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I’ll Pass on the iPhone

Written by Brett McKay

So everyone is talking about the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone. I’ve got to admit, it looks pretty slick. However, I’ll be passing. First, it’s going to be expensive: $600. Yikes! Second, Apple has turned into the Microsoft of digital music. They have a stronghold over it, and it looks like they’re not loosening their grip one bit. There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about Apple’s “crippleware.” Basically, Apple has set it setup so that consumers who buy and download music from iTunes can only play those downloads on their iPod. Additionally, you can’t play songs that you purchase from other download stores on your iPod. So if you buy an iPod, you’re stuck downloading from Apple. What a scam.

Alpha Geek at Lifehacker made a strong case that buying CD’s is preferable to downloads for the simple fact that you have more control with what you do with them. One of the problems with downloads is that it’s a pain in the butt to get your songs back if for some reason your computer crashes and you lose them. If you had the CD, you can just rip it again.

When it gets down to it’s a personal choice. But if you want to save some money and want the liberty to do with your digital music as you please, steer clear of the iPhone.

Free Useful Software for Law Students

Written by Brett McKay

Jason Chen has compiled a nice list of free open source software available for download. Several of the applications could be particularly useful for law students (on any student for that matter):

  1. Open Office– It’s like MS Office, but it’s not. Not only is it free, it’s also compatible with different file types. You don’t have to worry if your Professor uses Keynote or Powerpoint for their slides or Word or Wordperfect for their notes. Another plus is the fact it’s one step more of getting out of the clutches of Microsoft.
  2. Evernote– I currently use MS OneNote. It has been extremely useful in my note taking during undergrad and law school. Instead of having click through several Word documents during a class, I just have on folder open that’s subdivided between briefs, notes, and outline. Very nice. Very easy. Had I known about Evernote when I made the decision to fork over $100 for OneNote, I would have gone with Evernote. It has the same features as OneNote and it’s free. Get it. You’ll thank me later.
  3. Audacity– This comes in handy for when you want to speed up your Sum and Substance mp3s. They saved me lots of time during finals.

Free Law School MP3s

Written by Brett McKay

Over at Top Law Student, there’s a great post about downloading free podcasts from CALI Radio. He gives several links to podcasts dealing with preparing for final exams. (My favorite was tips for multiple choice questions.) Not only do these mp3s offer great advice, they’re free.

Additionally, if you’re interested in listening to Sum and Substance or Law School Legends as part of your exam preparation, don’t fork over $60 to buy them. Most law school libraries should have these disks on reserve. Check them out and rip them to your Mp3 player. I was kind of leery of doing so because of copyright infringement, but my librarian said it was cool. Again, great review at no cost.

If you’re pressed for time and want to speed up the pace of listening to your Mp3s, Lifehacker has a great post on how to speed up Mp3s using Audacity configured with my . It took me while getting things figured out with my Ipod, but I condensed an entire Civ Pro Lecture to half the original amount of time. What’s great about it is that the tone doesn’t change, so it doesn’t sound like you’re listening to a chipmunk.

A new series from Top Law Student on Web 2.0

Written by The Frugal Law Student

Top Law Student will be publishing a series of posts on different Web 2.0 sites that can help law students. I love Web 2.0 because a) they’re really handy tools and b)they’re usually free, which helps me mitigate my crippling debt. Stay tuned to Top Law Student!