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What Gadgets Am I Using Right Now?

What kind of technology am I carrying around right now?

I’m just passing along the information because I was asked.

Keep in mind that what I’m using might not be right for you. I’m also not—I repeat not—jumping into the debate about “what’s best.” This is just the stuff that’s working for me.

This is the tech I carry with me as I wander around. We have some other stuff at the office (but not much anymore since we’ve moved to the cloud and distributed our workforce: you’ll only find two computers, some phone handsets, a scanner, a shredder, and a big Ricoh copier at the office. The office is getting pretty barren).

What Can’t I Live Without?

  1. Macbook Air. I’ve got the 11″ model with a maxed out processor and additional memory. The screen is kind of small, but it’s great not to have to worry about the guy in front of me crushing my laptop when he reclines his seat on the plane. Mine is about a year old, and I was going to upgrade when the new model came out a couple of months ago. I didn’t because I’m waiting for the Retina display to make it down to the Air—next year, I guess.
  2. iPhone. I’ve got the 4S and plan to buy a 5 when they’re released. I’m totally invested in the Apple ecosystem for now. I enjoy playing with gadgets, but I’ve got other priorities at the moment and like the iPhone because it requires so little attention. I’m on Verizon.
  3. Earbuds. I’ve tried a gazillion Bluetooth headsets and a dozen wired headphones. I’ve never found anything that met all my needs. I’ve settled on wired earbuds, and I use them constantly. I’m a fan of the Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220vi, but I think everyone has different ears and has to find his or her own perfect fit. The pair I use has a microphone and a button, making it easy to talk to Siri and ask her to place calls and send texts for me.
  4. Kindle. I’ve got one, but I’ll admit that I haven’t used it in months. It’s great for nonfiction, which I like to skim. I’m finding it more convenient to read fiction on my phone since it’s always in my pocket.
  5. Fujitsu S1100 Scanner. I recently replaced my Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 with this small, portable scanner. It works great for the low volume of scanning I do. I almost never receive paper anymore, so I use it mostly for things people hand me as I move through the world. Mostly I leave the scanner at home.
  6. USB Flash Drives. I’ve got a handful of these little guys lying around that I use occasionally. At this point, most of my file transfers happen via the Internet, but sometimes I walk into an office supply store and ask it to print something for me (usually when I’m on the road). This is a convenient way to hand over the file.
  7. Cables. The only cables I need to carry at this point are the charging cord for the Mac and a retractable USB cable for the iPhone. I’ve got the phone in a Mophie battery case so it uses the micro-USB rather than the iPhone cable.
  8. Brother printer. What about printing? I’m using an old Brother laser printer. It’s wireless and stuck in the back of our laundry room on a shelf. It’s great, and it only cost $99, but you’ll find a more current model in stores if you need a printer. The only thing I print on it anymore is concert tickets from TicketMaster. The thing doesn’t get much use and clearly, I don’t carry it around with me.

What Don’t I Use?

There are a few things I don’t have and don’t really want.

  • I don’t have an iPad. I’ve had two in the past, and I can’t find a way to fit it into my life. I need the keyboard to write, and I need a real laptop for a few other things I do. The Air is small enough that I can easily carry it anywhere.
  • I don’t have a phone handset. I ditched the handset and moved the softphone. Then I ditched the softphone and went exclusively to the cell phone.
  • I also don’t have an extra computer monitor. My work has evolved to the point where I’m rarely looking at two screens at once. When I needed it, I had a 27″ Apple monitor that was great. I think most lawyers can get a tremendous amount of use out of a second (and even a third) monitor.

For me, now, it’s all about keeping it simple and portable. I’ve minimized my number of devices, and I’m spending far less time tweaking gadgets and figuring out how to get them to talk to one another.

By eliminating gadgets, I’ve got fewer things to fix and fewer things to divert my attention. That’s my priority for the moment.

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  • Paul McGuire

    Yeah, the nice thing about the kindle app on the phone is you don’t have to lug your kindle around with you when you are not expecting serious downtime. Plus your kindle will auto-sync to last read page if you switch back to it.

    I do agree with you as well that the keyboard is still essential for writing (although you could get a bluetooth keyboard for use with an iPad but it isn’t as portable as a macbook air).

    • Lee Rosen


      I suppose we’re nitpicking when we should be stunned by the genius of our technology – but, I rarely keep my Kindle wireless turned on so I don’t wear out the battery. Thus, I don’t get the benefit of the sync feature.

      On the plus side, I really like the kindle for non-fiction when I’m more likely to skim and need more words on the page at one time. I just bought my wife one of the new Paperwhite Kindles. I’m looking forward to seeing the screen on that.

      Thanks for commenting.


      • Paul McGuire

        Of course. I don’t turn it on very often either. However, if you have it set up to connect to your home wireless network then it is very easy to do a quick sync. Just turn on wifi and open the book you want to sync and kindle will prompt you to jump to the most recent page. You just have to say “yeah do that for me, thanks!” and you’re set. Then you do a quick hop on wifi and go to home page and select “sync and check for new items” to update your last read page to your phone. Assuming your phone is set to sync frequently then it takes very little time at all.

  • Karla Ayer

    wow….. you and I are almost like mirrors with our respective gadgets. I’ll add this – that for now, I’m keeping an iPad handy as a backup for court appearances. I use the macbook in front of judges, and I am often a lot faster on the mac than they are with either they’re paper files or the ‘intranet’ pc systems. One day about 2 years ago, returning from court, I opened the Macbook at my office and……… screen…… !! Turned out to be a prematurely failing battery. If the ‘black screen’ had happened in front of judge, I would have been up the proverbial creek. Hence the iPad as back up, and Dropbox or PDFExpert work great for this.

    • Lee Rosen


      The iPad sounds smart for your situation.

      I must have it right if we’re both doing the same thing, huh?

      Thanks for commenting.


Lee Rosen

Lee Rosen has practiced family law for more than twenty years. With four offices, Rosen Law Firm serves Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rosen served as the Law Practice Management Editor of the ABA Family Advocate for more than a decade and received the ABA James Keane Award for excellence in eLawyering. He served as Chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, is a frequent speaker and is often sought out by the media as a source of family law insight and commentary.