Macworld 2008 Article Published!

Last week I attended the MacWorld Conference and Expo 2008 in San Francisco as I did last year. The reason I did not write a post on my blog for the event however is because I’m pleased to announce that I have written an article reviewing MacWorld for the distinguished e-zine, LLRX (The Law Librarian Resource Exchange). I’ve always had an itch to get into journalism and the publication of my first article in a respected online magazine is a very exciting announcement for me.

Check out my review of MacWorld 2008 at llrx.com.

Justia Dockets Upgraded and Interview

We at the Justia team have been working hard on improving the already fantastic service by adding in some great new features. We have already made it easy to browse through the case filings and find cases filed by court, but now we have added in a new feature, once you are on a court page, you can get a list of Judges and browse down a level further to get all of the cases seen by that particular judge. Like the court pages you can subscribe to an RSS feed of all of the cases with that judge, or filter the results more by picking a type of lawsuit and showing only particular types of cases.

The bigger upgrade however is that we have now taken the cases back further and instead of just showing cases filed since 2006, we have gone all the way back to the beginning of 2004. The reason we have added 2 additional years of cases into our system is so that we can also add in even more information about cases then ever before. We have retrieved from the Federal courts, thousands of written opinions, orders, and decisions by Judges and made them available for downloading. Cases that have written opinions are signified on Justia Federal Court filings and Dockets with a Gavel Icon (Gavel), while featured cases where we have retrieved all documents filed in the case are signified with a Star icon (Star).
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Two new Justia Services, Thanks Google!

The time has come once again for an announcement of something I’ve been working on at Justia. Actually this is a double announcement of not one but two new services that I can finally mention today.

The first is a whole new way to Search Justia’s massive amounts of free legal information, and it’s thanks to a brand new service by Google (which is a commercial version of a service that has been available for free for some time) called Google Custom Search Business Edition. At it’s core, this is the same as the Google Coop: Custom Search Engine that has been available for some months. Some time ago I created hundreds of these custom search engines on Justia to search a variety of legal topics and sites, and you can find these custom search engines scattered around justia.com and it’s various subdomains. From search engines that search all law school web sites in California (or any other state) to search engines that search all of the blogs in Justia BlawgSearch, these cses have been a fantastic way to use the power of Justia’s free Legal information to search the web for legal information.
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The Continuing Decline of Viacom

I’ve long been disillusioned with Viacom and it’s child companies, especially after CBS/UPN canceled such great shows as Enterprise and Joan of Arcadia, despite massive Fan support. Today, Viacom proves yet again that it doesn’t care about the interest of it’s viewers, Viacom has filed a lawsuit against Google for $1 billion dollars. The story goes, that according to Viacom, over a hundred thousand Viacom copyrighted materials have been viewed on Google owned YouTube over a million and a half times. The problem with Viacom’s claim though is that they believe it is Google’s fault for allowing the clips to be uploaded in the first place. YouTube wouldn’t work if it weren’t for allowing clips to be uploaded, and YouTube has long had a mechanism in place where if a copyright owner complains, they will pull down the copyrighted content quickly.
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Justia Regulation Tracker

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this year’s MacWorld Conference and Expo, which my wife and I got to attend, was not the announcement of the iPhone, but the lack of the phrase “And now, one more thing” which has been Steve Jobs’ catch phrase at his keynotes for quite some time now. Since Jobs didn’t use it this year, I’m going to shamelessly steal the phrase for the day and say “And Now, one more thing from Justia”. I mentioned previously, that I was already working on the next project after Dockets and that Justia would be announcing it soon. My boss announced it today on a legal mailing list, so now I can finally talk about Justia Regulation Tracker at RegulationTracker.com!

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Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets

I’m really excited about a new project I have been working on for my job. Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets is a new project I have had the pleasure of working on for Justia (the company I work for). This project is a database of all of the civil cases filed in federal district courts since the beginning of 2006, updated daily, and what’s truly great about it is that you can get RSS feeds of various methods of filtering the database. You can filter it by category, state, individual court, party name, or any combination of those filters, and then subscribe to an RSS feed for your filtered results.

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Justia in the News Again

I previously mentioned a project I’ve had the opportunity to work on at my new job known as BlawgSearch, a search engine for legal blogs. Today BusinessWire contains a press release Officially announcing BlawgSearch to the world. BlawgSearch is by far one of the most advanced bits of coding I’ve ever had the privilege of working on and I’m very pleased to have been a part of it.

Life Changes

My last blog post before this one was in August and things have definitely changed in the lives of Barbara and I since then. The biggest change (really the only change but it has effected so much of my life it’s really a category rather then an item) is that I got a new job. I now work as a programmer for Justia Inc. Justia is a company that, among other things, provides websites for lawyers and law firms. The company is based in Palo Alto, California (in Silicon Valley).

As such this change of a new job also means that we no longer live with my parents in Texas but are now Californians. We have a small, one bedroom apartment in Mountain View, California a few minutes drive from the Googleplex.

Those of you who know us best most likely know this by now, but I felt it was important to update my blog and let people know about these changes. Yesterday (December 18th) marked the 2 month (October 18th) anniversary of the day we moved into our new home here in California.

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521,600 minutes, how do you measure a year

My how time flies. I went to my blog today and noticed, low and behold, that I hadn’t updated it in over a year (15 months to be more exact) and a lot certainly has happened in that year. With this new post I have also replaced my old blogging software (I was never quite happy with Blog:CMS) with WordPress, which I was reluctant to try, but now I find it to be such a good blogging software that I have no idea what I had against it for so long.

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On Ben’s view on how to fix the Legislature

2011 Editorial note: over the years Ben eventually Abandoned his blog and the original post is gone, you can see a copy of Ben’s original article on the Wayback Machine on the Internet Archive here.

Ben posted on his blog today about a plan on how to “fix” the United States Legislative Branch by getting rid of the Senate. In his view, the Senate makes representation unfair because since each state gets two senators, in some states, like Alaska, the senator represents a lot fewer people than a senator from other states, like California. I must say I disagree with his assessment on the health of our checks and balances system, and here’s why.

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