The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project recently released a report showing that computer and cell phone usage have increased significantly throughout the world, especially in certain countries such as Russia and Argentina. The report also looks at the use of social media and email, and analyzes technology usage by age group and gender. The full report is available here.

Law firms take their holiday cards very seriously--after all, they are marketing tools--but not so seriously that they can't be fun.  Here are some notable cards from the last few years, organized by theme (note: these cards have background music):

  1. The legal-disclaimer-is-funny theme. In 2008 Pillsbury Winthrop made sure the card's recipients were fully apprised of the dangers of snowballs.   This year the Wall Street Journal Law Blog declared Manatt, Phelps & Phillips's card to be the best of the 2010 season. Manatt's card takes a meta approach, humorizing the card design process.  The disclaimer in Manatt's card is very similar to those used in Akin Gump's 2009 card, which won Above the Law's 2009 holiday card contest.
  2. The do-gooders theme. Howard Rice donated the savings from skipping the paper card in 2009 to charity, inviting the recipients of its electronic card to select the charity.  Dickstein Shapiro sponsors an art contest every year at a public high school in Washington D.C. and features the winning artwork on its holiday card.  In 2007,  Stearns Weaver thanked clients for making this really large gift possible.
  3. The solidarity-with-clients theme. Grodsky & Olecki represented some members of the Writers' Guide during the strike in 2007 and reflected that representation in their card.  I would like to see this theme used more often.

Is it just me, or do almost all of these cards feature music written by the same person?

Happy holidays, and please--wear your Snuggie properly.

Have you ever been conducting Internet research, ventured into the reader comments that accompanied a perfectly ordinary article or blog, and been shocked at the level of incivility exhibited by some readers?  I’m not referring to pointless, silly, off-topic, dissenting comments (or the ever-present spam), but rather the kind of comments that make you cringe and suddenly regret wasting your time by spending it in the company of so much litter.  Such comments are especially jarring when embedded in an otherwise engaging and generally thoughtful discussion.  Some readers, apparently empowered by anonymity and with too much time on their hands, feel compelled to use online comments to vent their innermost hatred for, well, pretty much anything.  It’s not new, but it is a disappointing trend that detracts from what otherwise serves as a productive forum for sharing information and opinions; one that is often helpful to researchers.   As a result, many online publications have stopped allowing comments, appointed moderators, or now require readers to register before posting comments.  Despite all the noise, I still value the occasional comment that leads to a great resource or an elusive answer.  The rest just keeps boredom at bay.

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