Features - Technology For Tightwads, Part II

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Sheryl Cramer is President of Cramer Consulting in Lawton, Oklahoma. Ms. Cramer has worked in technology and management for the last fifteen years. In addition to being a certified consultant, she also manages and integrates technology in her attorney husband's law office. She is an assistant SysOp for the OBA-Net, a member of the Association of Legal Administrators and the American Bar Association. She is also a member of the Solo and Small Firm, Law Practice Management, General Practice and Family Law sections of the ABA.

In Part I of this article, there were several programs listed to help you inexpensively run your office. Walt Newmaster from Ada, Oklahoma pointed out to me that I neglected to state that Integra Computing’s developers for Chronolist (a calendar program), http://www.integracomputing.com/, offers a challenge (from Integra’s website): “Chronilist Challenge: if you can find any program -- at any price from any other publisher -- that has all the scheduling features found in Chronilist and if, in your opinion, that other program is as easy to use, Integra Computing will send you $100 for your investigative efforts.”

In Part II there’s even more software listed that will enable you and your office to be productive and efficient without breaking the bank.

Firewall/Virus Protection

When it comes to virus protection, stay with the well-known companies. Your data and hardware are too important to trust to an unknown. The following companies will allow you to download software, trialware and allow online scanning. From someone who knows what is involved in cleaning up after a virus, it is money well spent to get a first-rate virus protection system in place. Make sure you enable the auto update where the program will check for updates and install automatically without any intervention from the end user. A firewall is a necessity to keep intruders out of your computer systems. You need both a firewall and virus protection. If you do not have any in place, run, don’t walk and purchase one of these programs before you do anything else.

Virus Protection:

Symantec Norton Antivirushttp://www.symantec.com/ 

McAfee http://www.mcafee.com/

Trend Micro’s PC-Cillin - http://www.antivirus.com/

Firewall:

ZoneAlarm – Firewall protection that is free for personal and non-profit use, $39.95 for ZoneAlarm Pro for the business user or if you require the added features. Operating System: Win 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP - http://www.zonealarm.com/

BlackIce Defender – $39.95 for one user; $89.99 for three users - http://www.networkice.com/
 

Utilities

Internet/Chat/ Website

SurfSaver – browser add-on in which you can store web pages into folders on your computer that you can search and view at a later date, even if you are offline. Win9x/2000/NT and MS Internet Explorer 4 or higher and Netscape 4.x SurfSaver is less than 6MB in size and is free! In exchange for being free there are banner ads that you will see. SurfSaver Pro is $29.95 and is network capable with no banner ads. http://www.surfsaver.com/

Trillian 0.70 – Chat client similar to Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and others. The others are proprietary and will only work with each other. Trillian will allow you to chat with others on different messengers without installing them. Operating System: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP 2.18 MB file. Trillian is free, but the site requests a donation if you use and like the product. http://www.ceruleanstudios.com/

ICQ – Allows you to chat live online with others. Free. http://www.icq.com/

Arachnophilia – HTML editor and creator. Create and edit websites. Operating System: Windows 9x/ME/2000/XP. Cost: Free. 1.52 MB file that can be downloaded from http://www.arachnoid.com/

WebFerret 4.0 – Allows you to query multiple search engines on the Internet simultaneously from your desktop. Operating System: Win9x/ME/2000/XP. Cost: Free for the regular version, $29.95 for the pro version. http://www.ferretsoft.com/

E-Mail / Internet Browsers

Microsoft’s Outlook Express – free, but prone to viruses, http://www.microsoft.com.

Pegasus Mail – (thanks to Stuart Levine for pointing this out) - Windows and DOS versions, free, http://www.pmail.com/.

Eudora - Windows, Mac, Palm platforms. You can pay $39.95 for it, get the full version free with ads (sponsored mode) or a lite mode for free with no ads that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, http://www.eudora.com.

E-Mail Planet – Free. Allows you to view your POP3 e-mail on any internet-enabled machine. Great for when you are traveling and don’t have your computer with you, http://www.emailplanet.com/.

MailStart – Free for checking once per week, or $10 per year. Allows you to view your SMTP or POP3 e-mail on any Internet-enabled machine.

Microsoft Internet Explorer – free internet browser, http://www.microsoft.com

Netscape – Windows, Mac, Linux platforms. Netscape 6 includes e-mail capabilities, instant messaging, and more. Netscape Communicator is internet browsing plus e-mail viewing. If all you want is an internet browser with no e-mail or add-ons, then get Netscape Navigator.

Graphics

Paint Shop Pro with Animation Shop – You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to edit graphics. Use this to edit your graphics, draw and paint. You can also retouch, repair and edit photos; create and optimize web graphics; share photos electronically. Animation Shop 3 is included free and allows you to design animations. After a 30-day trial the cost is $99 if you download from the website, or $109 to have a copy mailed to you. Operating System: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP; at least 75MB of disk space available and 128MB Memory. The file is 30.1 MB in size and can be downloaded from http://www.jasc.com.

PC Utilities

CNET Catchup – CNET service that will keep your PC healthy, secure and up to date. Operating System: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP. Cost: Free. http://download.cnet.com/downloads/1,10150,0-10001-103-0-1-7,00.html?tag=srch&qt=catchup&cn=&ca=10001 or visit http://www.download.com and search for Catchup.

Fresh Diagnose – This program will scan your system and give you a complete report on your computer’s software and hardware. Operating System: Win9x/ME/2000/XP. Cost: Free. The 949 KB file can be downloaded from http://www.freshdevices.com/.

Belarc Advisor – Personal PC advisor that builds a detailed profile of your installed hardware and software. Operating System: Win9x/Me/NT 4/2000/XP. Browsers: Requires IE 3 or Netscape 3, and higher versions. Cost: Free for personal use. http://www.belarc.com/.
 
Gibson Research Center – Excellent site! Many onsite services, to include “Shields Up” that will test your computer for vulnerabilities to attack from others via the internet. Cost: Free http://www.grc.com

Remote Control

Virtual Network Computingv3.3.3r7 – Remote control a computer using a different machine and platform over the Internet. Warning – no uninstall available. Operating System: Win/95/98/NT, Network card, TCP/IP. Cost: Free http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/index.html

GoToMyPC – My absolute favorite! I use this to log on to my server at the office when I am on the road. Enable remote contact with another computer over the Internet. Free for one month, thereafter $19.95 per month for connection to one machine. Operating System: Currently win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP. Future versions will include MAC, Linux, Solaris and Palm. http://www.gotomypc.com/

Faxing

If you are away from your fax machine but need to send or receive a fax, one of these online services may be just for you. A phone number (local, long distance or 800 service) will be assigned to you, which will enable all documents faxed to that number to be sent to your e-mail box instead of a regular facsimile machine.

eFax - Free if you don’t care what fax number is automatically assigned to you (will be a long distance number, usually a different state). If you want a local or 800 number or additional features not found in the free setup, there is a monthly cost, starting at $9.95 per month. The problem is that there is not a local number in some areas (like Oklahoma!) http://www.efax.com 

j2 (formerly Jfax) –Receive faxes, voicemail and e-mail by phone. Ranges from free to $12.95 per month plus a per page cost to send a fax. http://www.j2fax.com

MaxEmail – (thanks to Stuart Levine for pointing this one out to me). Not free; starts at $14.95 per month for useage. http://www.maxemail.com/ 


Misc. Utilities

Adobe Acrobat Reader – More and more people are creating files in “pdf” format for cross-platform viewing. While you can’t create pdf documents with the reader, you can view them. free. http://www.adobe.com/

Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm (beta) - free. Read pdf files on your Palm operating system devices! http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/palmbeta.html
 
Adobe Acrobat Reader for eBooks – free. http://www.adobe.com/products/ebookreader/register.html

Winzip 8.1 – Program that will “zip” and “unzip” files for compression. You can “zip” up several files into one compact file for easier transport and e-mail. Winzip will also allow you to backup one file over several disks, if needed. Cost: $29 single license. http://www.winzip.com/

ActiveWords – Great program! Description from their website: “ActiveWords adds words to Windows®, providing a personal and portable user interface with immediate response. Assign words to launch programs, jump to websites, send email, substitute text, and much more. Enter or select ActiveWords in any context, press your ActiveWords key, and your computer delivers your desired action.” There is a 30-day free trial, then $49.95 to purchase. Download the 8.2 MB file from http://www.activewords.com/ 

Atomic Clock Sync – Keep your computer’s time current with the current time from an Atomic Clock for optimum accuracy. Operating System: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP Cost: Free. http://www.isbister.com/

NIST Internet Time Service – Set your computer clock via the internet at http://www.bldrdoc.gov/timefreq/service/its.htm (thanks to John Brewer, jnbrewer@swbell.net, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for this tip)

All work and no play makes for a dull attorney. How about some fun stuff?


Entertainment

Calendar Updates – Operating Systems: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/XP. Download sport schedules into MS Outlook and other popular calendar formats. Choose from pro sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL & WNBA) and College (baseball, men’s basketball and football) or Golf (PGA, Sr PGA, LPGGA, PGA Europe). Best of all, the cost is free! http://www.calendar-updates.com/microsoft_outlook_downloads.htm

Viger Games for Excel 97/2000 – download an 885 KB file that contains games for your MS Excel 97 or 2000 program. Games include 15 Game, Cannibals, Hangman, MasterMind, Memory and TicTacToe. Requires MS Excel 97 or 2000. Operating Systems: Win9x/NT/2000. Download in English or Italian. http://www.viger.it/eg.htm  Cost: Free

Viger Games for Word 97/2000 – download an 867 file that contains games for your MS Word 97 or 2000 program. Games include 15 Game, Cannibals, Hangman, MasterMind, Memory and TicTacToe. Requires MS Word 97 or 2000. Operating Systems: Win9x/NT/2000. Download in English or Italian. http://www.viger.it/wg.htm  Cost: Free

Winamp3 – Audioplayer that will play MPEG and MP3 audio streams and Windows Media Audio files. It has a playlist editor, a graphic equalizer and SHOUTcast radio support. The full version also has Veritas CD Burner support, which will allow you to make CD copies if you have a CD writer. Operating System: Win9x/NT/2000. Cost: Free. The 1.85 MB full version file can be downloaded from http://www.winamp.com/

Sonique – Audioplayer that will play MP3, CD, WAV, MOD and WMA files. Operating System: Win9x/NT/2000. Cost: Free. The 2.66 MB file can be downloaded from http://www.sonique.com/

Memoware – Books for the Palm operating system. Cost: Free on up. http://www.memoware.com

Ebooks ‘n Bytes – ebooks for download. Cost: Various price ranges. http://www.ebooksnbytes.com

Audible.com – audio books for download. Various costs, or membership for $12.95 monthly with two downloads a month. http://www.audible.com/

Peanutpress – ebooks for Palm OS and Pocket PC PDAs. Price: Range. http://www.peanutpress.com/


MAC Files

Time Track for Mac – Calculate and keep track of your time. MacOS 7.6. After the trial period the cost is $24.95. http://ww.trinfinitysoftware.com/

Now Up-To-Date & Contact – Calendar, contact management and group scheduling application. MacOS 8.6. 30-day demo; full version is $119.95. http://www.poweronsoftware.com/

People – Organize client, personal and calendar information. MacOS 7. After the trial period the cost is $29.95. http://brewstersoftware.com/

Minute Minder – Track phone calls. MacOSx. Free. http://homepage.mac.com/rrehm/

The Ultimate Macintosh – Website that contains much Macintosh information. Cost: Free http://www.ultimatemac.com

MacLaw Online – Online group of lawyers who use Macintosh in the law firm. http://www.maclaw.org/

The Law Office Software List for the Macintosh Computer – A site that lists software available for lawyers using Macintoshes. http://www.macattorney.com


This is just a partial listing of the treasures that await you on the Internet. How and where can you find your own shareware and freeware files to download? Everything available for all operating systems, from Mac to Windows to Linux to Palm to Windows CE can be found at the following websites:

Or just type in a search for the appropriate software you are looking for in one of the major search engines.

The above is not a complete list of everything that is available, but just a sampling of what programs are available to help you run your office affordably.