Pittsburgh’s Constance Lee & Company debuts mobile deposition capability

jcr-publications_high-resThe Military News reported on Feb. 14 that Constance Lee & Company, Pittsburgh, Pa., is rolling out mobile deposition offerings to capitalize on available technology and provide seamless deposition assistance to clients.

Read more.

Esquire enhances remote deposition technology

jcr-publications_high-resEsquire Deposition Solutions, based in Atlanta, Ga., announced in a press release issued Feb. 7 that it has significantly enhanced the technology it uses in all of its offices to support the growing demand for remote depositions services.

Read more.

New webinar addresses data backup solutions and practices

NCRA’s Education Department has announced a new webinar that will address the importance of securing confidential electronic documents and backing up data systems, and will provide best practices for protecting data.

According to presenter Daniel Bistany, a co-founder and chief technology officer of Breeze IT, a managed-services provider and value-added reseller based in Costa Mesa, Calif., organizations in all industries are now storing confidential electronic documents, capturing increasing amounts of data, and amassing video, social media, and resource-intensive files. As a result, secure backup and recovery systems have become a business imperative.

Bistany, who believes a service-centric approach to business and partnerships is key to success, will share how Breeze IT’s culture is built around a personal, value-based approach that supports clients by giving them the highest level of service and a superior customer experience.

The one-hour seminar is on Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET, at a cost of $79. Attendees can earn 0.1 CEU.

Bistany graduated from the University of Arizona magna cum laude and earned a degree in economics with an emphasis in mathematics.

Breeze IT is recognized by leading industry publications as one of the CRN Next-Gen 250, and has been ranked #5 on the CRN Fast Growth 150 for 2014 and The INC 5000 for 2016. The company also ranked on Orange County’s List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2015 and 2016.

For more information or to register, visit NCRA’s webinar library.

TechLinks: Keeping organized with technology

TechLinks_logoIf one of your 2017 resolutions is to get more organized, the NCRA Technology Committee has your back.

A trio of tips from makeuseof.com offers strategies to reach inbox zero with your gmail account, use the camera on your iPhone to manage your life and help you remember things, and use Google calendar more efficiently.

A Jan. 10 article from Inside Counsel offers information about three startups that help manage your calendar. While originally written for lawyers, it is easily adaptable for court reporters.

Keep in mind that Acrobat Pro DC allows users to scan or snap a photo of a paper document, then edit the graphics or text with fonts that match the original, which keeps you organized wherever you are.

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.

TechLinks: Taking care of your smartphone

TechLinks_logoThe NCRA Technology Committee recently shared several resources on smartphones, including a screen cleaner, tips for extending battery life, and top 10 list of accessories.

In October, the Grommet featured SmartKlear, a screen cleaner that uses carbon-cleaning technology to wipe the screen clear. A representative for SmartKlear answers questions about the product in the comments section.

A New York Times article from February shares eight tips and dismantles seven myths about extending battery life.

Both dated from 2014, Men’s Journal and MainStreet published their top 10 smartphone accessories. The accessories include chargers, holders, cases, and photo lenses.

TechLinks: Apps we can’t live without

TechLinks_logoThe Technology Committee members recently shared their “must have” apps. These apps are all either free or operate under a freemium system (meaning a free baseline service with premium options for a fee).

  • LastPass is a password manager. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Dropbox provides storage and file sharing. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Dashlane is a password manager and digital wallet. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Speedtest by Ookla tests Internet connectivity speeds. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Flightaware is a live flight tracker and provides flight status updates. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Evernote keeps and organizes notes. Available on iOS and Android.
  • F.lux adjusts the device’s display to match time of day. Limited availability on iOS and Android; download directly from the website.
  • TurboScan scans documents, photos, etc., and saves them as either PDF or JPEG files. Free on iOS; available for a fee on Android.

NCRA’s 2016 Convention & Expo: Something for everyone

Convention-JCRcom-BoxAdOnline registration for NCRA 2016 Convention & Expo happening at the Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 4-7, closes July 29, so hurry and register now to participate in the vast array of continuing education sessions, networking opportunities, certification preparation workshops for the Certified Realtime Reporter and the Realtime Systems Administrator, and, of course, all that’s new on the Expo floor.

Whether you are an official, freelancer, broadcast or CART captioner, legal videographer, educator, student, or legal services provider, this year’s schedule has something to help you be the architect of your future. Plus attendees who need CEUs can earn up to 2.45 of them with a full registration and optional workshops.

Among the educational session highlights are:

Freelancer business 101. Presenters: Lisa DiMonte, RMR, CMRS; Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS; Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR; and Dave Tackla, CLVS

Compassion fatigue and job stress. Presenter: April Kopp, LCSW, MFA

Your cloud-based office. Presenters: Nancy Bistany, RPR and Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CRC

The secret business of court reporting. Presenter: Debbie Bridges Duffy, RPR

Beyond the captions:  Captioner roundtable. Presenters: Merilee Johnson, RMR, CRR, CRC; Bill Graham; and Deanna Baker, FAPR, RMR

90 apps in 90 minutes. Presenter: Sara Wood, CAE

Tax tips for court reporters. Presenter: Charlotte Ogorek

Best practices for realtime reporting. Presenters: Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC; Christine Phipps, RPR; and Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR

Anywhere, anytime:  Online testing. Presenter: Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE

Are you an independent contractor or an employee? Presenter: Chris Wojcicki

Video equipment configuration:  Real world equipment setups. Presenters: Richard Hayden, CLVS, and Jason Levin, CLVS

In addition, students, educators, and school administrators will enjoy a selection of sessions tailored specifically to their interests and needs.

Other highlights for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo include professional speaker and humorist John Wagner, who will address the topic of “Pride in the Profession” when he takes the stage as the keynote presenter during the Premier Session; the national Speed and Realtime Contests; the installation of NCRA’s 2016-2017 Officers and Board of Directors; and the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award bestowed by NCRA. Networking opportunities will include receptions, the annual awards and NCRF Angels luncheons, and the President’s Party.

Remember, the deadline for online registration is July 29. For more information and to register for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

TechLinks: All about Microsoft

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

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

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

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

TechLinks: Legal technology

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee rounded up a group of tech-related articles that focus on how technology can help the legal industry.

In a post on the American Bar Association site, Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene offer a guide for choosing a desktop, including why a desktop is still valuable in today’s mobile world, tips on budgeting, focusing on key features, and warning signs that it’s time to replace a computer.

In Above the Law, Keith Lee talks about the importance of being smart about technology, especially when it comes to choosing new technology with prudence and following telephone etiquette even while being mobile.

In Legal Productivity, Tim Baran recommends the tools that law firms need to go paperless. The list, which includes specific brands, covers scanners, shredders, document storage, note taking, password management, and dual monitors.

A second piece by Tim Baran covers apps and services that, according to the article, “will help to optimize the day-to-day management and growth of your practice.” The apps and services are broken down into categories: customer/client relationship management, communications, content, document storage, e-discovery, marketing, practice management and finances, note taking, productivity, services, and social media.