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28 GPSolo 54 (2011)
Time to Upgrade

handle is hein.journals/gpsolo28 and id is 492 raw text is: By Victoria L. Herring


ow can I improve the performance of my com-
puter? Is it time to upgrade? These questions are
standard fare for lawyers and their offices when
a new computer or operating system comes out,
or-when their machines just feel slow and
cumbersome. It's an important question because it di-
rectly implicates how you do your work and how you
deal with the expense..
One of my weaknesses is for any and all new Apple
technology. However, I enjoy working with and learning
new computers, software, and related objects. This is re-
ally not something for everyone or even most; if you're
in a law office that depends on regularity, being an early
adopter is not for you. Better to let fools such as I go
through the pains of upgrades or newness and report
back to the wiser ones. But, having said that, at some
point your office hardware or software will simply need
an upgrade. So, what do you do?
Probably the first questions to ask are how long will
this take and how much will this cost. Depending on
the answers, the decision to upgrade or replace might
be relatively easy. If you can get a new machine fairly
inexpensively and sell yours (after destroying or wiping
clean the drive) to cover some of the cost, it might make
more sense to go ahead and get a new machine. If the
*        improvement involves basic maintenance steps or only
the addition of RAM to the machine, you can probably
put off the day you'll need a full replacement.
Before I summarize some steps you can take, I first
S        want to encourage you to buy a downloadable book put
out by TidBITS Publishing called Take Control of Main
taining Your Mac. Authored by Joe Kissell, who has writ-
S        ten a plethora of works to help even neophytes get the
most from their various electronics, it's a great review
and step-by-step discussion of how to maintain your
Mac computer. And before you even think of buying
rn       new or paying for upgrades to what you have, consider
where some basic maintenance might help improve your
computer's performance. This title and many others
AA       can be viewed and downloaded at Take Control eBooks
This short article is basically a summary of
Victoria L. Herring practices in Des Moines, Iowa, in an
office that has used only Appie/Macs since the early
1980s. She may be reached at vlh@herringlaw.com.

considerations mentioned in that book, as well as other
research, noted along the way.
Now, let me begin by clarifying some assumptions:
I'm talking to people who have only one to three or so
computers in their office, who don't have a regular staff
tech person, and who sometimes deal with tech issues
themselves. I'll also assume that you have already invest-
ed in some essential things to make your office function
properly: hard drives or cloud storage for backing up, a
surge protector to protect your systems, and some sort of
lock or security system to deter or prevent loss and theft.
Assuming that the above is true, and that you have
come to the point of considering upgrades or replace-
ments, your first step will be to conduct proper main-
tenance to make sure your hardware is functioning as
best it can. The following steps, discussed more fully in
Kissell's book, should be taken:
1. Back up your computer(s). Anything essential and
mission-critical should be backed up two or three
times in different locations (e.g., on a hard drive
at home or in a safe deposit box or in the cloud).
Murphy's law-if something can go wrong, it
will-can rear its ugly head in the midst of this
process. One suggestion is to not upgrade every-
thing at once, but to go step-by-step and work on
one computer or workstation at a time, so that at
least one computer is available for those things
you must have. Or, if you're a solo and only have
one machine, invest in a large external drive and
make a bootable clone of your essential machine
just in case. Make sure it works, that it will boot
up and run things if you need it. You should be
using Time Machine anyway and supplement-
ing that with running either Carbon Copy Cloner

54                                                   ~SOLO     December 2011

SOLO December 2011


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