I’ve written about Noterize before, and while I love it’s ability to annotate like Goodreader without the insane learning curve, today it won my heart for it’s ability to spank Keynote as my slide maker of choice.
I had a small civil suit in district court today, and while I won’t comment on the bittersweet outcome, I will say it was a learning experience. It was also a day of firsts. The first time I used my iPad 2 as my only means of presenting my case, and organizing my evidence, and also my first time presenting my case with the use of a projector. Oh, and it was also my first trial!
Needless to say it could’ve gone smoother. I could have set up quicker, navigated better, and generally been more polished with my presentation. I could have also handled my questioning better, thought faster on my feet, and dodged leading questions and redirect better. To make matters worse I was up against one of the sharpest attorneys in town whose legal experience alone was old enough to be my father! I got home this evening feeling like I’d been pimp-slapped for two hours straight. Now that the bleeding has stopped, I can finally feel a little excited for what I did right today.
I purchased Keynote specifically for presenting evidence at this trial. What a piece of junk this thing was to me. I’m generally a fan of all Apple products, and have drafted my share of pleadings in Pages, but Keynote pissed me off pure and simple. You can’t load PDF files into this app?! After trying to import my files from DropBox into the app for 30 minutes I gave up and Googled. From what I found if you want PDF slides in Keynote you have to load them as a screenshot in jpeg format! What junk.
So out $10 and fully disgusted I turned to my Noterize app I’d fallen in love with these last couple weeks. It seamlessly integrates with DropBox, imports PDFs, and let’s me annotate the documents. I was able to highlight pertinent parts of certain documents and draw the Court’s attention to certain pieces of evidence.
The best part of Noterize was that every piece of information or file I imported from DropBox immediately became it’s own slide. A single picture like the one here was automatically it’s own slide. A ten page lease became ten slides in an instant. I didn’t have to mess with formatting individual slides like in Keynote, unless I wanted to.
The trick to Noterize, and something that gave me a few fits (especially with shaky hands), was that if you just want to run it like a slideshow then you need to make sure that none of the tools are activated at the top like the write, highlight, text box, or eraser tool. If any of them are engaged then you’ll look silly erasing all the highlighting marks you just made! If however none are active then a swipe of your finger across the page will bring on the next page or slide for our purposes.
I used my brother’s projector with an HDMI input along with the new Apple digital adapter and a 20 foot HDMI cable from Radio Shack that allowed me to give the judge and counsel a closer look at evidence on my iPad 2 while staying connected to the projector at all times.
It turned out to be a very easy setup. I toted the whole show in a medium-sized Rubbermaid tote that held everything easily and weighed about 15 pounds, a far cry from having to take an extra car to load the laptop, stand, projector, and bankers boxes of files. It took two minutes to set up. I definitely felt a lot less obnoxious this way, although I’m sure if my colleague is reading this he’d be happy to correct me!
One caveat to using Noterize, and I’m not positive that this is even the app’s fault, is that I was unable to pinch-zoom like I could with viewing files in DropBox. Unfortunately I stalled a little early on when I made this discovery in the middle of the trial. It made bad pictures a little less useful because I could not blow them up for the Court. Another tip: make sure tilt lock is turned on when you start using the Ipad for trial projection. Invariably a document you scanned will be upside down, and instinctively you’ll try to turn it right side up, and look like an idiot doing it! Turn on rotation lock and if the judge wants a closer look he can follow his instincts and not become irritated with your newfangled gadget as my opposing counsel did.
Overall I’m pleased with How I brought tech to the courtroom today. With a lot of ibuprofen and time to reflect I can say that we recovered a judgment for less than we wanted, but I guess I can still chalk it up as a win – my first win aided by tech!