How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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"Thanks to Microsoft, which is screwing up the world one operating system at a time...."

This is one reason why my operating system is Linux.

Also, have you given any thought to protecting your USB device so that if you lost it, it would be very difficult for another to get the data off?


Jeremy: As for point 1, my main system at home is a dual-boot Linux/Windows set-up. Sadly, I usually boot into Windows. When I set up Linux about 2 years ago, I had too much trouble getting some of my hardware devices to work. I hope to try it again soon.

As for point 2--that's an excellent point. Stupid of me not to have thought of that. On the other hand, I don't store anything super-sensitive on the USB drive.


I used to be a dual-booter before making the switch completely when I built my new desktop. My secret sin is that I run Windows on my laptop.

I am running Mandrake Linux 10.0 on my desktop. It is very easy to setup, and can be downloaded for free. Mandrake should automatically detect your hardware. SuSE is also easy to setup. I just switched to Mandrake from this flavor of Linux.

Also, when you give it another shot, download Mozilla for your web browser. It is available for free from their website.


If you're using the USB drive to copy and transfer files, the original documents will still be on the computers where you created the files. What's on the little purple drive are just copies, so you shouldn't panic if you lose it. You already have the backup copies.


I've used linux a lot over the years, and it has gotten remarkably better at hardware detection. I recently installed Fedora Core 2 on my desktop and all my hardware was found automatically; Mandrake and SuSE are fine OS's, but Fedora is more mainstream. I also am guilty of running Windows XP on my laptop, but I'm going to law school next year, and windows is needed to take exams on a computer (plus it makes a lot of other tasks easier). Dual-boot XP and linux is supposed to be difficult.

As for USB drives, the price drop in recent years is remarkable. I just bought a Sandisk 256 MB drive for $35 from newegg. What a world.


Those things are a god-send. I picked one up 'cause I never got around to fixing my CD-RW drive so it works with XP (stupid incompatible Easy CD Creator 3.0) and I wanted to transfer files between my desktop and laptop. It was so easy that I'm now considering an external USB drive to hold/transfer files so I can easily burn things on my notebook that currently exist on my desktop.

George Wallace

Evan wrote:

"This week's report is an ode, unfortunately in prose, to my little purple drive."

To which one can only reply: Prose it may be, but at least it's purple prose.

On a more practical note, I whole-heartedly join you, Evean, in your praise of USB drives. My own is not so colorful as yours -- it's a drab gray-ish Sony product -- but it follows me everywhere. It came into my life just in time to spare me the pure misery of watching various ZIP discs full of useful information become hopelessly corrupted and unreadable. And it's invaluable when I'm struck of an evening by the sudden spontaneous urge to revise some pleading or other.


Good luck convincing a law firm's IT department to leave Microsoft for Linux.

Our multi-office firm switched to Microsoft "Active Directory" a few months back. After a number of hiccups along the way, I can now log into any computer in any office (and from home) and have all my files, settings, programs, etc. Even my bookmarks are portable. When I unplug my laptop from the network, everying also magically goes with it. I have no idea what it cost the firm, either from a $$$ or an IT resources perspective, but it's great for the user.

Now my USB drive is only really used to carry a backup of powerpoint presentations.

Jeremy Richey

I wonder what security vulnerabilities your firm has exposed itself to. Microsoft products have been hacked a time or two.

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