Many legal professionals would agree that the day can’t come soon enough…..

Content Analyst, Public Sector – Mountain View or Washington D.C.

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Google to Tighten Privacy – washingtonpost.com

Google said yesterday that it plans to alter its privacy policy and
strip certain identifying information from archived Internet searches.

The
change, which is to go into effect by the end of the year, was welcomed
by privacy advocates who have challenged Google to respect its users’
privacy as it pursues its goal of organizing the world’s information.
The new policy will affect only searches conducted from the Google home
page, not from Google Calendar or correspondence sent through Google’s
Web e-mail service, Gmail.

You have GOT to be kidding me………

I.R.S. Letting Tax Lawyers Write Rules – New York Times

“The Internal Revenue Service
is asking tax lawyers and accountants who create tax shelters and
exploit loopholes to take the lead in writing some of its new tax rules.

The
pilot project represents a further expansion of the increasingly common
federal government practice of asking outsiders to do more of its work,
prompting academics and other critics to complain that the government
is going too far.

They worry that having private lawyers and
accountants draft tax rules could allow them to subtly skew them in
favor of their clients.”

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The fine folks at Justia (my favorite legal website) yesterday announced a new free service that contains information on recently filed  federal civil cases.

From the press release:

“The Federal District Court filings are categorized by State, Federal
District Court and Legal Practice Area, and include the presiding judge
and cause of action information for each case. The database includes
over 300,000 Federal District Court civil cases filed since January 1,
2006, and is updated multiple times each day.

Visitors can subscribe for free to RSS feeds of new cases that meet
specific criteria, or to RSS feeds for customized searches. For example,
with an RSS feed, visitors can track new Federal Court patent cases,
cases that are filed in a specific court or cases filed against a
particular company.”

In my research classes, I often speak with the students about paid databases, and how one day they may be replaced by information that is freely available on the Internet. Based on this announcement, I’d say that day is getting closer than any of us realize.

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Chimps Observed Making Their Own Weapons – washingtonpost.com

“Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed
fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the hand-crafted tools
to hunt small mammals — the first routine production of deadly weapons
ever observed in animals other than humans.”

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The geek in me thinks this is unbelievably cool. The lawyer in me sees this as a full employment act for litigators. 😉

Xerox Seeks Erasable Form of Paper for Copiers – New York Times

The printed information on the document “disappears” within 16 hours.
The documents can be reused more quickly by simply placing them in the
copier paper tray. The researchers said that individual pieces of paper
had been printed on up to 50 times, and the only current limit in the
process appears to be paper life.

I wonder what Dennis Kennedy, tech lawyer extraordinaire, fellow Springsteen fan, and author of the first blog I ever subscribed to via RSS thinks about this?

Hmmm…not quite sure what to think about this one yet.

On the one hand, I’m a big fan of the idea put forward by James Surowiecki in his great book The Wisdom of Crowds, which argues that the collective is smarter than any one individual.

On the other hand, I run a business that provides paid research services, and am somewhat concerned what this development might say about the willingness of people to pay for quality information and answers.

Google Is Shutting Down Answer Service – New York Times

Google said today that it would shut down Google Answers, a service that allows users to pose a question to a panel of researchers and pay for a helpful answer.

The service, which started about four years ago, failed to gain much
traction with users, especially when compared to a rival service
offered by Yahoo, which is free.

“It was not one of our most popular products,” said Sunny Gettinger, a Google spokeswoman.

Thanks to the folks at ImageChef!

I’m consistently amazed at the amount of free resources available on the ‘net.

Books are my favorite things, and librarians are some of my favorite people (which is why I hope to be joining their ranks soon…wish me luck!) So I seem to read quite a few articles like this one from today’s Boston Globe about how libraries are becoming more like Starbucks, and less like the more traditional library of my college days.

But is it really an either/or proposition? I found this statistic about library use at UMass most interesting:

With 149,859 people walking into the library last month, use is up 27
percent over October 2005. More students are taking out books as well.
Circulation as of June 30, the end of the most recent fiscal year, was
up 84 percent to 435,524 from the same time the year before.

Coffee’s on, dusty books are out at UMass library – The Boston Globe

Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici of the always extraordinary beSpacific blog for the heads up on the article!

 Having recently upgraded my old 30 gig iPod to the new and improved 80 gig model (thank you Target!) I had no plans to purchase a Zune anytime in the near future. For those folks who are thinking about  adding a Zune  to their holiday wish list, you might want to read  the follwoing review from  today’s Chicago Sun-Times:

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Andy Ihnatko :: Avoid the loony Zune

My favorite quote:

Take the Zune’s one unique and potentially ginchy feature: Wi-Fi.
You see this printed on the box and you immediately think “Cool. So I
can sync files from my desktop library without having to plug in a USB
cable, right? Maybe even download new content directly to the device
from the Internet?”

Typical, selfish user: How does your convenience help make money for Universal? No wonder Doug despises you.

No, the Zune’s sole wireless feature is “squirting” — I know, I
know, it’s Microsoft’s term, not mine — music and pictures to any
other Zune device within direct Wi-Fi range. Even if the track is
inherently free (like a podcast) the Zune wraps it in a DRM scheme that
causes the track to self-destruct after three days or three plays,
whichever comes first.

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