Tech We’re Using: An Investigative Arsenal: Power Chargers, Document Analysis Tools and More


I have traditionally used Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, as it has good optical character recognition tools, which index the words on each page, allowing you to do word searches. More recently, I have been trying out a service called Logikcull, created for law firms to do document discovery work but useful when trying to analyze and annotate piles of documents that I get via Freedom of Information Act requests, which in some cases can run to 18,000 pages. Document Cloud is also a tremendous tool.

I have a simple but low-tech trick for keeping track of documents. As I extract individual emails, other documents or audio files, I name them this way: “2017_4_24 Pruitt NMA Naples Fla Calendar Entry.” That date format means that if you have, say, 20 documents in a folder, they will automatically line up chronologically. It is a super fast way to have a timeline of all your primary source documents, and makes it easy to find them instantly in chronological order. Try it out. It is pretty cool.

Away from the office, what tech product do you and your family love?

I am pretty low tech when not working. I have concluded I prefer to read books on paper. I ride my bike all around Washington. And I find all those Alexa and Google Home devices sort of creepy and unnecessary. I do have an Ecobee thermostat with extra sensors in our house that targets heating or cooling only to rooms that are occupied.

What could be better with some of the tech tools you use?

Trint is a tremendous technology. But it is still not perfect, particularly if the recording is not really sharp.

Similarly, Logikcull is a super cool tool. But I think it needs to be tweaked before it can fully address my needs, such as being able to upload and optically recognize that 4,366-page FOIA response I got this month. I tried that and was told to break it up into 100-page chunks. (Not worth the effort, although the company told me that it would soon be able to handle bigger documents.)

Most annoying: the fan on my ThinkPad laptop. It never seems to turn off. It is always running hot. Guess I am a power user.


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