TechLinks: All about Microsoft

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee rounded up a group of tech-related articles all about Microsoft, including customizing email accounts in Windows 10, the Windows 10 update history site, and a wireless display adapter.

An article on How-To Geek provides step-by-step instructions to set up and customize email accounts in Windows 10. Among other things, the Mail tile allows the user to access email from multiple accounts in a single interface.

According to an article by Paul Thurrott on his website, this spring, Microsoft launched a Windows 10 update history site. The site is an effort by Microsoft to be more transparent about documenting its changes to Windows 10.

Speaking of Windows technology, for CNET, Sean Hollister reviews Microsoft’s new wireless display adapter, which he describes as “the simplest way to beam your laptop, tablet, or phone’s screen to a TV.” Hollister calls it “a useful tool if your video-casting needs are modest,” especially for non-Apple users.

TechLinks: Surface Book review, specialized Windows programs, and tech myths

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee was sharing information on Microsoft’s Surface Book, iOS 9 features, tech myths, and Windows apps.

Nancy L. Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., directed attention to a review of the Surface Book, a lightweight 13.5 screen device with a detachable keyboard that uses Windows 10. Read more.

Bistany also pointed out an article on iOS 9, which lists five obscure features, including phone number look-up and battery killers. Read more.

Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of Portland, Ore., pointed out an article on tech myths, such as whether you need to drain your phone battery before recharging, in “10 tech myths you need to stop believing.” Read more.

Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, of Littleton, Colo., pointed out lifehacker’s list of 10 specialized apps for Windows programs to have for specialized situations. The list ranged from stress-testing to disk-cleaning programs. Read more.

TechLinks: Windows 10

TechLinks_logoNCRA rounded up a group of articles about Windows 10 that the court reporting community has shared over the past few weeks.

On CNN Money, “Is Windows 10 really a privacy nightmare?” addresses specific privacy concerns.

In CIO, “Why you should be (very) wary of Windows 10 if you own an older PC” is an opinion piece that addresses updating from Windows 7 specifically.

In PC World, the “Cheat sheet! Microsoft releases printable Windows 10 key shortcut list” revises Microsoft’s online documentation on keyboard shortcuts into one formatted page.

In Forbes, “Windows 10 Vs Windows 8 Vs Windows 7: What’s The Difference?” compares the different operating systems based on several factors, including cost, support, search, minimum requirements, and security.

In USA Today, “5 secrets to make you fall in love with Windows 10” looks at five new and improved features, including the Start menu, managing updates, and the Explorer window.

In JDSupra, “Be aware of Windows 10 free upgrade opt outs” specifically discusses the issue of sharing a Windows 10 user’s WiFi password.

In the Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg, “10 Reasons You Should NOT Install Windows 10 (yet).” provides ten questions to consider before upgrading, including if the upgrade will be done by tech support or not, the amount of free time to learn a new operating system, and its compliancy with other software.

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.

TechLinks: Windows 10 tips and tricks

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee offered several resources for people who are considering switching to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10. While the JCR Weekly is checking in with vendors about compatibility issues, you can get a sense of what Windows 10 is all about  in tech-press articles. Here are a few that may be of interest to court reporters, captioners, and other NCRA members.

Wired offers information on security settings for those planning to use Windows 10.

PCWorld offers tips, tricks, and tweaks to consider in a slideshow on its website.

On LinkedIn, Micheal Bazzoni offers thoughts on how Windows 10 will interact with WiFi.

Advice on the Windows 10 release for captioners

By Wes Long

Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 on July 29. I have been to several technical presentations about this (and other) technologies being released this year, and I’d like to share a few of my thoughts.

1) This is a big deal. There is a lot going on in the new Windows 10 that will be very important to computing in the coming years. This is, by and large, a from-the-ground-up redesign of Windows such that we haven’t seen since the release of Windows XP. Windows 10 is a modular platform, designed to run on all different levels of hardware. The details aren’t important, but this is a major technology change.

2) It’s free, in a way. From July 29, 2015, through July 29, 2016, you will be able to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 from any (legal) current Windows operating system. That’s Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1.

3) The Start menu: Whether you thought Windows 8’s Start menu approach was good or bad, it’s different again. In my opinion, they really did bring together the very best of the Windows 7 and Windows 8 approaches.

4) Microsoft is referring to this as “The Last Version of Windows.” Now, yes, some of this is marketing hype, but the modularity of this design is such that new major features can be “bolted on” and major updates done behind the scenes. This means that the operating system, for now, will be much more evolutionary, changing often and in small steps, rather than revolutionary, like XP to Windows 7 to Windows 8.x to Windows 10.

5) You really shouldn’t need to buy a new computer. The emphasis on this release was to pare down the hardware requirements. One Microsoft Evangelist (yes, there really is such a title) said, “We’ll have Windows 10 running in a light bulb” at one of the presentations.

Now, this sounds great, but I offer some cautionary advice:

1) Don’t plan on being on Windows 10 on July 30 — not even Labor Day. I’d say the earliest you should consider buying it is around Halloween or Thanksgiving. Software and device driver updates need to be completed. Windows 10 should handle anything that was compatible with Windows 7 or Windows 8, and it has special modes for older XP compatibility. However, wait for the vendors to certify it. Before you go installing the free upgrade, make sure that:

  • Your caption software is certified for it (Advantage and Stenograph will have info on their websites, I’m sure).
  • Your caption delivery platform is certified for it. EEG should have iCap information shortly, but think about any special VPN configurations you regularly use.
  • Your stenowriter’s device driver is certified for it. Refer to the manufacturer’s website.
  • Your modem driver is certified for it. Yes, we’re still going to be doing dial-up captioning for a bit longer, it seems.
  • Any special peripherals — like USB to serial converters, external audio interfaces (for those cool headphones you’ve got), and such.

2) Windows 10 is not going to “fix” things that are broken. If your machine is having a tough time starting up because your power supply is iffy, or your system registry needs counseling, or other issues, Windows 10 won’t make those problems go away. If your machine seems to need an exorcism more than it needs an upgrade, maybe a new machine around Halloween is the best approach. On the plus side, if you buy a new 8.1 machine today, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

3) Don’t upgrade your primary system first. This is a great time to blow the dust off your backup machine and see if it’s still in good shape. Catch it up on all the software updates, test it out, and do a few jobs with it. Make sure it’s still what you think it is. Then upgrade the backup, first (only after the above list is done). Then do a few jobs with your backup machine on Windows 10. Make sure you work through all your permutations of delivery platforms, VPNs, newsroom client access, etc.

4) While you’ve working on the old machine, this is a great time to think about backups for your dictionaries and profiles. There are a lot of good backup and cloud-storage systems that work well: Acronis, Carbonite, Mozy, SugarSync, DropBox, Box.com, Google Drive, OneDrive, and so on. Here’s what to know:

  • The backup that works is the backup that gets run.
  • The backup that gets run is the one that runs automatically. Put your user and station profiles directory in the sync folder for DropBox or Google Drive, and sleep soundly.
  • You don’t have a backup unless you know how to restore from it. Practice restoring.

Wes Long is a video engineer and software developer in Aurora, Colo.  He is the director of technology at Dynamic Captioning, LLC, and can be reached at WesLong@WesWare.com.

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.