Recently in Technology Category

July 8, 2012

Pre-Birth Child Support....

Here's an interesting blog in the New York Times, for a new concept [no pun intended].

In the past, when a woman told a man she had been impregnated by him, he had no way of knowing whether the claim were true. One could expect him not to be forthcoming with support or other financial contributions. Technology advances.

What's next? Requesting support for the mother-to-be, while pregnant, to cover the costs of medical care, pregnancy leave, etc., may be the next legal battle front in paternity cases.

January 13, 2011

Health Care & The Best in the World - Truthiness isn't Truth...

I'm healthy. I like my doctors, and get to pick the doctors who provide my treatment - I don't have an HMO because I want that choice, and I pay extra for such a plan and the extra gives me great coverage - I almost never pay for anything. If my insurance company doesn't like my doctor, I could pay anyway, charge it on a credit card, and fight with them over the treatment. If I get really sick, I could fly to Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, or somewhere else where they treat a lot of cases like mine. These are all my choices. I am fortunate enough to have the choice. Of course most of society doesn't have the same choices.

But, You can't fool me into believing two things: [1] That the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, and [2] I am better off having my insurance company's bureaucrats and rules between me and my health than a government employee. At least the civil servant has to follow rules that the government decides will benefit the general health, and not those designed to make profits and pay for advertisements. The civil servant doesn't get a bonus for turning down claims, and neither does his boss.

It may feel good in our gut to tell ourselves we are the best, but let's deal with facts, not stomach issues. Such a feeling is what Stephen Colbert calls "Truthiness." That's something that feels like it should be true, or what we want to believe is true, but isn't.

Here's the CIA's study on life expectancy: THE DATA. In case you don't have the time to digest that information, it is summarized on Wikipedia.

Let me cut to the chase: the U.S.A. is 36th in the world in longevity. In 35 countries, people live longer than we: Such evidence is where Truthiness hits a brick wall. We are almost tied with Cuba [which is 35th]. And a lot of the countries higher up on the list have high infant mortality, otherwise their numbers would be a lot higher. If we have such great health care, why are we dying so fast?

OK, so people do come here to go to a particular hospital, medical center, or doctor who, by reputation, is perceived by these people to do a better job than anyone in their own country - that's the right wing/corporate/business/bought-off-politicians response to reality. But, these people aren't flying to San Diego to go to a local public hospital. They go to a particular doctor, or a particular hospital, where they think they can get the best care. Heck, one of my friends flew to London to have her eyes lasered so that she could see better without her classes. She heard from someone that this guy is the best, and he has a song and dance about why he can't use his techiques and tools in the U.S., even though he is a U.S. citizen.

And, of course, my employee's health insurance cost [which I pay] just went up another 15%, and not because of "Obama Care." Heck, if Obama had done what he promised we would all have coverage and at lower cost - put us all in Medicare and health care costs will stop being a major economic problem in this country.

July 16, 2010

Phishing Scams, Amazon, and Junk Mail....

I get about 300 pieces of e-mail a day, the vast majority of it junk. A high percentage of the junk is a scam of some sort [usually phishing, which is trying to get you to give up private codes], and ads for Viagra. I have spam filters, but the evil doers get better each day at making the spam look like it comes from someone with whom I regularly do business, or by coding the messages to make the computer think they come from me or my office.

I regularly do business with Amazon.com. I order books related to divorce, custody, relationships, computers, and other areas that relate to my law practice. So, I'm often on the lookout for e-mail from Amazon to notify me of a shipment, or notify me of or resolve a problem.

The latest scam I've noticed is and "Amazon Thanks for your order" message addressed to me. They look just like a regular notice from Amazon that it has acknowledged an order, and it gives me an opportunity to "view and edit your orders online." Of course they want me to click on one of the links, go to a page that looks like Amazon, and find out what the heck I've ordered that I wasn't expecting. Each of these is different in it's content, so I must read them carefully to see if they are legitimate. They want me to try to log onto my account, enter my user name, e-mail, and password so that they can later do this themselves.

When I read the mail carefully, I start to see obvious errors. One of several that I received this morning says that the Order Grand Total is $63.99. Below that is a summary that says that the subtotal of all items is $96.99, then the total before tax is $43.99, sales tax is zero, and "Total for this Order" is $10.99. It then gives me the option to click and see the items, Price: $71.99. Must be Nigerians filling out a form letter. Usually, phishing scams aren't this obvious.

I'm glad my parents don't use the computer I gave them for e-mail. I'm sure that they would just assume it is an honest mistake and give away their life savings.

June 9, 2010

Divorce Lawyers and the Client's File...

My office retired a copy machine a few months ago, having worn it out - more than 2 million copies ran through it. The replacement is faster but also scans and e-mails. We make a lot of copies, and buy a lot of copy paper. It has been her long enough that we became attached to it and the repair man who came more and more frequently to replace parts.

The need for a reliable machine came to mind when we received about 800 pages of photocopies, wrapped with rubber bands, no staples and no organization, from another law office. It is what they represented as being the "client's file." We inherit such files a few times a year when we take over a case for a client.

On those rare instances when we turn a file over to a successor law firm, we make copies of most everything in it. But, we make and keep the copies for ourselves, in case a question comes up somewhere along the line, which happens occasionally. We don't keep the original file in those instances - the original, under California law, belongs to the client. We must pass it along to the next lawyer or to the client upon request at the end of our representation.

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