Court reporting in the cloud

By Linda Fifield

Client: We have a two- to three-week arbitration, realtime and daily copy. Can you do it?

WONG: Absolutely.

Client: We’ll also need you to supply notebooks for people in Boston. We don’t know how many notebooks we’ll need. Is that a problem?

WONG: If you can give us a rough idea, we’ll make sure everyone has a netbook or iPad mini.

Client: One more thing. We have clients in New York, Texas, and Chicago who also need to see the testimony. Is that possible?

WONG: That’s fine. We’ll need your clients to download the free CaseViewNet software or iCVNet APP, and they’re ready to go. We’ll send along the links.

Technology has changed so much these past few years. Years ago it was a matter of supplying netbooks to clients with a realtime feed on your own personal router. Today they want a realtime feed over the Internet to clients and counsel who are around the world.

Recently, our company, Doris O. Wong, Inc., provided clients with realtime using Case CATalsyt software and iCVNet software with the cloud. With a solid connection using an Ethernet cable, we were able to use the court reporter’s notebook as the hub. The allowed us to transmit the reporter’s realtime feed onsite and remotely via CaseViewNet and iCVNet over the cloud. Limited only by the number of licenses purchased, clients were able to log onto the session with a simple product key and password provided by the court reporter. For this one case, we purchased a cloud license for 30 users.

The arbitration was held in a conference center’s main room, which accommodated 40 attorneys, three arbitrators, and the court reporters. There were also three breakout rooms for counsel’s support staff and the thousands of documents that became exhibits in the case. Another room was being used at the American Arbitration Association, and then there were counsel participated in their offices around the country.

We assigned our A-team reporters to cover this assignment, three exemplary court reporters with over 100 years of collective experience. They reported the testimony of several experts, all the while providing counsel with a continuous realtime feed. Anyone logging in late would have the benefit of the full day of testimony along with the edited corrections thanks to the realtime feed being instantly refreshed.

There were many long and arduous days and sleepless nights. The team put out almost 3,000 pages of daily copy testimony, but we delivered as promised and to the satisfaction of our clients. Kudos not only to our exceptional reporters and to our dedicated office support staff, but also to Stenograph for developing solid products.

Linda Fifield is vice president of Doris O. Wong Associates in Boston, Mass. She can be reached at lfifield@doriswong.com.

Protect your computer

Protect Your Computer

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

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

First things first

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

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

Free antivirus software

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

Pay for protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose your browser

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

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

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

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

VENDOR RECOMMENDATIONS AND SETTINGS

What the CAT software companies recommend

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


ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE CHOICES

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

 

Avoid “cat”astrophe with your antivirus

By James Kuta

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

Adding an exception

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

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

Scheduling an automatic full scan

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

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

James Kuta is Stenograph’s product manager.

Tech Wire: Speedtest.net review

Have you ever wondered if your computer upload/download speed was slow? I found this website, speedtest.net, a sophisticated broadband testing and analysis tool, and it showed me just how connected I actually was.

For example, I was transferring about 150 small files to a new computer via Dropbox, a cloud-based sharing site, and it just slowed everything down, including incoming email attachments. The speed in my SysTray was indicating 2kbps; however, since I was at home on my wireless, it shouldn’t be this slow. I ran speedtest.net and it showed me that my speeds were 2.10/1.99mbps respectively, not what my normal rates are. The problem was that the large number of files placed in Dropbox was maxing out my bandwidth, which was greatly decreasing my Internet speeds. The thing is that I was still able to deduce that I indeed was connected and these are the rates. I thought it was amazing that it even told me who the Internet Service Provider (ISP) was and the IP address, which can come in handy when streaming. This site even comparatively analyzes, via a grading system, your connection with others around the world.

This tool should actually be used on a fairly consistent basis and it will keep track of each time you test your computer, this is so you will know what your norm is, and then when things have slowed down, you can go to the next steps to diagnose your problem. Another reason to do this is because you can go to your ISP and see if you are actually getting the promised rates, and if you’re not, you can report your test results and the ISP will then have to analyze and improve your connection. Also, with many ISPs, you can purchase faster connections by opting to pay more.

Tech Wire: Data plans for iPads

Quick tips from the techies…

I was recently asked, “Do I need a data plan with an iPad if I want to write real time feed to it?”

All iPads models come with built-in Wi- Fi. That means every iPad can join networks (whether at a deposition for realtime or at Starbucks to surf the Web). If you want to access the Internet in more places, choose a model that supports mobile data and sign up for service from your carrier.

Believe it or not, having a data plan has nothing whatsoever to do with your realtime feed! The quick-and-easy answer: No, you do not need Internet access to use iCVN for realtime purposes. When using your iPad for realtime purposes, your CAT computer and your iPad must be on the same LAN (Local Area Network) to properly work. Yep, it’s just that simple! It’s as easy as jumping onto your local Starbucks’ Wi-Fi!

So the choice is all yours! Black or white? 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB? Wi- Fi or Wi-FI+Cellular?

 

Social Media: Seven ways to look professional online

If social media is a vital part of your marketing strategy, you must remember to behave online in a professional manner. How you behave in the digital world is every bit as important as how you behave in the analog world. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Pretend your client is reading everything you post. I almost said, “Pretend your mother is reading everything you post,” but my mother does read almost everything I post. Look through your last ten online interactions — Facebook updates, Tweets, etc. Are they all complaints? Are they all funny pictures? Or nothing but political links? Are they all pictures of you after Friday night’s soiree where you had a few adult beverages? What are you presenting to your client or others? Posts full of profanity and complaining? Or encouraging, helpful posts?

2. When in Rome, act as the Romans do — or the Tweeters or the Facebookers. Each social media platform has its own distinct culture and customs that have evolved as the platform grows. How you interact on Twitter will probably differ from how you act on LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Facebook. Posting funny pictures of cats is acceptable on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, but not on LinkedIn — unless you are in the pet industry, which few of us readers are. It’s best to lurk first and get a feel for the atmosphere, especially with online forums. Which brings me to the third tip:

3. Look. Lurk. Wait before reposting. When in doubt, Google it or check Snopes.com. Don’t click on links all willynilly, even if someone you trust posted it. Don’t repost anything without doublechecking its accuracy. Facebook is not going to start charging for accounts, and more than likely, that missing child alert you’re about to send out is far out of date. The website Snopes.com is a wonderful resource for looking up whether something is true or not. For example, Pepsi is not using the cells of aborted fetuses in their beverages, no matter what your motherin- law says.

4. This is a social network, not a broadcasting network. Like offline life, if everything you say online is all about you, you’re boring and extremely annoying. Participate in the conversations. Ask people questions. Comment — nicely — on other people’s blogs. Publicly post kudos to fellow online friends.

5. Do not be anonymous, but remember: Everything you say, post, repost, reTweet, share, and comment on can and may be used against you. The Library of Congress is archiving all the tweets on Twitter. Neither respond to trolls nor be a troll. What is a troll? Someone who is “trolling” for arguments, in the fishing sense. They’re just looking to stir the pot. They want attention. Don’t give it to them, and certainly don’t be them.

6. Use “block” and “hide” and “unfriend” as much as you want. If someone is acting in an abusive manner towards you, report it to the appropriate administrators of the network platform. If someone is constantly trying to pick a fight with you (and you neither want to fight nor to subject your followers to said conversation), unfriend, unfollow, block, or hide them. If someone constantly posts stuff you don’t wish to see, unfriend, unfollow, block, or hide them. If your friends list has gotten unwieldy and full of people you don’t engage with online, feel free to prune away. It’s your account. Make it as you wish.

6a. And do not be offended if someone unfollows you. Some people like their Facebook to be filled with only their non-court-reporting friends, and some people like a mix. Some people use Twitter to network, and some use Twitter to keep up with current events and blog updates. Some people use Facebook to tout their political or philosophical viewpoints, while others use it to keep in touch with friends — or both, or neither. If someone unfollows you, don’t worry about it. 7. Cross your online friendships into offline friendships. Going to conventions and seminars is more enjoyable when you’re meeting good friends you’ve met online. If you’re going out of town, see who’s in the area who may want to meet up for lunch — in a public place, of course. Just as you act professional on the telephone, in writing, and on the job, remember to act professional when you use social media.