Thursday, October 2, 2014

This and That in Court Tech – October, 2014

This month’s news and notes from the varied world of technology in the courts, legal system, and everywhere else.

Windows 10 and More

While I am still not satisfied with the explanation regarding the name of the new version of Microsoft Windows that was introduced this week. But there is a very good “Technical Preview” article / slide show on the subject written by ZDNet writer, Ed Bott.  To see it click here.

The Microsoft press release on the announcement is available by clicking here.

One other Microsoft related note.  A very good program for those of you who may be trying to figure out what is happening on your Windows system when for example a program hangs, check out their new Windows Process Explorer utility that you can read about and download at:

A NIEM Data Model

Our good friend (and ace database designer), Derek Coursen has posted a note on his Human Services Informatics blog regarding an article written by data model guru, David Hay, on how NIEM could be designed as a data model.   Derek wrote an academic paper on some of our data modeling ideas that he allowed me to put my name on.  I find a lot of commonality between the thinking in our work and Mr. Hay’s as is no surprise since we cite his work extensively in our paper.

Mr. Hay has now taken a data model approach to the NIEM in his paper, National Information Exchange Model: Core Evaluation available for free download.  In the paper he discusses why he believes a sold data model would benefit NIEM and those who use it.  It is recommended reading for those of you who are interested in such things.

Three Georgia Court Reporters Accused

Thanks to Tony Wright and his post in the LinkedIn Forum for the Advancement of Court Technology site we learned that three Georgia Court Reporters were accused with stealing nearly $500,000 “by taking, theft by deception, giving false statements and racketeering.  They billed per page and they were making their pages much longer than they had to by changing fonts or changing spacing or changing margins or even billing for pages that did not exist”.

So I must ask; why are courts still using page counts when every word processing PDF program can easily produce the number of characters and words?  In fact, in Microsoft Word 2013 that I am using to write this article it is automatically showing that currently I have 791 words in this article.  And on the “Review” tab there is a button (shown below) that pops up a dialog box showing pages, words, characters, paragraphs and lines.

Infographic – Improving Cloud Purchasing

Via Martha Hill of the IJIS Institute and the LinkedIn Justice & Public Safety Information Sharing LinkedIn group we learned about Government Technology Magazine’s new downloadable “infographic” – 21 Ways to Improve Cloud Purchasing, Your old contract language doesn’t work for the cloud; here’s how to fix it.

DC Superior Court Provides Live Online Chat for Civil Division

From our good friend Claudia Johnson at we learned back in late July (sorry for the delay Claudia) of the Washington Post’s article on the new Washington DC Superior Court’s “online Web chat feature.  This service lets court users can ask questions of court employees about their cases within the civil division”.

The chat service can be accessed via the court’s website at:

CITOC Webinar Available – Remote Video Interpreting in Arizona

The Court Information Technology Officers Consortium (CITOC) hosted a webinar on September 26, 2014 by the Arizona Courts that has made the video and slides available at:

Thanks to all for sharing this valuable information.

Pima County Arizona E-Bench Implementation

In more news from Arizona, Courthouse News Service posted an article on September 8, 2014 on three judges in Pima County (Tucson) testing a new E-Bench implementation.  Judge Scott Rash was quoted in the article said:
"that the eBench system is particularly useful in the faster-paced world of the criminal law, where "80 percent of your time is spent in the courtroom. 
For a judge on the criminal bench, there's a lot of information that you need really quickly," he said. "Particularly during morning calendar, you'll hear anywhere from 15-20 cases, sometimes a lot more, so you're jumping between those, and you don't exactly know what's going to happen in any one of those cases."
IBM Advanced Case Management Presentation
Jim Malone – Executive Managing Editor, IDG SMS created an online presentation for IBM on some of the reasons and requirements that are needed for “Advanced Case Management” systems.  In particular he lists that the “Ingredients for Advanced Case Management Success” are:

1. Structure
2. Support
3. Flexibility

He also notes that case management systems are needed in a myriad of businesses.  These requirements and the lines of business that will benefit from case management are listed in an IBM White Paper that is available for downloading.

The “Cone of Silence: Reference in an RFP

Finally, we stumbled across a new (for us) request for proposal (RFP) requirement that refers to the “Cone of Silence”.  Now for those of you who did not watch the television show "Get Smart” in the 1960’s or later re-runs you can read about it on Wikipedia at:

The first part of “cone” RFP requirement states:
CONE OF SILENCE: A Cone of Silence shall apply as follows:
2.20.1 A Cone of Silence shall be in effect during a Competitive Solicitation beginning upon the advertisement for requests for proposals, requests for qualifications and competitive bids. The Cone of Silence shall terminate at the time the City Commission makes final award of a bid or gives final approval of a contract or contract amendment, rejects all bids or responses to the Competitive Solicitation, or takes other action which ends the Competitive Solicitation. The Cone of Silence shall continue through the negotiation phase for requests for proposals and requests for qualifications and shall not end until the Commission gives final approval of the contract.
I found that this term has been incorporated in both the and the Oxford English Dictionaries.

And looking further it seems that this terminology has been adopted for RFPs primarily in southern states including Florida, Texas, and California.

But please note that the unintentional “punch line” to this is that; the “Cone of Silence” never actually worked in the "Get Smart" TV show.  I hope it is working for these procurements.

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