Highlights and takeaways from the sessions at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

Attendees at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo had the opportunity to attend an array of sessions and educational workshops designed to help them increase their professional experience and hone their skills. The summaries below highlight a few of these sessions.

Fast, faster, fastest

View from the back of a meeting room with rows of people facing a panel and a projector

Kelly Shainline, Jason Meadors, and Keith Lemons present “Fast, faster, fastest” to a full house

One of the first sessions to kick off the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, “Fast, faster, fastest” with Kelly Shainline, RPR, CRR; Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC; and Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, was packed with standing room only. The nuts-and-bolts realtime session went through step by step how to set up for good realtime. “My first page, I just consider it a sacrificial goat,” Meadors said to laughter, but the presenters emphasized the importance of good preparation as the key to strong realtime. For example, for legal work, the presenters said to get the appearance page ahead of time and use that to do some research. “Let’s say there’s a doctor,” said Lemons. “Look up online what kind of medicine they do — such as obstetrics and gynecology — and use that to build specific words in a dictionary.”

“I won’t be mean,” Meadors said, “but I will be firm to get what I need,” especially for CART or captioning work.

The presenters all said that they do prep the night before — although the length of time varied a bit based on how important the trial was, how many people would be seeing the realtime, and if there would be a rough draft, for example – but also emphasized the importance of arriving early to the job. Shainline said that while she often prepares brief forms the night before, after she sets up at the job, she does some practice with those briefs to help get them into muscle memory.

Gadgets and gizmos

Merilee Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Micheal Johnson, RDR, CRR, lead a session filled with dozens of specific gadgets, gizmos, and app recommendations to make life easier both on and off the job. For example, for the office, Merilee and Micheal shared:

  • a few types of charging stations, including the Satechi USB Charging Station, which charges up to six devices at a time, and the EZO power desktop, which Merilee says she’s brought on jobs as a value add to help attorneys plug in their devices;
  • second monitors, including the Duet Display app, which turns an iPad into a second screen (currently only for Apple products), and the Mimo, which is a small second monitor – both Micheal and Merilee said they’ve found it helpful to use a small second monitor to free up real estate on their laptop and move over, for example, BriefIt on a second screen; and
  • cable management gadgets, including the Baltic Sleeve, which is a Velcro sleeve that wraps around a bunch of cables, and the Safcord, which is also a Velcro solution that performs the same function as gaffer’s tape, except it’s reusable.

How to compete with some of the best

In a session that was part of the Student Learning Zone at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC; Tami Frazier, RMR, CRR; and Ron Cook, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, gave concrete tips to students on improving their writing while getting through school. The three presenters came from a variety of perspectives: a captioner, an official, and a freelancer.

Chase had strong realtime skills coming out of school, but he didn’t have his state CSR. Because of this, he went into captioning. Tami started as an official out of school because a job opened up at the right time. She said that while court work can be a little faster than depo work — and trials are more controlled — new professionals shouldn’t avoid going right into court after school. And Ron cited the freedom and money potential as perks to freelancing, but he admitted that one downside is the lack of benefits. (He is also a partner in a firm.)

Tami taught both of her sons (Chase and brother Clay Frazier) to write steno, and she did so paperless. She also emphasized perfection. When Chase was at 200 wpm, she saw that while he had the speed, he was writing sloppy and with no punctuation. She had him go back to 160 and work back up while also working on writing perfectly. Chase attributed this experience to his strength in realtime.

A woman speaks into a microphone. She is sitting amongst rows of people at a conference session.

An attendee shares her thoughts during a session at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

“A lot of people don’t emphasize the mental part of practicing,” said Ron. “If you don’t think you’re going to get it, you won’t get it.” He provided a couple metaphors for practicing, including “slow things down” — meaning to slow things down mentally, stay relaxed, and go with the flow.

Tami recommended practicing about 10 percent faster than her goal speed (which was a technique that she used to get through school). “You always want to be pushing yourself,” she said. Pick tough dictation, she suggested — “and I’m a real believer in lit — it makes you write; there’s nothing easy about lit,” she said. She also suggested practicing a five-minute take at least ten or fifteen words per minute faster than the goal speed. But since she also emphasized aiming for perfection, repeating a take until writing it perfectly will clean up a reporter’s writing and also gives the reporter an opportunity to work in briefs and phrases. “The better writer you are, the easier the job,” she said.

Business of being a court reporter

Charisse Kitt, RMR, CRI; Jessica Waack, RDR, CRR; Mike Hensley, RPR; and Katherine Schilling, RPR, presented a mock deposition as part of the Student Learning Zone at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo. With Schilling playing the part of newbie reporter, the mock deposition went through a variety of typical situations that a new reporter may not have encountered before or covered in school. At each “freeze frame,” the panelists discussed how they would handle each situation. A few of the situations were:

Introducing yourself at the beginning of the deposition: Kitt said she makes a point of greeting all of the lawyers in the room with a firm handshake. Waack expanded on this by saying that she makes sure her ears are over her shoulders over her hips, so she’s standing with confidence and not hunched over.

Swearing in the witness: Waack suggested having a physical piece of paper with the oath to refer to. She also said to make sure to include “swear or affirm” in the wording, since some witnesses don’t want to swear, and to avoid the phrase “so help you God.” Hensley pointed out that reporters should always check with their state association or firm first to see if there’s a preset oath that the reporter should be using.

Using briefs for names, words, and phrases: For briefs, Hensley pointed out that they don’t have to make sense on paper as long as they make sense to you to write. Kitt said she likes to get to a job at least 30 minutes early so she can use the time to jot down some briefs. And Waack suggested using LinkedIn to find the proper spellings of witnesses, etc., although she added that this will likely lead to some odd friend requests. She also said that after she’s developed a brief for an acronym, if the speaker suddenly uses the full term, she simply writes the brief twice.

The witness is talking too fast: Kitt said, “Don’t ever depend on your audio,” stressing that it’s the reporter’s responsibility as the record-keeper to keep in control and stop any fast talkers to tell them to slow down. Waack says she likes to reset the speaker to the point where she lost the record by saying, “You were talking about [subject].” And Hensley favors using a visual hand signal – physically lifting his hands up off the machine to show the room that something is up with the reporter.

Hensley also emphasized throughout the session the importance of knowing your software.

Beyond English

Stanley Sakai, CRC, led a session that focused on captioning in other languages, especially Spanish. The discussion was guided partially by Sakai’s prepared presentation and partly by the audience’s questions.

Sakai has a working knowledge of eight different languages with varying levels of fluency, including Dutch, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Prompted by a question from the audience, he explained that one of the methods he uses to keep up with such a wide variety of languages is to have different devices set to different languages (for example, his tablet set in one language and his mobile phone in another). He also takes the opportunity to look up words he encounters on the fly and to read articles, etc., in a language other than English so he learns content and vocabulary at the same time.

The session description specifically highlighted Spanish, and the growing need for Spanish captioning came up in the discussion, both domestically and abroad. Sakai talked a little bit about the differences between baseline speeds in English and Spanish and how Spanish is at a slightly slower speed. He also discussed his methods for doing CART work in German and how steno systems work in Korean and in Japanese. Sakai had to adjust his steno theory in order to provide CART, which was for a German language class, and he even had to be prepared to jump between German and English. Similarly, in the discussion, he pointed out that the Korean and Japanese languages toggle between different writing systems based on the specific words, and reporters and captioners in those countries need to have keyboards that are set up to quickly switch between the writing systems at the speed of spoken language.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

TechLinks: The 21st century reporter, part 2

TechLinks_logoOn behalf of the NCRA Technology Committee, Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, recently shared a series of links with information to help the 21st-century reporter or captioner. This second installment covers cloud backup, password management, and efficient internet searches.

In a July 21 article on How-To Geek, Cameron Summerson talks about how to use Google’s Backup and Sync tool to automatically backup information — including documents, photos, and videos — onto Google Drive. Summerson talks a bit about what this tool is and how it works, and then goes step by step through the process of setting it up. The Backup and Sync tool works on both PCs and Macs, and it allows the user to sync either an entire computer drive or only specific folders.

In a July 21 article for PC Mag, Michael Ansaldo presents the best password managers of 2017. Ansaldo talks about what a password manager does, why it’s important, and how PC Mag chose the best overall and the runner up. The article includes links to reviews for all of the password managers that PC Mag considered.

In a July 18 reprint on SlawTips (the original ran on the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library’s Legal Sourcery Blog), Alan Kilpatrick offers some tips on using Google Search for efficiently. Kilpatrick focuses on using specific search terms and then using the different search operators and filters — including combining them — to “craft powerful queries and locate good results.” The article ends with a few reminders about evaluating search results for authenticity, etc.

Read “TechLinks: The 21st century reporter, part 1.”

TechLinks: Helpful products

TechLinks_logoRecently, the NCRA Technology Committee has shared a few products that can help with work tasks. The products include a password management system, an education technology tool, a messaging app, and an audio solution.

Nancy Bistany, RPR, shared a blog post by Dashlane on the worldwide password problem: internet users’ tendency toward “using the same, easy-to-remember password on all of their accounts over the security of using strong, unique passwords on all of their accounts.” Dashlane is a password manager that can also manage other security-sensitive information, like IDs and credit card numbers. “I use Dashlane for my Level 1 Password user,” says Bistany. “Their reminders are great.”

Bistany also shared an article from Forbes reviewing Learning Tools for OneNote. Microsoft OneNote is a now well-known note-keeping program, and Learning Tools is an ancillary product. According to the article, “Learning Tools for OneNote was originally created for dyslexics … [that leverages] a variety of already existing Microsoft technologies like Bing’s speech recognition, simultaneous audio text playback, and natural language processing … to make reading and writing more accessible to all students.” One of its features is fluent fonts, which allows “readers to adjust both the letter spacing and the number of words on the line.”

Teresa Russ, CRI, shared a link on the messaging app Slack. According to the company, it’s “oriented toward small-team collaboration” and has both a free and premium version. Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC, explained, “I use Slack to talk to a captioning team that we do a lot of events together with. All or most of the tech companies use Slack to communicate. It has awesome searching capabilities, and you can tag someone in the conversation to bring it to their attention.” Frazier added that he has his own name set as a tag so he gets an alert when the conversation involves him.

Finally, Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, shared a review of Trint, an audio and transcription app. Nodland pointed out a quote from the article that explains that Trint makes “it easy to compare the audio clips to the transcript as you’re verifying and editing it.”

Tools of the Trade

Here are the answers to the questions court reporters and captioners most want to ask about the steno machines on the market.

Passport Touch Manufactured by Advantage Eclipsecat.com / 800-800-1759 Specifi cations: Width: 9.75 inches Depth: 10.5 inches Height: 4 inches Weight: 5.2 pounds, including battery

Is your system wired or wireless, or can it be either?

Both wired and wireless.

What CAT systems work with your writer?

The Passport Touch is compatible with all CAT software.

What dictionary types can be imported?

Eclipse and RTF.

What translate function does it o­ffer?

The Passport Touch includes a patented automatic rewriter that allows you to adjust your keys after the job, and apply those adjustments to jobs that have already been written for improved translation.

What is the size of the display?

7-inch capacitive HD touch screen.

What is the range of key adjustability?

Measuring from the home row (SKWR-RBGS), the minimum depth of stroke is 0.5 mm ( 2⁄100 in.), and the maximum depth of stroke is 13 mm ( 1⁄2 in.). Depth of stroke and tension are finely geared and continuously adjustable for ease of operation and fine-tuning.

The Passport Touch features patented, user-adjustable vowel and StenoMagic keys.

The anti-stacking, anti-splitting, shadow-tracking, and key-position scanning on the Passport Touch are patented. Anti-stacking is adjustable from 0 to 100. Shadow-tracking can be turned on or off.

Can the display be changed?

Yes. The Passport Touch includes a full-featured capacitive touch screen with a myriad of display options. The patent-pending hideaway display disappears into the writer when you don’t need it. A built-in tablet stand is available when the display is open.

Does it o­ffer any audio features? If so, what are they?

Yes. The Passport Touch has a built-in microphone, a microphone port, a headphone port, and a monitoring mode. A large number of context-sensitive tutorial videos with sound are also integrated into the machine.

What is the battery life?

Battery life is dependent primarily upon screen brightness. At medium brightness, you can expect about 12 hours per charge.

Does the keyboard allow modifications?

Yes. The height of the vowel keys and StenoMagic keys in relation to the other keys is user-adjustable. There is no need to send the machine in to change those. The vowel keys have three positions: traditional, mid-height, and the same plane as the other keys. Mid-height is the most popular setting. The StenoMagic keys have two positions: low when you want them out of the way, and in the same plane as the other keys for easy bridging.

The machine can be ordered with traditional asterisk and initial S keys, or with split asterisk and initial S keys for additional flexibility. All the standard wide-key options are available, plus a wide initial S key (recommended) to allow easy bridging with the StenoMagic keys.

What backups are provided?

The writer has 32 GB of internal memory. It has an external micro-SD slot, plus two USB ports. The internal memory, external micro-SD card, and one USB port are written to in realtime for backup purposes.

In addition to the standard data (steno, English, and audio), raw steno fi les are also backed up. (Raw steno fi les are much larger than standard steno fi les and are what make it possible for users to adjust their keys after jobs have ended, apply the readjusted values to jobs they have already written, and retranslate the jobs using the new adjustments.)

Additional comments: The Passport is customizable with more than 100 different skins available.

Lightspeed Zenith Manufactured by Stenovations Stenovations.com / 800-626-7228 Specifications: Width: 12.5 inches Depth: 7.5 inches Height: 0.5 inches Weight: 2.0 pounds, including aluminum case

Is your system wired or wireless, or can it be either?

Either. It can be connected via USB cable, which transmits data as well as provides power. It may also simultaneously be connected to a second computer or smartphone via Bluetooth.

What CAT systems work with your writer?

All CAT systems running the Windows operating system.

What dictionary types can be imported?

None.

What translate function does it o­ffer?

None.

What is the size of display?

No display.

What is the range of key adjustability (stacking and side-to-side)?

The range of pressure on each of the 121 sensors for threshold settings is 0 to 1023. Pressure is read on each of 121 sensors 60 times a second. The Zenith application software on the computer uses that information to address any reporter-induced stacking.

Can the display be changed?

No display.

Does it o­ffer any audio features? If so, what are they?

No audio features.

What is the battery life?

Seven hours.

Does the keyboard allow modifications?

Yes, in multiple ways. The Zenith software allows redefining a key to be a steno letter, a combination of letters, or a macro that generates up to four strokes. The writer has additional keys below the vowels. For example, one of those could be defined as a question or answer bank.

Again, the writer has 121 sensors, and each is fully definable. Multiple sensors are under all the keys as well as under the cracks. Crack sensors can be redefined or disabled. For example, redefining the sensors under the crack between the E and U as an E virtually widens the E, moving the sweet spot to actuate both keys to the right. Also, either of the initial S keys or the crack sensor between them can be redefined as a combination of keys or a macro containing up to four strokes.

These are just a few of the possibilities.

What is the storage capacity built into the writer, as well as for backup files?

32 GB on the SD card in the writer itself.

On a connected computer, data is stored on the hard drive by default. Simultaneously, additional backup may be sent to any removable storage media inserted into the computer.

Additional backup may be had by simultaneously connecting via Bluetooth to an Android app, StenAudio, on a smartphone or tablet. Said app creates a time-stamped steno file, plus records an audio file with time stamps. Said files may thereafter be transferred to a CAT system and translated into a text file with the audio synchronized.

Also, if you have your CAT system installed on two computers, you can write to both simultaneously, that is, one computer connected via USB cable and the other Bluetooth.

Additional comments: The Lightspeed Zenith does not require the use of a tripod. It can be operated while placed on your lap or on a table or anywhere that’s comfortable for you. In addition, though it does not have a screen, since it is thin and flat, it can be used while placed on the keyboard of a laptop computer.

Also, with the Zenith writer you can define a key or key combination as a “shift,” “Alt,” or “Ctrl” key. You can keep it depressed while you stroke other steno outlines. When these keys are depressed, you can access a different keyboard layout. For instance, the keys can be defined as numbers or number combinations. A single key can be one letter or multiple letter or a single stroke or multiple strokes, up to four strokes, and that stroke can be sent to the CAT software for translation.

Luminex Manufactured by Stenograph Stenograph.com / 800-323-4247 Specifications: Width: 9.125 inches Depth: 10.3 inches Height: 2.5 inches Weight: 3.5 pounds

Is your system wired or wireless, or can it be either?

The Luminex can be both wired to the computer with a USB cable or wireless, using Bluetooth.

What CAT systems work with your writer?

The Luminex supports both USB and Virtual serial port. Any software that can output to Stentura protocol over serial port can connect to the Luminex. The entire USB protocol description along with sample code is available for download from Stenograph.com to enable any developer to add Stenograph’s writers to their software.

What dictionary types can be imported?

Case CATalyst personal and job dictionaries are downloaded to the writer via a USB cable. Other dictionaries can be converted by using the Stenograph RTF/CRE Dictionary Conversion Utility. Once converted, dictionaries can be downloaded to the writer using USB.

What translate function does it offer?

Once a dictionary is loaded on the writer, the Luminex will display fully translated text, as well as a range of other built-in features like J-defines and Brief it. You can set job dictionary priorities so that when a stroke appears in more than one dictionary with a different definition, the job dictionary with the highest priority is used to translate the stroke. All selected job dictionaries have a higher priority than the main dictionary and the J-defines dictionary within the Luminex memory.

What is the size of display?

The display screen is a capacitive touch, 7-inch diagonal, 800×480 Wide VGA screen.

What is the range of key adjustability (stacking and side-to-side)?

Easily reachable adjustment wheels on the left and right of the machine control keyboard depth of stroke and tension. Also, there are software keyboard adjustment settings: general keyboard sensitivity, split/stack adjustments, as well as fine-tune adjustments of individual keys.

Can the display be changed?

Users have the option of loading any image of their choice for the writer’s splash screen as well as changing the font size and the color of text.

Does it o­ffer any audio features? If so, what are they?

The writer can record high-quality audio in ADPCM or PCM codecs. There are also options for monitoring live audio with a headset and auto pausing of the audio during lulls in testimony.

What is the battery life?

A fully charged battery will last approximately 17 to 19 hours.

Does the keyboard allow modifications?

Any keyboard modifications, such as keytop changes, are done in a controlled factory environment to assure precision and reliability.

What is the storage capacity built into the writer, as well as for backup files?

The Luminex has Triple-Protection Storage. The main SD card saves steno with timestamps and audio to a high-capacity SD card up to 32 GB. The backup SD card also saves steno with timestamps and audio to an SD card up to 32 GB. The backup card never runs out of space and replaces the oldest files with the newest. The Internal RAM will save steno with timestamps up to 6 GB and will replace the oldest files with the newest files.Xpression, Impression, and Blaze Manufactured by ProCAT ProCAT.com / 818.222.6600 Specifications for Xpression: Width: 9.25 inches Depth: 8.25 inches Height: 2.75 inches Specifications for Impression and Blaze: Width: 8.75 inches Depth: 9.25 inches Height: 3.75 inches

Is your system wired or wireless, or can it be either?

ProCAT Xpression o­ffers Bluetooth and WiFi wireless connections. These are standard features in the ProCAT Xpression.

ProCAT Impression comes standard with Bluetooth.

Blaze professional and student models do not support wireless features.

What CAT systems work with your writer?

ProCAT writers are compatible with all current CAT systems. The protocol for our realtime writers is available to everyone free.

What dictionary types can be imported?

RTF dictionaries are preferred; however, ProCAT can convert native dictionary formats from all popular CAT systems.

What translate functions does it o­ffer?

ProCAT Xpression and Impression o­ffer a full range of realtime translation capabilities, such as those found in popular desktop CAT systems. The features include: AutoBrief using Mark Kislingbury’s theory; intelligent prefixing and suffixing; automatic number conversion; conflict resolution; a/an resolution; stack detection; drag-n-drop resolution; wireless feed to iPad app; dictionary global; and automatic punctuation placement. Also, when using Bluetooth, the writer will reconnect automatically when you go out of range, such as in chambers, and the Xpression and Impression have realtime hold for o­ff-the-record proceedings. ProCAT’s writers allow users to export realtime transcript to RTF (Microsoft Word), PTF (LiveNote portable transcript format), and text (ASCII), as well as allowing users to export transcript and audio to other popular CAT systems.

What is the size of display?

ProCAT writers o­ffer a 7-inch color LCD panel with LED backlighting and true touch sensitivity. All features are accessible by simply swiping or touching the screen or icons.

What is the range of key adjustability (stacking and side-to-side)?

ProCAT writers allow the user to set the depth of travel ranging from nearly 1.5 mm to 19 mm. ProCAT writers have two independent processors to capture and translate keystrokes. This feature reduces the risk of stacking and o­ffers additional reliability.

Can the display be changed?

Users can define fonts size; choose from English, steno, or mixed display options; use colors and font emphasis for Q and A; show AutoBrief window; and adjust the English/steno window size by tapping and dragging.

Does it offer any audio features? If so, what are they?

ProCAT Xpression and Impression o­ffer automatic high-definition audio recording. The recorded audio is compatible with all CAT systems and synchronized with its RTF-formatted transcript. The writers also have audio recording boost and volume control, as well as an audio loopback that enables the user to wear a headset or earbud for amplified audio in situations where the acoustics are poor. The audio is recorded only when it is on-the-record. It will not record o­ff-the-record discussions, and they will remain confidential.

What is the battery life?

The battery life is as follows: ProCAT Xpression: 12-14 hours; ProCAT Impression: 18-22 hours; and ProCAT Blaze: 10-12 hours.

Does the keyboard allow modifications?

In addition to the standard key options such as wide keys, ProCAT o­ffers raised vowel keys.

What is the storage capacity built into the writer, as well as for backup files?

The Blaze has a 128 MB storage in internal file backup, and 5 m strokes in revolving backup on a secondary computer. The Impression has 2 GB primary storage (steno, transcript, audio, and backup steno); 2 GB secondary storage (steno, steno in Stentura format), and 1 GB on the internal flash drive, as well as 5 m strokes revolving backup on the secondary computer. The Xpression has 8 GB primary storage (steno, transcript, audio, and backup steno); 8 GB secondary storage (steno, steno in Stentura format), and 4 GB on the internal flash drive, as well as 5 m strokes revolving backup on the secondary computer.

Additional Comments: ProCAT writers use the Windows operating system, which will enable our clients to easily integrate their writer into the PC environment. The Windows environment makes it easier for us to deliver updates to our clients. Additionally, ProCAT technicians can view a client’s screen remotely and o­ffer technical assistance and training. The ProCAT WriterSync offers seamless synchronization between the writer and PC. WriterSync can convert a personal dictionary and upload it into the writer as often as required, or download jobs from the writer into a PC.

Finally, ProCAT Xpression uses a 1.4 GHz Quad-core processor.

HealthPostures and Steno Works team up to support court reporters

JCR publications share buttonIn a press release issued Oct. 18, HealthPostures, an ergonomic adjustable standing desk company, and Steno Works have partnered to offer ongoing physical support to court reporters.

Read more.

TRAIN: Your next realtime stop

By Lisa Knight
With so many different options regarding realtime-viewing software, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of choices! Perhaps you’ve been meaning to keep your CAT software up to date but just haven’t. You’re not making excuses — it’s just the facts. What options do you have for outputting your realtime feed? How will you be able to output your realtime feed to a computer using CaseViewNet? LiveNote? Bridge? TrialBook? Summation? How much will it cost? Can you ditch the cables and go wireless without upgrading your software? Will you be outputting to computers? PCs or Macs? iPads? Kindles? Droids?

In my previous article (TRAIN: Ways to hook up in the January 2014 JCR), we talked about the different hardware you might use to output your realtime feed: cables, Stenocast, and wirelessly through a router. The additional questions you may be asking yourself might include: Which realtime software works best with my current CAT software? Which is the most economical choice for my realtime setup? Where do I start?

First, let’s get a better understanding of some terms that will be used in the article as well as answer some tricky questions that might be a little confusing to understand at first.

WEB BROWSER

A software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. Examples are: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.

URL

A uniform resource locator, also known as Web address, particularly when used with HTTP, is a specific haracter string that constitutes a reference to a resource (e.g., http:/www.ncra.org/TRAIN).

ADDRESS BAR

An address bar (also location bar or URL bar) is a feature in a Web browser that shows the current URL and accepts a typed URL that navigates the user to a chosen website. (It’s the physical place where you type in a URL or web address.)

IP [INTERNET PROTOCOL] ADDRESS

A unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifi es each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network (e.g., 192.161.1.1). This number is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer, router) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

For example: Your home or office has an address containing a number, a street name, a city, and a state. Your computer’s IP address is similar to your home address — it tells other computers where your computer “lives.”

Note: Even though IP address has the word Internet in its name, you do not need to have Internet access to be able to use this functionality on computers, phones, or tablets. If your device has a Web browser, then you are able to work with IP addresses by simply typing it (192.168.1.1) into the address bar.

The IP address has many computer functionalities that have nothing to do with the Internet. For example, the IP address is where you program your new router (renaming your router and adding WPA/WPA2 security). By typing in 192.168.1.1 (which is typically the default IP address with all routers), you will have access to your router’s settings and be able to make the necessary changes.

CASEVIEW PROTOCOL

The CAT software outputs information in CaseView “language.”

Think of it this way: If you are speaking Chinese to someone who only speaks French, it will be very difficult (next to impossible) to communicate.

It’s the same with your computer. Your computer “speaks” a specifi c language. If your software is “speaking” (or outputting) realtime CaseView protocol, another computer that doesn’t understand the language of CaseView will not be able to communicate with your realtime feed. The good news here is CaseView protocol is universal to all CAT software (meaning all CAT systems output in the CaseView protocol).

BRIDGE PROTOCOL

The software outputs information in Bridge “language.” (See language explanation in CaseView protocol above.)

INTERNET STREAMING

Our realtime feed is being transmitted over the Internet to anywhere in the world. Internet streaming may also include the transmission of video and audio (Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP) in conjunction with your realtime feed.

EASY DOES IT

You don’t have to run out and spend $1,000 on a couple of iPads and a router right out of the chute. You probably already have what you need to offer realtime (with your old CAT computer acting as the realtime-viewing computer) at your next deposition or other proceeding.

If you’re like me, you may update your computer system every two to three years. For me, personally, after that period of time, the operating system software (XP, Vista, Windows 7) is outdated and is most likely making my computer programs (specifi cally my CAT software) and ancillary functions run slower, which can make my whole computer system less stable. The last thing I want to have happen in a realtime deposition is the dreaded Blue Screen of Death or my computer system continually hanging.

Having had the good fortune to report way more patent cases than I care to admit, there’s one thing I learned: Manufacturers of computers (and most everything else electronic) have something called planned obsolescence. What does that mean? They want/ need you to update your electronic devices, whether it’s your smartphone, your microwave, or your computer. I think it’s an evil plot on behalf of Corporate America to make me part with my hard-earned money, but at the end of the day, it is my reality if I want to be a successful realtime reporter — not to mention that technology is changing faster than you can boot up an old XP computer!

How many of you still drive the same car you did 10 years ago? How many of you are using the same smartphone you did five years ago? How many of you are wearing the same clothes you wore seven years ago? The thing is, whether you realize it or not, we are constantly updating lots of things in our lives. Sure, a new blouse may be cheaper than a new iPad, but is that new suit cheaper? Maybe not. You wear those (sometimes expensive) business suits because you want to be treated like the skillful and competent court reporter you are. You invest in your professional appearance because you realize it does make a difference in how counsel perceives you. Your computer, your writer, and your software are integral to your professional appearance, so it’s important to stay current.

The last thing you want to do is to be hired to report a (lucrative) realtime job where your realtime feed won’t work properly because your drivers fail to load properly, or a myriad of other issues, because you’re still using the Windows XP operating system. Just “because it always works” may not be a good enough reason to stick with an antiquated system. Dial-up Internet was a deal breaker in its day. How many people still use it? Is it even still around?

Technology and software change at breakneck speed — and although you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in “All Things Computer,” you can be part of the realtime surge that will not only allow you to increase your income but also help secure a future for you and secure the future of the court reporting profession. Although attending a Realtime Systems Administrator class will give you many more details on specific software as well as how to accomplish specific setups, you can also get an amazing amount of realtime information by joining or starting a TRAIN (Taking Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide) group in your area. You can already get a lot of your realtime questions answered and view informative YouTube videos by visiting ncra.org/TRAIN and clicking on Turbo TRAIN: You will find a treasure trove of phenomenal information the TRAIN Committee has compiled just for you!

Although there are many ways to output your realtime feed to computers, tablets, and smartphones, here’s a little more in-depth description of what is currently available in the marketplace. Remember, the realtime landscape is ever changing. The software developers are trying to make our jobs easier all the time! We have many more choices than we did five years ago! When you stay informed, you’re able to make better decisions on when and where to spend your money.

Stenograph has two free realtime-viewing software programs: CaseViewNet (CVN) and iCVNet. CaseViewNet uses the industry standard CaseView protocol, which means if your CAT software can output to CaseView, you can use CaseViewNet. The CaseViewNet software is used with Windows-based computers, netbooks, and Windows Surface Pro tablets. This realtime-viewing software can be used on all CAT systems with output through serial cables, STenocast, and wirelessly through LiveDeposition’s LocalNet.

iCVNet is a free app that is compatible with iPads that requires a wireless (LAN or WAN) connection. However, a CaseViewNet license is required for purchase from Stenograph in order to allow you to send your realtime feed to iCVNet as well as take advantage of the Rapid Refresh functionality.

Go to Stenograph.com and click on the Software tab to download the free CaseViewNet software. To download the free iPad app (iCVNet), visit the App Store on the iPad and search for iCVNet. If you purchase the CaseViewNet license from Stenograph ($295 the fi rst year, $175 for each additional year), you are able to open up the Rapid Refresh functionality of the software so all the changes/corrections you make in your Case CATalyst transcript are instantly made on any CVN or iCVNet feed. No extra buttons to push or commands to execute — the CVN and iCVNet fi le automatically mirrors what is on your screen, word for word.

On a personal note, I use iCVN to iPads with the Rapid Refresh all the time! It makes me look (and feel) like a court reporting rock star when everything on counsel’s screen is squeaky clean and practically perfect — especially in an interpreted deposition when the translator is depending upon my (immaculate) feed for every single question.

Without purchasing the CaseViewNet license from Stenograph, you are still able to use the CaseViewNet realtime-viewing software. The means of connection is only using serial cables, Stenocast, and the LiveDeposition LocalNet router. You cannot connect wirelessly using a traditional router, which you may purchase through your CAT manufacturer, Best Buy, or other electronic store.

At this point, you are probably shaking your head in complete confusion. “Did I read that right? Is that a typo? Did she just say I can connect using a router and then say I cannot connect using a router?” You did read that right, and you do not have to go out and buy another pair of reading glasses! Let me try to explain the difference because there is an important distinction to understand here.

Comparing the traditional router and the LiveDeposition LocalNet router is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they are both fruit, but that’s where the comparisons stop. The traditional router and the LiveDeposition LocalNet router are both pieces of hardware that allow you to create LANs and WANs. However, the LiveDeposition LocalNet router has special firmware loaded onto its router that allows you to do things you cannot do with a traditional router.

Think of it like a valet car key and your regular car key. Your regular car key unlocks the doors, the trunk, and the glove compartment, and it starts the engine. The valet car key only unlocks the doors and starts the engine; it does not unlock the trunk or glove compartment. This is so you can safely store items in these areas without fear of them being stolen while having someone else park your car. Sure, they look like identical keys, but you definitely don’t want to be using your valet car key when you need to get into your locked glove compartment to retrieve your iPhone. You can try and try and try. It will never work. It’s the same with these two routers.They look identical, but they are defi nitely not the same!

Note: The CaseViewNet and iCVNet software are free. You can write to CaseViewNet from any modern CAT software using the serial connection mode (serial cables, StenoCast, and LiveDeposition Local Net Router). The CaseViewNet license is available to all Case CATalyst users. You will have the Rapid Refresh functionality once
you purchase this license from Stenograph as well as the ability to use iCVN and iPads.

Stenograph also offers a cloud-streaming product specifically for the Case CATalyst user with their CVN or iCVNet products. Plans and pricing differ.

For best results, those reporters on Case CATalyst who are looking for a free realtime-viewing software that is designed specifically for their software might consider staying with their CAT vendor and using CaseViewNet and iCVN for their realtime-viewing software.

Eclipse has a free realtime-viewing software program named Bridge. This software program uses the Bridge protocol output as well as the CaseView protocol output, so if your software can output to Bridge or CaseView, you can use the Bridge software. Bridge is a software program that is used strictly on Windows-based computers with a connection means of serial cables, Stenocast, or wireless (LAN or WAN). The free Bridge realtime-viewing software has a refresh feature functionality as well (not Rapid Refresh).
Visit eclipsecat.com/content/bridge for a link to download the free Bridge software for your PC.

Eclipse also offers for-pay realtime-viewing software called Bridge Mobile that outputs realtime feed to tablets. It is designed to work on any mobile device. It does this by using Web browser technology.

Remember, that does not mean it requires Internet access. At the time of publication, pricing for Bridge Mobile has yet to be determined. It is anticipated that Bridge Mobile will be available two different ways: an app installed from the App Store and the browser version.

If you want the feed to be broadcast remotely (to off-site participants), you would obviously need to have Internet access, or create a Wide Area Network, in order to access the Eclipse server.

If the realtime feed is only being used in the room you are working in, you do not need to have Internet access. You can create a LAN. The realtime feed does not need to interface with the Eclipse server to accomplish this. The local server sending the realtime feed is the Eclipse Connection Magic program operating on the reporter’s computer. Any device that has an Internet browser (even though not connected to the Internet) can access the realtime feed in this way using an IP address.

For best results, those reporters on Eclipse who are looking for free realtime-viewing software that is designed specifically for their software might consider staying with their CAT vendor and using Bridge for their realtime-viewing software.

StenoCAT offers a for-pay realtime-viewing and Internet streaming software called TrialBook that works specifically with its StenoCAT software. It is browser-based software, like Bridge Mobile. Because it uses a browser, you are able to output your realtime feed to any device that has a browser: iPhone, iPad, Android tablets, Android phones, Windows phones, Windows tablets, PCs, and Mac computers. The cost is $299 per year.

ProCAT offers a for-pay realtime-viewing software called Denoto that works specifically with its ProCAT software. It is browser-based software, like Bridge Mobile. Because it uses a browser, you are able to output your realtime feed to any device that has a browser: iPhone, iPad, Android tablets, Android phones, Windows phones, Windows tablets, PCs, and Mac computers. The cost is $295 per year.

LiveNote (aka Case Notebook) offers its LiveNote realtime-viewing software program. This software program uses both the CaseView protocol output and the Bridge protocol output, so any CAT software that can output to CaseView or Bridge will be able to use the LiveNote realtime software. The LiveNote software is used strictly on computers. An iPad app is in development with expected release sometime in 2014.

LiveNote offers Certified LiveNote Reporter classes and certifications around the country (usually around five classes per year). The cost of the 1.5-day class is $395. The first part is covered by Mark Kislingbury, who shares some of his secrets to speed and clean realtime writing. The second part of the class is learning about the technical aspects of a realtime connection — including how to connect to the LiveNote software through cables, StenoCast wireless, the Internet, and a LAN router wireless connection — with hands-on training and help. LiveNote offers CEUs for its certification class and has a written and hands-on connection test at the conclusion of the course. The pass rate is 95 percent and above.

When you pass the Certified LiveNote Reporter Exam, you are also given five loaner LiveNote licenses, which means five free versions of LiveNote to use on the realtime computers you loan to counsel for their use at the deposition or other setting.

The LiveNote software is a case analysis tool for law firms and is not a free software (unless you take and pass the CLR course/examination). For law firms, the LiveNote software is priced differently, depending on the lawyer and his or her individual needs.

LiveNote realtime-viewing software can be used with all CAT systems with output through serial cables, virtual serial cables (StenoCast), Internet, and wirelessly through a router.
If your CAT output is set to the Bridge protocol, Case Notebook (LiveNote) versions 3 and above will have the auto-refresh functionality in their realtime transcript.

LiveDeposition recently released a new realtime product called LocalNet. The cost is $199 per year. This includes the licensing fee to use its LocalNet software and a wireless router as well as 24/7 technical support and training. It also includes any updates or enhancements the company makes to the product.

Network routers contain built-in programmable logic called firmware. The firmware is embedded software that implements network and security protocols for that specific model of hardware device. LiveDeposition has modified the firmware on its router so it operates differently than an ordinary router you would purchase off the shelf. LiveDeposition’s router is specially designed to work with its particular setup.

Regarding realtime-viewing software, LiveDeposition supports and outputs to them all: CaseViewNet, Bridge, LiveNote, Denoto, TrialBook, Summation, everything.In addition to working on Windows and Mac computers, LiveDeposition has mobile apps for iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, as well as the Kindle Fire, so you are able to output your realtime feed to those devices.

LiveDeposition has an app that supports its iPad functionality (go to the App Store and search for LiveDeposition) as well as a Droid app (go to Google Play and search for LiveDeposition). You can also output your realtime to the iPhone by downloading the iPhone app for LiveDeposition. I’m not sure I would ever recommend to a reporter or counsel to receive their realtime feed on the small screen of their smartphone, but it’s always nice to know your options!

When writing to the CaseViewNet protocol output, the LiveDeposition setup allows the Rapid Refresh functionality with a for-pay CVN license from Stenograph. When writing to the Bridge protocol output, the LiveDeposition setup allows the auto-refresh functionality for most realtime-viewing software.

LiveDeposition also has a Web-based streaming product that any reporter can use so long as he or she has the StenoDirectPlus software loaded on his or her computer. Plans and pricing differ. See LiveDeposition.com for more details.

Realtime chart

YOU’RE WORTH IT

So where do you want to spend your time and money? How much is your time worth?
Is it more important to get the cables off the tables and write wirelessly without worrying about the headache of setting up counsels’ computers and keeping your fi ngers crossed their computers have administrator rights that allow you (or them) to access their device manager to make the necessary changes so realtime will work?
Will you be able to create the realtime setting without Internet access? Will you have Internet access if the law firm or other setting does not offer it? How much will that cost?
Are you looking for an easier way to output your realtime feed without having to worry about loading drivers or software to counsels’ computers?
Do you want counsel to see all your mistranslates and untranslates, or do you want to make sure you are using a software/hardware combination that will reflect all your changes?
Will the quality of your realtime draft transcript as you are writing be a make-or-break deal for counsel and his or her ability to use, read, or understand your work product during the deposition or other proceedings?
Yes, I do appreciate all this information can be a bit overwhelming (and I know I’ve given you a lot to consider), but you’ve got to start somewhere! And remember, NCRA (through TRAIN and their many other committees) is here to help you! NCRA has YouTube videos that explain the device manager and how to use CaseViewNet or Bridge. There are so many different ways to deliver a quality realtime product to counsel. The choice is all yours!
Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, is a freelancer in Littleton, Colo., and co-chair of the TRAIN Task Force.
She can be reached at lisa.knight@mac.com. For more information about TRAIN, visit NCRA.org/TRAIN.
See also: TRAIN’s Q&A Session

Product review: connection magic

As I was working as a reporter for a new trial recently, I had a scopist reviewing my realtime through Connection Magic. After I gave her the file name and password for the day, she connected in through the Eclipse CM and edited as I wrote for the morning session–170 pages from 9:40 a.m. until 1 p.m.. As I wrote, my scopist made dictionary entries that went right into my job dictionary locally.  Throughout the day, I could see where she was in the document, and we were able to chat via text from within Eclipse.

When I closed out at 1 p.m., she was 40 pages behind me, and those 40 pages were completed by the time my afternoon began. When I was finished with the morning session, I waited not even two minutes before closing out of Eclipse, which then booted her out of my local document. I called her on the phone to see where she was and what happened on her end. She scrolled to the end and had the full document and the full audio file on her computer locally. At the time I called her, my local document was edited to the 12:15 p.m. spot.

The scopist and I shared a simultaneous stream. Not once did we lose connection, and I was on the 11th floor of a courthouse, working off my Mifi that wasn’t plugged in, and streaming to Bridge Mobile realtime. After nearly seven hours, we are both amazed at what we were able to do. With the help of my scopist, the realtime output was flawless; it was truly an instant, clean rough draft. I can envision CM helping reporters increase the quality of their realtime so that reporters who want to give out realtime but don’t write under 1 percent untranslate rate can offer that same quality.

In the past when I tried systems that connected me to a scopist, I felt a drag on the keyboard or the cursor, which made me just want to get out of the shared link. I couldn’t stand the delay of waiting for the change to occur. With CM, my scopist was editing at a high rate with no drag at all because she is really editing on a document local to her that’s affecting me simultaneously. When I watched her on my break, I could tell she was going at a good clip.

Another factor I like is its simplicity. The only thing I’m doing in addition to starting a file, which I do every day anyway, is clicking one box on the translate screen. There, I give the file a different name for my scopist. When prompted, I create the password for the day. That’s it: I’m done.

Another distinction of Connection Magic is I still have control of my own document and can go and make changes while my scopist is also working on the same document. I can also have one person scoping and another proofreading or two people scoping and one proofreading and I can make corrections still–all simultaneous.

Report on the state of vendor technology

At NCRA’s TechCon held in April, members of the association’s Technology Evaluation Committee conducted interviews with the exhibiting vendors to learn more about their products and services, and plans for the future. Below are the highlights from each interview.

VENDOR: DEPOSITIONCONFERENCING.COM

About the company: DepositionConferencing.com is based in Florida and has been in existence for nearly a decade. It is primarily a provider of audio conferencing bridge services with a focus in the legal arena. What differentiates them from other companies is that their billing practice invoices the participants in a case and then pays a commission to the court reporting firm that has arranged for the company’s services. The commissions are paid immediately even before invoices are paid by the participants.

Products/Services: To use Deposition Conferencing.Com services, companies sign up for an account and are provided a participant code when they refer clients. To monitor the number of participants in a call, the company provides each reporting firm and the law firm or client with a toll free number and then compares a call report with the reporter’s list of who was attending the deposition by phone.

Currently Deposition Conferencing is focused on growing its legal business and is in the development stages of producing a Web-based streaming service with plans to unveil the new service at NCRA’s Convention & Expo in August. The goal is to make it easy for both reporters and attorneys to do business while maintaining its current billing to the remote participants and paying commissions to the reporting firm that arranges for the deposition.

The new service will allow users on the receiving end of the stream to use their choice of browsers or an iPad app in order to remotely participate in the deposition. To secure ownership of the transcripts, users will be allowed to make marks but not able to save them for the participants to view. Several members of NCRA’s Technology Evaluation Committee expressed concerns that some clients will want to maintain the information they have added to the text, even if it’s highlighting, and recommended that there be a save/ no save option.

Other security features will include:

  • Users will dial in for the audio, making it separate from the video, to ensure a fail-safe solution.
  • Limiting the bandwidth used by the service will avoid conflicts with others streaming video on the law firm’s network.
  • Security will be encrypted streaming.

Because DepositionConferencing.Com doesn’t believe that wireless will ever be able to compete with the performance of hard-wired connections, the company recommends all users to be hard-wired where possible, to prevent relying on the vagaries of wireless communication. Its base product is planned to be one-way only — not video back and forth — due to the bandwidth challenges that may be present depending upon how all participants are connecting to the service.

DepositionConferencing.com urges NCRA to encourage their members to embrace and accept technology and better educate their clients on what court reporters do as well as what services are available. For more information about Deposition- Conferencing.com, visit www.Deposition Conferencing.com.

VENDOR: EDEPOZE

About the company: eDepoze is based in Irvine, Calif., and provides litigation software that enables depositions using electronic exhibits through an iPad app interface. The product, designed for attorneys by attorneys, retains the benefits of the paper exhibit process but provides a method for taking depositions using electronic documents, which can be introduced and shared either locally or remotely.

Products/Services: The company has been in a limited release mode but is about to make its general public release.

Reporting firms will resell the eDepoze service to their clients on a per-deposition basis. Once the reporting company sets a user up with access to eDepoze through their personal branded website, users can operate the entire process themselves. Reporters can have as little or as much interaction with their clients as desired.

Before a deposition, users review and determine which documents they may want to use as exhibits, set up a new deposition session on the eDepoze system, then upload their potential exhibits in PDF format to that deposition session via eDepoze’s cloud-based repository. Users then conduct the deposition using the eDepoze iPad app. Exhibits are introduced one at a time by marking them with an electronic exhibit sticker, then sharing the exhibit with everyone logged into the deposition session.

Once an exhibit has been introduced, each participant can review and annotate his or her own personal copy. The witness also can annotate exhibits, and the annotated version is captured directly from the witness’s iPad so it can be introduced as a standalone exhibit. Users do not have access to each other’s personal documents. Since the documents are stored on the cloud, eDepoze members have immediate access to the official exhibits that have been marked and introduced at the deposition. Guest users (who do not pay for the service) will not be able to access the exhibits at the end of the deposition.

Once a deposition is z the official exhibit folder for the deposition. In addition, he or she can download and zip the files and email them to other participants. The files are also available as individual PDFs and can be linked in a number of litigation support products.

eDepoze is in the process of releasing online tutorials, certain of which they would like to share with NCRA to link back to their website. In the coming year, the company plans to integrate its service with a variety of other products available in the reporting profession, such as trial presentation and realtime sessions.

For more information about eDepoze, visit edepoze.com.

VENDOR: INTEGRATED REALTIME

About the company: Integrated Realtime was started in 2013 and is based out of New York City. The company provides turnkey hardware/software solutions to both reporters and agencies that either do not feel tech savvy enough to put all the pieces together or do not have the time. The product was designed in response to a gap between a reporter’s skill set as a reporter and his or her skill set as it relates to technology. Integrated Realtime’s goal is to build a business that relieves reporters of the stress of hardware/software selection and implementation. The company’s Integrated Realtime kits can be purchased, leased, or rented.

Products/Services: The company markets its realtime kits to reporters throughout the United States. Its onsite technical support is focused on the New York City area with planned expansion to include other major metropolitan areas. The company can also serve as a remote IT department for small- to medium-sized reporting agencies or individual reporters. The company queries potential clients on the types of software they use, such as CAT, realtime, etc., and then configures the hardware and installs the software on the client’s laptop or iPad, configures the routers, and provides the reporter with a realtime solution just about out of the box.

Integrated Realtime normally provides the laptops and iPads so that clients don’t have to use their own. The company has also standardized the hardware it uses in its realtime kits, and can also modify hardware to the specific needs of a user, for example, running an Apple Mac or PC-specific CAT applications. Integrated Realtime also provides training separate from the training provided with its realtime kits.

The company’s goal is to be recognized as the reporting profession’s system integrator and is interested in partnering with real time service providers to serve as the integrator of software, hardware, and service, to ensure all systems work together seamlessly. Security is also a concern for the company, and it is implementing best practices as it integrates hardware, software, and realtime service.

Integrated Realtime is willing to provide NCRA with documents that can be linked back to its website to assist reporters interested in using its services.

For more information about products and services, visit www.Integrated Realtime Solutions.com.

VENDOR: LIVEDEPOSITION.COM

About the company: LiveDeposition.com is a leading provider of Web-based live deposition and video conferencing solutions. The company’s cutting-edge technologies provide the legal industry with a no-download-required, hassle-free way to stay connected, allowing reporters, paralegals, industry experts, and legal teams to streamline the litigation process by conducting realtime depositions and online meetings. The company is based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and provides 24/7 live phone support. Features include:

  • No software downloads: The only requirement to join a live deposition is a high-speed Internet connection.
  • 100 percent Web-based solution: Depositions are instantly conducted in realtime with anyone, from anywhere, at any time.
  • Simple deposition scheduling: Built-in invitation tools allow deposition hosts to easily send an email containing deposition details, such as URL, date, and time.
  • Multiple platform and browser compatible: Service works on PC, Mac, and Linux machines, plus apps are available for Android and Apple mobile devices.
  • Live video feeds: No bulky external hardware components are required to stream video in realtime. Video can be broadcast through a common web camera.
  • Audio broadcasting: Attendees can listen to what an interviewee is saying instantly through built-in VoIP or Toll-Free Conferencing.
  • Streaming transcription text: As information is entered into a steno machine, the data is formatted and displayed in real time within the deposition room.
  • Secure instant messaging: Private Group Chat feature allows instant feedback from team members or anyone connected to your group.
  • Built-in collaboration tools: LiveDeposition.com gives clients the ability to load and view exhibits in realtime, so everyone is on the same page no matter their geographical location.

For more information about products and services, visit www.livedeposition.com.

VENDOR: PROCAT

About the company: ProCAT is a leading provider of software, electronic stenotype, and hardware to the court reporting and closed-captioning industries. Founded in 1982, the company is based Calabasas, Calif., and introduced the first PC-based computer-aided transcription software.

Products/Services: The company’s new Impression writer is considered one of the most technologically advanced portable realtime writers. New enhancements include increased processing power to allow for the ability to translate and to provide remote CART and remote depositions from the writer via a wireless router to an attorney’s PC. Other enhancements include the ability to import existing transcripts and dictionaries onto the writer and customized keyboards similar to other CAT products designed to aid with simple transitions by new users of the Winner writer.

Recent upgrades to the Winner writer software include dual channel audio, which allows individual microphones to be set up for the witnesses and the attorney, enabling the reporter to separate the channels and listen independently when two parties speak over one another.

Users also have the ability to email transcripts created with software dating back to 1997 and the ability to store files directly to Google Drive and SkyDrive.

ProCAT has announced enhancements to its Winner Vox that will include the ability of a reporter to switch between stenographic and vox.

For more information about products and services, visit www.ProCAT.com.

VENDOR: REALLEGAL

About the company: RealLegal provides transcript management tools to court reporting firms, freelance reporters, official reporters, courts, and law firms. Developed with input from both court reporting and legal professionals, these distinctive products fit into the unique workflow of the litigation process. The result is greater efficiency, lower costs, and more opportunity for real growth. The company is based in San Francisco, Calif., and is owned by Thomson Reuters.

Products/Services: The company offers an array of products that include:

  • E-Transcript, which produces secure, custom-formatted, electronic transcripts with tamperproof electronic signatures;
  • West Publisher 5.5, which combines all transcripts, exhibits, and video into a single bundle for clients, using RealLegal Publisher 4.0, LiveNote LEFMaker, and Case Notebook;
  • iBinder, which provides clients with on-demand access to transcripts, exhibits, and video files and operates seamlessly with RealLegal Publisher. Binders can be delivered via CD, DVD, or through the Internet to an encrypted and secure Real – Legal iBinder site;
  • LiveNote Stream, which connects off-site participants to live depositions and trials by streaming live broadcasts to authorized clients; and
  • Case Notebook, which allows attorneys to organize, analyze, and collaborate transcripts, exhibits, and video clips received from court reporters into an electronic case file.

RealLegal is working to increase the awareness of professionals in the litigation arena about the products and services it offers, including free, unlimited training, support, and upgrades. The company recently released enhancements to its iPad and iPhone viewers to allow access to electronic files, and Etrans V9, which can create searchable PDFs.

Watch for additional new product and service launches later in the summer. For more information about products and services, visit www.RealLegal.com.

VENDOR: STENOCAT

About the company: StenoCAT is owned by Gigatron Software Company, based in Irvine, Calif., and delivers the latest in court reporting software designed to work with nearly all writers on the market.

Products/Services: StenoCAT is currently working on a new realtime browser that will be designed to work with any mobile device including iPad and Android devices. The product will be Web-browser based for application in a LAN environment.

StenoCAT also has developed a steno machine iPad app called “iStenoPad,” which is free of charge and can be downloaded via the iTunes app store. A dictionary can be added to the new app, and it can be connected to a CAT system with an addon purchase of iStenoDock for realtime and file transfers. A keyboard overlay is also available for purchase to help users with key touch.

While the company has no plans to create a repository for reporters, its software works well with Dropbox and SkyDrive. The company also offers instructional videos and files on using either Dropbox or Skydrive with its software and is in the process of creating additional educational materials such as videos and tutorials covering such topics as networking. Some popular features of StenoCAT are the new SmartBriefs, seating charts, autosave, integrated address book, Internet search capability, and PDF with digital and/or electronic signatures.

StenoCAT charges an initial start-up fee for new users, plus a first-year subscription. After the first year, users can renew their subscriptions on a one-month, three-month, six-month, or one-year basis.

For more information about products and services, visit www.StenoCAT.com.

VENDOR: STENOGRAPH

About the company: Stenograph was founded more than 75 years ago and is considered a leading supplier of productivity tools for the court reporting profession, including the developer of shorthand writers and computer-aided transcription software. The company is based in Elmhurst, Ill.

Products/Services: Stenograph is currently beta testing a new product designed to use a wide area network and allow CVN to work over the Internet for users of its CATalyst software. The product is intended to stream realtime text to either a remote attendee, or it can be used on-site.

The easy-to-use new product requires users to select their output to CVN in CATalyst, and enter a realtime stream access code that could be purchased on a weekly, month, or yearly schedule. The company is also moving toward open standards so that CAT transcripts could be opened through Open Office. In addition, Stenograph is working to identify ways to encourage more people to become court reporters, including finding ways to get students through school quicker and pushing steno games to potential students to help increase interest in the profession.

For more information about products and services, visit www.stengraph.com.

VENDOR: VISIONARY LEGAL TECHNOLOGIES

About the company: Visionary Legal Technologies is a legal software company that offers powerful, easy-to-use trial presentation software, and trial presentation services. Based in Addison, Texas, the company developed Auto Syncing, which uses voice recognition technology to sync deposition transcripts to the deposition video for use in trial presentation software.

Products/Services: Visionary has 16 products designed to aid the litigator from discovery through appeal. Currently, the company is reviewing how to integrate their products with tablets.

Among the products Visionary offers is VPrint, which uses secure digital signatures in documents and password-protected PDFs for e-filing of appellate transcripts; REDI for courts, a synch product that produces transcript plus audio; and V-Net, a repository product that includes transcripts with hyperlinked exhibits, and access to video/audio.

Visionary Legal Technologies also offers LiveFeed Remote, a streaming product that works with all known steno providers.

The company currently offers a variety of Web-based training materials on their company website, in addition to offering training services for a fee.

For more information about products and services, visit www.Visionary Legal Technologies.com.

VENDOR: YESLAW

About the company: YesLaw is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and provides repository, transcript production software, and synchronization services to professionals working in the legal arena, including freelancers and firm owners.

Products/Services: YesLaw provides YesLaw Online, a unique cloud-based website that allows users to upload video, transcripts, and other documents. Users of the service can view deposition transcripts, linked exhibit documents, and synchronized video, as well as highlight, annotate, and make video clips of important transcript passages. The YesLaw Online toolset provides always-available access to search and review case content by Web browsers and mobile devices.

The company is serious about the issues of security and confidentiality and maintains all client data in an encrypted format stored in a secure facility. Modes of delivery of transcripts and other documents are also safeguarded by delivery through the cloud.

YesLaw offers an array of written educational materials in PDF format geared toward attorneys, as well as a variety of product-specific material. The company is interested in providing links to the NCRA website to provide members with easy access to educational materials, and has offered NCRA the opportunity to host YesLaw training videos.

Currently, the company is providing a variety of solutions with other vendors to integrate their products and services into the YesLaw production software.

For more information about services and products, visit www.yeslaw.com.

This article was produced on behalf of NCRA’s Technology Evaluation Committee.

Products & Services Spotlight

NCRA’s Virtual Exhibit Hall

The purpose of this article 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.

The JCR plans to make this section a recurring feature in the magazine. 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.

RealLegal Management Tools

800-548-3668 / www.reallegal.com

RealLegal provides transcript management tools to court reporting firms, freelance reporters, official reporters, courts, and law firms. Developed with input from both court reporting and legal professionals, these products fit into the workflow of the litigation process. The result is greater efficiency, lower costs, and more opportunity for growth. RealLegal E-Transcript technology is the benchmark for electronic transcripts, and the standard delivery format for litigators nationwide. E-Transcript files ensure page and line integrity, allow for custom formatting, and offer the security of a tamperproof, electronic signature. The free E-Transcript Viewer is all that’s needed to view an E-Transcript. E-Transcript files are also compatible with Case Notebook and other popular litigation software.

Aptara

302-864-0664 / www.aptaracorp.com

No company summarizes more depositions than Aptara. With more than 400 transcripts summarized per day for the largest court reporting companies nationwide, and more than 5 million transcript pages to date, no one comes close.

Toxic tort. Medical device. Products liability. Negligence. Social Security. Workers comp.

If your clients report to partners, claims managers, general counsel, steering committees, or prepare for settlement or trial, they need deposition summaries. A deposition summary is a concise and objective abstract used by lawyers, and it remains at the core of their case preparation. Your clients are under increasing pressure to cut legal expenses, and Aptara’s ability to provide professionally prepared, cost-effective deposition summaries with quick turn-around not only saves them time and money but also gives you an added profitable service that’s in demand.

Aptara’s led by an experienced trial lawyer who knows the importance of valuable discovery and case management solutions. The company creates summaries that meet varied practice needs, and company officials report that competitively priced medical record summaries are also available.

Attachmore

800-975-7712 / www.attachmore.com/ncra

Be more productive in sending and sharing files with Attachmore. Each day brings the common problem of emailing large audio files or huge .pdf exhibits. Email limits how much you can attach. Other online storage services are often too cumbersome. Attachmore makes it easy with a simple “right click” on a file or folder to upload, company officials report. The Attachmore software uploads the selection and presents a download link, which users can easily email with their preferred email program. Recipients are able to open the email and click the download link to retrieve the sent files without logins or visiting other websites. Simplify your digital life and be more professional in your file communications.

College of Court Reporting

866-294-3947 / http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/programs/ev360-professional-loocs

College of Court Reporting launched its latest innovation, ev360 Professional Development and Continuing Education. The PDCE program is designed to provide the general public with educational and professional development, continuing education, and resources, to ensure that all learners have access to post-secondary and continuing education, the working world, and life-long learning. Its purpose is to further develop and implement research-based curricula that are aligned with industry standards in order to improve individual achievement and professional growth. It is the goal of PDCE to ensure the highest quality education for all learners, facilitated by skilled and professional educators who are supported by CCR personnel, according to company officials. Recent approval from the Indiana Board of Education, makes CCR the first college to offer programs that consists of a Living Open Online Curriculum (LOOCs) for both instructors and students. This program will also be the first court reporting program to award online Badges for students who demonstrate skill and knowledge as a result of completing any of the courses through ev360 PDCE.

Courtroom Connect

www.cameovideosystems.com

Courtroom Connect’s new and innovative video conferencing package, Cameo Video Systems, is a unique conferencing package that allows court reporters, lawyers, legal aids, and other professionals to instantly connect through a secure video conference solution. Unlike other video conferencing products, Cameo Video Systems is a unique bundled package exclusive to CameoCall participants, and can connect using any device: video conference systems, PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs

Monette.Tutoring@CRRbooks.com / www.CRRbooks.com

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs is a proven leader providing training and test prep material for court reporting students, novice, or veteran reporters, CART providers, and captioners. Users will learn why answers are correct or incorrect, the company reports.

Court reporters can study essential details to pass state and national certification written exams with a textbook, workbook, and a companion study guide, or study with the Court Reporter Reference Tutorial CD if preferred. The goal of the materials is to have users test only once, and the company reports that students and reporters have a 95 percent success rate advancing their credentials and passing tests.

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, has provided oneon- one tutoring and empowerment coaching for more than 20 years. Are you stuck in school or desire to create new goals at work? Monette will confidentially assist clients with specific, custom-designed guidance.

CRRbooks.com includes testimonials, multiple products, CATapult Your Dictionary CDs, services, and articles Monette has written for the JCR in her monthly column.

DepositionConferencing.com

877-988-DEPO / info@depositionconferencing.com

DepositionConferencing.com has been a partner to court reporting agencies throughout the United States for a decade. The latest offering from DepositionConferencing.Com is Looking Glass Depo, a fully remote deposition attendance service including video streaming, web conferencing, text streaming, and HD audio conferencing in one easy-to-use package for attorneys and court reporters. Combining best of breed technology with industry proven solutions, Looking Glass Depo allows required attendees to be a part of the proceeding without having to travel to the actual location.

Divinescripts

www.divine-scripts.com/cprp

Is your job in jeopardy? Are you looking for something new or perhaps just need additional income?

The landscape for court reporters is shifting these days, but as a CART provider, you can increase your marketability and enhance your earning potential. Reporters nationwide are taking on full and part-time careers in the world of Computer Aided Realtime Translation.

Very specific skills and knowledge are needed for these CART positions, and Divinescripts LLC, is one of the industry leaders in training and preparing judicial reporters for the world of CART. The company reports that it is currently offering the only online training program available to get interested reporters started.

The world of CART is growing — and fast. CART providers are in great demand all over the country — and worldwide. Opportunities are available in many arenas. CART providers can demand salaries on par with judicial reporters while often enjoying the freedom of freelancing and even working remotely from their home office.

Integrated Realtime Solutions

www.IntegratedRealtimeSolutions.com

Integrated Realtime Solutions, Inc., is a startup company whose mission is to combine and simplify the technology in court reporting, based on the belief that court reporters shouldn’t have to double as computer technicians. The company’s main product line centers around a series of customizable kits that provide reporters or agencies with a stream-lined, easy-to-use, and configuration-free solution for providing realtime to clients. Integrated Realtime Solutions offers flexible options for purchase, lease, and rental of kits, and also partners with other providers in the industry to integrate complementary products and services to provide a complete solution for realtime needs. Support and training are included to ensure that products function exactly as required in the demanding court reporting industry, company officials note.

Starting in New York City with planned expansion across the country, Integrated Realtime Solutions can supply an on-site tech to provide and set up equipment for large jobs.

Karasch & Associates

800-621-5689

Karasch & Associates is a court reporting firm that has been in business for more than 30 years. In addition to providing court reporting and captioning services throughout the United States, Karasch & Associates also provides a mentoring program for graduating court reporters and captioners.

Graduating from court reporting school is very exciting but can be very scary as well. The company’s mentoring program is designed to give each student the confidence and professionalism they need to succeed in this exciting, fast paced world. As members of the Board of Orleans Technical Institute of Court Reporting, Karasch understands what the next step is for graduates.

The Karasch program offers students first-hand insight into depositions, arbitrations, and CART/captioning with our dedicated staff available to answer all questions. The goal is to put reporters at ease for a successful “live” experience.

Join the Karasch Mentoring program and become one of the many court reporters and CART captioners who have started their career with tenacity and confidence.

Lawser

www.lawser.com

Lawser has launched its groundbreaking social network developed exclusively for the legal community. The new platform creates an interactive online hub where attorneys, law students, and those who service the legal industry can network, share best practices, and generate referrals.

Lawser is immediately available at no cost, and members of the legal community are encouraged to set up their personalized accounts at www.lawser.com.

Users simply and quickly create a profile highlighting their career experience and specialties. After building new connections through Lawser’s easy-to-use interface, users may send direct messages to individual community members or post to a newsfeed where members can request personal recommendations and provide referrals from everyone in their network.

“The idea behind Lawser is to create a central gathering place online where members of the legal community can connect,” said Lawser founder Marc Astor. “We constructed what we believe will be the best social networking site for lawyers and the larger legal community. As the site grows, Lawser will be an incredibly beneficial resource that provides tremendous value for legal professionals and ultimately their clients, worldwide.”

LiveDeposition.com

888-337-6411 / www.livedeposition.com

LiveDeposition.com recently added a new product to its line of realtime deposition streaming solutions. Local Realtime is designed to wirelessly connect onsite deposition attendees to a court reporter’s realtime transcript. Local Realtime eliminates the hassle of extra cables or adapters, is iPad and Android tablet compatible, and integrates with all litigation realtime and CAT software.

LiveDeposition.com’s local and web-based streaming deposition solutions remove the need for bulky cords or expensive hardware and gives court reporters the ability to take depositions in a safe and secure environment.

Magnum Steno Club

mark@magnumsteno.com

Magnum Steno Club is a popular online location where reporters and students go to gain speed and accuracy. The testimonials page is jam-packed with letters from excited people who have seen great results from the Magnum Steno Club and the principles and teachings of its founder, Mark Kislingbury. There are more than 120 hours of dictation on the site and more than 1,000 videos. Dictation can be sped up or slowed down to virtually any speed. Around 100 instructional videos go into the mental side of court reporting. Hear all the principles that helped Mark to achieve a Guinness World Record 360 wpm — and you can apply those very principles to your own writing. Every weekday a new dictation video is posted. When you join the club, you gain access to every video on the site. Enjoy Mark’s inspirational, encouraging teaching style.

Martel Electronics

800-553-5536 / www.MartelDirect.com

Meet the world’s only Digital Recorder and Transcriber All ‘N One. Are you plagued by unreliable recording and transcription on your computer? If you are looking to simplify your world, this is the only way to go digital without the hassles of a computer. The unit operates like a tape recorder and tape transcriber. It has one button for start recording and one button for stop. When you are ready to transcribe, simply plug the foot pedal into the unit and it becomes a tape transcriber.

Min-U-Script

888-877-1187 option 2 / www.minuscript.com

Min-U-Script V. 4 offers a host of powerful new features that will deliver outstanding marketing opportunities and efficiencies in producing and delivering your work-product.

Features include casewide batching of all transcripts and/or linked exhibits onto one CD; customizable file hosting service for delivery of large files; automatic Insta-Linking of exhibits; casewide word index reports and Transcript Library Management Reports.

The company has a 23-year tradition of innovation and quality with more than 1,500 licensed users. Visitors are entitled to a free fullfeatured evaluation.

My Realtime Coach

www.learnrealtime.com

MyRealtimeCoach has recently added two new packages to its already extensive array of exercises: Certification Prep and Live Court.

With the Certification Prep package, users can choose from Pace Yourself, Push Yourself, and Test Yourself. Learn to write through those end-of-test jitters with exercises that vary in length from one to eight minutes. Practice challenging material with variable speeds so you can handle anything on test day. Take actual past NCRA exams, and get instant feedback so you know when you’re ready.

Do you have what it takes to write for the U.S. Supreme Court? Now you can stretch yourself every morning with this brand-new package of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings. Arguments, questions, responses — all from the cases that make headlines. Choose from more than 250 exercises created from the actual courtroom audio recordings.

Just 15 minutes a day on myRealtimeCoach™ can lead to careerchanging improvements in speed and accuracy, the company reports.

New York Career Institute

212-962-0002 / NYCI.edu

New York Career Institute’s New Captioning Lab features 10 fully equipped stations for teaching the basics of closed captioning and CART. As a continuing education program, NYCI offers this program to its current student body and professional reporters to help further enhance their realtime skills, as well as learn about closed captioning and CART.

OMTI/Reporter Base

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

meTranscript (short for Mobil-Elite Transcript) is the latest service from OMTI, developers of ReporterBase business applications for marketing and managing court reporting businesses.

meTranscript gives lawyers their transcripts on smartphones or tablets in a format that maximizes legibility and ease of use while preserving the original ASCIIs page and line formatting.

Clients of court reporting agencies that offer meTranscript can access the service through RB Web Mobile Apps on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device, or on their laptop or desktop through a browser. On mobile devices, lawyers can highlight and make notes on transcripts, email their work to colleagues, and sync it with the master copy that resides on the agency’s RB web server.

Lawyers can do the same tasks through a browser as well, plus view related exhibits, video, and other files within the open transcript. And by syncing, they will always have the latest version when they open the transcript again whatever device they view it on.

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

Stenograph

www.stenograph.com

Stenograph will introduce Cloud, the newest feature for Case- ViewNet and iCVNet, at the NCRA convention in August. Case CATalyst users with a CaseViewNet license can use Cloud to enable clients to view their realtime transcript, whether they are in the same room or anywhere in the world. Cloud uses the Internet to expand the reach of CaseViewNet beyond the court room. Stenograph will be demonstrating CaseViewNet Cloud at the NCRA convention, Aug.8 – 11 in Nashville, Tenn.

Stenovations

www.stenovations.com

Stenovations is now shipping its newest Classic LightSpeed writers. The new LightSpeeds are available in black, silver, and pink aluminum. New features include longer vowel keys that now have two sensors; wide asterisk and wide -DZ keys; a more robust USB connection; and upgraded state-of-the-art electronic components with redesigned circuitry to prevent electronic interference.

The state-of-the-art components and the redesigned circuitry combine to make the latest LightSpeed the most sensitive keyboard ever manufactured, company officials report.

StreamText.net

608-234-4759 / www.streamtextlegal.com / info@streamtextlegal.com

StreamText.Net’s newest platform, StreamText Legal, leverages the industry’s best communications platform, Adobe Connect, to create the most complete deposition platform on the market today. It delivers the highest level of security, reliability, and flexibility, company officials say. StreamTextLegal is a complete deposition solution that allows reporters to offer live video, realtime interactive transcripts, attendance reports, custom branding, evidence sharing, archiving of recorded depositions, private chat, video conferencing, and much more. More than just a deposition platform, StreamText Legal is built on Adobe Connect, which can be used as a central platform for all communication needs — not just depositions.

Designed to be easy to use for both the court reporter and the deposition participants, StreamText.net is cloud based, which means customers can access the platform from anywhere on almost any device. StreamText Legal is iPad, iPhone, and Android compatible.

The Varallo Group

508-753-9282 / www.thevarallogroup.com

The Varallo Group, a trusted name in court reporting, brings outstanding personal attention with first-rate reporters, business development, and administrative services to match clients’ needs and budget.

The firm’s suite of services — including sales support, marketing, and website design — provide court reporters and court reporting firms a single source for all of their management, administrative, and business development needs, and strengthens their business growth efforts, and frees them up to enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

At The Varallo Group, we understand both the current needs of our clients and the tools they’ll need to grow and evolve in the future.

Owner Nancy Varallo is a veteran court reporter, educator, and business owner. As a provider of court reporters and management services to the industry, Nancy’s dedication to the profession reflects the company’s longstanding commitment to the time-honored values of quality, service, and accountability.

Visionary Legal Technologies

www.visionarylegal.com

Visionary Legal Technologies (VLT) has been providing technology answers for the legal industry since the early ‘90s. VLT offers a complete line of production software to standardize, normalize and brand your transcripts and video for delivery to your clients in the most-used formats.

The V-Print product line provides court reporters and agencies with powerful tools to distribute high-impact, branded transcripts in digital and paper formats with no monthly fees. With our template method, you can customize and design each template once and use them forever, following the rules set by each jurisdiction. Digital signatures ensure secure transmission of transcripts between the court reporting agency and court reporters. Deliver unique transcripts in several formats, including full page and mini .pdfs, with word index. V-Print Pro delivers transcripts with hyperlinked exhibits in multiple formats.

Our Auto-Syncer was the industry’s first automated syncing tool. As such, it is the most trusted and accurate transcript-to-video synchronizing tool available on the market today. Visionary Auto- Syncer is a complete solution for creating and syncing files compatible with most trial presentation products, including Visionary 8 Pro.

Stenograph unveils new app

ICVnetThe August 6, 2012, Law Technology News reported that Stenograph has unveiled iCVNet, its Apple iPad app based on its CaseViewNet realtime transcript viewer. The free app provides instant viewing of realtime deposition and trial transcripts on an iPad.

Source: Law Technology News