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Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - alubarsky@enterusa.com - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Flowing Visions...  

Flowing Visions...

Remember the days when Word didn't talk with Excel and Quicken didn't share data with Timelsips? Can you think back to a time copier and scanner and fax and phone were entirely independent machines that bore little in common? Is it possible to imagine a day when the cell phone only made phone calls and Ms. Pac-Man did not dwell in there along with your alarm clock and web browser?

Attorneys have forever demanded seamless integration... and the market has responded accordingly. However, some of the last technologies to link tend to be litigation support technologies. Does your ZPrint and .pdf to .tiff conversion packages "talk" to your Paperport Strobe scanner? Do Summation and Concordance easily export to one another? Not yet. How about video depositions to CaseMap... maybe sometime...

The good news is that now a days, the word I'm hearing all over the lit. support world is undoubtedly "integration" everyone wants to talk to the other guy for the benefit of the attorney/paralegal/litigation support manager consumer.

I predict that in less than a decade, the mission critical litigation support applications (transcript management programs, EDD conversion services/applications, evidentiary databases, knowledge management portals, time-liners, video conferencing portals etc...) will be accessible on-line with multi-user real-time synchronization and the only tool the attorney or paralegal will really need would be access to the World Wide Web and a basic know-how as far as navigation and use of these applications is concerned. Best of all, they will all easily work with one another so the attorney can log on from essentially anywhere (Starbucks, an Airport, home office, train commute with a wireless laptop) and build his or her case for trial. Critical documents or e-mail messages can easily be popped from Prevail into TimeMap to build a chronology and the red-faced deponent eating his words for lunch on the video depo. can be plopped over to Summation for issue coding and outlining).

We are really not that far away from this reality today and much of the above-mentioned tasks I use as a Jetsonian example can actually be accomplished today (albeit with a bit of unusual technology, know how and luck). A few years down the road, however, it will be as simple as underlining text or replying to an e-mail.

Stay tuned...

posted by Alexander | 4:03 PM


Monday, February 23, 2004

SpamED  

SpamED

If you're not British or you somehow managed to avoid late night public television in the early eighties, then you may be in the fortunate minority who was not subject to Monty Python's annoying spam sketch. The sketch involves a British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bun (played by Eric Idle and Terry Jones - both in drag) who enter a local restaurant and attempt to order a meal that lacks that grotesque brick colored slimey slab of something akin to meat: spam. Oddly, one of the tables at the restaurant seats a group of Vikings wearing horned Viking helmets. Whenever the word "spam" is repeated by the waitress, the Vikings begin singing and/or chanting an ode to spam. That's it. That's the joke. Never did understand British humour. Gimme the Marx Brothers or Seinfeld any day...

I apologize for this brutal affront to my ever so loyal Alextronic reader base, but in order to put things in proper context, I must post a sickening snippet of Monty Python's least glorious moments:

Mr. Bun: Morning.

Waitress: Morning.

Mr. Bun: Well, what you got?

Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg, sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg, bacon and spam; egg, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam; spam, sausage, spam, spam, spam, bacon, spam, tomato and spam; spam, spam, spam, egg and spam; (Vikings start singing in background) spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam.

Vikings: Spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, lovely spam.

Waitress: (cont) or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam?

Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got much spam in it.

Mrs. Bun: I don't want any spam!

Mr. Bun: Why can't she have egg, bacon, spam and sausage?

Mrs. Bun: That's got spam in it.

Mr. Bun: It hasn't got as much spam in it as spam, egg, sausage and spam has it?

Mrs. Bun: (over Vikings starting again) Could you do me egg, bacon, spam and sausage without the spam then?

Waitress: Ech!

Mrs. Bun: What do you mean ech! I don't like spam!

Vikings: Lovely spam, wonderful spam....etc

Waitress: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Bloody Vikings. You can't have egg, bacon, spam and sausage without the spam.

Mrs. Bun: I don't like spam!

Mr. Bun: Shh dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam. (starts Vikings off again)

... You get the picture.

So how does this tie into an Alextronic entry?

You probably guessed it... spam. Not the quasi-meat and not the excrutiating skit, but the loads of unwanted e-mail that clutter each of our in-boxes no matter which version of Norton or Symantec's spam stopper we buy into.

Not many people know that the term spam referring to virtual junk mail actually was derived from the Monty Python sketch. Word is that the term reflects the sheer number of references that Python made to spam in the sketch. The idea being that an equal barrage of undesired e-mail messages is not all that different from the waitress who rattled off the unwanted menu item.

The more logical Alextronic theory is simply that e-mail spam is simply as purely annoying as the Python sketch.

Now that annoyance is aggravated exponentially as e-mail is the subject of requested discoverable documentation in connection with litigation. The e-discovery expert or litigation support expert is now charged with a similar duty as that of the anti-spammer. Of course, convincing the client that they should pay the quarter or so a shot to process and review to eliminate every vi/\gra e-mail message that slithered through the network spam screens.

The litigation support specialist, consultant or e-discovery professional will need to conduct spam filter queries more and more frequently these days so as to weed out those printer toner refill kits and Nigerian scams and exclude such from the litigation review process.

However, as litigation support folk become more savvy as to how they can shoo off that spam, the spammers have joined forces with the hackers and perpetrators of viruses to give us lit support nerds a real run for our boolean bucks.

Last month, the worldwide spam count doubled in just one month to over, get this, 700 billions messages - about one out of every five e-mail messages distributed. Doubled in just one month?

Blame the much publicized Mydoom virus. This virus infiltrated enough home and office networks since January 26th to create an avalanche of spam that the restaurant lounging British Vikings themselves would be hard pressed to serve. You see, the Mydoom virus infected individual e-mail accounts and caused them to sends waves of spam to others. Known as a zombie virus, the victims of the unknowing spammers become unknowing spammers themselves and thus the avalanche gathers momentum.

Litigation Support folks should at the very least educate their clients on how to use the Outlook Rules Wizard to look for phrases such as "lose weight," "sex," "discreet" and "viagra" and automatically stop such certain spam in its tracks. Of course, this would be an act performed underneath the umbrella of a reputable spam killing hardware or software utility such as McAffee SpamKiller, iHateSpam, SpamAgent, MailBlocks, SpamBuster and others.

Next, after the spam software/hardware and the user's own Outlook settings (hopefully) snag the majority of spam, the Litigation Support Professional (LSP) should run similar filter queries prior to ED processing on e-mail populations just to see if anything slipped by. It is wise for the LSP to send out a message to the clients asking them to forward spam that overcomes those obstacles to the LSP so that he or she can review it to gather some key terms to include in the pre processing filter query. This will result in a huge money and time saver in the long run.

Unfortunately, fighting spam is yet another hat that the modern LSP must wear. Hey, at least its not a horned Viking hat...

posted by Alexander | 11:28 PM

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