Showing posts from June, 2010

Browser Extensions (not necessarily legally related)

I’ve made a conscious effort to streamline the number of browser extensions I use of late, getting rid of the trash and keeping just the stuff I really need.  I've always been slightly wary of too many extensions for their unpleasant tendency to absolutely trash the performance of your browser - in a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ kind of way. So, what extensions do I use regularly ?Adblock - gets installed immediately with any fresh installation of Firefox & Chrome and is absolutely essential to happy and carefree web browsing.  You only realise its true value when you suddenly don't have it (such as when using a friend or relative's PC and have to suffer trawling through web pages which are cluttered with ungainly ads).  Smooth Scroll for Chrome (I’m sure there’s an equivalent for Firefox).  It's a kind of, 'what it says on the tin' kind of add-on! Firebug - fantastic app used for tinkering with web design, allowing you to try out changes 'on the…

Summer of Give

Seeing as it's in a good cause, I agreed to give a shout out for this one.  V, the youth volunteering charity, are giving away free summer festival tickets as part of their 'Summer of Give' campaign.Essentially, V are looking for 18-25 year olds to volunteer both their time and talents in return for free tickets for 3 festivals this summer: T4 on the Beach at the Isle of Wight, Relentless Boardmasters in Newquay and Creamfields.The idea is for volunteers to show off their talents to other festival goers, skills which I'm reliably informed can include music, dance, photography, writing or even fashion styling.  All talents will be required to pass a judging panel and just have to perform to the festival's crowds for 4 hours a day on the 'BigvBus'.  Given the public's passion for talent show and opportunities to perform, I'm sure it'll go down a storm.I know there are a bunch of music lovers in the blawgosphere (and a number of philanthropists, to…

Has Solicitors from hell website sold out?

From Solicitors Journal 02/06/10:
The founder of a website which invites disgruntled clients to vent their spleen has escaped huge damages after his first libel threat ended in settlement.Solicitor Scott Eason agreed to waive claims for up to £100,000 damages in his High Court action against in exchange for a full apology.Leading libel firm Carter-Ruck, representing Mr Eason, published the apology in full and announced the settlement would ensure the website could never publish similar criticisms of the firm again.In the apology to Mr Eason, website owner Rick Kordowski said: “I did not know at the time of publication that the allegations were false, but I now understand they are.“On that basis, they should never have been published. The website, ‘solicitors from hell’ has grown in prominence of late and although I’ve always understood the basic premise, I’m still not sure I buy into it as a concept.I get the whole freedom of expression stance and the publi…

Deepwater Horizon fallout: Worker Injury Claims

From Business Insurance 14/06/10:

BP and its contractors face an array of worker injury claims as well as questions over workforce safety practices as they marshal a massive cleanup operation in the Gulf of Mexico.The sheer volume of workers used in the onshore and offshore cleanup operations and the toxic substances involved make workers compensation claims inevitable, experts say.A BP spokesman said the company has 22,000 “hirees” and volunteers working on oil cleanup efforts, but he could not say how many are BP employees and how many are workers for contractors, who could be responsible for worker injury claims.“There is no doubt about it, and then when you toss into the mix the toxicity of the materials they are working with then you have additional claims beyond the normal slipping on the deck of a boat or on the dock. Absolutely, there are going to be claims and that belies the bigger picture of any type of toxic exposure.”I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. The wors…

Blogging Basics 101: Hosted or Toasted?

Free blogging package, hosted, or VPS? What’s a blogger to do?I was speaking to another avid blogger the other day about doing the whole ‘hosted’ thing. (Incidentally, they don’t know anything about my Law Actually blog; they just loosely know that I have a blog floating out there somewhere in cyberspace). There were times particularly in the early days that I regretted going the blogspot route, though I’ve found it’s become less of a problem over time as blogger have added featured and removed the odd niggles. Plus, blogspot, is a convenient and straightforward option and it’s a nice price too – free. You get a lot for your money with Google.Although I bought a domain for law actually back in April 2008, I already considered it too late to migrate everything over as my PageRank would have taken too much of a hit. Sometimes, I regret that decision and if I were doing it again today, I’d probably suffer the short term pain. As it stands, I just use it to forward to lawactually.blogspot…

The fall of BarFutures

From The Law Society Gazette 08/06/10:
Experimental virtual chambers BarFutures is to close its doors at the end of June after two years because of a ‘lack of appetite for change within the profession’, the Gazette has learned.The alternative set was designed to meet the challenges posed by the Legal Services Act 2007 and give barristers a more cost-effective and time-efficient way to practise.Rather than working in a traditional chambers, BarFutures provided management and marketing services and working accommodation in London and Manchester, to enable barristers to operate remotely and remain fully independent while benefiting from shared support.It gave solicitors a more cost-effective and streamlined way to instruct barristers, using BarFutures’ own barristers, or the organisation’s nationwide network of affiliated chambers.If you’re a sceptic of the quality solicitors concept, then you’ll likely not be a fan of this either. In so many ways, I’m not surprised that this has failed t…

Cort and Farrell convicted of the murder of Vina Patel

I know that Pooni over at her blog has covered this story as it unfolded but now the verdict’s in, I thought I might as well throw in my two-penneth. As I remember, Pooni suffered a barrage of abuse a few weeks ago from a couple of cyberspatial scumbags, leading her to take some of the posts down.The story of the murder of Vina Patel is utterly chilling in the audacity of the perpetrators and the cold-bloodedness of the plot.From BBC News 28/05/10:
John Cort, 54, of Rutland Street, Leicester, was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court of killing Vina Patel so he could claim life insurance.Hit man Brian Farrell, 37, of Queensborough Terrace, west London, was jailed for a minimum term 27 years.The body of 51-year-old Mrs Patel was found at the bottom of the stairs at Cort and Co solicitors in Blackbird Road, Leicester, on 15 January 2009.During the trial, the court heard that debt-ridden Cort hired Farrell to commit the murder in the belief it would lead to a huge insurance pay-out.Mrs Pate…

The Anatomy of a Law Student Blog

Most law student / graduate blogs tend share common elements – for better or worse, I guess. The infographic that follows is my take on these elements and why, as distinguished -ahem- members the blawgosphere, we should know better.And yes, before anyone points it out, I realise I’m very guilty of some of these blogging clich├ęs myself.Key:
1.  Cheesy header – the extent of the cheesiness depends on the individual’s taste. Often accompanied by an equally cheesy background pattern/image. 2.  Ridiculous ‘individualistic’ bio – FYI, some of the cornier bios in Twitter give me the absolute squits – e.g. “husband, father, friend,  brother”. Come on! Of course you are. Along with the other hundreds of millions in the world. Seriously… get over yourself; nobody cares. 3.  Calendar – seriously? A calendar? Yeah, I always swing by a law student blog to check what day the 24th of next month is! :p And yes, a clock is equally futile. 4.  Crazy long list of tags/labels - Often times, you’ll cr…

Daily Computing Routine

At a time when we all seem to be spending more time in front of a computer (or at least online via one of the ever-increasing array of shiny gadgets available out there) this picture seemed highly appropriate:Found via Digg (as usual)!

Children to be fingerprinted as part of library loan process

From The Telegraph 28/05/10:
Students in Manchester are having their thumbprints digitally transformed into electronic codes, which can then be recognised by a computer program.Under the scheme, pupils swipe a bar code inside the book they want borrow then press their thumb on to a scanner to authorise the loan. Books are returned in the same way.But critics said they were “appalled” at the system, developed by Microsoft which is also being trialled in other parts of the country.“This is quite clearly appalling,” said Phil Booth, national coordinator of NO2ID, a privacy campaign group.“For such a trivial issue as taking out of library books the taking of fingerprints is way over the top and wrong.He added: “The money for such a system could be spent on actual school resources. How about some more books for the library instead?Things aren’t that simple, of course. If resources are being directed at monitoring loaned books . Potentially, this system could allow for the school library loa…

UCL fines student for demonstrating entrepreneurial flair

From The Times May 31/05/10: ­­­­­
The founder of a student flirting website has been fined £300 for bringing his university into disrepute.The FitFinder, set up last month, combines Twitter and Facebook to allow students to exchange saucy messages on campus. The site received four million hits in its first month and has rapidly expanded to universities across the country.Rich Martell, 21, a final-year computer sciences student at University College London, has taken the site down under pressure from university authorities, who were concerned that it was distracting students from their studies. Staff claim to have been contacted by a number of other universities unhappy about FitFinder.Really? Why on earth would it concern staff at other universities?
The letter added that non-payment of the fine, which is the maximum that can be awarded by the Dean for misconduct, would result in Mr Martell’s degree results being withheld.FitFinder has gained national attention since its launch…