Tool Tip: WordWeb is Free Offline Dictionary and Thesaurus That Works Great With Scrivener

Admittedly, my favorite thesaurus is my Old School desk copy with its duct tape and stickies and notes written in the margins.  However, I don't want to carry this thing with me everywhere I go, which means I need a good on-screen Thesaurus and Dictionary.

If I'm online, then Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com work just fine.  However, if I don't want to open up an internet browser just to check for a synonym or a definition, I am stuck.  Or I used to be.

WordWeb Review:  I Like It.  I Really Like It. 

For the past week or two, I've been trying out WordWeb it's working out well.  Best thing?  It hangs out on my desktop toolbar, and I can access it even when I'm not online.

Which is great for many reasons including these two:
  1. WordWeb offers more to me than Scrivener does because Scrivener (a) has no internal dictionary or thesaurus, which I miss from my switch to Scrivener from Word; and (b) I'm not forced to go online via the Scrivener tool to access a thesaurus.
  2. If I'm writing, then I'm focused on the task at hand.  It's really (REALLY) tempting sometimes to go check email or jump onto Pinterest for a quick looksie when Scrivener brings me online to use a thesaurus.  WordWeb protects me from this temptation.  

Now, is WordWeb as great as my trusty print version?  Nope.  

It's a nice tool, though, and I think you might find it helpful, too.

Plus, the price is right.  It's free.

Check out more at CNET -- where WordWeb has been rated "spectacular" by the CNET editors and has received a five-star rating by over 1200 users.


YELP Online Reviews: Virginia Appeals Court Forces YELP to Identify 7 Anonymous Reviewers Who Wrote Bad Reviews

Those who wrote anonymous negative reviews placed upon the YELP online review site are no longer protected from being identified, rules a Virginia appellate court in Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, Inc., v. John Doe #1, et al. (Read the complete opinion below.)

Precedent-Setting Case: Anonymous Reviewers Must Be Identified by Yelp.com

The Virginia Court of Appeals has set precedent in a case where the owner of a carpet cleaning company, Joe Hadeed, sued Yelp and seven John Does (anonymous reviewers) because Mr. Hadeed believes that seven (7) anonymous reviews placed on Yelp.com about his company, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, Inc., have hurt his business.

Hadeed wants Yelp to reveal the identities of the seven anonymous reviewers, in order to enable him to prove that they were not customers of his business and therefore had placed reviews on the online review site that were false, defamatory, and illegal.

Yelp, represented by Public Citizen, argued that the anonymity of the seven reviewers is protected by the First Amendment and that their names should remain secret. Yelp argued that before identities are revealed, the court must determine if the plaintiff’s claim of defamation is viable. This argument failed at trial and the appellate court has now confirmed that these anonymous bad reviews aren’t going to receive constitutional protection.

The Virginia appeals court found that the trial court judge did not abuse his discretion by holding Yelp in civil contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena duces tecum served upon it by Hadeed. Yelp must provide the identities behind the seven bad reviews to Hadeed.

The anonymous reviews, which claimed that Hadeed Carpet Cleaning was guilty of false advertising in its offers of low prices for carpet cleaning, were consumer reviews that would violate Yelp’s Terms of Service if they were written by people who were not actual customers of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning.

What the Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Case Against YELP Means To You 

This Virginia case may change how online reviews for goods and services are treated not only in Virginia but in other states around the country. By requiring Yelp to reveal the names of the seven anonymous reviewers, bad reviews left online are not as safe from the writers having their identities revealed as in times past. (Note: we don’t know if there are really seven different people here. This could boil down to one person who has posted online using seven different IP addresses from different devices.)

1. Anonymous Reviewers Aren’t As Safe From Revelation 

Anonymous reviews left on YELP or other review sites may not be protected if their anonymity is legally challenged. This means anyone writing a negative review online should be aware that if they don’t want to leave their name as a reviewer, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be identified in the future.

Anonymous isn’t as anonymous anymore. Critics argue that this ruling may discourage people from leaving valid criticism of bad service with online review sites. Others argue that trial judges are going to be making the privacy decisions here, and legitimate, honest negative reviews aren’t the target here. It’s fake bad reviews left behind the mask of the name “Anonymous” that judges will allow to be disclosed.

2. Businesses Victimized By Bad Reviews Have Increased Ability to Fight Back 

Bad reviews that are real are one thing. Bad reviews that are fake, and placed on a review site with the intent to hurt and harm a business, are another.  This case may help companies, including law firms, protect themselves in the future from the real harm that can come from fraudulent online negative reviews.

Update:  The Atlantic reports that Yelp will be appealling to the Virginia Supreme Court.  Stay tuned.

 Read the Virginia Opinion here:


Public Domain Images: The Getty Trust Provides over 40,000 Public Domain Images in its Open Content Program

The Getty Trust and the Getty Research Institute have been building the Getty's Open Content Program, where more and more images are being provided to us all as public domain images digitized and published online.

Here are two examples from their release:

Belisaruis by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard 

President Lincoln, United States Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Antietam

From one of their announcements:
Imagine being able to pore over a sketchbook by Jacques-Louis David in minute detail, to investigate Mayan, Aztec, and Zapotec ruins in Mexico, or to study the costumes and social mores at Versailles. All of these things are possible with today’s addition to the Open Content Program, which includes 5,400 artwork images from the collections of the Getty Research Institute—bringing the total number of available images to over 10,000.
These high-resolution images span centuries and continents, and include artists’ sketchbooks, drawings and watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks, and early photographs of the Middle East and Asia. Over the coming months, we’ll supplement these images with other material critical to the study of art history, including artists’ books and letters, stockbooks of famous art dealers, documentary photographs of art and monuments in situ from around the world, important historical treatises, and archives of famous artists, photographers, and collectors.

They do ask that you respect their wishes, detailed here, which include the following:

Attribution to the Getty

Please use the following source credit when reproducing an image:  Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.


Public Domain Images: British Library Shares 1,000,000 Free Public Domain Images From Book Illustrations

Recently, the British Library uploaded 1,000,000 public domain images (that's right: 1,000,000) that their hard-working librarians have taken from books published between 1600 and 1900 A.D.

They've all been uploaded to Flickr.

Go to Github to get the manifest.

The images have been collected as part of the British Library's "Mechanical Curator."

Here are a couple of examples:

Note:  You may have some hurdles in getting the image from Flickr to your blog platform.  Hint:  choose to "share" the image in the right sidebar of the Flickr page.  


Cool Public Domain Images: Free Photographs of Golden Age Movie Stars on Wikimedia Commons (Publicity Stills)

Images are becoming more and more important for websites and blogs, given the growing popularity of Pinterest and Google+, among other social media sites.  Finding quality photographs to accompany your words isn't hard to do on the web; however, tracking down great images in the public domain is not as easy.

You want public domain images because they are free to use.  Images (photos, infographics, clip art, etc.) are protected by copyright laws and they are not free for your use in your blog post or on your web page unless the creator has released their copyright, or the copyright protections do not apply for some reason.

For instance, federal government images are not protected by copyright and you are free to use images found at sites like NASA and the CDC.  

Publicity Stills: Another Source of Public Domain Images

Another great find for public domain images:  publicity stills that are in the public domain.  Like Fred Astaire dancing in promotion of the film "Daddy Long Legs" above, of the image below of Elvis Presley promoting "Jailhouse Rock."

Granted, both of these images are of stars dancing but maybe I'm in a dancing mood this morning - it's the first working day of 2014 and I'm excited about this year!  However, you can find lots of other great photographs to choose from by going to Wikimedia Commons and searching for "film stills"  or "publicity photos."  Lots to choose from - with famous faces and people doing things other than dancing.

These Hollywood Golden Era movie stills are free from copyright protection and in the public domain because they were published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and any copyright was not renewed.  However, publicity stills by definition are generated for publicity and many, like news releases, are disseminated for widespread use with a release of copyright in order to promote an actor or a movie or a TV show.

You need to check before using newer images, however.  For details on more recent imagery, visit CreativeClearance.  Newer film stills may retain their copyright and you'll need to pay for their use in your publication (and a blog is an online publication).

From Wikimedia Commons:
As explained by Additional source information: This is a publicity photo taken to promote a film actor. As stated by film production expert Eve Light Honathaner in The Complete Film Production Handbook, (Focal Press, 2001 p. 211.):  "Publicity photos (star headshots) have traditionally not been copyrighted. Since they are disseminated to the public, they are generally considered public domain, and therefore clearance by the studio that produced them is not necessary."


Google+ : One Very Big Reason Why Bloggers Should Use Google Plus

Google Plus is getting more and more traffic and more and more users … and while lots of my clients tell me that they don’t have time, and don’t see the need, to get involved in social media, it’s important to remember that Google+ is not the same as other forms of social media out there.

Lawyers blogging on the web, as well as other bloggers, may not have time for Twitter or the desire to be personally involved on Facebook (or trust Facebook, for that matter), and these are valid concerns. 

However, in 2014, it’s going to be good for anyone committing time and money to blogging to become involved on Google+. 

Which means, even if you ignore Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and Pinterest and all the other social sites out there, you might want to consider Google+ as being worth your time investment.

Why Is GooglePlus important for Bloggers? 

Report Finds Google+ Plus Ones Second Only to Page Authority in Getting Ranking in Google Search Results

If you want to be in the top search results in Google’s Search Engine, and most everyone does since Google is the dominant search site (overwhelmingly so over competitors like Bing, Ask, and Yahoo), then Google+ can help you.

Here’s how: when content is mentioned in Google+, those in the know are reporting that Google Search Results will rank those GooglePlus mentions higher in the search results than the original content source site. Content is mentioned in Google+ via “plus ones”— this is where a Google+ post (and remember GooglePlus is a blog post really, see my earlier post on this here) placed upon GooglePlus and published there in a Google+ profile entry is then “liked” via some other GooglePlus member (or you, because you can +1 your own fine self).

Moz.com has studied Google search results, and has found that +1s (plus ones) on GooglePlus are very (VERY) high in getting content to the top in Google Search Results. 

In fact, Moz.com found that Google Plus Ones are the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in how a site is ranked in Google Search. Only page authority has more power. Here’s an excerpt from Moz.com’s chart showing how Google+ impacts Google Search Results:

GooglePlus. moz.com, seo
Screenshot of the Moz.com 2013 Report  

To review the entire 120 leading search marketers' expert opinions on over 80 ranking factors, combined by Moz.com into their 2013 Correlation Study, click on the image above.  

Want to place an invitation to "plus one" your blog content in Google Plus on your blog?  Here are the instructions from Google's Developers for placing a PlusOne button on your site.  

Happy 2014