Saturday, December 12, 2009

Work on litsupport Q&A site started


Here is what the front page will look like:

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. This site contains distilled summaries, in the form of questions and answers.

This site is work in progress, with new questions distilled and added as they appear in litsupport discussions, and old entries updated.

The site is based on the weekly summaries of the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group that have been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Friday, December 11, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 12/13/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. How to break a collection of PDF files into separate bookmarks (each of these PDF files is a compilation of documents that have been bookmarked)?
A.
Q. Sample harvesting plan?

A. Below are the main points that have to be addressed by the plan:
  1. Document the custodians, locations (persons with account & name history, network shares, archives, servers), etc.
  2. Document the time periods (by custodians), and identify backup/storage/archiving technology within the time period of relevance;
  3. Document required level of data preservation versus potential cost, for each period defined above;
  4. Distinguish preservation from harvesting, so that you can efficiently prioritize harvesting, without compromising preservation;
  5. Create a dedicated (non generic) spreadsheet that case manager / data manager can understand and validate.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, August 24, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 08/23/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Advice on dealing with passwords for Excel (and other) files?
A.


  • Office Password Recovery Pro;
  • Passware Kit Enterprise;
  • (a) using known passwords that are used elsewhere, (b) dictionary attack derived from the PC of the user,(c) tools such as Passware for brute-force and hybrid attacks (d) rainbow tables are available for Windows, not sure for Excel;
  • In early versions of Office the password was actually retrievable directly from the file if you knew where to look in a hex dump of the file, see more here;
  • Ask the client up front what they would like to do with password protected files.
Q. Conversion Utility to create PST files from NSF files?
A.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 07/26/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. How to select deduplication options for emails, such as for Outlook (PST) files? For those vendors who do not document it completely (using Clearwell as an example), what can be guessed?
A.
  • Assume that they all (Trident Wave, Law, etc.) dedupe basically the same using MD5 or SHA-1 hash value http://www.secure-hash-algorithm-md5-sha-1.co.uk/ . Assume that Clearwell probably does the same thing. Basically the program looks at a number of fields, FROM, TO CC, SUBJECT and calculates a hash value (like a fingerprint) for the electronic message. Then it runs a comparison of the Hash value so that it can eliminate the duplicates;
  • The problem is getting an exact list of which fields are used can be difficult. Some systems just list them in a selection page and leave it up to you which you want to use. Some problems to watch are: (a) identical header/subject/body content, but different contents of the attachments, (b) use of Microsoft MSGID which can have collisions in as few as as 10,000 email, the reverse issue - systems which are so picky that they only effectively dedupe on entire PST/MSGs, using the path and other delivery/usage MAPI fields so that you still end up with 20+ copies of the lunch notice from all of your custodians. Clearwell seems to be using a good hash of fields. Advice: always run a couple tests on your sample sets;
  • The specific fields used for Law are located in the help file under the dedupe section;
  • Clearwell has a 4-page document that outlines how de-duplication works in their product. A number of fields are used from the email data, these fields are different from those used by LAW or Trident. For loose file de-duplication Clearwell uses some meta fields and the hash of the content which is a different approach to just hashing the content. It can identify files that have the same content but have different filenames and meta fields. The feature is called File Analysis;
  • Clearwell does deduplication differently in version 4.5 then in 4.0, due to foreign language changes;
  • It would be nice to have a standard for deduplication of electronic evidence. However, it would be complicated: there is a legal standard for identifying 'identical evidence' or duplicates, by which a deduplication strategy can be crafted. It is called the 'rules of evidence' in whatever jurisdiction one finds their case. The definition varies by the evidence and nature of the case. Today, this necessitates various options in the processing software and the understanding of them;
  • Can anyone identify a court that explicitly defines, dictates or publishes guidelines for ESI duplicate detection and handling? - Take a look at a well crafted Case Management Order where deduplication was discussed between educated lawyers in the Meet & Confer. The factual underpinnings of the case will define duplicates, and the regimine to be used to de-duplicate or re-populate. Which is why a "universal standard" is utopian.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 07/19/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Retention policy regarding cases that "close," for example on a product such as TrialDirector?
A.
  • One should never just delete the case from all drives when the trial is finished, unless specifically required to do so by a Non-Disclosure Agreement or Court Order. Requests to restore a (TrialDirector) case may come up even years after it was finished. Reasons may include appeals, presentations by attorneys who tried the case, and related matters. Thus general retention policy for larger cases can be "forever," stored on external hard drives. Each drive can hold several cases, and they don't take up very much room. Smaller cases which could be easily re-created can be backed up and stored on CD's or DVD's and included in the case files;
  • Alternatively, based on longer life expectancy for tapes, one can rule out every other media and back everything up to tape, preserving them for a common term of 10 years;
  • A reasonably large case can fit on a 16 Gig flash drive which costs $40.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Analysis of Tennenbaum's case opinions

To offer my private analysis, from the point of Jewish law we are dealing with the case of "asmachta lo kanya," (hint does not acquire), meaning that when people begin to download music with say Kazaa, they don't wholeheartedly agree to possible penalties. Even though technically they click on "I agree," but in their minds they don't really mean it. Then collecting on such promises constitutes taking money illegally.

American law is not Jewish law, and it is more similar to the laws of the people of Sodom, who would band together to steal, each in the amount less than actionable in court. Although what they did was not nice, each one could not be sued.

However, American law is not the law of Sodom either, and technically people can be liable for downloading music. What remains in question is this. According to RIAA, this is the law and it should be enforced. The other side claims that RIAA, its clients, and their lobbying groups influenced the law to be written the way it is. Then the argument is precisely the fairness of the law and if it should be changed to fit the new times.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 07/12/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. EDD Project Tracking Dashboard software?
A.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Friday, July 17, 2009

If Microsoft is close to a partnership with Yahoo...

If the rumors are indeed true, then MS employees may breath a sigh of relief. Leave the money and business to others, but what microsofties need is the permission to use Linux.

I have read an article on the developmenet of the MS search engine, and their biggest problem to me was the requirement to build it on Window 2003 server. They have rewritten the server for the search cluster, but that still was a dead weight.

Politically, they just can't use Linux, that is clear to anyone. MS is even trying to stop their using the iPhone - by not paying for it.

However, if they work with Yahoo, then all bets are off. Even though Yahoo trails Google in search share with 11%, and their Hadoop sorts a terabite three times slower than Google's MapReduce, microsofties could have more freedom and more fun if that comes to fruition.

Monday, July 6, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 07/05/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. TextPipe is a text transformation, conversion, cleansing and extraction tool. Are there any other applications like it?
A.
  • General areas of open-source software are Perl, Sprog, Jitterbit;
  • Learn about ETL and Munging;
  • Linux utilities include grep, awk, gawk, sed;
  • For Microsoft Windows, there are both free, open source versions (Cygwin) and commercial versions (MKS Toolkit).
Q. An Acrobat plug-in for applying a trial exhibit sticker to the first page of various documents in PDF format? More specifically, a stamp that is a replica of a "tabbie sticker" that can be edited with multiple lines of text? An example would be a stamp that contained something like the following:

Plaintiff's Trial Exhibit
PTX 0001
C.A. No. 00-000 (ABC)

A.
  • Scan a sheet of blank Tabbies & then opened the file & select one sticker with the border. You can then copy that image to use as a stamp. Place the "stamp" on the page of the exhibit & resize. You can use the typewriter function to enter whatever text you want;
  • Use Visionary, which is free. You can change the colors of the label - yellow for plaintiffs, and blue for defendants. There are 3 lines for the case number, exhibit number and title. The stamp can be moved on the page. You can then print the page with the color exhibit stamp;
  • IntelliBates (Acrobat plug-in) is fine but time-consuming (and there is no option for a border of an exhibit sticker).

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 06/28/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 06/21/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Court orders Jammie Thomas to pay RIAA $1.92 million


In a surprise decision, the jury imposed damages against Thomas-Rasset, who was originally accused of sharing more than 1,700 songs, at a whopping $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was ultimately found guilty of illegally sharing. One can find an account on CNET news here. There is also a lively tail of comments, discussing whether this is right or wrong and whether Jammie deserved it.

I am not going to talk about the legal merits of the case, but rather venture my understanding of the situation and its possible future consequences.

I don’t think that Jammie’s defense team expected a win. The retrial went through the same arguments as before. If anything, Jammie performed worse than at the first trial, was caught in multiple contradictions, and the defense team did not succeed in their arguments, such as “fair use” theory.

Yet I would say that the defense team may still have walked away a winner. The award sum of 1.92 million is just as uncollectable from Thomas-Rasset as the first verdict of $222,000. And, as comments discuss, it is not even a deterrent, since new potential awards will just go to the end of the queue. Rather, the disproportion and grotesque of the situation became even more obvious than it was before. If the RIAA lawyers realized what public face they are presenting, they should have lost the case.

It would make sense for them to loose, and would create an even better deterrent: for who wants to go through what Thomas-Rasset went through, and a regular letter from RIAA demanding a settlement of around $4,500 is bad enough. Then the public opinion might even conceivably move their way. Had they been even smarter to give her amnesty, they would have won for sure.

However, this requires a free and unorthodox thinking, and in a large bureaucratic hierarchy it is rarely found. The future logic of events will play out without brilliant moves that could potentially slow down or even temporarily reverse the progress of technology.

Enough has been said about the need for the music industry to find a business model which would not put them at odds with their customers. Technology empowerment should not be denied or fought – but understood and harnessed. If you can’t beat them (but hopefully can understand them) – then join them.

Could it be that the defense team who no doubt had Professor Charlie Nesson as a consultant has actually planned it as a strategic move for the next battle?

Monday, June 15, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 06/14/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 06/07/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 05/31/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 05/24/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Impressions from the MIT Forum Cloud Computing in Houston

The conference that met with hindrances for almost two years finally took place today. The turnout was even better than expected, and when the organizer, Roberta Kowalishin, asked people to raise hands as to who was business/technical, cloud novice/intermediate/professional, we saw that all sectors were equally represented.

The part most interesting to me was the panel discussion between Google, Oracle, SalesForce, and BMC leaders.

Scott Perry of Google/Postini said he envied the young start-ups he is seeing today. When he started Postini in 1999, they had to raise the capital of $11M to buy the infrastructure: SUN servers, Oracle databases, and the other expensive components just to start. Now, he said, he envies them who don't need any capital and can create a complete virtual company in the cloud. Everything is outsourced: payroll, CRM, but most importantly the computing power. VC's will be the last to get the new paradigm, because the startups don't need to be capitalized as before.

Equally interesting, though in a different way, was Marc Settle, CIO of BMC. They tried, he said, to dabble into the cloud, but due to various problems with applications and personnel those projects were killed. Thus, BMC could not move into the cloud, although 25% of its applications is delivered as SAAS. Thus, he was somewhat of a counter-example. However, he said that should he be starting a new start-up of 50 people, he would put everything into the cloud and have no infrastructure resources of his own.

Oracle's Bill Hodak explained Oracle's cloud strategy: enabling their software offerings to run in other clouds and help customers run their existing applications in the cloud. An Oracle database on an EC2 server can be provisioned in 10 minutes. But, they don't run their own cloud. As my own speculation, this may very well change with the acquisition of SUN, which includes both SUN server business and the SUN cloud initiative. In fact, SUN grid was one of the first in the industry, but got held up for two years by government regulations. Now Oracle may well take advantage of this work already done – but Oracle is notoriously silent about their plans for SUN.

Davi Levitt of SalesForce.com talked about their 100,00 customers building applications on top of their platform. And he did not mean CRM, but other custom company apps, which they then roll out for tens of thousands of company users.

A funny altercation between SalesForce and Postini occurred when SalesForce's Dave claimed to be the grand-daddy of cloud computing, but Postini/Google Scott vigorously objected.

The overall impression? Despite the significant steps into the cloud (and we are talking about vendors with vested interest), the hype is still on, and the desire to claim first titles is obvious, because the potential is enormous.

Monday, May 18, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 05/17/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Sample interview questions for a litsupport person and practical advice?
A. There is more than one correct answer to the questions below. Tech-centered questions are important, but so are questions that probe a candidate's legal knowledge.
  • What's the difference between an RFA and an RFP?
  • How many days does a party have to respond to a document request in your jurisdiction? State court? Federal court?
  • Are there any locally important issues, cases, or personalties with respect to e-discovery in your jurisdiction? What/who are they? (e.g. we appear> before J. Grimm);
  • Name one case that's important for electronic discovery and/or review, and explain why it's important;
  • What is the best evidence rule?
  • What is a third party subpoena?
  • What differences in approach to data collection, processing, and review, if  any, are there when responding to a third-party subpoena and a subpoena in an active matter of your client's?
  • A partner calls you at 4:30 and says she has a floppy disc with half a dozen files to print before she leaves. You get to her office and find the "floppy" is a DVD and the files are 7 PSTs totalling 4 GB. What do you tell the partner?
  • What is spoliation?
  • How would you document the steps you took for a document production?
  • A lawyer says he has an SEC securities fraud case. The "client's IT guy" has already removed and sent the hard drive from the computer of a trader who recently left the client's firm under questionable circumstances. The lawyer wants your help "to take a look at" what's on the drive. What do you do and what do you tell him?
  • How would you explain slack space and unallocated space to an attorney who was techno-phobic?
  • At an overarching level, look at your own specific needs. Talk to the people doing the job already. Look back at help tickets or problems you've faced in the last month or two;
  • Don't denigrate an entire class of job applicants (e.g. "button pushers" and "load monkeys" [sic]) or go into an interview with a disdain for applicants who can't do X. The good applicants will pick up on that and won't want to work for you;
  • Don't get hung up on whether an applicant knows terms that are reasonably open to synonyms or alternate uses. In one state it may be RFPs and in another - "doc requests";
  • What to look for in a candidate? Willing and able to: adapt workflows to current context; learn just about anything quickly, preferably autodidactic; strong sense of personal accountability; handle stress well (ie: doesn't become a "crab in a basket").
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 05/10/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Sample pst or nsf data that is public and can be used to prepare open presentations, for testing, etc.
A. Enron email dataset in various forms and from various sources:
  • The latest and best can be downloaded from EDRM, other sources include:
  • http://bailando.sims.berkeley.edu/enron_email.html
  • http://www.enronemail.com/
  • http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~enron/


This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, May 4, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 05/03/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. What are the possible approaches to "I want to redact now" need, and can one redact native documents?
A. The editors understand that the topic may be broader than what is addressed in this week's responses. Our goal is to accurately summarize the responses made without adding any material on our own. There are three approaches. We will use the term TIFF, but it applies equally to PDF.
  • TIFF everything up-front, keep it hidden in the database, and "turn it on" when you want to redact. It may be called "TIFF on demand," but in reality the TIFFs are there. The potential downsides are higher processing costs and larger database, which may slow down performance;
  • "Image on the fly" generates TIFF when needed, and one may have to wait while the document is generated, unless the vendor generates individual pages when viewed. Potential issues are documents that are hard to image, such as spreadsheets with pivot tables;
  • "Native redaction" are tools that overlay redactions over the native document, giving more flexibility and allowing to modify redactions. The potential problem to watch is that the coordinates of the redactions must be burned precisely into the image of the document on production.


Q. Should self-promotion with cartoons be allowed in the group, and can the cartoons be considered self-promotion?
A.


Pros: it is fun, and we need fun; we are all vendors here anyway, and litsupport staff too has to "sell" their services to their firms; we are all self-promoting, even a business card or a signature is self-promotion;
Cons: the rules of the group disallow direct promotion; the cartoons are too much pro-business; they are not directly related to the purpose of the group, there are also many buyers here.


This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 04/26/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. How to convert Oracle.DMP to a useable format, such as Excel?
A.
  • Go back to the client and asked if their IT department can export just the data you need to Excel. If that fails...
  • Oradump will convert to Excel without any row limitations, as well to Access or MySQL;
  • Oracle Express is free.You have to do the import from a command line like this (don't use the parentheses in the command): C:\>imp fp/fp file=(name of the DMP file).dmp full=y
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

litsupport summary for the week ending on 04/19/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. JD Edwards is often used for tasks such as accounting, labor and job tracking. Can one forensically get the data from it?
A
  • With any database application, SAP, JD Edwards, etc., you can usually forensically extract the data from behind the scenes. But then it takes an understanding of how that data is calculated, combined, represented, etc. with the interface in order to form opinions on what you are seeing.
  • The other option is to forensically capture the entire server. Then translate the forensic image into a VMWare session to run the server, log into JD Edwards and start your analysis, testing, etc.;
  • Experience proves that without some documentation on the table structure it can be a very daunting task to look at the backend database and make determinations as to what is going on. But through testing, observation and analysis it is possible to understand information in the database that may not be accessible through the interface, information such as the contents of "deleted" records, when transactions occurred, when they were modified, who did the modification, etc.;
  • It is incumbent upon the "requester" to request the data in whatever form it wants to receive the data.  You can hack the files, but don't do it.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 04/12/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. No technology questions of general interest were discussed this week, therefore
A. Happy Passover and Happy Easter.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 04/05/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. PDF to TIFF converter?
A. 
  • Black Ice Printer Driver 
  • PDFDocs
  • ZAN Print
  • AdultPDF 
  • Download.com is a good starting point for this and similar questions.
  • Open PDF files with Adobe Reader, click print to file, select printer as MicroSoft Document Image Writer. Upon clicking OK, you will receive a dialog box asking where to put the file. Name it with the extension of .TIF. Document Image Writer should be part of Office.
  • Omniformat is free. It requires pdf995, a free pdf print driver. You dump the pdfs in a watch directory and launch the program. It follows your naming option from an ini file and you have either single-page or multi-page tiffs. Takes a bit of reading to get it right, but once set up, it's a workhorse.
  • Batch process using Acrobat professional version.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 03/29/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. What new questions were discussed on litsupport this week?
A. Hashing was mentioned - but it was already discussed before. This may be an indicator that the blog is ready to be converted to a web site, if we assume that repeating questions mean that enough information has been accumulated.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 03/22/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Scan a PST for viruses before processing or loading into a database?
A.
  • Avast comes with free trial;
  • ScanPST by Microsoft can be used to repair damaged PST;
  • One should be aware of the forensics implications of using any software that changes the data.
Q. How do firms expect vendors to handle exception files when processing ESI?
A. Following is a list of various approaches, especially valuable since it comes from the practitioners in this area:
  • Each exception is assigned an internal doc id and the exceptions are provided in a report with docid|hash|filename|ExceptionDescription. The exception may be zero byte files, unrecognized type, and password/encryption, and may require manual work;
  • We generate a list of files with enough detail that the client can go back to the custodians and try to collect passwords. This is far more efficient and less costly than brute force password cracking efforts;
  • Remove non user created and system files, process the remainder per the job specs and provide exception reporting. This allows us and the client to understand the status of every single file we received and processed;
  • Review the file and try to TIFF up to four times. Attempt to crack password with dedicated system. For obscure file types, we look for free viewers or license the product so that it can be implemented in the TIFF process. Finally if none of the above works, we provide it in the exception report;
  • Have seen exception files from vendors that were claimed to be "unprocessable" even after hours of manual investigation, but in the hands of another professional they were opened in seconds. The files ended up being a version of CAD that were very much relevant to the matter;
  • There are pros and cons in automatic handling of exception versus more expensive manual handling.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Open-source eDiscovery: FreeEed - initial release announcement

I have released the code for open-source eDiscovery project on Google Code here: http://code.google.com/p/ediscovery/

The project is intended for the first look at small to medium-size discoveries and is building on top of Google Desktop Search. It is currently working in Linux and can be tried on my server here: http://shmsoft.dyndns.org:14000/.

Please to consider that this is the very first release, version 0.1, so there is a lot more work to do. Suggestions and improvements will be welcome. The code is currently available in the download section as a NetBeans project, in zipped file - later on it will use the proper svn on Google code.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 03/15/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Easy way to convert documents from WordPerfect to Word?
A. 
  • MS Word "WPD" converter plug in;
  • Block & copy the entire text, then in Word do a Paste Special--> Unformatted Text operation, then apply the appropriate styles. Sounds hard, but it is the best thing in the long run since you don't spend tons of time figuring out what was going wrong. It the also the best way to go from Word to WordPerfect.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 03/08/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Tools for Lotus to PST conversion?
A.


This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, March 2, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 03/01/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport  each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. No advice of lasting value this week?
A. No

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Perennial Favorite - Top 20 replies by Programmers to Testers when their programs don't work

20. "That's weird..."
19. "It's never done that before."
18. "It worked yesterday."
17. "How is that possible?"
16. "It must be a hardware problem."
15. "What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?"
14. "There is something funky in your data."
13. "I haven't touched that module in weeks!"
12. "You must have the wrong version."
11. "It's just some unlucky coincidence."
10. "I can't test everything!"
9. "THIS can't be the source of THAT."
8. "It works, but it hasn't been tested."
7. "Somebody must have changed my code."
6. "Did you check for a virus on your system?"
5. "Even though it doesn't work, how does it feel?
4. "You can't use that version on your system."
3. "Why do you want to do it that way?"
2. "Where were you when the program blew up?"
1. "It works on my machine"

Monday, February 23, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 02/22/08

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport  each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. What is the best way to record an audio of something that plays on a website?
A

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 02/15/08

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. How to create a listing (spreadsheet) of all folders, subfolders and network paths for files on various network drives?
A
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, February 9, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 02/08/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Clean up a noisy audio file, such as wav and rcd formats?

Q. Extract the audio portion of police in-car videos - they are in an .avd file format?
A. Assuming that one can play the .avd file on one's computer, use Audacity (freeware). It will record ANYTHING audio that is playing. Use the "Stereo Mix" setting and export as a .wav file.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, February 2, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 02/01/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Accessing Yahoo and Google Email Accounts?
A.
  • For Gmail set up Outlook with an IMAP connection. This is better than POP3 because it will translate the "labels" in Gmail to folders in Outlook. It also enables you to selectively download messages based on those labels. POP3 does not offer this functionality at all- all messages would just download to the inbox in Outlook. Step-by-step to set up IMAP in various mail clients. Yahoo offers POP3 access only and requires a paid account;
  • GMail Backup;
  • Fetchmail and fetchYahoo;
  • Be mindful of the Storage Communications Act, verify having the rights to use the user name, password. and obtained information.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 01/25/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. Nothing of permanent technological value?
A. None.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner (mkerzner@top8.biz) and edited by Aline Bernstein (aline.bernstein@gmail.com).

litsupport summary for the week ending on 01/18/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. How reliable is MD5 or other hash signatures, in view of recent findings?
A. 
  • Security researchers were able to generate MD5 collisions and use them to forge SSL certificates. This means that two different files had the same MD5 signatures. It took a lot of computing power and research effort;
  • MD5 can still be used for deduping, since manipulating MD5 for deduping requires to much effort, and hiding the data can be achieved in other, easier ways;
  • MD5 collision can potentially be used to hide key evidence, by replacing the contents of the file and giving it the same MD5 signature, but this forgery also can be detected, or done in other, simpler ways – if one wants to take the risk of forging altogether;
  • currently SHA1 is considered more secure and can be used without objections, if computational resources allow it.

Q. Inexpensive and reliable OST to PST conversion software ?
A. 
  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/libpff/ 
  • http://www.transend.com/ 
  • http://www.nucleustechnologies.com/exchange-ost-recovery.html 
  • Review the OST file natively in PST Walker http://www.pstwalker.com 
  • OfficeRecovery  http://www.officerecovery.com/

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner and edited by Aline Bernstein.

Monday, January 12, 2009

litsupport summary for the week ending on 01/11/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.


Q. Free or low-cost software utilities for litsupport education and use?
A. Here are some of the most popular:
  1. http://www.philweldon.com/ - a complete list;
  2. Robocopy (Robust File Copy) - Command Line File Copier
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy (for utility see page's External Links section);
  3. Teracopy;
  4. 7 zip - open source zip;
  5. jZip - a free WinZip alternative;
  6. Bulk Rename Utility;
  7. Audacity - Digital Audio File Editor;
  8. BackStreet Browser - Free Offline Browser / WebSite Downloader;
  9. Slice Audio File Splitter;
  10. eLawExchange;
  11. Irfanview;
  12. CaseMakerX - a social network for law students and lawyers, free legal research.
Q. Uber-quick informal EDD processing survey.A. Survey results.


This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner (mkerzner@top8.biz) and edited by Aline Bernstein (aline.bernstein@gmail.com).

litsupport summary for the week ending on 01/04/09

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. How reliable is MD5 in light of this new discovery that SSL certificates can be forged backed on MD5 collision?
A. There are different aspects to this:
  1. It is possible to find another file with different content and with the same MD5 signature, but it is computationally very hard and requires deep technological expertise;
  2. If somebody uses SHA1 or other more advanced signatures, or SHA1 in combination with MD5, it is impractical to hack it;
  3. MD5 can still be used for deduplication, since hacking this process is more unlikely than falsifying individual evidence file;
  4. Since documents are authenticated by litigants and not only by hash values, and since there are many experts and many copies floating around, falsification based on MD5 collision is far-fetched;
  5. The area is still open to research, since hash signatures are used to analyze emails and other documents where byte-by-byte comparison is not adequate.
This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner (mkerzner@top8.biz) and edited by Aline Bernstein (aline.bernstein@gmail.com).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reason for current economic crisis

I think I know the reason for our current economic crisis. Let me illustrate it with a story, by way of example.

One morning I needed to find the phone of my doctor. I remembered full well that it comes up in the first page Google search results. If I just type his first and last name, then Houston TX, I get his phone address and phone. I usually misspell his name, but Google fixes that, suggests the correct spelling, and in fact shows the correct results anyway.

This morning, however, I did not want to wake my family members in any of the rooms that had a computer and I called 1411 on AT&T. I was greeted by an answering machine that asked for city and state. Then it asked the for business name, only to transfer me to the operator.

The operator, it has to be mentioned, knew what I was looking for, but he could not spell it. After a few attempts at spelling, he transfered my to another operator. This lady said that there was no such listing. When I told her that I had this number yesterday, she asked for the business name. I knew the name of this business office much less that the doctor's name. And I did not know the exact address either, so I could not help her. I hanged up after 15 minutes of wasting theirs and mine time.

Now, if any one of them looked it up on Google, they would have the answer, and the spelling problems would be resolved by Google also. But it must be a matter of pride for the telephone company to not allow them to use Internet, and they had to use their slow, cumbersome, and inefficient system - and we found nothing. I am sure they have spent many millions building the system.

Now I can posit the reason. Since AT&T is paying their operators for the time, and the same result can be had free and fast on the Internet, AT&T is wasting its money. Eventually, they will have to fire somebody, possibly those same operators, or somebody else.

However, this is just one example. I am quite sure that there are many areas of industry where new ways of getting information and doing things are so much faster and cheaper than the old ones that those companies that don't or can't switch are bound to keep bleeding money and to eventually downsize or outright fail.

Moreover, it is happening fast, since in the today's world which is interconnected everything is happening at Internet speed. Already travel agents can't compete with online information access, and real estate agents are following soon.

The subprime crunch and the mortgage crisis are therefore not the reasons, but only the consequences. They were the last attempts to try to make money with old means, and the pile-up and the subsequent crash exacerbated the situation but did not cause it.

Is there anything that can be done? Really, no. Everything will somehow shrink and shed the fluff, the old generation will go away into retirement, and the new one which has grown up digitally will start from the low point to go up. But the good side is that going up will probably be as fast as going down.