This is the third of what hopefully will become a regular column in the ISBA Senior Lawyer Section Council newsletter. That is up to you. If you like it (or even if you don’t), if you have suggestions for improving it or what we should write about, please let us know. Hopefully, you will take a turn contributing a column on your own “best practices” or problems you have in using technology. Please feel free to join our committee, and let us know what you need.
Here’s the latest on the iPad mini, data roaming charges, syncing e-mail between smart phone and computers, SIM cards and security for your technology.
In the last issue, we answered the question about setting the alarm to order Apple’s latest (the iPhone 5) with a “yes.” Well, the alarm was set again last October and, once again, it was worth the trouble to get the new iPad Mini.
It’s been almost a year since we asked you to “start somewhere” and check out the iPad at your nearest Apple store. In case you ignored that suggestion, and have not been using your iPad daily, we have a new suggestion. Go back to that Apple store and check out the iPad Mini. If you have been an iPad user, you may be asking why. The answer is that you may be surprised.
The new iPad Mini--released last fall--is, of course, smaller than the iPad, but not so small that it is difficult to read the display (as is often the case with the iPhone screen). In fact, its 10.75” diagonal display is fine for web pages, e-mails, photos, etc. Its light weight is a real plus and its two cameras, fast processor, LTE capability (the cellular model) and inclusion of Siri make it an easier to use tablet that literally fits in an outer coat pocket. While it may not yet have the Retina display of the full size iPad (it is rumored that one to be released in the fall will), most of those reading this newsletter will not notice the difference. It is also perfect for reading all of those novels you used to fill your suitcases with on vacation.
Typing is very easy using the on screen keyboard so that e-mails, research, blogs and yes, even games, are more enjoyable. This is truly a case where size does not matter.
Data Roaming Charges
If you use your smart phone while traveling, you have probably heard that you have to be careful of data roaming charges, especially if traveling internationally. If you do not purchase an international data package from your cellular carrier, and in some cases even if you do, you may get a very unpleasant surprise when you return home and get your next few cellular bills. While your smart phone will work in foreign countries, you need to know that the data roaming charges that may be building can be huge. For example, if you decide to send a picture to your office or grandkids, the data roaming charge may be $20 or more for a 2MB picture. When you check your e-mail or look at the headlines on the Internet, etc. you may be unknowingly incurring substantial charges. Many of your applications that regularly update may also be “secretly” costing you without even using the phone. The billing for these charges (which can literally be in the $3,000 range for a 10 day European trip--don’t ask how we know) can take up to six months to reach your monthly statements--long after you’ve forgotten that you took a vacation!
So, should you can cancel your upcoming trip, buy a pre-paid phone or leave your smart phone at home--of course not? All you have to do is go to the Settings icon, then General and slide the data roaming button to Off. An even safer method is to also turn off Cellular Data so that you can only use your smart phone in wifi for e-mail, Internet, etc. If you need to use the phone outside of wifi, contact your carrier and purchase a cellular package for your estimated use before you travel (which will include data). There may still, however, be additional charges. This is also true for your iPad, if it has cellular capability.
If despite these steps you are still nervous about these potential charges while traveling, you can check your Cellular Usage by going to Settings, General, Usage and then Cellular Usage to see what your usage is at a particular time. You can then relax and return to the beach for that drink with the little umbrella.
Syncing E-mail Between Smart Phones and Computers
One of the most valuable uses of a smart phone by lawyers is having the ability to access your e-mail, maintained at your office on your computer(s), while in Court or elsewhere. If you don’t have that capability, you really need to set it up (or have it done for you). It is not difficult, but there are some potential issues when you do that should be considered. The syncing of data between the office and your smart phone can be very technical and well beyond the scope of this article, newsletter and/or knowledge of the authors. If, however, you do use this technology, we would like you to be aware of a potential problem involving syncing the data.
If your office uses a Microsoft Exchange Server and you use Microsoft Outlook and an iPhone, there is no problem. Once set up, your e-mail (and calendar) will sync automatically from either device to the other, including any changes you make to either. The problem arises when you don’t use an Exchange Server and you have an e-mail account that utilizes POP3 (Post Office Protocol) technology. An example is an internet provider such as Comcast. We do not have to be concerned with the whys, but if your office internet provider is a POP3 type, you will have difficulty with syncing when using your smart phone and your computer to access and modify e-mail at different times from each.
For example, if you read your e-mail on your smart phone and delete some, those deletions may not be made on your computer when you return to the office. That can cause confusion as to what has been completed, etc. Accurate, up to date syncing is essential if you are to use your smart phone or tablet for work while away from your office computer. If this is a problem which you have noticed--e.g. checking your e-mails while on vacation and returning to the office to find that all the deleted e-mails are still there, etc., you may want to try an easy “fix” that will not require you to change your e-mail address. Again, this applies if your e-mail is a POP3 type of account. You (or your secretary) can ask your e-mail provider if this applies to you.
To get a virtual real time sync between your smart phone and your computer for POP3 e-mail accounts, you can forward that e-mail to an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) e-mail account. This technology allows automatic syncing of changes from either device (smart phone, iPad or computer) so that each is always up to date. To accomplish this the easy way, simply set up a Google Gmail account (free) and have your POP3 e-mail automatically forwarded to that new e-mail account. To do that, go to Settings on your e-mail account provider’s home page and then to Mail Forwarding. Once you put your new Gmail address in, all of your e-mail will be automatically and immediately forwarded to the IMAP Gmail account which will then sync your computer and smart phone from either device to the other. This fix may have size limitations, but if you delete unnecessary e-mails on a regular basis, there should be no problem.
If you feel that this “fix” may be needed, but want help setting it up--feel free to let us know. We senior lawyers don’t have to understand the technology to enjoy its use.
A SIM card (which stands for “Subscriber Identity Module”) allows your cell phone to be used internationally. A 4G phone takes all SIM cards, which allows it to talk to towers. The iPhone 5 has a SIM card in it so you don’t have to buy one, but if you are traveling you must activate its international capabilities.
Senior lawyers are relying more and more on smart phones and iPads in addition to laptops and desktops. What should we do to protect ourselves from identity theft, the theft of important confidential information, or being ripped off by those getting access to us on-line?
Read very carefully and follow all of the security instructions for your cellphone, iPad or computers.
Make sure you update your virus protection, malware and other privacy protection. Lock, wipe and set up to find your missing cellphone or iPad.
Maintain physical control of your cell phone. (BusinessWeek reported that 30 million out of 285 million cell phones are misplaced every year.)
Use a strong password or PIN. Too many people rely on ABC1234 and other easy-to-break passwords.
Configure your web accounts to only use secure connections.
Avoid using unknown and public wireless clouds which can be dangerous.
Use an automatic logoff after a set time.
Encrypt confidential data.
Disable the interfaces not being used (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc.).
Do not click on suspicious links in e-mails you receive. Be careful when reading e-mails that promise new clients, big money, or request you send money to a traveling friend.
Enable remote locking or wiping off information if your password or PIN is entered incorrectly a number of times.
Backup your important data on a regular basis to another hard drive, USB tab or in a cloud.
Watch out for phishing attacks.
Be careful in selecting and installing apps.
Watch this column in the next issue for more on CyberSecurity. ■