Litigation Support Tip of the Night

January 22, 2016

Here's a brief breakdown of the most widely used interfaces for computing devices. 


Back in the olden days, parallel ports were used which could reach a bit rate of up to 2 MB per second.  These were commonly used with PCs to attach printers. 


SCSI interfaces (Small Computer System Interfaces) are used to attach peripherals to computers, and can transfer data at 80 MBs per second.   More than one device can be attached via a single SCSI port. 



 ATA or (IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics) connects hard disk drives and CD-ROM drives and can transfer up to 100 MBs per second.   


Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) supports data transfer at 3 GBs per second.    Note that serial connections transfer data in a single stream in contrast to parallel interfaces. 


Serial ATA (SATA) runs at 150 MBs per second. 



January 17, 2016

After running a command in the Windows command prompt, you may find it helpful to be able to quickly copy out the data that has been generated there.  In order to do this, follow these steps:


1.  Right click on the title bar where you see the path for the Command Prompt executable file, and select 'Properties'.   See Fig. 1.


2. On the Options tab, in the 'Edit Options' section, check off 'Quick Edit Mode'.   See Fig. 2. 


3.  Click 'OK' and you can then just click and drag the cursor around the text you want to copy.   See Fig. 3.


4.  Right click and the selected text will be copied to the clipboard.   You can then paste it into a text editor. 



January 16, 2016

Shingling is a method of determining the degree of similarity between two electronic files by measuring how many n-grams the two have in common.  N-grams are sequences of a set number of words that appear in a text file that are created so that the second word of the present n-gram is always the first word of the succeeding n-gram.   So n-grams for this phrase, where n=3 (or where we want to generate 'trigrams'):


Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.


. . . would be:


Now is the

is the time

the time for

time for all

for all good

all good men

good men to

men to come

to come to

come to the

to the aid

the aid of

aid of their

of their party


The idea is to create word groupings that overlap with one another.  If you want to generate n-grams download the Win32 version of the N-gram extraction tool on this site: 


Just download the zip file and extract the files to a folder.    Save the text file that you want to analyze in the same folder,  CTRL + SHIFT and right click in the folder, and select 'Open command window here'.    In the command prompt type:


text2ngram -n3 now.txt


. . . 'now.txt' being the name of the file you want to generate n-grams for.   You'll get the results shown in this screen grab: 




December 27, 2015

In Power Pivot it will help to know how to run a DAX function that is the equivalent of the commonly employed VLOOKUP formula in Excel.    The DAX LOOKUPVALUE function is particularly useful because it allows you to enter two criteria to search against the table from which you want to pull data.   So the basic format is:


= LOOKUPVALUE( Table[OutputColumn], Table[LookupColumn1], “SearchValue1”,  Table[LookupColumn1],  “SearchValue2”)


'Table[OutputColumn]' contains the value from the table you're pulling data from.  'Table[LookupColumn1]'  is the first column from that Table that you're looking for a match from. 'SearchValue1' contains an entry from the table you're working in that is adjacent to the present cell.  The second 'Table[LookupColumn1]' is the second column from that Table that you're looking for a match from, to another cell in table you're working in (adjacent to the other cell from which something in the first 'Table[LookupColumn1] is found) that is defined as 'SearchValue2'. 


So in my Consumer_Complaints table imported into Power Pivot there are certain sub-products for which we are focusing on particular issues that have been designated Code Red and Code Blue.    


[the two tables appear as separate worksheets in Power Pivot].     This screen grab above shows the table that we're pulling data from.  When there are adjacent cells from the Sub-product and Issue columns from the 'Consumer_Complaints' table that are either both, 'Other mortgage' and 'Settlement process and costs', OR 'Auto' and 'Communication tactics', you get a hit.  The function that is entered in the formula box for a new column to contain the returned data is:


= LOOKUPVALUE( Book1[F3], Book1[F1], Consumer_Complaints[Sub-product],  Book1[F2],Consumer_Complaints[Issue])




It will autofill for all rows in the Power Pivot table as soon as it is entered, and you get the results in 'Calculated Column 1'.   When entering the formula, you'll benefit from Power Pivot's ability to automatically find the fields as you type them in. 


See this demonstration video:





November 26, 2015

Certain folders in Windows can't be accessed even through you have full administrative rights to them.   These may be junction points.  Junction points differ from ordinary link (.lnk) shortcut files in that they only allow for a folder to point to a local file, not a shared network folder, and clicking on them won't bring you to a different location.   You will just get an access denied message, and there will be a small lock on the folder icon.


One of the purposes of junction points is to make older software work in Windows, after the folder struture has changed.   Windows 7 contains a junction point at, C:\Documents and Settings that points points to C:\Users.  Don't be thrown off by junction points when performing data collection. 

April 24, 2015

The AirDrop feature on iOS devices (swipe up and click the inverted wifi icon) can be used to transfer data to another iOS device that is within 10 meters.   Data transfers of up to 10 GBs have been reported.  This is a great way for BYOD attorneys to pass data around on the go.



April 21, 2015

For excellent comparisons of e-discovery vendors visit: AND

April 19, 2015

4/19/65: Moore's Law says that the no. of transistors on a chip will double every 2 yrs. But see:

April 18, 2015

If an external hard drive is in FAT32 format you will not be able to copy over files larger than 4GB. Reformat to NTFS.

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Sean O'Shea has more than 15 years of experience in the litigation support field with major law firms in New York and San Francisco.   He is an ACEDS Certified eDiscovery Specialist and a Relativity Certified Administrator.

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