A May 28 piece on NPR Labs examined a NPR team’s plan to bring radio to people with hearing loss. The project, dubbed “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” converts audio from NPR programs to text so that it can be displayed in near realtime on captioning terminals. Further, the text can be transmitted to Refreshable Braille Displays, which can be read by the deaf-blind. The article was reported through WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
When I am preparing for a trial, I do a number of things to make my realtime better.
- I go to the law firms’ websites and copy and paste photos of the litigators, along with their bios. This helps me build my speaker ID in advance. The judge always appreciates it when I provide that information to him, together with a seating chart I create for both of us before he enters the courtroom.
- Next, I input into my job dictionary spellings from the witness lists, CVs and reports of experts, exhibits lists, citations found in motions, briefs, rulings, etc.
- I create a core list from those spellings, which, of course, alphabetizes the entries.
- I adjust the font size to a nice large size, and then print out the list.
- I keep that alphabetized “cheat sheet” on my work station in front of me during the proceedings. I cannot tell you how much it enhances my realtime output when I have inputted multisyllabic words as one- or two-stroke briefs and have the core list in front of me as experts are testifying in rapid-fire Q&A.
Using these preparation techniques together with Brief-It, I can provide amazing realtime, at least by my own reckoning.
NCRA and the Realtime Systems Administrator Committee would like to congratulate our 20 new NCRA Realtime Systems Administrators who passed the Realtime Systems Administrator Credentialing Exam at the 2013 NCRA Convention & Expo in Nashville, Tenn.
Please welcome our new NCRA Realtime Systems Adminstrators:
- Amos, Debbie S.
- Bursky, Richard B.
- Chiodo, Lou
- Constance, Lee
- DeVries, William L.
- Dierksen, Jessica
- Entrekin, Risa L.
- Franges, Liebe
- Gerard, Henny H.
- Hanna, Kelly
- Hourigan, Terri A.
- Kent, Brandi
- Kohrs, Randy B.
- Lee, Constance
- Lemons, Keith
- Liss, Sheri
- Mays, Cheri
- Rawlins, Dolores A.
- Worsham, Lisa
- Young, Dana L.
About Realtime Systems Administrators
Realtime Systems Administrators are trained to handle any realtime technical situation that may arise in the courtroom or in a deposition. In the legal environment, time is money and in pressure situations with time constraints the norm, you’ll be glad a Realtime Systems Administrator is part of the team.
Because Realtime Systems Administrators are schooled in all areas of the litigation support environment—and often are court reporters themselves—they carry an insider’s knowledge in addition to their technical expertise. Not only will they work to find the most efficient and effective answers for your situation, they likewise can support any type of software you might throw their way—from LiveNote, CaseViewNet, and CT Summation to Bridge, Denoto, Visionary, SpecHE, and TeleView, and more.
For more about the Realtime Systems Administrator Progam please click here.
The Sept. 30 CEU-cycle deadline is quickly approaching. If you need to earn CEUs, one of the easiest ways to do so is by participating in any of our upcoming webinars. NCRA has announced the July webinars and you can earn 0.15 CEUs per webinar.
The July series of webinars include two webinars by Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, who is a tech-savvy official in Arapahoe County District Court in Colorado. Lisa is currently involved with NCRA’s Grassroots Realtime Task Force, better known as TRAIN, Technology Evaluation Committee, and Realtime Systems Administrator Certification Committee.
Her two-part seminar, Speed, Realtime and Beyond will take place via Internet connections on July 17, 2013 – 8-9:30 p.m. EST and July 31, 2013 – 8-9:30 p.m. EST. The seminar series will cover how to confidently provide realtime feed to counsel, what to bring to a realtime deposition and why, and how to get over the “realtime jitters” and conquer your realtime fear!
To register or get more information about these webinars, please visit NCRA. org/earnCEUs
Make your next realtime assignment less stressful by having the right information at the right time. NCRA’s bestselling information guide, the Realtime Troubleshooting Pocket Guide, currently is in the hands of many members and has been widely used to ensure a successful realtime hook up via cables and/or StenoCast Bluetooth serial feeds. Also included in this pocket guide are the “Windows Tenets” to ensure your realtime will be delivered without any interruption from Windows default settings.
The Realtime Systems Administrator Committee is working on an extensive update, which is expected to be released at the NCRA Annual Convention in Nashville, and concurrently in NCRA’s Online Store. The new version of the Realtime Troubleshooting Pocket Guide is expected to include the following updates:
- Windows Tenets in the Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating system environment, including touchscreen tips for the W8 touchscreen computer.
- Wireless hookups – Troubleshooting tips and step-by-step guidance to a successful hookup for wireless realtime receive software products, such as CaseViewNet, Live Note Stream Onsite, the soon-to-be released LiveDeposition Local, Stenograph’s CVN Cloud, and Bridge 3.0.
- iPad Apps – Download, setup, and troubleshooting of Stenograph’s iCVNet app, Eclipe’s Bridge Mobile, and LiveDeposition’s Realtime Streaming app.
- Routers –WAN and LAN troubleshooting.
Last, but certainly not least, the quick reference index will be updated to ensure that time spent finding any topic within the pocket guide is minimal. Don’t miss out on the new release. Look for more information to come through NCRA.org.
What does the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate buy me? Will my clients understand and appreciate the meaning of this additional certificate? How can I make it work for me?
The Realtime Systems Administrator Certificate program is one of NCRA’s newer additions to its Training and Certification Division. This program provides indepth training on the provision of realtime to an overview of the currently available realtime viewer software programs, as well as invaluable troubleshooting solutions. In addition, there is information exchange among the trainers and the participants on various hardware and software options to improve your realtime service performance and offering.
The questions for most NCRA members are: What does this buy me? Will my clients understand and appreciate the meaning of this additional certificate? How can I make it work for me? The answers to each of these questions are individualized, depending on your particular focus, but there are some universal advantages to this program.
1. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge you gain from the very experienced Realtime Systems Administrator trainers is tremendous. The Realtime Systems Administrator Guide that you receive as part of the training is a resource for the many technical pitfalls that await each of us on a realtime assignment.
2. Solving a client’s connection issue is the perfect opportunity to point out the Realtime Systems Administrator training you received that enabled you to do so. It is also a further opportunity to educate them on hiring certified reporters at every level — from traditional reporting through Internet realtime. Never pass up an opportunity to tout your personal accomplishments, as well as your standards for your reporters. The more you mention and promote such education and training, the more your clients will begin to expect and appreciate your qualified staff.
The Realtime Systems Administrator program is constantly evolving as technology advances. In addition to the NCRA trainers, the major vendors of realtime software viewers also attend to provide updates, support, and technical troubleshooting on their particular products. The Realtime Systems Administrator committee is currently adding the provision of realtime to iPads and tablets to its syllabus. It continues to update its training as new technologies become available.
The training is structured over a day and a half, followed by an opportunity to take the test right away — no time to forget what you’ve learned! During the training portion, in addition to the formal speakers, various support personnel will be available to assist you on specific issues/system setup, and the dialogue is somewhat free-flowing — you actually learn a lot from the participants sharing questions and personal experiences. There’s also a good bit of humor injected — at least when I trained! The testing follows the half-day session at assigned times and requires you to connect, within 15 minutes, to two different realtime viewers (there may or may not be a few pitfalls to address). And you immediately have your results, pass or fail. If you do not want to test immediately or are not successful, you can sign up for the test at a future testing event.
So, to answer the question, what does the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate buy you? Confidence! The confidence to take the step to provide realtime services; the confidence to set up, troubleshoot, and successfully connect your clients; and, finally, the confidence to do what you do best: write flawlessly!
Congratulations! You’ve become credentialed as a Realtime Systems Administrator. That certificate looks great on your wall, and you’ve built up substantial upper body strength carrying around the Realtime Systems Administrator Manual. So now what? Can you leap tall buildings in a single bound? Nope. Can you outrun a speeding a bullet? Nope. Although, come to think of it, you can give that gunsmith a run for his money on the record — both barrels, even — being the topnotch caliber reporter that you are.
Besides being a great credential to have, the RSA credential gives you the confidence and base of knowledge to work from in providing everyday realtime services. Yes, some hookups will still be challenging, but with the quick reference guide and Realtime Systems Administrator Manual to draw on, you should be able to overcome almost all obstacles. There’s still no cure for lack of a serial port, which is an all-too-common problem in this day and age, but carrying a spare USB adapter with you and keeping a list of law firm IT department phone numbers and contacts will let you conquer even that.
With your credentials, you’re now capable of being the go-to person in your firm or courthouse. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to confidently troubleshoot someone else’s computers to get things working, spreading the use of realtime, and securing everyone’s future. Hop on the TRAIN and don’t look back.
The reality is that in lots of courthouses, both state and federal, serial connections are the only permitted method of providing realtime to the judge or counsel. Even steno machines must be connected via serial or USB cable to the reporter’s computer. Things are slowly changing with the popularity of the iPad, but security is the overwhelming theme in those venues, and any wireless signal is a potential liability, and the state and federal courts are sometimes very proprietary about their data, court proceedings included. They will sometimes permit infrared connections, since those only function within the room. It seems like there’s always something.
But the Realtime Systems Administrator program doesn’t stop with just serial connections. You’ve got the base of knowledge and experience for serial connections, and now it’s time to expand your knowledge and experience into the realm of wireless, LAN, and WAN connections. Once you understand the types of things that can inhibit serial connections, you have a better understanding of how to troubleshoot, and that skill transfers into the wireless world.
Everywhere you look, you see wireless, wi-fi, you name it — the world is losing wires and heading into the ether. Is it easier? Maybe. Is it better? Maybe. Is it faster? Probably not, unless you’re in Japan or a country where wireless is king and you have a compatible phone or data device. Wireless connections are usually half the speed of wired. In the interactive realtime and streaming market, wireless can still give you dropped connections and dropped data. It’s a fact of life until the technology and software catches up with the needs of the consumer. If you want stable and reliable connections, you still need wires, whether it’s direct to the client or a direct connection to the Internet. And if a courthouse or law firm has a wireless inhibitor installed, your router and wireless viewers aren’t going to function.
One exception is StenoCast wireless, which you should also make yourself familiar with, since it’s a great option to go wireless and still serve serial connection client software. It also has a “TV” viewer that a witness or interpreter can use for viewing, or that a client can use for CART purposes. If you feel daring and all techie, you can even use Bluetooth from Blue Soleil to create your own Bluetooth serial network.
These are all interesting directions, and they’ll give you options for providing services to your clients that may never have occurred to either you or them.
Internet/intranet streaming is also a newer method of providing realtime services, either locally with an intranet or worldwide using the Internet. They have their own pitfalls and idiosyncrasies, but with the troubleshooting skills you’ve been shown and the voluminous reference material available via the Realtime Systems Administrator Manual, you’ll be well-equipped when you delve into the next new technological challenge. The quick reference guide is a handy on-the-go reference tool with the most likely fixes for all types of connection problems. And the really great thing about both the quick reference guide and the Realtime Systems Administrator Manual is that they’re being updated constantly with new information, and that information is available through the SharePoint site sponsored by NCRA. You can download the information in PDF format for use on your computer or tablet, keeping it with you when you’re in the field making things work.
So, what comes after passing the Realtime Systems Administrator test? Lots and lots of opportunities to help others establish reliable connections, greater confidence in your own abilities to make things work with your clients, and the ability to deal with the inevitable escalation of technology that keeps all of us on the bleeding edge. There’s nothing that gets your heart pumping like having a great client walk in with a new notebook and say, “Here, make this work. I just got it.” And there’s nothing more satisfying than opening up your realtime kit, pulling out the necessary adapters, USB devices, software, etc., and getting him or her up and running in record time. Does it happen overnight? No. But you didn’t learn to write steno or use your CAT system in only 20 minutes or 20 hours. Everything builds on the preceding experiences, and with the workshop, you get the benefit of more than 100 years of realtime experience that the committee members have and are more than willing to share with you.
If you haven’t already taken the RSA course and the practical exam, be sure to register as soon as you get the announcement, especially if you’re planning on coming to NCRA’s TechCon in Arizona this April to take the practical exam. We have limited testing slots, so register early to ensure you can attend the workshop and take the practical test.
During the 2012 NCRA Annual Convention and Exposition, College of Court Reporting demonstrated its ev360 Academic and ev360 Professional technologies. The ev360 suite of products were developed by some of the country’s top court reporting educators, and these products have played a vital role for users in enhancing skill and speed development, increasing progression rates, perfecting realtime skills, and passing certification skills exams.
ev360 Professional offers a virtually unlimited variety of material up to 340 wpm; 225 SAPs (tests) at every speed and dictation type; a minimum of 810 hours of structured streaming text and dictation for speed and skill development that provide user-specific tools for self-evaluation and focused self-improvement; up to 72 hours of live speedbuilding classes weekly and close to 3,000 hours of recorded speedbuilding classes (including medical dictation); and 375 unique four-voice skill and speed development classes that are 75 minutes in length each from 140 wpm to 225 wpm.
Ten years ago, I was returning from a vacation with my family on an airplane. My eight-year-old son, Ryan, was particularly excited about watching the in-flight movie. He’d talked about it for most of the week while we were on vacation. Once on the plane, even though the movie Ocean’s Eleven was a bit advanced for an eight-year-old, I couldn’t say “no” and thus paid the flight attendant five bucks for the headphones, and so Ryan settled down to watch Danny Ocean rob the Bellagio. After 15 minutes, Ryan turned to me looking very confused and, in a voice that was way too loud for an airplane, asked, “Is this whole movie in Spanish?”
Fixing the problem for Ryan was a matter of dropping one channel to acquire the audio in English. An adult would have fixed the problem within two seconds, but an eight-year-old who was experiencing his first trip on an airplane didn’t know any better. And it didn’t occur to me either that Ryan would endure 10 minutes of dialogue in Spanish or that he wouldn’t know how to change the channel to get the English.
From what I can tell, there’s a similar dynamic that goes on in the court reporting profession. There exists an abundance of technical terms and services that are well known to members of the immediate court reporting community, but the nuance and potential benefit is foreign to the consumers of those services. In short, clients and constituents don’t know what they don’t know. It’s only by taking the time periodically to look at your products and services through the eyes of an eight-year-old that the need for providing the most basic description of what it is that you do and how it can benefit your clients will become clear to them.
Three years ago, we had not yet even heard the word “iPad.” Today, it is omnipresent, and 29 percent of NCRA members own a “tablet,” also a new word for us. Of those NCRA members who don’t own a tablet, 26 percent intend to purchase one in the next year. As I watch and hear the conversations of the technophiles among NCRA’s membership, more and more, the talk has turned to streaming realtime to tablets and smart phones. This is revolutionary, but does anyone other than court reporters have the first clue about how this would work?
Imagine the possibilities for attorneys and judges with realtime feeds of proceedings arriving to their iPads. Seriously, how cool is that? How much more valuable does a court reporter become when you can deliver your product directly to the judges’ and attorneys’ tablets?
But when you go out to explain, make sure you’re not speaking Spanish (unless, of course, the people to whom you’re speaking want you to speak Spanish, in which case, “Viva realtime!”). Don’t assume they even know what realtime is, even if they think they do. Explain it in the most basic terms. Then move into how the latest technology — streaming and tablets and smart phones — allows the full capabilities of realtime and stenographic court reporting to come to life.
We continually hear from NCRA members that you want wider recognition and appreciation of stenographic reporters among external audiences. This is an effort that is underway and that has many moving parts. As always, we are asking NCRA members to carry the message to your clients and to your communities as a major component of the StenAdvocate Program. When you do, please ensure that you’re narrowing your message to what really matters to your clients and constituents. Make sure you’re speaking the right language.