TechLinks: Tips for Outlook, technology rollouts, and fitness tech

TechLinks_logoThe NCRA’s Technology Committee’s email list pointed out a number of articles that would interest court reporters, including one on making better use of Outlook, a white paper on technology rollouts, and ways tech can modernize your fitness routine.

SmallLaw’s Oct. 6 blog post by Ben Schorr covers how to make better use of Outlook in each of its three key areas — email, calendar, and contacts. The email section offers tips for both those who prefer a folder method to organizing email and those who use the search function to ferret out the needed information, while the section on the calendar reminds us that it’s possible to color-code appointments. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Technolawyer released a new white paper, Winning the Battle Before it Begins – 5 Keys to a Successful Technology Rollout. The five steps outlined in the white paper, which is available as a free download for registering, start with planning, then communication, testing, and evaluating resource availability. The final step, dubbed “The White Glove Treatment,” recommends several ways to aid the users in adapting to the new technology. Download available here.

Because finding time to fit in a healthy lifestyle is always a concern for sedentary workers, including many court reporters and captioners, the Technology Committee circulated an October article from UnitedHealthcare’s website. The article prompts people to use tech to increase their fitness level, include pedometers, fitness tracking apps, heart-rate monitors, and active video games. Read more.

Catch some of the most exciting new products and services from the 2014 Expo Hall

Several vendor videos conducted during the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo in San Francisco, Calif., by Christine Phipps, RPR, and Rodin Nodland, RDR, CRR, from the Technology Review Committee, are now available on the NCRA YouTube Channel.

Christine Phipps of Phipps Reporting, Inc. selected as winner of 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award

Enterprising Women magazine recently announced that Christine Phipps, RPR, owner of Phipps Reporting, Inc., in Palm Beach, Fla., was selected as a winner of its 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. Phipps serves as chair of NCRA’s Freelance Reporters Community of Interest and as a member of the association’s Technology Review Committee. She was chosen for the award from a wide array of business women from across the world.

Frequently recognized as a premier awards program for women business owners, this is the 12th year that the publication has selected recipients who have demonstrated not only that they own and manage fast-growing and successful companies, but that they also act as mentors within the business community as well as being actively involved in social and philanthropic endeavors.

“I am absolutely thrilled with this news. I started my company to fill a need and provide the legal market with superior service and experience in court reporting,” said Phipps in a press release.

“Since then, I have concentrated on that goal with a singular passion; to be recognized as a leader in women-owned businesses, and to be associated with so many inspirational women entrepreneurs from across the country, this is overwhelming and a true honor.”

All winners of the award will be recognized at the 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration and Conference in Sarasota, Fla. from March 2 – 4, 2014. To learn more about the conference, visit www.enterprisingwomen.com.

Read more.

TechLinks: Backing up, getting organized, and keeping your home Wi-Fi network private

Recently shared on the NCRA’s Technology Review Committee’s email list were reminders to always, always back up your files, ideas on how to use a high-tech wireless office to impress clients, and information on how to keep your home Wi-Fi network secure from your neighbor’s prying eyes.

Backing up files: The rule of 3

Get organized: Set up your wireless office

How to keep your neighbors from hijacking your Wi-Fi

 

A secure connection for court reporters

The JCR provides newsworthy information on reporter-related products and technologies. This column is for readers to use in their research; neither NCRA nor the JCR endorse or critically review these products and services in any way. Statements of fact or opinion are the author’s unless they are specifically identified as NCRA policy.

 

Product:  MediaShair Wireless Media Hub w/SD card slot & USB port plus built-in power station

Manufacturer:  IOGEARMediaShair Hub

Compatibility:  iPads, iPhones, Androids (via apps), and Windows 7, 8 (Windows Surface Pro).  Compatible with all CAT software.  Your CAT computer must have wireless or Ethernet capability.

Price:  $53 – $99.  Amazon has reduced pricing at $53 (as of Dec. 18, 2013)

Court and deposition functionality:  Share your exhibits and transcripts via your thumb drive or flash card with your clients.  The MediaShair Hub creates an off-line access point for your clients in court or depositions to access the relevant documents in the case, including videos.

Additional functionality:  If you are sending your realtime feed via a network, such as CaseViewNet and iCVN, the MediaShair Hub functions as your realtime router.  (Note: I have only tested this with Stenograph products, iCVN.)

Comments:  In an environment where Internet is not reliable or security is an issue, this product creates an off-line (non-cloud) environment for the litigator to access their relevant material during trial and deposition.  This product provides the technology necessary for the firm owner and the official court reporter to manage exhibits and transcripts for their client in a local environment.

Marketing Opportunities:  Scanning exhibits and uploading those exhibits transcripts to the MediaShair Hub via a thumb drive allows counsel and the Court to access documents in a paperless environment.  Witnesses also have access to exhibits during deposition and trial via their computer, iPad, or other media, supplied by you, the firm, and/or reporter.  Security in litigation is an issue.  This off-line network provides security for those cases where online access to documents may be mandated.

Rating:  Highly recommended is my personal rating when your reporting environment mandates a LAN or a secure environment off-line to access to relevant case documents.

For details about this product, visit here.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, RMR, CRR, is a freelance reporter in Lotus, Calif., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Review Committee.

The latest must-have gadget in the court reporter arsenal

The JCR provides newsworthy information on reporter-related products and technologies. This column is for readers to use in their research; neither NCRA nor the JCR endorse or critically review these products and services in any way. Statements of fact or opinion are the author’s unless they are specifically identified as NCRA policy.

 

Drumroll, please … USB! But it’s not your ordinary USB: SanDisk has released its “SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive.” Here are a few of its features:

  • Wirelessly store, share, and stream movies, photos, music, and documents across your smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Simultaneously connect and access data stored on up to eight devices via Wi-Fi.
  • Works for up to four hours of video streaming on a single charge.
  • Use a free app (compatible with iOS 5.0 or later, Android 2.3 or later, and Kindle devices) to connect without an Internet connection, cables, or router; works on all Wi-Fi enabled devices.
  • Access also available through an Internet browser, compatible with all Wi-Fi enabled devices.
  • Charge and access with USB 2.0 connection interface or higher.
  • Uses optional Wi-Fi password protection and 128-bit AES encryption.

16GB $49.99

32GB $59.99

Wireless Flash pic

Christine Phipps, RPR, is an agency owner in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Review Committee.

End cord terror

The JCR provides newsworthy information on reporter-related products and technologies. This column is for readers to use in their research; neither NCRA nor the JCR endorse or critically review these products and services in any way. Statements of fact or opinion are the author’s unless they are specifically identified as NCRA policy.

 

“Where is my cord?”
“Which one is which?”
If you have ever asked yourself these questions, then Recoil Winders is your must-have product!

Recoil Winders end the age-old problem of tangled, lost, and unidentifiable cords and cables once and for all. This cord organizer can finally solve cord clutter. Recoil Winders makes it easy to find, store, and organize all of the cords you carry. No more searching for the right charging cord or forgetting which cord belongs to which device; just label the face of the Recoil Winder with the name of the device for matching purposes. In addition, Recoil Winders prevent cords from getting tangled, bent, or torn from lack of a proper storage solution. This easy-to-use cord management tool makes earbuds or any other cord retractable.

Recoil Winders

More information can be found in this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RN36N-y57M 57M

Three recoil devices and stand priced as low as $13.99.
www.recoilwinders.com

 

Christine Phipps, RPR, is an agency owner in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Review Committee.

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.