New products and services

vendor_photoThe purpose of this section is to provide newsworthy information on reporter related products and technologies. This column is for our readers to use in their research. NCRA does not endorse or critically review these products and services in any way. The following briefs were provided by the companies and manufacturers. This section is a recurring feature, and the JCR invites parties interested in making announcements to send their news items to JCR advertising and editorial coordinator Amy Law at alaw@ncra.org.

 ACCULAW

vendor_acculaw

800-251-5529 / www.acculaw.com

Acculaw has been in business for 28 years, and for the past 20 years, it has provided billing and scheduling software for agencies that want to manage their business in a more efficient and easier way. Acculaw’s recently released version of its software is now Web-based and compatible with the latest Windows operating systems. EZ Schedule, one of the software features, produces a printed schedule on confirmed and unconfirmed jobs for any date range, as well as job announcements for subcontractors via email, smartphone, or computer. EZ Invoice produces invoices, past due bills, and statements in each company’s own format. In addition, it produces commission amounts for a company’s subcontractors automatically. EZ Store produces content complete with descriptions such as ordered, completed, delivered, and notes from agency, client, and subcontractors. EZ Manage generates many reports, including by amounts, time constraints, and performance. EZ Share uses free software to send compressed/encrypted content to clients.

ADVANTAGE SOFTWARE

vendor_advantage

800-800-1759 / sales@eclipsecat.com

The Passport Touch, the newest innovation from Advantage Software, made its debut at NCRA’s 2013 Convention & Expo. The Touch offers a touch screen that can be tucked away while writing, a built-in microphone, a keyboard with adjustableheight vowel, and StenoMagic keys, not to mention sleek lines and a broad skin selection. In addition, the Touch allows the user to visibly track shadows and adjust the sensitivity of keys in the middle of a job. It has built-in Bluetooth and wifi, 32 GB of memory, and multiple audio backups for extra security. Advantage also displayed the Touch’s Re-Writer, which lets the user change antistacking and key-sensitivity settings even after writing a job – and automatically rewrites it with the new settings. Eclipse can run on a Windows 8 tablet that fits perfectly atop the writer. Finally, the Passport Touch comes with free software upgrades.

APTARA

vendor_aptara

302-864-0664 / www.aptaracorp.com

Deposition summary provider Aptara professionally summarizes more than 400 transcripts per day for court reporting companies nationwide. The company also summarizes medical records for its court reporting clients. According to company representatives, Aptara brings its medical legal expertise to negligence, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, disability, environmental, medical device, pharmaceutical, toxic tort, class actions, and multidistrict litigation. Aptara routinely prepares detailed, targeted, and price-effective medical record summaries, including:

  • Clean and organized scans of medical records
  • Medical bills itemized by provider
  • Medical record timelines
  • Medical care summaries

Aptara will customize medical records summaries depending on the specific needs of the case or project and phase of litigation, ensuring comprehensive analysis.

COLLEGE OF COURT REPORTING

vendor_ccr

866-294-3974 / nicky.rodriquez@ccr.edu

The College of Court Reporting’s ev360 Professional platforms offer students and working professionals an educationally sound and proven approach to skill and speed development. According to company representatives, v360 Professional is the product of more than 30 years of authentic court reporting educational practices. The platform was designed and developed by highly trained educators and professionals who are responsible for producing hundreds of successful court reporters and realtime writers.

INSYNC LITIGATION SUPPORT

vendor_insync

212-233-4040 / www.insynclitigation.com

inSync Litigation Support unveiled its synchronized litigation support offering to the New York City area. inSync’s synchronized streamlined processes, which are aligned with a case’s lifetime and allow trial attorneys to remain focused on a winning litigation strategy, ensure better productivity and improved cost-efficiencies for plaintiff and defense attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries at law firms, insurance companies, government agencies, and financial institutions.

inSync’s offerings include process service, court clerical, investigations, efiling, concierge, customized services, and courier services, each available a la carte or as an integrated package. inSync covers the steps in a case’s lifetime by initiating the case and supporting all the essential filings and appearances. This includes buying an index number in court or electronically; serving a complaint or subpoena; filing an affidavit; tracking the case; conducting investigations, such as signups and skip traces; filing, copying and retrieving motions, notices, and judgments; and providing daily pickup and delivery services.

MYREALTIMECOACH

vendor_realtimecoach

 

www.myrealtimecoach.com

 

MyRealtimeCoach simultaneously launched new Certifi cation Prep resources, Web videos, and monthly payment options at the NCRA Convention & Expo in Nashville.

MyRealtimeCoach is designed to help reporters and students Start Smart, Build Speed & Accuracy, and Be Confi dent through effective practice. New features in the latest release include Daily Warmup, practice sessions served up each morning to start the day off right; Prescriptive Plan, a guided, six-week plan to prepare users for their next certifi cation; and mySpeedPath, a visual dashboard that helps you set and achieve your own goals. According to company co-founder Jared Carman, when Realtime Coach launched in 2006, myRealtimeCoach quickly became the single best way to prepare for a skills test, and now boasts thousands of members worldwide and more than 1.6 million hours logged. In addition, the company claims that 78 percent of those who pass a skills test have used myRealtimeCoach.com.

PROCAT

vendor_procat

800-966-1221 / www.ProCAT.com

ProCAT introduced the Impression II writer at the NCRA’s 2013 Convention & Expo. The Impression II writer offers a mini keyboard so that users can input global entries into the job dictionary directly on the machine without the need for a computer. The Impression uses a screen like an iPad — simply swipe a fi nger across the screen or double tap an outline to lineup either steno or English after searching. With shallow stroke and complete redesign of the keys, ProCAT has developed a light touch for the user. The Impression can use up to 64 Gig SD cards. The Impression II also offers hidefi nition stereo audio recording.

In addition, ProCAT introduced Case- Pad, which allows users to send a realtime feed directly and wirelessly to an iPad.

RB WEB MOBILE ON

vendor_opti

650-544-2147 / omti.com / sales@omti.com

RB Web Mobile On allows users to give clients their transcripts and other information on their mobile devices. While it acts like an app on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, it is actually accessed through the browser, making it easier for an agency’s clients to fi nd. Instead of searching through an app store, users type in a URL. They can then bookmark the page to their mobile device’s home screen. Whenever they click the icon, it opens what looks and acts like an app but is really a mobilized website. In addition to its low-hassle factor, it also requires less power to run than an app. Benefi ts for agencies include the lower cost of one RB Web extension versus one for each mobile OS (currently iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone), and there are no installation, update, or maintenance issues.

OMTI’s other court reporting business applications include RB offi ce management software, RB Web online offi ces including case repositories, a PDF transcript creator, and mobile apps.

STENOGRAPH

vendor_stenogaph

800-323-4247 / www.stenograph.com

Stenograph announced three new color options for its top-selling Diamante – Blue My Mind, Black to Basics, and Totally Red-ical. These stylish colors, along with Lunar White, make up the writing machines’ current color choices. The Blue Ice and Platinum Gray Diamante writers will still be available while supplies last. “Already on the market for the past four years, the Diamante has proven to be one of the most dependable writing machines Stenograph has ever produced,” says Judy Wolf, Stenograph’s product manager. “Time and time again we’ve heard users of the Diamante experience cleaner writing, higher productivity, and decreased errors and less fatigue at the end of the day.” Current Diamante owners may modify the top shell and lid of their writing machine to one of the new colors by contacting the company for further information.

THE VARALLO GROUP

vendor_varallo

508-753-9282 / www.thevarallogroup.com

The Varallo Group offers a network of first-rate reporters to cover tough assignments anywhere in the world, according to company representatives. The Varallo Group’s suite of business development services also can help secure a brighter future within budget. The company’s business advisors present solutions to increase their clients’ bottom lines. As a company founded by court reporters, The Varallo Group understands both the current needs of the clients of court reporting services and the tools they’ll need to grow and evolve in the future. The Varallo Group provides agency management services, administrative support, business development strategies and training, website development, and online campaigns that compliment and strengthen individual efforts. Freelance reporters and fi rm owners alike can grow their business – or enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

Specializing in networking agency- to-agency assignments, The Varallo Group’s reporters offer clients the utmost professionalism by delivering the deposition or trial transcript services, whether interactive realtime or draft transcripts, expedited delivery, videography, and expert testimony.

Protect your computer

Protect Your Computer

Antivirus programs can protect your computer,
but which one is best for you?

While it is important to protect your computer from viruses, malware, and spyware, the wrong antivirus software can slow down your computer or interfere with your ability to realtime or caption. How can you balance protecting your computer with great computer performance?

First things first

Members of the Technology Evaluation Committee took up this question. All of them agreed that your first source for information should be your software vendor. To assist you in figuring out what antivirus software to put on your system, we asked the major CAT software companies what works best with their programs (see chart below).

Several of the vendors also noted that the settings for the program make a difference. So, if the antivirus program is slowing down your computer, one of the first things you should do is check the settings to see if it can make your CAT program an exception. Further information may be available through your software vendor.

Free antivirus software

Most of the Technology Evaluation Committee members use one of the major free programs, with several people mentioning AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials, and ESET NOD32 (see chart for additional notes). However, a few of the committee members take a belt-and-suspenders approach to antivirus protection and run more than one program. For instance, G. Allen Sonntag, RDR, CRR, of Oro Valley, Ariz., runs both Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG on his system. “I let Win 7 run Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free and part of the OS. I use AVG Free version, and I’ve never had a virus problem in the past few years, certainly since working on Win 7,” says Sonntag.

Pay for protection

“I use the less intrusive Microsoft Security Essentials software and augmented it with a program called malwarebytes, which is an anti-malware program. I chose to augment with the malwarebytes after lots of research and reading recommendations from some leading computer magazines. The great thing about using this combination is that once you purchase the Pro version of malwarebytes, it gives you a lifetime license for all future updates for it, no yearly fee, and currently that’s $24.95. That means you have the free protection from Microsoft, augmented by a one-time cost for the malware program,” says Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, of Springfield, Ohio.

And while some antivirus programs are just a free download away, Terry isn’t the only one to put money in to keep her computer clean.

Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, of Toronto, Ontario, and Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., chose Norton 360 Premier 2013. Phipps says that Norton has a few additional advantages, such as storing passwords for browsers and offering 25 gigs of free online storage.

Nancy Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., uses prevx.com. “I purchased it several years ago at the recommendation of one of the executives at Stenograph, and I have never had an issue with it interfering with my hardware/software interface, especially in a realtime writing environment,” she says.

Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of Portland, Ore., says that her company uses Trend Micro Worry Free Business Services, an outside service that provides a hosted antivirus solution for smalland medium-sized business. While this option isn’t for everyone, Nodland notes that it comes with a lot of extras:

  • Web-based administration
  • Centralized control and settings
  • Keyword filtering
  • Attachment filtering blocking
  • Alerts via email
  • Outbreak defense
  • Proactive Web filtering to block known (triple verified) bad websites
  • Minimal impact on the local system

Choose your browser

A few people mention that choosing browsers carefully plays a role in protecting computers from viruses. Sonntag also mentions, “I use Chrome for my browser, and I find its sandboxing technology to be great in protecting me from bad stuff.”

Others find using a less well-known browser, such as Safari or Firefox, protects them from attack, because viruses are usually built to attack the most well-known program.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., who uses Firefox as her browser, says, “Downloads from the Internet go into a ‘Downloads’ folder first. All downloads are then checked by [my antivirus program] Norton, which will give me a ‘Safe to proceed’ message before continuing on with the installation process.”

One final note about antivirus software from the group is to remember to run updates for the program — whichever one you choose. Most of the companies update the list frequently as new viruses are developed or old viruses try new tactics. As Sandy VanderPol, RMR, CRR, of Lotus, Calif., says, “I’ve never had a virus, but I’m careful to have [the program] on auto update and run it.

VENDOR RECOMMENDATIONS AND SETTINGS

What the CAT software companies recommend

Software (company) Recommended antivirus program Additional comments Cost
Case CATalyst
(Stenograph)
Any antivirus software If errors occur, check your computer settings per “Avoid ‘CAT’astrophe
with your antivirus.”
Varies
digitalCAT
(Stenovations)
Microsoft Security Essentials (microsoft.com) and Avast (avast.com) According to the company, the antivirus programs that seem to conflict with digitalCAT are Norton,
McAfee, and Trend.
Both recommended programs are free.
Eclipse
(Advantage Software)
Almost all antivirus software works with Eclipse, but the company recommends Microsoft Security Essentials (microsoft.com). New viruses mean that antivirus software companies are always updating their programs, so updating their programs, so conflicts between antivirus software and CAT software can occur unexpectedly. For that reason, what works today may not work tomorrow. Advantage recommends Security Essentials because “no one is more motivated than Microsoft to quickly identify and resolve potential threats.” Free
Winner
(ProCAT)
AVG (avg.com) The company suggests users to make Winner an exception within AVG. Free


ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE CHOICES

Antivirus Program Website User comments Cost
AVG Antivirus FREE 2013 avg.com Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, says, “I have never had an issue with it interfering with my realtime or other important aspects of my job.” Free
ESET NOD32 eset.com Jim Woitalla, RDR, CRI, says, “I like that it’s not a resource hog, doesn’t interfere with realtime, and provides excellent protection while surfing the net and filtering email.” Free
Microsoft Security Essentials Go to Microsoft.com, type in ‘Security Essentials,’ and find the download page for the free download. G. Allen Sonntag, RDR, CRR, says, “It’s easy on the CPU and usage cycles.” Free
Norton 360
Premier 2013
Norton.com Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, says, “Norton was recommended by my computer technician, and I have not had any issues with it interfering with any of my court reporting work.” One year of protection for up to three personal computers is $59.99.
Prevx prevx.com Nancy Bistany, RPR, “I have never had an issue with it interfering with my hardware/software interface, especially in a realtime writing environment.” The cost varies, but it runs approximately $30 for a year.
Trend Micro Worry Business Services trendmicro.com Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, says, “As a company, we no longer have to update software or definitions; it’s all handled  automatically and unnoticed by the user. “ About $28 per computer per year, according to Nodland.

 

Avoid “cat”astrophe with your antivirus

By James Kuta

For the vast majority of us, the antivirus software we use was already installed on the computer we purchased. Fortunately, Case CATalyst is compatible with all major antivirus software you might be aware of and a few you may not. Unfortunately, every antivirus, on occasion, interferes with the normal operation of software you want to use. The good news is a few simple setting changes can keep Case CATalyst from falling victim to well-intentioned yet overly protective antivirus software.

Adding an exception

Virtually all antivirus software gives you the option of excluding a program from its realtime scanning. This is commonly called “adding an exception.” The goal of the realtime scanner is to monitor the creation and modification of files and then block any perceived threats. By excluding Case CATalyst from realtime scanning, you lessen the likelihood of the antivirus interfering with the normal creation and modification of your jobs.

Each antivirus has its own steps for adding an exception and an Internet search or visiting your antivirus’ website will give you the steps needed. If your antivirus allows you to exclude a folder from realtime scanning, exclude the C:\CAT4 folder. CAT4 is the default Case CATalyst installation folder. If you installed to a different directory, exclude that directory instead. If your antivirus only allows for files to be excluded, exclude the CaseCATalyst.exe; it will be located inside of the Case CATalyst installation folder.

Scheduling an automatic full scan

In addition to realtime scanning, antivirus software performs what is commonly called a full scan. A full scan can take a long time to complete and uses significant computer resources, the same resources Case CATalyst needs. The goal of a full scan is to identify a threat anywhere on your computer. Typically, a full scan will start automatically at a scheduled time daily or weekly. You don’t want this scheduled time to be when you need those computer resources for Case CATalyst.

Again, each antivirus has its own steps for enabling, disabling, and scheduling an automatic full scan. What’s important is that you configure your antivirus to run the full scan on a day or at a time when you do not expect to be using Case CATalyst.

James Kuta is Stenograph’s product manager.