TechLinks: Protect yourself from ransomware

TechLinks_logoThe NCRA Technology Committee has gathered a few resources on the new WannaCry ransomware attack.

Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, shared an article from Gizmodo that provides basic information on the ransomware attack, including where and how it started. The article will be updated with new developments.

Nodland also shared tips for keeping yourself safe, written by the IT personnel for LNS Court Reporting & Captioning, Portland, Ore.

Lisa Knight, FAPR, RDR, CRR, shared a TechConnect article on patches that Microsoft has published for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 8.

Finally, Nodland shared PCMag‘s best ransomware protection of 2017.

TECH REVIEW: Mouse Without Borders

TechLinks_logoBy Sue Terry

If you ever have the occasion to use two computers at home, I recommend Mouse Without Borders. This small Microsoft software download, which is available on the Microsoft website, works amazingly well for me. When providing CART from home, I have a desktop and a laptop and use both screens, which usually means a mouse and a keyboard for each. However, Mouse Without Borders is a small and easy-to-set-up program with an easy interface that allows the user to have only one keyboard and one mouse for up to four devices.

Mouse Without Borders works through WiFi. It took me about two minutes to set up. Once installed, go to the Other Options tab and hover your mouse over each item to learn its function and set it to your liking. The only option I set allows the cursor to go from one screen to the next screen without executing a keystroke, which I changed via the box titled “Wrap Mouse.” Now I have one keyboard and one mouse and can easily go from one to the other computer without switches or wires or multiple keyboards or additional expense.

Another bonus is that Mouse Without Borders allows the user to copy and paste text and documents between machines. It doesn’t affect realtime, at least for me, or any other thing I do. You do need to install it on each computer or device that you want to link.

A Google search of “Mouse Without Borders” offers many videos and articles showing additional uses and scenarios, including videos showing its use.

While Mouse Without Borders is available from other websites, the Microsoft version is the cleanest download.

 

Sue A. Terry, RPR, CRR, is a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors and participates in NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at sueterryemail@aol.com.

TechLinks: The latest on Windows 10, iOS9, and bad passwords

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee shared links with information on Microsoft Windows 10, iOS 9, and this year’s worst passwords.

Nancy L. Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., Co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, pointed out a white paper by the VMware Team on how the Windows operating systems evolved into a cloud and mobile-based system, giving people insight in how to use this tool effectively. Read more.

Bistany also noted an article from iDropNews on the beta version of iOS 9.3, the latest mobile update for Apple products including the iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices. The beta version includes a feature called Night Shift, which is supposed to alter, or shift, the colors of an iOS device’s display to the warmer, complementary end of the color spectrum in the evening time — thus reducing a user’s exposure to those otherwise lively and awakening blue hues that we see by default. Read more.

Christine Phipps, RPR, Co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, reminded reporters to be smart about their passwords. Recently, SplashData released its annual list of the top bad passwords. “If any resemble your current passwords,” Phipps advises, “you may want to consider changing them immediately.” Read more.

Windows 8 to 10 migration

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Being the first in line to purchase Windows 8, and having the wonderful experience I had with Windows 8, I was both enthusiastic and concerned about the migration to Windows 10. After all, I had come to rely on the Home screen with the tiles, which I had grouped to provide the most convenient workflow for me. Using the smart search on the Home screen to find my Device Manager and to manage my audio and my webcam for streaming was a daily function for me. It was by far the fastest way ever for me to access whatever I needed. Even typing in a name and searching all files to find a PowerPoint, a Word document, or even a photo I had captioned was done with one click. The rumor was that this feature was disappearing in Windows 10! “What would replace it?” I wondered. I had not ventured into the world of Beta testing Windows 10, but I know others who had. They informed me that Windows 10 was what Windows 8 should have been.

So when Microsoft sent me an email to sign up for the Windows 10 download on July 29, without hesitation I agreed. My only caveat was that I control the download, and I selected the option to download when I requested. So on Aug. 6, I awoke early to boot up my Windows 8 computer to update to Windows 10. I had planned on an hour or two for the download. After making my coffee and dressing for an hour jog, I clicked on the download for Windows 10. I answered the first few questions about what nickname I wanted my computer to know me by (more on Cortana later), heard the pleasant new Windows 10 sound as the download began, and felt comfortable when I read the message that the download would take up to an hour and that it would occur without any clicks by me. So off for a jog.

Returning an hour or so later, my computer was ready for the final click to initiate Windows 10. Without hesitation, I made the click and was staring at what I thought was Windows 7. Where was my Home page I had become accustomed to?

So without further elaboration on what might have been, here is my experience with Windows 10:

Windows Edge is the new Internet Explorer or Google Chrome – in my opinion, it is better and easier to use. It allows you to annotate the Web page, save it in OneNote, and organize or send it to others. Think of Edge as your hub. This hub allows you access to your favorites, your reading list, your browsing history, and current downloads all in one click. Here is a screenshot of a Web page that has been highlighted:

Windows1

Meet Cortana. (I’ve met her over the past year using my Windows phone, and I am happy to see her on my computer.) She can be your new friend and director of each day. As you can see in the photo above, Cortana will greet you each morning with the weather, your calendar, or however you choose to customize her pane. Cortana is the voice-activated go-to personal assistant to search for anything you need. So personalize what Cortana provides you upon boot up. If you prefer, you can type in your search. (Now all I need is a microphone to Cortana during my realtime reporting to have her search for a word!)

Upon discovering these features, I dove into my workflow programs. Stenograph CATalyst and all of my files and drivers were migrated without a hitch.* LiveDeposition migrated without a hitch (I have yet to stream since I just updated to Windows 10, but LiveDeposition ensured compatibility). YesLaw was an easy migration, too.

Now moving on to my financial workflow group, I found that for each of those websites, I had to re-enter my user name. On Windows 8, I had saved the user name so only had to enter my password for each site. Before updating, be sure you know your user name for each of your important sites. I have created an Excel spreadsheet where I list each and every site I have created a password for. I have password protected this Excel file with a password that is considered very high.

Another feature I have grown to use often is the Task View. This is the icon on the task bar that looks like a movie camera. Just click on that icon and it brings up all of my open apps. It is easy to access my depo notice while at the same time being in my CAT program.

Snap in Windows 10, if you are familiar with it in Windows 8, is much more functional. Snap lets you put more than two programs on one screen.

Use your notifications feature in Windows 10 – it is superior to Windows 7 and Windows 8. Notifications in Windows 10 are more than just a one-line alert. You can expand and interact with them, and take action on some, too. Select the notification banner from your desktop or the notification in action center to open the app where the notification originates. If there’s more to see in the notification, select the arrow to expand it and get all the details. For some apps, such as messaging apps, it’s possible to reply to messages or interact with the app directly from the expanded notification.

One negative thing I have noticed is the speed of Windows 10 is slower than Windows 8. This could be an issue on my specific computer, as I’m within 25 percent of a full hard disk after uploading to Windows 10.

With only one issue, speed, I think the migration was a success. For those on Windows 7, it will be a much easier migration than you think. Your familiar Desktop will be front and center upon updating. After spending a long day on Windows 10, I’m a happy convert from Windows 8. I do realize I have much more to learn.

*The JCR has reached out to several vendors and plans to publish additional information about their integration to Windows 10.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, RMR, CRR, Realtime Systems Administrator, is a freelancer from Lotus, Calif. She can be reached at realtimecsr@calweb.com.

What to consider when buying your next computer

Anyone considering buying a computer for business purposes has to consider many things before making the actual purchase.

“I have a wonderful IT guy, and he makes me pinkie swear to talk to him before I buy any major tech. Most times he wants to order it (like business model Dell laptops for use by our in-house videographers), but he let me buy a Surface Pro 3 at the Microsoft Store for my CAT laptop. I then hand it to him, and he configures it,” says Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of LNS Court Reporting in Portland, Ore., who chairs NCRA’s Technology Committee.

For those who don’t have in-house IT help, the first step in deciding what computer to buy should be to check with the steno machine and CAT system vendors to see what they recommend.

“Start by knowing how much RAM to get (at least 4 GB, but 8 is even better for faster processing) or how large a hard drive to get,” says Lisa A. Knight, RMR, CRR, a freelancer based in Littleton, Colo., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Committee

The big-box retailers or off-the-shelf models may not offer what a court reporter, captioner, or legal videographer needs. However, they can be a good first stop to find out what is available on the market. (This chart, for instance, gives some information to help people narrow down their choices.)

“For PCs running Intel chips, a good rule of thumb is 2 GB of memory per core on the low end, with 4 GB preferred for memory intensive use (like video). I have a Quad Core i7 Dell Precision portable workstation with 16 GB of RAM, two 750 GB 7200 RPM hard drives, and a high-end video card. It’s overkill for reporters but super for videographers. I speced and sourced it from a live Dell sales person. No stores, and the website didn’t have the options I needed (hint hint). The computer is outstanding,” says Bruce Balmer, CLVS, a legal videographer in Columbia, S.C.

NCRA’s Technology Committee members also pointed out that court reporters and captioners don’t have to automatically eliminate Apple products from their shopping lists.

“My husband bought me a Mac Pro when I passed the CSR. I had to purchase Boot Camp to make it work with my steno machine. Eventually, I got set up, but it was a bit frustrating, and I wondered in the beginning was it worth it, but now I’m happy,” says Teresa Russ, CRI, a court reporter and CART captioner in Lynnwood, Calif.