How to Save Your Law Practice Money: Part I

How to stretch your law offices budget

How to stretch your law office's budget

Cost: $0.00

Savings: $150/computer

Here’s an easy way to save your law practice several hundred dollars in the next few months.  The next time you have to purchase a new computer do not buy a copy of MicroSoft Office, MicroSoft Word, or WordPerfect.  Even basic versions of these programs can run several hundred dollars per computer.1  You don’t have to purchase these programs!

Try OpenOffice instead!  I have been using OpenOffice on my home and work computers for the last three years and have been extremely happy with it.  I have given copies of this program to family, friends, and colleagues who are also all very happy with it.  I’ve used it for simple correspondence, legal pleadings, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Here are a few “real world” benefits:

OpenOffice is totally 100% free open source software

Free as in free.  Give it to your friends.  Install it at home and on your kids’ computers.  Don’t worry about software piracy.  Its totally, completely, free.

OpenOffice has better document recovery

Its important to know that OpenOffice is much more stable than anything MicroSoft or WordPerfect has to offer.  It is extremely rare that OpenOffice crashes on me.  If you’re using MicroSoft Word and you haven’t saved your document at least once, a single crash will completely erase all of your progress.  The very few times that OpenOffice has crashed on me I have gotten all of my data back – even when I haven’t saved the file once.

OpenOffice has everything you need

OpenOffice has all the features of MicroSoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and WordPerfect.  You can also use the OpenOffice suite of software to open, edit, and save to MicroSoft Word and WordPerfect formats.  It won’t automatically open the MicroSoft Office 2007 formats yet, but you can find plugins and software to do this for you (also for free).  OpenOffice has spell check, grammar check, autocorrect, macros, and templates (even legal pleading templates!).

OpenOffice can do more than its competitors

OpenOffice can save as, open, and even edit a PDF.  Editing a PDF requires a plugin, but it is very easy to install (and also free!).  Just being able to print to a PDF is going to make your documents easier to share with others and, hopefully, one day easier to share with EAMS too.23

If you’re not convinced to make the leap with your next computer purchase, then download OpenOffice now and give it a shot on your current computer.  Here’s their website link:

Download OpenOffice.org – free word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software

  1. Photo courtesy of Krug6 []
  2. Not that EAMS will share with you. []
  3. Don’t take it personally – EAMS pretty much hates everyone. []

Goggles4U Coupon Code for 20% Off!

Glasses, online

Glasses, online!

A few months ago I ordered glasses online from Goggles4U.com and GlobalEyeGlasses.  (Click those links to go to my full reviews of each website).  The quality of the glasses was excellent and I paid about $80.00 for four pairs.1 At those prices its like they were paying me to take the glasses off their hands.2

I just received a coupon code from Goggles4U for 20% off an order.  The Goggles4U.com coupon code is: “glasses20″

Before you order glasses online, you should really take a look at my post about how to order glasses online in 5 easy steps. It even includes a chart for you to print out and take with you to your eye doctor! 3

  1. Including one pair of sunglasses and one pair of transition lenses []
  2. Photo courtesy of Morningstar Lee []
  3. Just another way I try to make your life easier… []

MicroSoft loves PDRater disability calculators!


Permanent disability calculators only a workers' compensation nerd could love

And, really, what’s not to love about free permanent disability calculators?12

A few days ago I disparaged the MicroSoft and their new search engine, Bing.com.  Today I tried a search for “permanent disability calculator” on their site.  Guess who’s at the top?3

Search engine optimization, like fortune,  is a fickle creature.45

  1. Photo courtesy of aWee []
  2. That’s a picture of an accounting sheet! []
  3. Hint: the website’s name rhymes with “PDRater“ []
  4. This post has been brought to you by O Fortuna and the Rubaiyat. []
  5. Look at me, waxing all philosophical! []

How to Buy a New Computer: Part III Basic Laptops

New Laptop

New Laptop

I recently posted about how to buy a new computer.  First, you need to think about balancing wants versus needs.  My second post was about the new laptop category of cheap and lightweight netbooks.

Why should you choose a basic laptop?

If you are highly concerned about cost, portability, battery life and not as concerned about optical drives 1 , screen size, or keyboard size you probably want a netbook.  It will probably run you between $300 – $500.2

If cost-be-damned you just must have absolutely everything, well, then get yourself a high end laptop.3  The sky’s the limit with a computer like this.  You can configure an Alienware laptop that will make Deep Thought hide its processor in shame for $5,000.00 or so.

If you are concerned about cost but just cannot sacrifice optical drives, screen size, or keyboard size, you probably want a basic laptop.  A basic laptop is all about compromises.  You get the hardware you need from a desktop, but without the thin, light, elegant, and portable design.  These laptops typically weigh between 6 and 8 pounds and cost between $600 and $1000 or so.

There are so many nearly indistinguishable computers in this category, there is no real point in suggesting a particular laptop.  Just about every manufacturer has several choices for basic laptops.

  1. DVD/CD drives []
  2. Photo courtesy of Ciccio Pizzettaro []
  3. Scroll to the bottom for my pic k. []

Life’s Too Short

I 3 Huckabees is the worst movie ever made

"I Heart Huckabees" is the worst movie ever made

Life’s too short to watch a bad movie. 1 Unfortunately, the only way to really determine whether a movie is bad is to wait until the end credits roll.2

I have a simple rule about watching movies that has saved me countless hours of agony.  I don’t care about reviews, awards won, who’s in the movie, what’s going on in the movie, or what’s about to happen.  If I’m not entertained within 30 minutes, I shut it off. 3

Before I created this rule I sat through innumerable movies in the hopes that they might somehow get better.  Eventually I came to the realization that the people who made the movie boring me cannot be trusted to improve the movie before its end.

Don’t believe me?  Try and think of one good movie that bored you for the first half hour. 4

What’s the worst movie you’ve seen?

  1. Like “I Heart Huckabees” the worst movie ever made.  Just go to YouTube.com and do a search for “I don’t heart Huckabees” to see what I mean. []
  2. Photo courtesy of Scootie. []
  3. Fifteen minutes for a TV program. []
  4. I can only think of one movie that falls into this category: Unforgiven.  Cinematography, acting, blah, blah, blah.  The movie was just barely worth it for the last fifteen minutes. []

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