For the last week, I’ve been in Australia’s capital, Canberra, delivering the keynote speech at the first-ever X-Ways Forensics Users Conference and conducting a forensic witness skills workshop for the Australian Federal Police. I flew to Australia from New Orleans, where I’d delivered three presentations in a day for the Louisiana State Bar Association. It’s been quite the busy week; so, after a picturesque drive to Sydney this morning and bidding goodbye to my top bloke and host, Zoran Iliev, I was glad for a few moments to catch my breath in this incomparable city of bridge, bay and soaring Opera House. Continue reading
Sorry to take your time asking for help. so I’ll be quick about it.
But first, thank you. Thanks to you, dear reader, this blog and its 85 posts reached 100,000 views a few days ago. That’s nothing compared to the millions of page views others see, but it’s very gratifying to me because I launched this blog without saying a word to anyone. Somehow, you just found it. Ball in Your Court is an outlet born of frustration with the two-month publication lag attendant to my former print column and the sudden shuttering of an American Lawyer Media blog where I’d previously posted. I wanted a place where no one could pull the plug but you or me. This blog is a very personal connection to you.
The favor I ask is this: if you like the content here or find it of some value, please share it with someone you think might be interested. If you have a blog or site with a blogroll, please consider adding Ball in Your Court to your blogroll. I will try to earn my place on your page and in your day. Thanks.
T’was the night before Christmas
at Ball in Your Court.
Not a syllable’s stirring.
We’re sipping mulled port!
The chestnuts are roasting, the wassailing’s started;
Don’t look for a posting ‘til Santa’s departed.
Au revoir data hash, and adieu data mapping.
I really must dash– I’ve got to get wrapping!
Thank you, dear reader, for all the perusing.
I hope it’s been helpful (and sometimes amusing).
And thank you, dear reader, for sharing your comments.
I cherish them deeply, those kudos and laments.
Along the right gutter of this page is a blogroll with links to the contributions of other e-discovery bloggers. Two of the best of these are written by friends; so, I’m happy to note that Sharon Nelson’s, Ride the Lightning, and Bow Tie Law blogger Josh Gilliland’s other law blog, The Legal Geeks, have both been named to the ABA Journal’s Top 100 Blawg list. Congratulations Sharon and Josh!
But now they need our help squashing the competition like pesky bugs.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last few days immersed in family and feasting, and you’re looking for one more reason to delay the work that’s our last hurrah of 2013. Here it is:
Please go to http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100 and vote for Ride the Lightning in the Legal Tech category and The Legal Geeks in the For Fun category. It won’t take a minute or cost a penny, and you will be doing a solid to two good folks who give back so much. Hope your Thanksgiving was delicious.
Some readers know that I write an eponymous column for the American Lawyer Media print publication, Law Technology News. I use this blog to test ideas for the column, and now-and-then the column affords fodder for the blog. The key difference between the two is that writing for print entails meeting deadlines and working within the confines of a strict word count. You write because it’s due. You write 1,200 words because the art and the layout allow for no more or less.
With a blog, you write when the spirit moves you and you can spare the time. You spit out as many or as few words as you wish. A blog is instant gratification and a splendid outlet; but, nothing forces you to write for real quite like the imperative of print.
I’ve written BIYC the column for over eight years. That’s a long tenure for a columnist, and I want to share the secret of my longevity to aid those who aspire to pen a column of their own. Actually, I offer three secrets: Continue reading
I received the sad news that Ross Kodner, a Wisconsin lawyer who left practice to market law office technology, has died of a heart attack. Ross left a college-age son and daughter, both as bright and engaging as their dear father. Ross loved his kids more than anything, far more than even Corel WordPerfect or Fujitsu scanners (and for Ross, that’s saying a lot). There are few who can match the contributions Ross made to helping lawyers understand the emerging technologies that have transformed our lives and practices.
I feel as though I’ve known Ross forever, and I will miss him as long. We met decades ago, on the law technology speaking circuit back when Ross pretty much WAS the law technology speaking circuit. His campy humor, sardonic wit and (horrific) PowerPoints were legend. For years, no self-respecting Bar Law Office Management organization mounted a credible program without Ross as a key presenter.
Ross loved the spotlight and deserved its shine; but, Ross was always happy to share the dais (although you had better be willing to fight for the microphone as Ross genuinely knew so much of value and aspired to convey it in such copious quantity that it could be hard to get in a word edgewise). I learned a lot from Ross; not only about law office technology, but also about speaking, promoting legal technology, being a good father and—most of all—about the joy of bringing the “aha” moment to a room full of legal professionals.
There are thousands and thousands of lawyers across the nation who have Ross Kodner to thank for understanding some aspect of legal technology, whether it was how to slay the paper dragon or speed one’s use of software or make wise buying decisions. Ross was our oracle and inspiration.
Like so many who ride the forensic technology circuit, I have endless Ross Kodner stories. I won’t forget enjoying frozen custard in Milwaukee, tapas in Chicago, Peking duck in San Francisco or the countless times we broke bread, raised glasses and burned the midnight oil at Solo and Small Firm bar events in every big city and small burg you can name.
Back when Ross and I were always showing up at the same events and talking about many of the same topics, Ross took me aside and said, “Craig, you’re killing me. I charge for my presentations and you’re giving yours away for free.” Ross pressed me to seek honoraria to speak. When I reluctantly took his advice, I suddenly found that, instead of being just another presenter, sponsors started calling me the “featured speaker” and putting my picture in the brochure. I was making the same speeches, but thanks to Ross’ wise counsel, what I had to say was accorded more value because the hosts were paying for it. That’s a pretty important life lesson.
For years, Ross hosted an amazing event at each ABA TechShow in Chicago called, simply, The Dinner. It was the hottest ticket in town. The Dinner was always held in a remarkable venue (museum, zoo, aquarium, yacht, penthouse…) and featured fantastic door prizes and cool freebies. One year, Ross arranged for several thought leaders to receive Macbook Pro laptops and video iPods from Apple, back when those toys were so rare, costly and coveted. That was Ross. He did nice things for other people, and he made things happen.
I will miss that one-of-a-kind voice, that moon face with those big, black horn rims and the joie de vivre and energy that was uniquely Ross Kodner. Rest in peace, old friend. You mattered to so many. You certainly mattered to me. With luck, a little of your goodness will be a part of every speech I give.
I have no information on flowers or charities (though I know Ross had been an avid supporter of the Milwaukee Jewish Day School in the past; http://www.mjds.org/).
Per Ross’ brother Daniel:
The funeral is going to be in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday morning, August 2, at 10:00AM at: Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705
The burial will be at Beit Olamim, Sunset Memory Gardens, 7302 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53717 on Madison’s far west side.
This post will have nothing to do with e-discovery or computer forensics, so feel free to pass it by. I write this from 37°36.83’ N latitude and 025°40.65 W longitude, which puts me in the Azores, the first land I’ve seen in days, and a sign that Lisbon is less than a thousand miles away. There are a fast diminishing two miles of Atlantic Ocean beneath our keel as we make way at 20 knots in light-to-moderate seas.
Though I would love to report that we are crossing under sail and I am at the helm; in fact, my wife and I are aboard the Royal Caribbean vessel, Liberty of the Seas on our 30th cruise and third Atlantic crossing. We are using the Liberty as a means to get across the pond and enjoy some quick stops in Lisbon, Seville and Barcelona before making our way north to the Netherlands to catch a flower parade in Haarlem and roam Holland and Belgium by car.
We love going to and from Europe by ship. There’s no jet lag, and it costs less than flying while delivering a far more civilized experienced than a seat in any carrier’s first class cabin. Plus, there is nothing more relaxing than a week in the open ocean with no land in sight save brief glimpse of Bermuda. No port stops. No tenders. No excursions. And after so many cruises, no abiding need to attend any towel folding seminars or magic shows. No compulsion to ride the surf simulator one more time or tour the bridge. Been there. Done that.
Instead, I’ve enjoyed sleeping in, taking breakfast in the cabin and watching tons of movies. A cruise vacation can be almost anything you want it to be. It can be a social experience, or a private one. You can eat, drink and gamble like a Barbary pirate or eat spa cuisine, take Pilates and enjoy a state-of-the-art workout facility. There’s live music of all sorts, and something to do (or ignore) from dawn to midnight. There are lectures and pickup basketball games and production shows. Food is served at some venue aboard at any time, so you needn’t be a slave to the ship’s schedule.
But there is no shuffleboard, and you can skip bingo, if you wish.
If you’d like to learn more about the cruising experience, my wife contributes to a site called Cruisecritics.com under the handle “Artemis;” so, read her thorough (and thoroughly enjoyable) reviews there. Here is our cruising experience, in case you’re seeking information on a particular vessel or line:
1. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) Liberty of the Seas – Transatlantic – April 2013
2. Celebrity Reflection – Holidays 2012
3. RCCL Freedom of the Seas – Western Caribbean – June 2012
4. RCCL Splendour of the Seas – Brazil & Argentina – Spring Break 2012
5. Pacific Sunrise – Whitsundays, Australia – November 2011
6. Cunard Queen Mary II – Westbound Transatlantic – July 2011
7. RCCL Oasis of the Seas Eastern Caribbean – Spring Break 2011
8. Celebrity Summit – Bermuda – August 2010
9. Celebrity Solstice – Eastern Caribbean – Spring Break 2010
10. Carnival Conquest – Western Caribbean – Holidays 2008
11. RCCL Liberty of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean – August 2008
12. Caribbean Princess – Eastern Caribbean – Spring Break 2008
13. Turkish Blue Cruise – Mediterranean – July 2007
14. RCCL Liberty of the Seas – 2-night pre-inaugural – May 2007
15. Grand Princess – Western Caribbean – Thanksgiving 2006
16. Carnival Conquest -– Western Caribbean – June 2006
17. Sun Princess – Southern Caribbean – Holidays 2005
18. Holland America Rotterdam – Baltics – July 2005
19. Carnival Miracle – Western Caribbean – June 2005
20. Abercrombie & Kent Sun Boat IV – Nile, Egypt – June 2004
21. Celebrity Millennium – Mediterranean – June 2004
22. RCCL Mariner of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean – Holidays 2003
23. RCCL Serenade of the Seas – Westbound Transatlantic – Maiden 08/04/03
24. Star Princess – Mexican Riviera – Holidays 2002
25. Dawn Princess – Alaska – July 2002
26. Norwegian Cruise Lines Star – Hawaii – June 2002
27. RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas – Western Caribbean – Holidays 2001 (TX-to-Aruba)
28. RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas – Western Caribbean – Holidays 2001 (Aruba-to-FL)
29. RCCL Explorer of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean – Holidays 2000
30. Norwegian Cruise Lines Sea – Western Caribbean – Holidays 1999
My big brother Charles died last night. He was just 61, but an interval of drug abuse in New York in the seventies took its toll on his formidable mind while Hepatitis C ravaged his body. Charles graduated from Mercersburg Academy and Sarah Lawrence College. He also studied at Dartmouth College and Columbia University, a paper short of his Masters. I will forever think of Charles as a college student; and as he cared little for gainful employment, Charles always lived like a college student. It was what he did best. Charles was never without a book, and always the sort of book that only scholars read. When it wasn’t a book, it was music. No one loved music more. In a stint as a record producer for Lust/Unlust Music, Charles was elated when his punk single was named “Best New Record Below 14th Street.”
Though he loved several women, Charles never married or had a family. He wasn’t grown up enough for that. His was a life of the mind, so losing his mind was losing everything. Still, when Charles had his headphones on, when he had his music, he had everything he wanted, and he was sublimely happy. How many of us accomplish that?
When someone we love dies, we cry for them, or we try to; but we mostly cry for ourselves, for all the unresolved, unspoken, unfinished pieces of our lives that bumped up against theirs. We cry for all we can never make right or share with them again. A piece of us dies, too; a piece that no one else mourns. I’m crying for my big brother, a little ashamed that I’m crying for me, regretting that things couldn’t have been different, that I didn’t do more.
A sibling is a rival for our parents’ attention, affection and pride. They are the embodiment of who we are and who we will never measure up to. They are the light and the shadow that define us, to ourselves and in the eyes of family and friends and teachers in those crucial, crucible years when we are becoming who we will become. I am who I am because my brother Charles gently guided me on my way at a time when he was my hero. I never told him that. If I had, he would have brushed it off in his self-deprecating way.
I am flooded with memories of his kindness. It was Charles who showed me how to modulate a flashlight beam and use it to carry sound. That was a pretty big deal back in the mid-1960s. I was 8, making him 14. He understood the magic, the power, of technology, and he put it in my little hands. He shared the spark as Prometheus shared fire. We were both going to be great scientists in those days of astronauts and Heathkits; although in truth, he wanted to be the great scientist, and I just wanted to be like him.
We don’t always know how much we change the trajectory of other lives. I don’t expect that Charles knew how much he meant to me or how much he influenced me. I’ll never be able to tell him. I hope it’s enough that I know.
I lost the brother I loved most and needed most a long, long time ago. The grotesque man child that took his place seemed not to miss the young genius he’d been. He had other regrets that consumed him. But that awkward, brainy, talented, modest and sweet young fellow set the standard for me. He was the big brother I wanted to make proud. He was once poised to be anything and do anything.
In the end, most would conclude he didn’t amount to much.
But I can’t feel that way because I am his legacy. He challenged me and believed in me. Even as he failed in most everyone’s eyes, there was always in him an intellect I knew I’d never equal. I never minded that because Charles never used his intellect to diminish anyone. He didn’t need to be the smartest person in the room, even when he had no equal. I wish you could have known that big brother, and I wish I could have had him all my life. I suppose its enough that I had him for a little while, a long, long time ago.
Rest in peace, big brother. I love you.