of sites and you know exactly
what you are looking for, you can use Google. Go to Google and click on Shopping. Then you will enter the product you want
to find. You can be as specific or as general as you like. The
search will give you reviews and comparisons.
Another helpful shopping site is from Cnet and it is www.shopper.com. CNET.com is a site that is all
tech buzz all the time. It can be a bit overwhelming but it is
worth tuning into on occasion to keep up to date.
When I went to search on laptops, there was a good introductory
piece that helps you determine what type of laptop you need. It
helps you pick the right product for what you want to do.
Many of these sites are mail order but some people may want to
stay closer to home. On the MSBA website under Legal Vendor
E-Mall, there are many vendors who are local. In addition to
these vendors, there are discounts that MSBA Members get on many
products and services. On www.msba.org, click on Member
Resources and Member Benefits.
You can password protect individual folders on your computer so
that only you can access them. This can be extremely helpful for
home computers or files in the office that only you can access.
It is My Lockbox from FSPro Labs It is free for two
folders. It is very easy to use and the folder cannot be
accessed by anyone but you.
If you do any commerce over the internet, you are always
concerned with security, the same site has information on
identity and privacy protection. Identity Knight removes
personal information from Internet Explorer auto complete
Track Erasure Pro is designed to protect you by cleaning up all
the unwanted history data on your computer.
Over 2 million laptops are stolen each year. You can protect
your laptop and its data with Lojack It is a software theft
protection service that tracks, locates and recovers stolen
laptops. The standard is only $39.99 and the premium for $59.99
can also remotely delete data from a stolen laptop.
Another safe way to protect your information is to use an
encrypted flash drive. IronKey allows you to put your
critical data on a flash drive that is encrypted. The cost
ranges from $79.00 for a 1 GB to $149.00 for 4 GB. Any one that
carries client information on his/her laptop should have the
data stored on this flash drive and not on the laptop.
More and more practitioners are using on-line backups for their
data. There are a number of companies out there. Three companies
worth considering are Mozy and their MozyPro is
probably the most affordable. Others are Core
Vault and Amerivault which has a very good risk
management tool at http://www.amerivault.com/risk.
Another on-line back up service is Sugar
Sync. which backs up your information on line but
also allows you to access the files from any computer or any
One of my favorite free tools is Jott which allows you to call a
programmed number and leave a message at your email. You can set
it up to send messages to as many emails as you like.
You can now get a list of free Wi-Fi spots before you leave on
vacation or your travels. Two sites Wi
Fi Free Spot and Wi Fi 411 (wifi411.com) will give
you locations all over the world including camp sites and
You can receive and send faxes via email with a local number or
now even use the fax number that you already have. You receive a
local number and when a message is faxed to that number, it is
sent to your email. You can access this anywhere you can a
access your email. You can even now use the same fax number that
you have been using with your traditional fax machine. Two
companies are E-Fax and J
Solos and small firm practitioners do not have the resources of
firms to test skills of potential employees. The site My Skills Profile has a variety of performance and
personality tests which can be taken and scored on-line for as
little as $15.00.
Another employee issue concerns "what to pay" particular
employees. At Salary.com you can see salary
data for particular positions in specific zip codes. These are
averages but it can give you some idea what might be considered
Another site, Payscale.com is a very detailed
site that gives a comparison of your salaries with others in the
same field and area. There is a detailed questionnaire that
needs to be completed. It is free and quite good if you are
trying to determine what to pay or if your salaries for specific
employees are comparable.
We certainly want to give employees the opportunities to improve
some of their skills but it can be difficult to have employees
in a small office out of the office for training. Microsoft has on-line training for many of its applications. This is self-paced and can be
extremely helpful when you upgrade to new versions. Many other
applications also have on-line tutorials.
Speaking of training, if you want to learn to use Google more
effectively, there is a blog called LifeHacker that actually has a Google School which has some
great tips for using the full capabilities of Google.
If you are a true solo (just you) but you sometimes have need
for some word processing, Law DocsXPress or Legal
Typist allows you to outsource many of these
services. You can sign up for a free trial with Law Docs which
also says it uses only US labor. Legal Typist does not require
you to enter into any contracts. You use it when you need it.
If you have employees and want to monitor their work and their
internet usage, Spector Soft has software to do
that. Spector Pro 2008 allows you to record all their emails,
chats, keystrokes and websites visited. And if you use
e-blaster, also from Spector Soft, you can actually monitor them
remotely while you are away. Both packages are less than
I have run out of space but have many more cheap sites and tools
for you to see.
There is information on Research and Information Sites, Practice
Tools and expanded sites on the topics listed in the above
article. To see that information go to, http://www.msba.org/departments/loma/articles/index.htm and click on Tech Stuff, Cool and Cheap Tools.
If you have any that you want to share, please let us know and
we will post them as well.