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Science And Technology News

The Role Of Digital Technology In Long Distance Relationships

I was involved in a long distance relationship for about 2 years. Let’s call her Gwen. She was a cousin of my friend but grew up in the US. She was born here in Singapore but moved over when she was 5 years old.
She added me on Facebook and we talked online several times. We met up a few times when she would come back to Singapore for trips to see relatives and such.
Gwen was special. I never got along so well with a girl. It was a case of where we clicked from the first moment we started to talk. I felt no fear, no shyness and no lack of confidence. I could be me and not try to impress her. She understood and laughed at whatever lame jokes I cracked. Similarly, I found her to be a smart, funny and an attractive girl. Soon enough, I started going on Facebook 24/7 hoping to catch her online so that we could chat.
But long distance relationships are the hardest of all. I asked several friends about their experiences. A friend’s older sister, Cecilia, studied in Perth, Western Australia about 12 years ago. She said that it was difficult. Back in her day, she had email and ICQ. But it was on a 56k dial up modem so it was very, very slow. The school’s computer lab was running on IBM machines with MS-DOS software, not even Windows.
Digital cameras were around but they were beyond what a constantly broke student could afford. So her boyfriend had to develop photos the old fashioned way and send them to her via snail mail.
But now in present day, all cellphones have cameras and you can immediately take a photo and send it via “whatsapp”. Everyone has a Facebook account and a webcam is standard with every laptop. Skype lets you make phone calls for free. There are even websites like View2gether and SeeToo that let couples view photos and videos in real time.
I know of a couple that celebrated via webcam. The boyfriend bought ordered a cake and blew out the candle for his girlfriend on Skype. So in a way, technology has made long distance relationships a whole lot easier to bear.
But although there are technologies and platforms that let you stay connected, it doesn’t necessarily mean you communicate better. Cecilia mentions that since she had to be so frugal back when she was a student, she really looked forward and treasure those phone calls with her boyfriend. They were forced to communicate better. “We didn’t want to waste time arguing,” she says.
Another thing I realized that although I could see Gwen, say “hi” and hear her voice, I couldn’t reach out and touch her, give her a hug nor feel her skin on mine. I could not physically be there for her when she needed me the most. The simple things that most couples take for granted were denied to us.
Technology is not the answer. Some couples in long distance relationships are still going strong but Gwen and I have broken up. There is no substitute for the effort, patience and time that needs to be invested in a relationship to make it flourish. So far, there is no technology that can help you out on that.…

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Science And Technology News

Do What You Do Best – Realistic Technology Tips For Paralegals

You may have heard so much about e-discovery in the last few years that if you see another article, webinar or seminar you might burst. You may feel overwhelmed with technology and that it’s moving faster than the speed of light. You may be frustrated with those you work with, because they expect you to be educated on the latest and greatest technology tools, but when it’s time for their document review, you’re told to make multiple copies or print all the documents out!
The reality is that paralegals are expected to find a unique balance for each case, each legal team and each client. Paralegals have always been required to be flexible, creative and able to juggle many different projects. However, those traits are becoming more challenging as the management of cases becomes more complex. Here are some tips to consider while managing the balancing act as we survive the evolving practice of law.
Understand your role and gather the resources you need to do your job
Paralegals work in different environments. Some have a litigation support professional available to assist them with the complexities of managing electronic data; others are expected to add those responsibilities onto their existing job description; and there are those who are somewhere in between. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you should make certain that you understand the expectations placed upon you and that those you work with understand your capabilities. Your job responsibilities are varied and learning new technologies is an added expectation. Have you been relieved of other tasks with the advances of technology? Likely not! It’s okay to be an excellent paralegal and have a skill set whereby you add value and efficiencies to the management of the case, yet not necessarily be the technical processing guru. As a matter of fact, it may be that a paralegal who doesn’t have the expertise to internally electronically process productions ends up spending more time doing so – and therefore costing the client more money than if they work with an specialist who does have the expertise. Paralegals need to have a solid understanding of the capabilities of technology, but don’t need to be the expert who performs each task. If it’s more efficient to delegate these tasks in the best interest of the client because it will lower cost and time involved, then it’s your role to recognize that and surround yourself with the appropriate resources. Knowing the appropriate resources is important. Technology is becoming so complex, that specialists are evolving in all its different aspects. You may be someone who is an expert in all areas of technology, but if you’re not, stop beating yourself up. Highly qualified paralegals can manage their cases and the electronic component of them equally effectively if they understand their role and surround themselves with the appropriate resources. A simple cost benefit analysis is a good tool to help determine the best approach to a task.
Reality Check – we are not a completely paperless society
Despite the daily blogs and articles about electronic discovery, there is still paper in our world and in the world of our clients. Discovery, in the majority of cases, will include both. Paralegals need to help the legal team with the best management solution. Logic tells us that having our entire discovery in one place, despite its original form, is the most effective. Early on, this was done backwards. Electronic data was received and printed out. It did not take long to realize that it’s more efficient to scan to image the paper and keep the electronic data in native form, then load all of it into a litigation support database. Managing litigation documents in litigation support databases is becoming a requirement with most cases today. Paralegals need to understand the processes and have the ability to work with the legal team to ensure that these databases are established for the efficient review and management of discovery. The initial set up of a database and proper collection of documents is the most important component in a productive litigation support database. Data collections that do not capture important information at the outset will be less useful and can leave a negative feeling with those forced to work with it. Likewise, knowing when it’s appropriate to print out of the database is equally important. For example, printing deposition exhibits is appropriate. Printing boxes and boxes of documents to put in chronological order for attorney review – probably not. This leads to the next tip.
Be an advocate
You don’t have to be the expert on how everything is electronically processed, but having a solid understanding of the capabilities of technology and the ability to communicate with the legal team and clients will add value and efficiencies to your role. It’s frustrating …