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. []

How to Fix the Remote Desktop Licensing Error

For some reason MS Remote Desktop refuses to work intermittently.  Every 90 days, to be precise.  Like clockwork.1

Among the myriad of incompatibilities between Microsoft’s various products and operating systems is the mind bending error thrown by Remote Desktop.  Remote Desktop should work between any version of Windows starting with XP.  Even when using full versions of MS operating systems, you will likely still get this error:

The remote computer disconnected the session because of an error in licensing protocol.

89 days and counting...

89 days and counting...

There are two reasonable ways around this.

  • First, if you’re not an advanced Windows user, you should really try TightVNC.  Its small, free, open source, uses very little bandwidth, and is easy to install and use.  It will do probably 90% of everything Remote Desktop will do.  As a bonus, you won’t have to monkey with it every 90 days.
  • Second, if you are an advanced Windows user and are comfortable using Regedit, there is another option.  If you’ve never heard of Regedit, you really really should not use this option.  If your Windows registry settings get fouled up, and it is incredibly easy to do, you can kiss your Windows install goodbye.  In any case, the solution is to go to, “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSLicensing” and delete everything under that heading.  The only downside is that this must be performed every 90 days.

FYI, this second ridiculous work around is from the official MicroSoft website!  You’d think that if your product stopped working every 90 days you’d, you know, try to fix it.  Instead their game plan is to actually suggest users delete vital parts of the operating system.

For what its worth, I use a combination of the two solutions.  I fire up Regedit every 90 days so I can use Remote Desktop and I use TightVNC when I can.

  1. Photo courtesy of Laffy4k []

Another WordPress Update

Wordpress Upgrade

Wordpress Upgrade

Last night I upgraded from WordPress v2.6.1 to WordPress v2.6.2.  You’ve heard me extoll the virtues of WordPressFree, open source, easy to modify and customize, highly secure and… updated (infuriatingly) often.

If you see any weirdness, please let me know so I can take a look at the issue.

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