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Senior Lawyers
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Section on Senior Lawyers

June 2012, vol. 3, no. 3

Technology for seniors

This is the first of what may become a regular column in the ISBA Senior Lawyer Section newsletter. That is up to you. If you like it (or even if you don’t), if you have suggestions on what we should write about, or even wish to take a turn in contributing a column, let us know. Please feel free to volunteer to join our committee, and let us know what you want to learn.

Ed bought his iPad2 for his 69th birthday (one of the best birthday presents ever, he says). It is much easier to carry than a laptop computer. He has it with him wherever he goes. He can receive e-mails and respond anywhere, airports, Amtrak, hotels, anywhere, including his car as Sarah, his wife, drives. He has many free apps that allow him to watch TV programs (including ABC, CBS, NBC and WILL), or listen to classical music or Public Radio stations. Sarah and his two granddaughters love playing a variety of games. Ed has held off and not played a game yet (afraid of addiction).

Ed also paid for a couple of apps. Pages, which is similar to Word, is a great word processing program. Ed can store things in the Cloud, so he can create something on iPad2 and open it on his laptop, update it and print from either without being wired to his new printer. Ed also bought a roll-up keyboard for when he is doing serious keyboarding on iPad.

We are sure that some of you are way ahead of us with your experience on your iPads. Please send in a list of your favorite apps so we can learn from each other.

Google Voice

Ed is a very frugal person and uses Google Voice for making long-distance telephone calls using iPad2 from anywhere. When he is at home, he can use the Dialer feature to dial any preset 10-digit number, or he can add in a new number wherever he is. If the person he’s calling has caller ID, it will show his Google telephone number (which he chose when he set up his Google Voice account). A phone number can be any number you’d like, so long as it’s not already in use by another person. Ed got his first choice.

You can also set it up so that your home number, your office number, and cell phone can all be forwarded to your Google number, and, if you do not answer when it rings, and if they leave a message, you get an e-mail with a transcript of their message.


The two co-chairs conducted our first conference call using Google Voice. It is a video conference call and works as long as each has Skype on his computer or iPad.


Many think Facetime is better than SKYPE. One downside is that you must be calling from an iPhone or iPad to another iPhone or iPad. The connection is better and much easier. With the reverse camera you can show your surroundings during the call, or follow the antics of a grandchild running around or playing. All you do is call the other person’s number (iPhone) or email (iPad) to connect. It is just as easy as making a phone call, no difference. It takes seconds to identify the number or e-mail as Facetime, but, once that is done, it is done for good. These devices can use Facetime: iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod touch, or Mac. (The authors would like to thank Don Mateer, the incoming chair, for his comments about Facetime.)

One drawback is that you have to be in wi-fi --at least with AT&T. But wireless is nearly everywhere. Facetime can be used with an iTouch (with wireless) via e-mail address.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

This is a wonderful program that allows you to dictate into a microphone connected to your computer or a digital recorder and it converts the spoken word into text on the screen. The more you practice and use it, the more accurate it becomes. It is even possible to have it review your documents and to learn the spelling of words you use regularly. It is now up to version 11.5. You need to use it a lot for it to understand the way you pronounce words. You must speak slowly and consistently without background noise.

Stay tuned.

Member Comments (2)

Good column. Keep it.

Very helpful. Keep it going.