Technology Committee Activity in Review
As published in The Senior Lawyer:
Fall 2009, The Senior Lawyer
There are two things you will need to participate more fully in the
life of your Senior Lawyers Section: the ability to send and receive
e-mails and the ability to access the Section’s Web-based
services, such as the Section’s Web site and the Section’s
group on LinkedIn. For those who are technically challenged, this may
sound like an overwhelming problem. You may already be asking,
“What do I have to do to send and receive e-mail?”
“How do you access a Web site?” “What’s a Web
site anyway?” This brief article will try to help answer these and
similar questions for you.
There is some good news and bad news. First, the bad news. You will
need to have access to a basic computer that is connected to the
Internet. You may already have this through a family member who resides
with you or a club or library to which you belong that is easy for you
to visit on a regular basis. If not, you may have to purchase a basic
computer and subscribe to an Internet service provider.
Happily, buying a basic computer is quite easy, and the costs these
days are relatively low and still coming down. You should probably
consider a basic laptop computer, because it almost always works right
out of the box with minimal setup and usually comes preloaded with all
the software you are going to need. Plan to spend around $400 for your
Now, you need to have an Internet connection to get you access to the
Internet. Most telephone companies and cable companies offer Internet
connections as part of the services you can purchase from them. Since
you probably already have a telephone and may also have cable television
service, you need to decide whether you want to get your Internet
service from your telephone company or your cable company. Either will
work satisfactorily for you. It will mainly be a question of cost and
convenience. Plan to spend about $30 a month for your Internet service.
Once your Internet service is up and running, you will need to connect
your laptop to the Internet by plugging the cable that your telephone or
cable company will provide into the jack on the laptop. Usually, the
installer for the Internet service will do this for you. OK, so you now
have a laptop that is connected to the Internet! What happens next?
Your laptop usually comes with two useful programs already installed.
The first is called Outlook Express, and the second is called Internet
Explorer. Outlook Express is an e-mail program that the installer of
your Internet service can usually configure for you so that you can
start using that program for sending and receiving e-mails using an
e-mail account provided by your Internet service provider. There is a
lot written about using Outlook Express, and the online instructions
included with Outlook Express are rather good. So, we are not going to
say too much more about Outlook Express in this article.
Outlook Express is not your only e-mail option, however. There are
Web-based e-mail providers that are free and most people think are
rather good. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and many others provide free
e-mail accounts. To sign up for one of these free accounts, you need to
use the second mentioned program called Internet Explorer. All you need
to do is start Internet Explorer and then go to the Web site of your
choice to sign up. Here is a link to sign up for a Google G-mail
account: http://mail.google.com/mail/signup. Google, Yahoo,
Microsoft, and many others make it very easy to sign up for a free
e-mail account as you will see once you get to the sign-up page with
The advantage of Web-based e-mail is that you can read and send your
mail from any computer that is connected to the Internet and that has a
Web browser such as Internet Explorer. Outlook Express is specific to
your computer. You can configure Outlook Express on more than one
computer, but you will need that program properly configured to read and
send e-mail if you use Outlook Express as your primary e-mail program.
If you do not travel much, this will not be a problem, because you will
have your laptop at home (or the office) connected to the Internet.
You have already seen one use for Internet Explorer, but there are
many more. Internet Explorer allows you to go to other Web sites using
the Internet. Here is a link to the Section’s Web site, which is
actually a portion of the larger Web site for the New York State Bar
Association: http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Senior_Lawyers_Home&Template=/CustomSource/SectionHome.cfm&Sec=SLS. Don’t
be daunted by its length or complexity. After you learn more about
Internet Explorer, you can “bookmark” the sites you visit
often; “bookmarking” is simply a way of storing that address
on the computer for later use. So, you do not need to remember long,
cumbersome Web site addresses. Perhaps the easiest way to get to the
Section’s Web site the fi rst time is to go the
Association’s home page and navigate to it using the navigation
buttons you will see on the left-hand side of the page. The link to the
Association’s Web site is much simpler: http://www.nysba.org.
Go there and then click on the button “Sections and
Committees” and select our Section on the next page. You should
now be looking at your Section’s Web site. Another option is to
type http://www.nysba.org/SLS. This is called a short URL
and by typing this address in it will send you directly to the Senior
Lawyers Section home page. Don’t forget to bookmark the page.
You should practice a bit on Internet Explorer, because it is how you
can make better use of the Web for obtaining knowledge and information.
Once you feel comfortable you should then go to www.linkedin.com and
open an account and join your Section’s Group. This is another
place where you can learn about what is going on in your Section and
interact with your fellow Section members. We will have more to say
about LinkedIn and other Web-based activities in future articles.
Charles E. Lapp, III
James P. Duffy, III