Dennis Kennedy

Technology Law and Legal Technology. Dennis Kennedy is one of the few technology lawyers who is also an expert on the underlying technologies. Dennis an award-winning leader in the application of technology and the Internet to the practice of law. gives you access to a wide variety of Dennis Kennedy's resources on legal technology, his writings, his well-known blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, and information about how you can have Dennis speak to your organization or group.

Dennis Kennedy is one of the most knowledgeable legal technologists you will find. - Michael Arkfeld.

Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and legal technology expert in St. Louis, Mo., has been a significant influence in the ever-evolving relationship between lawyers and the Web. - Robert Ambrogi

Archive for July, 2007

Return to Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Every now and then, I’ll tell the story of how my early history with the Internet is intertwined with being a fan of the TV series Babylon 5.
Babylon 5 was pioneering and influential in many ways, not the least of which was telling a story that was planned to take and took 5 years and 110 episodes to tell. It was a rich and rewarding universe that many fans, including me, hated to leave.
J. Michael Straczynski, affectionately known as the Great Maker of Babylon 5, has revisited the Babylon 5 universe with a DVD of new stories released today called Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.
I watched the entire DVD this evening. I loved it, but there’s no surprise there – I don’t pretend to be objective. I suspect that long-time fans will appreciate and enjoy the DVD more than those who are new to the series because there are references to backstory that it helps to know. There are also very nice tributes to two of the main actors, Andreas Katsulas (who I had the pleasure to meet once) and Richard Biggs.
It’s a joy to see a familiar and meaningful fictional universe return, with some of the main characters returning in new stories that both honor the history of the show and extend the story in new ways. You can go back again. Great stuff.
For new and old B5 fans, I must recommend the excellent Babylon Podcast.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed.
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BlawgWorld 2007 eBook Debuts Today

Monday, July 30th, 2007

There are still many, many lawyers and others who aren’t comfortable that they understand what a blog is. Even more do not understand what all the fuss about them is. Even the lawyers familiar with blogs often do not realize the richness and diversity of law-related blogs.
Neil Squillante at TechnoLawyer has performed two valuable services with BlawgWorld 2007, a free new eBook that features “best of” posts from 77 law-related blogs.
First, the eBook gives everyone from the complete blog novice to the most blog-savvy an excellent introduction to the world of blawgs. You can learn a lot about the blogs that are available and you can learn a lot from the topics covered by the posts collected in this eBook. I’m sure that you will find many new blogs to visit.
Second, the eBook includes a valuable resource on legal technology vendors that matches up vendors with the questions a law firm would commonly ask. I think that you will find this very useful.
Congratulations to Neil for putting together this excellent FREE eBook (and take note of the cutting-edge and user-friendly design of the BlawgWorld eBook. Becomiing a member of TechnoLawyer is a wise move for anyone interested in legal technology.
Download your copy of BlawgWorld here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new Google Shared Reader linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed.
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Two Invitations

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

For readers of this blog:
1. Tom Mighell and I are planning the next edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. We’re thinking of doing a segment where we answer questions from listeners (and listeners-to-be). Ideally, I think, we’d like to have questions that can be answered quickly, say, in a minute or so. If you have questions, email them to me at denniskennedyblog @
2. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be speaking at the ILTA legal tech conference in August. I really enjoy this conference. I’ve been thinking about putting together a blogger meet-up one of the evenings there. To me, this simply means finding a spot in a hotel lobby or hotel bar and seeing who shows up, but if there is sufficient interest and people want to do something more elaborate, that’s cool, too. Let me know if you are interested. Maybe we can create a little Facebook group for the meet-up. If you’d like to try to get together with me while I’m at the conference, let me know and we’ll see what we can set up. For more details on one of my sessions on blogs and wikis and the rest of the great KM track, see Ron Friedman’s overview here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed
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Law News Now . . . and More to Come at the ABA Journal

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

The American Bar Association has today launched a completely revamped version of the website for the ABA Journal to stellar notices, like this, this and this. My friend and ABA webmaster Fred Faulkner played a big role in this launch and I enjoyed getting the chance to congratulate him on his excellent work this evening. Fred was a key reason that the Law Practice Today webzine got off the ground so successfully and I clearly see Fred’s influence on this new site. I miss getting the chance to work with Fred on a regular basis as we used to do on Law Practice Today.
You will want to visit the site for legal news, a great blawg directory, and free content from the magazine archives.
I like the direction that the ABA Journal is going with the website and the print publication. In fact, I like it so much that I’ve recently agreed to take over the legal technology column for the publication starting this fall. I’m looking forward to working with Ed Adams and the ABA Journal editorial team.
It was a big honor for me to be asked to write the column and get the chance to continue the great tradition of the column that “the two Davids” – David Beckman and David Hirsch (two of the biggest names in legal technology history) – established and carried forward for many years. Their column was always my first stop in the ABA Journal when it arrived (except, of course, the issue that had an article with my picture in it – the lawyer equivalent of getting your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, or at least inside it). I salute the two Davids and hope that I can carry on in their footsteps.
I started out writing about legal technology in a column for Lawyers Weekly USA and I’ve always liked the regular monthly column format. This new column will become my primary outlet for regular articles on legal technology. I’m planning to take an approach that is highly practical, appeals to all lawyers and helps them in their daily work, and also makes people stretch just a bit and think about technology. I have a list of column ideas already put together, but will always welcome ideas for new columns.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed.
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Shared Feed Items Are GINORMOUS!b

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

So says my personal Facebook guide and guru, Denise Howell, taking advantage of Webster’s recent addition of “ginormous” as an officially-sanctioned word.
We’re talking about using the Google Shared Reader App for Facebook to generate a combo “linkblog” and feed through Facebook . . . and beyond.
I’ve been wanting to do my own linkblog for a zillion years, but had never found an easy way to generate one – at least for me.
When I read Robert Scoble’s post Google Reader + Facebook Application = Digg killer?, something clicked and I had to try it. And that meant even joining up with Facebook.
And it looks like the app gives me exactly what I wanted. After installing the app, I can simply mark a feed item in Googgle Reader(from a blog or feed to which I subscribe) as “shared” and it automatically gets put into a list of shared items on my Facebook profile and, best of all, it gets added to an RSS feed that I, and anyone else, can subscribe to. There’s also a Google Reader Shared page here that you can visit if you don’t do feeds (but you really have to start moving in that direction).
What was even more interesting to me was the possibility of (1) subscribing to someone’s else’s Shared Items feed (e.g., Denise’s) and (2) aggregating these feeds from a selected group of friends.
I becomes easy to share what’s interesting to you, learn what others are reading, and potentially share common links and interests. Someone I described this to today immediately thought that it could be turned into raw materials for a wiki.
Denise has started an experiment with a single point of contact for shared items from members of the new Between Lawyers Facebook group. The group is intended to be a companion site to the Between Lawyers blog, and a bit of a playful joke on how we spend more time on the backchannel email list for the blog than we do writing the blog. Check it out and join in.
Anyway, this is one part of some tentative experiments I’m doing on the Facebook platform that might have implications elsewhere.
My new Facebook profile (hey, I’m a very late adopter on this one, and got in because we wanted to try the Between Lawyers experiment) is here.
NOTE: I’m not sure how links into Facebook work. You might have to create a Facebook account. It’s worth doing to experiment a bit.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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Talking Storage . . . Enthusiastically

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve noticed that the tech developments that have really captured my attention lately are not the iPhones and the latest applications.
No, what I’m drawn to these days is STORAGE.
I’m not sure why. Perhaps because all of my hard drives seem over-full.
First, it was Drobo, the storage robot, that I wrote about in the TechnoLawyer Newswire. It was one of the few things that makes it on to my “I want to get one of those” list. When I was watching videos about how it worked rather than writing the article, I knew I was hooked. Here’s the article I wrote.
Next, it was seeing 500 gigs of external hard drive in the $100 range. My first external hard drive, for my Mac SE, costs $1,000 for 30 megabytes.
Then, I was reading about the new generation of hybrid (flash and standard) hard drives.
Finally, this morning, I listened raptly to Scott Hanselman’s Hanselminutes podcast #71, an interview with Charlie Kindel of the Microsoft Windows Home Server team. They talked about the new Windows Home Server platform and how it could operate a standard home network, aggregate storage, and handle backup, plus much more. I really want that. Check it out and see if it has the same appeal to you.
I certainly would not have expected this, but storage is my hot topic for the summer. That and Facebook, but more about that later.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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July 16 Idea Market

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

If you are in St. Louis, I hope to get the chance to see you at Matt Homann’s Idea Market on Monday night, July 16, at XPLANE’s offices in the Art of Living Building (at 1141 S. 7th Street) from 6-9 pm.
It’ll be a “Best Of” the Idea Market, with the favorite exercises, experiences and activities from the past year.
Details and reservation form here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Presumptuous Computing – A Trend to Reverse

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Over the past few years, I’ve grown to feel that my computer has become a crowded house full of guests and strangers, as lots software and services have invited themselves for a long stay. Some are gracious and helpful, mindful that I did not invite them. Some jump up and demand my attention. Some are unruly and leave their dirty dishes and coffee cups all over my computer. And at least one (the trial version of McAfee’s antivirus program that I can’t get fully uninstalled, you know who you are) is like the unwelcome guest who will never leave.
Increasingly, we all see a trend where our programs, services and subscriptions do more things automatically and take for granted what they can do on our computers. In some cases, I don’t mind at all. I like automatic updates, especially for security fixes. In other cases, I’m starting to feel that software companies, email newsletter publishers, and other service providers are starting to forget who is the host and who is the guest on my computer. You might be feeling the same.
I’m calling this phenomenon and trend “presumptuous computing.”
There’s a presumptive, condescending approach to users that’s becoming too common, and a general approach that it’s OK for programs to do what they please on computers without considering the host, without picking up after their messes, and without making their beds and hanging up the towels, let alone compensating us for our generosity and for the inconvenience they cause.
A few examples:
Yesterday, I saw that someone presumptively subscribed me to their email newsletter on a topic that actually interested me. Today, I learned that it’s a DAILY newsletter. Repeat after me: “opt-in, not opt-out.” It’s worse when someone you know does this to you with their newsletter.
iTunes is about drive me crazy. The scariest message that I get on my computer these days is that there is a new version of iTunes and would I like to install it? The “improvements” always disrupt my ways of organizing and handling my files, although they seem to make it much easier if you only use the iTunes store. This is one of the only programs I’ve decided not to stay current on updates. This morning iTunes decided that I must have wanted to uncheck every audio file in my library – and it left me with no undo option or an easy way to figure out how to recheck them. Since I had it set up only to sync checked songs to my iPod, this is a bit of an inconvenience since I’m not a John Cage 4′ 33″ fan.
How about that Zone Alarm? Do you want to install now or would you like a reminder? Oh, the only option on the reminder is one day. Yes, keep pestering me every day.
I really like Firefox, especially the extensions. I really don’t like the way updates seem to always break my favorite extensions.
And, no, I just want to update the Java Runtime Environment, not to also intall Google Desktop Search.
And for those programs that cleverly set up checkbox options so I accidentally install things I don’t want to or put icons all over my computer desktop, ask yourself if you would really want to do business with people who need to trick you into using their products.
Having recently spent some time with only a dial-up connection, I implore people, especially vendors and PR people sending me information about products and services (especially while I’m visiting my parents), to think twice before sending 5 and 10 megabyte attachments. These take hours to download on a dial-up connection and block access to later-received emails. If you send large PDFs, you should become very familiar with techniques to reduce file sizes. I recently slimmed down some large PDF files I had received simply by using the “reduce file size” feature in Adobe Acrobat and some files ended up to be 10% or less of the size at which they were originally sent to me.
If you’ve ever looked at the size of Mac OS updates, you’ll realize that you must be on a broadband connection to download and install updates – they are huge.
In the presumptuous computing trend, someone is making assumptions about my computer and how I use it, and then presumptuously taking actions on my own computer. I’m sure that you have several examples of your own.
Ah, but what prompted this post was what happened to me this morning after another Windows update. First of all, I’m a big believer in automatic updates for Windows for security reasons, so I have no complaint about that and willingly invite Windows in to do the updates. However, Windows makes me feel like it came in, drank the beer out of the refrigerator, and tossed beer cans all over the yard.
Here’s the story. I had a number of things I wanted to do early this morning. I got everything ready and even had the email I needed to reply to on the screen of my computer. I then put the computer in the standby mode (think green legal technology and saving power).
This morning, I found that the Windows had updated itself (good thing) and, since it required a restart to complete the installation, it had rebooted itself (not so good a thing for me today). As a result, everything I had planned to work on was closed. But, it gets worse. When I started Outlook, it noted that it had been improperly shut down and needed to check my PST file. Word gave me a screen with the documents it had recovered because of an improper shutdown. Feedburner reverted to an earlier state and all of the posts I had read last night were now marked as unread. You get the picture. Hey, but 15 or 20 minutes later, I was able to jump right in where I planned to have started first thing in the morning. And I had the idea for this post. And, then, I unchecked all the songs in iTunes.
What irritates me about the Windows thing is that if it is going to force a reboot, it should at least properly close out of Microsoft programs. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Presumptuous computing – treating someone else’s computer like you know what’s best for them and not giving any consideration to how they might like to use their computer.
Think about it. Shouldn’t those who invite themselves onto your computer be good and respectful guests and be reluctant to come in and change things around, especially without giving you any warning. I don’t expect vendors to be able to get everything right – this stuff is complicated – and the benefits for me of automatic updates and the like outweigh the disadvantages, but it’d sure be nice if we were all more thoughtful in the way we treat other people’s computers. I’d like to see more courteous computing and less presumptuous computing.
Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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iPhone 1.0 Not Ready for Business?

Monday, July 9th, 2007

One of my favorite podcasts is the companion podcast for Steve Wildstrom’s Technology & You column in Business Week (feed). I really enjoy Steve’s practical approach to technology (in no small part because it’s similar to the approach I like to take) and I always learn a lot from each podcast. The podcasts are short and to the point, and make for a good introduction to the podcast medium for those who have not experimented with it.
His most recent column and podcast focus on the iPhone, not surprisingly, but offer some fresh perspectives and insights. The column is called “Making the iPhone Better for Business,” and offers a very practical, balanced look at some of the issues someone who wants to use the iPhone in a corporate setting will face. Steve’s take is that there are significant issues that will likely be addressed in later improvements to iPhone software, not a big surprise in a 1.0 version of anything, but something that must be considered with eyes open and rose-colored glasses off if you want to use an iPhone in the classic corporate setting.
The money quote:

At the moment, corporate IT departments really don’t have much to fear from iPhones because they just aren’t equipped to work with enterprise systems. But mobile executives buy the overwhelming majority of smartphones, and Apple is going to need these customers. It should move quickly to develop the software partnerships required to meet their needs and win their business.

The column is great, but I really like the companion podcast (mp3) best. Give it a try.
My other favorite post about the iPhone is Dave Winer’s pointer to a Consumer Reports article that covers the overlooked aspect of iPhones – how they work as phones.
As I follow the iPhone rollout stories, I’m reminded that there’s a big difference between first adopters and early adopters and how I tend to fall into the early adopter category. I doubt that I would be as sanguine as Ernie is if I had even one of his first adopter experiences.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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TWiL, Avvo, Lawyer Ratings and Beyond

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

I’ve been off the grid the past week at the annual firm retreat (expect some modest changes in the focus of this blog in the coming months).
I did have the chance to record a This Week in Law podcast last week and it’s now live and ready for downloading and listening. The episode is called Rate-a-Lawyer and focuses on the launch of the new Avvo lawyer rating site. In the episode, Denise Howell leads the discussion about Avvo and its implications with Avvo CEO Mark Britton, Ernie Svenson, Mazyar Hadayat and me.
The episode is long by podcast standards, but I encourage you to listen all the way to the end. There’s a lot of good discussion and this podcast lets Mark Britton tell his side of the Avvo story to an extent that I haven’t seen before, and I learned a whole lot from hearing Mark talk about the service. If you’ve followed the Avvo story, you’ll find this discussion quite interesting. I also suspect that you’ll be intrigued by some of the directions the conversation goes.
I’m always an encourager of new approaches, like that of Avvo, so I’d like to see how it all develops. My opinions (generally favorable) and questions (somewhat different than I’ve seen others raise) about Avvo should be pretty clear from the recording. Tom Mighell reviews the podcast here.
Take a listen. Get the podcast here. I’ll be getting back to regular posting this week.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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