Canadian attorneys are finding iPads and other tablets useful in courtrooms, reports a Dec. 9 blog by Glenn Kauth on Legal Feed. The article related the efforts of lawyer Daniel Mailer, of Cram & Assocates in London, Ont., who used his iPad to present his arguments as part of a case. He told the author that he felt the damages awarded by the Supreme Court Justice, which was $60,000, was above the norm in part because of his ability to use the iPad to show “graphic images” of the injuries.
I have been a victim of cheap electronics sales; I have been enticed by a mind-boggling low price and purchased a cheap tablet. That tablet is in the pile of worthless electronic garbage that consumes considerable real estate in my office. The tablet was unable to hold a charge and won’t stay on for more than 2 minutes. I take personal notice and hope to keep my wits about me.
According to many news stories, predictions are for a slow holiday season in the retail market, and campaigns have started early to get you to spend your holiday dollars with them. For instance, consider the ABC News article which recommends against buying any of the tablets in the $50 range, as they are unlikely to work well. Also, The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch blog recommends against buying tablet computers on Black Friday. Do your research, shop around, and buy wisely.
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.
Christine Phipps, RPR, is an agency owner in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Review Committee.
“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.
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.
Christine Phipps, RPR, is an agency owner in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Review Committee.
The purpose of this section 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. This section is a recurring feature, and the JCR invites parties interested in making announcements to send their news items to JCR advertising and editorial coordinator Amy Law at firstname.lastname@example.org.
800-251-5529 / www.acculaw.com
Acculaw has been in business for 28 years, and for the past 20 years, it has provided billing and scheduling software for agencies that want to manage their business in a more efficient and easier way. Acculaw’s recently released version of its software is now Web-based and compatible with the latest Windows operating systems. EZ Schedule, one of the software features, produces a printed schedule on confirmed and unconfirmed jobs for any date range, as well as job announcements for subcontractors via email, smartphone, or computer. EZ Invoice produces invoices, past due bills, and statements in each company’s own format. In addition, it produces commission amounts for a company’s subcontractors automatically. EZ Store produces content complete with descriptions such as ordered, completed, delivered, and notes from agency, client, and subcontractors. EZ Manage generates many reports, including by amounts, time constraints, and performance. EZ Share uses free software to send compressed/encrypted content to clients.
800-800-1759 / email@example.com
The Passport Touch, the newest innovation from Advantage Software, made its debut at NCRA’s 2013 Convention & Expo. The Touch offers a touch screen that can be tucked away while writing, a built-in microphone, a keyboard with adjustableheight vowel, and StenoMagic keys, not to mention sleek lines and a broad skin selection. In addition, the Touch allows the user to visibly track shadows and adjust the sensitivity of keys in the middle of a job. It has built-in Bluetooth and wifi, 32 GB of memory, and multiple audio backups for extra security. Advantage also displayed the Touch’s Re-Writer, which lets the user change antistacking and key-sensitivity settings even after writing a job – and automatically rewrites it with the new settings. Eclipse can run on a Windows 8 tablet that fits perfectly atop the writer. Finally, the Passport Touch comes with free software upgrades.
302-864-0664 / www.aptaracorp.com
Deposition summary provider Aptara professionally summarizes more than 400 transcripts per day for court reporting companies nationwide. The company also summarizes medical records for its court reporting clients. According to company representatives, Aptara brings its medical legal expertise to negligence, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, disability, environmental, medical device, pharmaceutical, toxic tort, class actions, and multidistrict litigation. Aptara routinely prepares detailed, targeted, and price-effective medical record summaries, including:
- Clean and organized scans of medical records
- Medical bills itemized by provider
- Medical record timelines
- Medical care summaries
Aptara will customize medical records summaries depending on the specific needs of the case or project and phase of litigation, ensuring comprehensive analysis.
COLLEGE OF COURT REPORTING
866-294-3974 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The College of Court Reporting’s ev360 Professional platforms offer students and working professionals an educationally sound and proven approach to skill and speed development. According to company representatives, v360 Professional is the product of more than 30 years of authentic court reporting educational practices. The platform was designed and developed by highly trained educators and professionals who are responsible for producing hundreds of successful court reporters and realtime writers.
INSYNC LITIGATION SUPPORT
212-233-4040 / www.insynclitigation.com
inSync Litigation Support unveiled its synchronized litigation support offering to the New York City area. inSync’s synchronized streamlined processes, which are aligned with a case’s lifetime and allow trial attorneys to remain focused on a winning litigation strategy, ensure better productivity and improved cost-efficiencies for plaintiff and defense attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries at law firms, insurance companies, government agencies, and financial institutions.
inSync’s offerings include process service, court clerical, investigations, efiling, concierge, customized services, and courier services, each available a la carte or as an integrated package. inSync covers the steps in a case’s lifetime by initiating the case and supporting all the essential filings and appearances. This includes buying an index number in court or electronically; serving a complaint or subpoena; filing an affidavit; tracking the case; conducting investigations, such as signups and skip traces; filing, copying and retrieving motions, notices, and judgments; and providing daily pickup and delivery services.
MyRealtimeCoach simultaneously launched new Certifi cation Prep resources, Web videos, and monthly payment options at the NCRA Convention & Expo in Nashville.
MyRealtimeCoach is designed to help reporters and students Start Smart, Build Speed & Accuracy, and Be Confi dent through effective practice. New features in the latest release include Daily Warmup, practice sessions served up each morning to start the day off right; Prescriptive Plan, a guided, six-week plan to prepare users for their next certifi cation; and mySpeedPath, a visual dashboard that helps you set and achieve your own goals. According to company co-founder Jared Carman, when Realtime Coach launched in 2006, myRealtimeCoach quickly became the single best way to prepare for a skills test, and now boasts thousands of members worldwide and more than 1.6 million hours logged. In addition, the company claims that 78 percent of those who pass a skills test have used myRealtimeCoach.com.
800-966-1221 / www.ProCAT.com
ProCAT introduced the Impression II writer at the NCRA’s 2013 Convention & Expo. The Impression II writer offers a mini keyboard so that users can input global entries into the job dictionary directly on the machine without the need for a computer. The Impression uses a screen like an iPad — simply swipe a fi nger across the screen or double tap an outline to lineup either steno or English after searching. With shallow stroke and complete redesign of the keys, ProCAT has developed a light touch for the user. The Impression can use up to 64 Gig SD cards. The Impression II also offers hidefi nition stereo audio recording.
In addition, ProCAT introduced Case- Pad, which allows users to send a realtime feed directly and wirelessly to an iPad.
RB WEB MOBILE ON
RB Web Mobile On allows users to give clients their transcripts and other information on their mobile devices. While it acts like an app on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, it is actually accessed through the browser, making it easier for an agency’s clients to fi nd. Instead of searching through an app store, users type in a URL. They can then bookmark the page to their mobile device’s home screen. Whenever they click the icon, it opens what looks and acts like an app but is really a mobilized website. In addition to its low-hassle factor, it also requires less power to run than an app. Benefi ts for agencies include the lower cost of one RB Web extension versus one for each mobile OS (currently iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone), and there are no installation, update, or maintenance issues.
OMTI’s other court reporting business applications include RB offi ce management software, RB Web online offi ces including case repositories, a PDF transcript creator, and mobile apps.
800-323-4247 / www.stenograph.com
Stenograph announced three new color options for its top-selling Diamante – Blue My Mind, Black to Basics, and Totally Red-ical. These stylish colors, along with Lunar White, make up the writing machines’ current color choices. The Blue Ice and Platinum Gray Diamante writers will still be available while supplies last. “Already on the market for the past four years, the Diamante has proven to be one of the most dependable writing machines Stenograph has ever produced,” says Judy Wolf, Stenograph’s product manager. “Time and time again we’ve heard users of the Diamante experience cleaner writing, higher productivity, and decreased errors and less fatigue at the end of the day.” Current Diamante owners may modify the top shell and lid of their writing machine to one of the new colors by contacting the company for further information.
THE VARALLO GROUP
508-753-9282 / www.thevarallogroup.com
The Varallo Group offers a network of first-rate reporters to cover tough assignments anywhere in the world, according to company representatives. The Varallo Group’s suite of business development services also can help secure a brighter future within budget. The company’s business advisors present solutions to increase their clients’ bottom lines. As a company founded by court reporters, The Varallo Group understands both the current needs of the clients of court reporting services and the tools they’ll need to grow and evolve in the future. The Varallo Group provides agency management services, administrative support, business development strategies and training, website development, and online campaigns that compliment and strengthen individual efforts. Freelance reporters and fi rm owners alike can grow their business – or enjoy some well-deserved downtime.
Specializing in networking agency- to-agency assignments, The Varallo Group’s reporters offer clients the utmost professionalism by delivering the deposition or trial transcript services, whether interactive realtime or draft transcripts, expedited delivery, videography, and expert testimony.
A piece of good news for courts across the United States is that the judicial system is held in much higher regard than Congress and legislatures, this at a time when perception of government generally is at historic lows. The bad news is that the courts are not immune to such sentiment with public perception of them at a 25-year low, according to Karl Agne of GBA Strategies, whose company fielded a comprehensive survey of registered voters to gauge their perceptions of the courts and court technology. Agne shared the results of the survey at Court Technology Conference (CTC) during an educational session held this week in Baltimore, Md.
The number one attribute shaping public opinion of the courts is television programming, said Agne, who suggested that courts would have to launch a $100 million dollar advertising campaign in order to have the impact on public perception that is established through a single episode of the television show “Law & Order.”
The survey revealed that certain realities must be accepted in order for courts to find opportunity to gain public support for restoring funding to pre-recession numbers.. First, strengthening the court system lags far behind other voter priorities such as schools, public transportation, law enforcement, and healthcare. Further, voters believe strongly that restoring money to state courts on a general basis is akin to “pour(ing) money into a broken system,” Agne said.
The way forward for courts to reshape public opinion lies in technology, the speaker noted. The public believes money could best be spent within the courts on new technology to reduce paperwork and create efficiencies, Agne said, a sentiment that by far outpaces the lowest perceived solution, which is hiring more staff. People strongly believe that courts must operate more efficiently, saving them time in their interactions with the judicial process, he noted. Saving people’s time equates to offering them respect. Demonstrating such respect, said Agne, is “an impression that will last.”
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|
|Any antivirus software||If errors occur, check your computer settings per “Avoid ‘CAT’astrophe
with your antivirus.”
|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.|
|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|
|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.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.
TechCon brings the brightest and most knowledgeable to the remote and curious freelance reporter. So much information bombards us every day, much of which is technical in nature. For the freelance court reporter who is on his or her own most of the time, the choices and decisions can be daunting. There are options coming at you from state and national court reporting associations, the Internet, and from fellow reporters. I have been freelance court reporting since 1980, always proud of this profession and striving to be the best I can. The first time I saw the TechCon conference advertised, I vowed to attend as soon as I could arrange it, and Arizona turned out to be the perfect choice.
Wow, what a great experience! From the charming, informative, and fascinating stories of Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, and Judy Werlinger, RMR, CRR, CMRS, regarding their adventures in realtime, to the nuts and bolts technology brainbusters of Daniel Bistany, TechCon was everything I had hoped for and more. I solidified my choices on some of the gadgets and programs I use, but, more importantly, I zeroed in on what routers, hotspots, websites, and apps, to mention a few, were the best out there for my particular applications. For those of us who are writing realtime, the technology is changing all the time and can be hard to keep up with. This conference was invaluable with having all of these experts in one place. They were extremely helpful with any questions we had and also with informative recommendations.
I would recommend this conference to all reporters and want to thank the presenters and vendors for the pride and confidence they have in this profession and for sharing their knowledge and wisdom with not only each other, but with us remote reporters who are many times on our own.
Sometimes when we as reporters are assessing how to obtain our CEU points, it is very tempting to take advantage of the many cheap online options. I would encourage all my colleagues to take into consideration the priceless nature of networking with fellow reporters; not just in the traditional sense of developing clients, but creating friendships and troubleshooting issues that plague us from time to time. What I am always struck by when attending these in-person conferences is the generosity of my profession and willingness to always lend a helping hand.
In just a few short years, TechCon has become a favorite with NCRA members as the unique event that brings together court reporters, legal videographers, trial presenters, and others to learn about the latest developments in legal technology. TechCon 2014 is officially slated for April 11-13 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Ga. Along with a new slate of seminars designed to increase your knowledge and comfort level with regard to technology, TechCon 2014 will also feature the return of NCRA’s Ignite session, which has generated laughs and thousands of views at www.ncra.org/ignite. Attendees will also have the opportunity to pursue NCRA’s CRR and CLVS certifications, as well as the Trial Presentation Professional and Realtime Systems Administrator certificates. More details about the event will be coming soon in the JCR and online at www.ncra.org/techcon.