Category Archives: Fun Technology

DoNotPay: An Example of What Chatbots Can Do

The app DoNotPay is an example of a chatbot that is currently available on iOS.

Before you download it, be aware that DoNotPay requires connecting to the user’s bank account upon setup. DoNotPay uses Plaid for its banking transactions, a platform that is well regarded and is used by Venmo, but not everyone will be comfortable connecting any app to their bank account. The app requests bank account access to facilitate the deposit of the refunds it obtains for users.

DoNotPay offers to help users in a number of categories.

Government Paperwork: register for the Do Not Call list, sign up for TSA PreCheck, or schedule a DMV appointment.

Traffic Disputes: contest tickets in a few major cities.

Customer Service Issues and I Am Owed $500+: generate demand letters for breach of contract, housing issues, or personal injury claims.

Find Hidden Money: cancel subscriptions, appeal bank fees, and complete fast-food surveys that result in free food rewards

The latest update to DoNotPay costs $3 per month. It includes DoNotSign, which lets the user upload a license agreement, and the app will highlight warnings and loopholes.

DoNotPay was created by Joshua Browder. This blog post is largely based on the post “Cool Tools 2019 Spotlight: DoNotPay” by law librarian Tawnya Plumb, via the American Association of Law Libraries.

By: Eve Ross, Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

Personalized Recommendations for Reducing Tech Distraction

When people are overwhelmed and distracted by technology, it can feel like too much effort to sort through all the available tech tips out there, looking for workable solutions. Screentime Genie can help.

If you go to screentime.stanford.edu, a free chatbot called Screentime Genie will walk you through a short series of questions. Based on your answers and on behavioral research, the chatbot will provide a few links to tech tips that are likely relevant to helping you reduce your screentime.

For example, when the chatbot asked my goals, I responded: managing email, managing distraction, and mindfulness. When asked what systems I use, I said Windows and Chrome. Finally, when asked how much time I have, I requested tips that will take five minutes just once—not longer than that, and not requiring daily habits to be rebuilt.

Based on these answers, the chatbot showed me a short list of six tech tips to choose from. If I had responded differently about my goals or systems or available time, I would have been shown a different set of tips.

I selected three solutions that looked helpful (I could have chosen as many as I wanted), and I clicked “I’m done.” The chatbot then sent me a single email with links only to the three solutions I chose. When I have five minutes, I can click a link in that email message, read one of the tips more closely, and implement it if I want.

Screentime Genie was created by B.J. Fogg, and I learned about Screentime Genie from Beth Kantor’s blog.

Screenshot of screentime.stanford.edu

By: Eve Ross, Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

Four Tip Friday

  1. I recently went to a CLE at USC Law School entitled How a Solo can be Han Solo – Using Technology for Courtroom Presentations. It was part of the law school’s Legal Tech series. Bill Booth, a lawyer in Columbia, was the speaker. He recommended checking out Miracast, a dongle that acts like a wireless HDMI cable. It is easy to setup and use. You can pick one up for about $40 on Amazon. Bill uses a Microsoft branded Miracast like this one:  https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Wireless-Display-Adapter-P3Q-00001/dp/B01AZC3J3M/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=miracast+2.0+microsoft&qid=1574274547&sr=8-6  but there are other brands as well. If you are having trouble with your current setup, consider picking one up and giving it a try. By the way, if you want to see courtroom presentation demonstration featuring Keynote and TrialPad with Apple TV, check out the Galactic Empire v. Han Solo trial on YouTube here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giI2t4Gj_sg&t=30s It was part of a CLE for the York County Bar Association and is worth a look.
  2. Gary Moore, Assistant Dean for Academic Technology at USC, writes to remind us not to reuse passwords. Gary writes: “In a February 2019 Google/Harris poll of three thousand adults, sixty five percent of the respondents reuse a password for one or all of their online accounts.   As noted earlier in this article, hackers use information from breached web sites to perform “credential stuffing” to access accounts on other online web sites.   You should never reuse a password for any online site.”
  3. Here is a good tip I received from a solo small firm conference here in Columbia a couple of years ago. If you are an Amazon shopper, and you are wondering if you should pounce on a Black Friday deal, check out camelcamelcamel.com It is a free Amazon price tracker that will give you a better idea as to what kind of deal you are actually getting.
  4. Looking for ways to use your iPad in your practice? Thomas McDow, a lawyer in Rock Hill, uses the Duet app. With it, he can use his iPad as a second monitor. Duet is currently $9.99 on the Apple App Store.

By: Mike Polk, Chair, Technology Committee
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina

Four Tip Friday

  1. If you are wondering what the Windows key can be used for, check out this article with a useful list of shortcuts:  https://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-complete-list-of-windows-logo-keyboard-shortcuts/  I like Windows logo key + D to display my desktop. Too bad I can’t use it for my real-life desk. 
  2. If you find yourself typing the same thing over and over again, consider using a text expander or text snippet tool. I use BeefText which is open-source, and, without really trying, have a list of about 20 items that I can insert with a few keystrokes (most notably the date). If you want something a little more robust and don’t mind paying, check out this review of TextExpander here:  http://dashboard.mazsystems.com/webreader/63828?page=26
  3. Here are some great tips on how to stay safe using airport wifi:  https://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2019/11/how-to-stay-safe-on-airport-wifi/  Just in time for the holidays! If you are curious about VPNs, most have a try before you buy option. How do you choose a VPN? The Wirecutter has a great rundown and further explanations here:  https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-vpn-service/ 
  4. Speaking of traveling, you may be interested in the What’s In My Bag email newsletter,  https://www.getrevue.co/profile/wimb where “Each week, one interesting person shares four favorite things in their bag.” If you like music, check out the YouTube channel for Amoeba music and its What’s In My Bag channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/amoeba  You will get inspiration from what musicians and other artists are listening to and why. 

By: Mike Polk, Chair, Technology Committee
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina