Around the Blawgosphere: Amazon Cloud Crash, Content Marketing, What the Law Prof Ate for Breakfast

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Shaken Confidence in the Cloud

Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, which hosts a number of Web operations, crashed at 4:41 p.m. ET on Thursday, which affected some legal blogs.

“Amazon Cloud Crash is pissing me off,” Seattle lawyer and blogger Bill Marler tweeted (JPG) at the time, noting that both Marler Blog and Food Safety News were temporarily down.

The outage had Stragetic Legal Technology’s Ron Friedmann asking in a tweet: “Will Amazon AWS / EC2 failure today crimp cloud computing? Will law firms will use this to avoid, forgetting downtime of own systems?” Yes and yes, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog’s Greg Lambert tweeted back.

“Live in the cloud—die in the cloud,” Rick Georges wrote at FutureLawyer, noting as others have that the crash illustrates a problem with putting enterprise services in the cloud. “Think of what you will do to stay in business if the Internet goes down for a day or two. Or, Lord forbid, a week or two. Are you ready?”

A’s, B’s and Blood Sugar

It was this week that ABAJournal.com and many bloggers got wind of a 10-month Israeli study of eight judges that found the judges were more likely to grant parole at the start of each day and immediately after breaks during which the judge could eat.

University of California-Los Angeles law professor Stephen Bainbridge noted the study at ProfessorBainbridge.com and could see the truth in it.

“I’d point to this study as a reason for preferring multiple choice machine graded exams” over essay exams, Bainbridge wrote. “I know from personal experience (dirty laundry being aired here) that the time of day affected how carefully I read essay exams. So did my mood, blood sugar levels, and so on. I’m not sure that the effect always cut in a specific direction. Being tired often probably meant leniency (not having to worry about justifying one’s grade) but being hungry or grumpy probably meant being tougher (bad mood).”

Content Marketing at What Cost?

Jason Wilson, vice president of Jones McClure Publishing in Houston writes at his blawg rethinc.k that a trend among lawyers to focus their writings on SEO and branding rather than scholarly topics will do the profession harm.

“You see, until recently lawyers used to write weighty tomes,” Wilson writes. But “writing about the law—what used to be an educational and somewhat prideful endeavor—is now merely a part of lead generation.”

The continuance of this trend would ultimately hurt lawyers in smaller practices the most, Wilson writes.

“Large law will compensate for the dearth of comprehensive analytical content by creating its own and using it in-house, or selling it to others at a steep cost. … Small law and solos will struggle to find similar materials and will fall behind intellectually.”

Say Your Name, Say Your Name

This week, both Paul Kennedy at The Defense Rests and Mirriam Seddiq at Not Guilty talked about their decisions to moderate comments posted to their respective blawgs. Kennedy aims to keep his blawg from turning into “a forum for the SEO whores out there.” Seddiq decided that she’d had it with anonymous commenters.

“Your advice means nothing to me if I don’t know whether I should take it—are you a high school kid on the debate team, a lawyer who just graduated last year and feels that they should be able to advise the rest of us on how this system and this profession works, or a real live lawyer who has fought in the trenches and has something of substance to say?” she wrote.

Scott Greenfield noted Seddiq’s post at Simple Justice with understanding for Seddiq’s sentiments. But in Greenfield’s moderated comment stream, Constitutional Daily’s BL1Y spoke up for his own anonymity:

“A lot of criticism against anonymous comments to me feels like a bit of ‘I have enough job security to use my real name, so my opinions carry more weight than yours,’” BL1Y wrote. “In the world of law, where firms are hyper-PC and check your Facebook profile for embarrassing photos, anonymity just makes sense. Why risk losing your job because you hold an unpopular opinion about diversity, or Israel, or SEC football?”

Greenfield’s response: “Having expressed an opinion or two here, and having taken my lumps for it, I’m not particularly sympathetic about the right to speak out while bearing no consequences for one’s opinion. I like consequences. It keeps people honest. That said, I leave it to each individual to decide whether they have the stones for their views.”

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