TechLinks: backing up data, passwords to avoid, and a rival pdf software

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee rounded up a group of tech-related articles that offers news on using Windows’ File History, passwords to never use, and a review of Soda PDF 8.

An article on How-To Geek explains how to use Windows’ File History to back up your data. Windows’ File History was introduced in Windows 8 and is “a fully featured back-up tool.”

A post on iPhone J.D. covers ten more passwords that you should never, ever use. Author Jeff Richardson urges readers to “use complex and unique passwords on each of the websites that you visit.”

PC Magazine reviews Soda PDF 8, a pdf software that rivals Adobe’s product. According to the review, “Soda PDF 8 offers powerful tools for creating and editing PDF files in a sleek, modern interface with a useful cloud-computing component.”

How to handle digital read-and-signs

TechLinks_logoCourt reporters are often put into a situation where a witness asks to read and sign a transcript without the lawyer ordering a copy. If reporters feel the need to use printed versions of the transcripts, they can make the transcript available for review at their own office or, if the witness lives far away, at the office of another court reporter or notary. In addition, a number of digital solutions can help reporters protect the transcript from being copied.

PDF-it’s read and sign options

By Jim Woitalla

PDF-it allows electronic read and sign. The company offers an online read-only feature that allows the reporter to set an end date, after which the transcript will no longer be available. There’s also an option to offer the reader the opportunity to purchase a certified copy.

While many reporters have gotten used to sending transcripts as pdfs by email, they should keep in mind that anything sent by email can be cracked open. To protect the transcript in an emailed pdf format, reporters can use a watermark or a disclaimer in the footer, which can make it difficult to use for legal purposes. In addition, reporters in this situation can make it harder by sending a code in a separate email.

The PDF-It website is here.

Jim Woitalla, RDR, CRI, is a freelancer in Minnetonka, Minn. He notes that he has not had to use this system often, but he is happy to know it’s available when he needs it.

Thomson Reuters e-Transcript Manager’s read and sign options

By Sunny Hann

RealLegal, by Thomson Reuters, contains security features that allow the user to limit the usage of a transcript. A number of different features can be used to accomplish this. We recommend using feature lockouts along with our built-in errata sheet for read-and-sign. Feature lockouts refer to methods for protecting transcripts against copying, printing, or saving into another format by clients or others. If all lockouts are employed, a person can only view the transcript unless they are given the unlock code stored in the reporter’s software.

Within E-Transcript Manager, the following features can be locked or unlocked when creating an e-transcript:

  • Print full size: Select this option to prevent unauthorized printing of full-sized copies of the transcript.
  • Print condensed: Select this option to prevent unauthorized printing of a condensed version of the transcript.
  • Print word index: Select this option to prevent unauthorized use of the Word Index.
  • Save as: Select this option to prevent unauthorized saving of the transcript to another format. For example, you can prevent the saving of the transcript as an ASCII file (a text file).
  • Clipboard copy: Select this option to prevent unauthorized copying and pasting of text from the transcript to another application or document — for example, an email or a word processing document.
  • Draft copy and show DRAFT COPY watermark: Within the security features, it is possible to select this option to display the words DRAFT COPY on the background of each page as a watermark.

Beyond limiting the use of a completed e-transcript to view-only abilities, you are also able to send an errata sheet that is part of the file but can still be printed, signed, notarized, and returned to you. The errata sheet is incorporated in the themes area of your E-Transcript Manager and is applied to the file when you select your theme. If included, an errata sheet can be printed from under the File/Print/Transcript area of the e-transcript file.

Here are instructions and ideas of how to handle the situation in another way:

  1. Click the “Transcript theme” drop-down list, and then click the theme you want to apply to the transcript. Themes refer to how you set up a document for printing, the company information you place on a transcript, and the appearance of a transcript: headers, footers, the cover page, and so forth.
  2. Click the “Edit” button to edit a theme.
  3. Click the “Security” button.
  4. Complete the fields as follows:
    1. Version: final version, draft only, or sealed
    2. Draft Watermark
      1. Show DRAFT ONLY watermark when printing: This option works with the draft only option. To print the DRAFT ONLY watermark on the page, click “Draft only” under “Version,” and then select “Show DRAFT ONLY watermark when printing.”
    3. Feature lockouts
    4. Encryption
      1. Password protected: If you want to protect the transcript with a password that people must enter before viewing the transcript, type the password here. You will need to send clients the password.
    5. Signature
      1. If you have signed the transcript electronically, click the “View” button to view the electronic signature.
    6. Click the “Apply” button.

The RealLegal website is here.

Sunny Hann is a customer relationship manager at RealLegal. He can be reached at sunny.hann@thomsonreuters.com.

YesLaw’s read and sign options

By Brian Clune

YesLaw has a read-only function that delivers a file online to the witness that can be read but not printed, saved, or downloaded. The witness can read the transcript from any computer screen. Because the file is online, the security can be controlled much more than sending a file. YesLaw also has a watermark functionality that will mark each page as “Read only.” Because the YesLaw PDF production software comes with an online delivery account in the cloud, it is an easy process to send a read-only transcript.

  1. You will need the email of the deponent or their attorney.
  2. Prepare the transcript as usual in the YesLaw Transcript software.
  3. On the third wizard page, select “full,” “condensed,” or “both” for upload.
  4. Select the “Publish to” button and enter the email with first and last names.
  5. Select the view-only check box. Leave the “Publish to” email pull-down box empty to use the generic email.
  6. Click “+Add” to list the intended recipients and then click “Done.”
  7. Click “Produce files.”
  8. You will need to email a separate errata sheet so the errata is not “View only,” and the witness can note the changes then send back the errata.

By using an online view of the transcript, the reporter grants remote access without requiring the witness to come into an office. The online view does not provide the ability to use a third-party software to break the view-only attributes since the file is on YesLaw’s secure server and not accessible to the public. YesLaw’s server, when given the “View only” command, will not allow someone to, download, or print the transcript. Permissions to access the transcript can be granted at any time by the reporter by simply issuing an upgraded profile.

With files that are sent out as attachments, or in a Dropbox-type download, the user has the file locally and can apply any of a various hacking tools to alter the access to the file. The delivery of a transcript online does not allow the recipient to have the file locally if it has been designated a “View only,” and therefore, there is no opportunity to simply hack the file.

The YesLaw website is here.

Brian Clune, CLVS, is vice president of YesLaw. He can be reached at bclune@yesvideo.com.

TECH REVIEW: Mouse Without Borders

TechLinks_logoBy Sue Terry

If you ever have the occasion to use two computers at home, I recommend Mouse Without Borders. This small Microsoft software download, which is available on the Microsoft website, works amazingly well for me. When providing CART from home, I have a desktop and a laptop and use both screens, which usually means a mouse and a keyboard for each. However, Mouse Without Borders is a small and easy-to-set-up program with an easy interface that allows the user to have only one keyboard and one mouse for up to four devices.

Mouse Without Borders works through WiFi. It took me about two minutes to set up. Once installed, go to the Other Options tab and hover your mouse over each item to learn its function and set it to your liking. The only option I set allows the cursor to go from one screen to the next screen without executing a keystroke, which I changed via the box titled “Wrap Mouse.” Now I have one keyboard and one mouse and can easily go from one to the other computer without switches or wires or multiple keyboards or additional expense.

Another bonus is that Mouse Without Borders allows the user to copy and paste text and documents between machines. It doesn’t affect realtime, at least for me, or any other thing I do. You do need to install it on each computer or device that you want to link.

A Google search of “Mouse Without Borders” offers many videos and articles showing additional uses and scenarios, including videos showing its use.

While Mouse Without Borders is available from other websites, the Microsoft version is the cleanest download.

 

Sue A. Terry, RPR, CRR, is a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors and participates in NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at sueterryemail@aol.com.

TECH REVIEW: SpaceSniffer

TechLinks_logoBy Lisa Knight

A Windows application called SpaceSniffer, created by Uderzo Software, looks at which specific files are on a hard drive and how big they are. This helps me easily decide how to manage my hard drive space a little better. And best of all, it’s free!

To quote Uderzo Software’s website: “SpaceSniffer is a freeWare (donations are welcome) and portable tool application that lets you understand how folders and files are structured on your disks. By using a Treemap visualization layout, you have immediate perception of where big folders and files are placed on your devices. Treemap concept was invented by Prof. Ben Shneiderman, who kindly permitted the use of his concept into this tool.”

Space Sniffer is so easy to use. I downloaded the files, and when I clicked on the .exe file, it didn’t install the program but rather ran the program (still saving space here). Then I was able to actually see which files were hogging all my space and make decisions on how to manage my hard drive’s space better.

Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, is a freelance reporter based in Littleton, Colo. She is also a member of NCRA’s Technology Committee.

TechLinks: Surface Book review, specialized Windows programs, and tech myths

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee was sharing information on Microsoft’s Surface Book, iOS 9 features, tech myths, and Windows apps.

Nancy L. Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., directed attention to a review of the Surface Book, a lightweight 13.5 screen device with a detachable keyboard that uses Windows 10. Read more.

Bistany also pointed out an article on iOS 9, which lists five obscure features, including phone number look-up and battery killers. Read more.

Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of Portland, Ore., pointed out an article on tech myths, such as whether you need to drain your phone battery before recharging, in “10 tech myths you need to stop believing.” Read more.

Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR, of Littleton, Colo., pointed out lifehacker’s list of 10 specialized apps for Windows programs to have for specialized situations. The list ranged from stress-testing to disk-cleaning programs. Read more.

TECH REVIEW: iRecorder Pro

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

iRecorder Pro is one of my favorite apps. I use it to record audio in short proceedings. In the past few months, I have become very fond of using my phone to make a .wav file of short proceedings where I don’t set up my realtime.

In Florida, court reporters are frequently asked to do motion calendar. These are hearing calendars where there can be 15 cases called within a 45-minute calendar, so imagine lawyers trying to present their motion and supporting case law within five minutes; it’s not a pretty picture.

I have an iPhone, so I use the app called iRecorder Pro. When the hearing starts, I press record and the sound file it creates all on its own is amazing — better than my CAT software and better than my writer. Emails and texts coming in do not interfere with the recording. When I am done, I click to stop recording. I then press the blue arrow to the right and tell it to email me the file. When I get the file, I save it to match my CAT file name I gave, but add on an underscore _iPhone so I know where it came from and what it goes to. If I need to transcribe the file, I place the .wav file in ExpressScribe and transcribe away.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

TECH REVIEW: iRecord

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

iRecord is one of my favorite apps. I use it to record audio in short proceedings. In the past few months, I have become very fond of using my phone to make a .wav file of short proceedings where I don’t set up my realtime.

In Florida, court reporters are frequently asked to do motion calendar. These are hearing calendars where there can be 15 cases called within a 45-minute calendar, so imagine lawyers trying to present their motion and supporting case law within five minutes, it’s not a pretty picture.

I have an iPhone, so I use the app called iRecord. When the hearing starts, I press Record, and the sound file it creates all on its own is amazing — better than my CAT software and better than my writer. Emails and texts coming in do not interfere with the recording. When I am done, I stop recording. I then press the blue arrow to the right and tell it to email me the file. When I get the file, I save it to match my CAT file name, but add on an underscore _iPhone so I know where it came from and what it goes to. If I need to transcribe the file, I place the .wav file in ExpressScribe and transcribe away.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

TECH REVIEW: SoundSoap

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

SoundSoap 4 is a sound-scrubbing program recommended to me by a local techie videographer friend. It’s a program that can be useful to court reporters and videographers alike.

SoundSoap, which works with Mac or Windows, also works with many editing applications, such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere CC, and others. It’s a great way to fix audio that was recorded too loud, and it does so automatically, even for people who aren’t audio engineers. It also fixes audio that was too quiet. It features an “advanced loudness maximize to intelligently boost the volume of your audio tracks … without introducing distortion.” “Intelligently boost” means technical skill is not required, which is always a great feature to a novice user of a new program.

SoundSoap can also help eliminate the noise from fans, air conditioners, traffic, and tape hiss. It can pinpoint the sounds you want removed without disrupting the rest of the audio. Another source of bad audio is an electrical hum. Recently one of my reporters had this issue in trial in a historic courthouse. Her computer plug came with just two prongs, without the third prong that provides a ground. Between the lack of grounding from the plug and the old wiring, there was a distinct hum throughout all her .wav files. She kept trying to run her computer on the battery, but it didn’t have a long life either. (This is a reason I recommend that reporters buy computers that have a battery life of more than five hours, so they can use it without a plug at all.)

Another great feature in SoundSoap is the ability to record in the program while simultaneously recording right inside CAT software. While the Eclipse program now records on multichannels and can make different files — one that feeds to a scopist in a smaller file size and a separate recording in a larger file size, in higher quality, that’s not being transferred — not all CAT software offer this. SoundSoap gives other CAT software this feature independently. This particularly helps when creating a .wav file through your realtime in less-than-ideal conditions, like large rooms with very high ceilings, noisy air conditioners, and all those troublesome things. Capturing a .wav file via SoundSoap is a good way to back up the one from your CAT system that could have an unintended crash, which unfortunately happens sometimes.

SoundSoap works with popular media formats and can be exported back to popular formats like M4V and AVI on Windows or M4V and MOV on Mac, which is important for converting some files that were recorded in other formats.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

TechLinks: Gadgets and apps for the modern life

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee rounded up a group of tech-related links for court reporters, spanning from wireless keyboards to TVs that can work as touchscreen tablets.

Technology Committee member Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of Portland, Ore., found the Kanex Multi-Sync Keyboard, a full-sized, wireless Bluetooth keyboard that can be shared between multiple devices. See more.

Co-chair Christine Phipps, RPR, of West Palm Beach, Fla., noted that Adobe products, especially Acrobat Pro DC, can be an aid to reporters in finding ways to secure signed materials. Acrobat Pro DC has an associated app that works with mobile phones. See more.

Co-chair Nancy L. Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., offered news about a device called Lumo that monitors your posture and helps improve it with reminders. See more.

The group also shared news of a fundraising project on indiegogo.com for a device called Touchjet WAVE, which purports to turn a TV screen into a touchscreen tablet. The project has met with enthusiastic response from supporters. See more.

Windows 8 to 10 migration

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Being the first in line to purchase Windows 8, and having the wonderful experience I had with Windows 8, I was both enthusiastic and concerned about the migration to Windows 10. After all, I had come to rely on the Home screen with the tiles, which I had grouped to provide the most convenient workflow for me. Using the smart search on the Home screen to find my Device Manager and to manage my audio and my webcam for streaming was a daily function for me. It was by far the fastest way ever for me to access whatever I needed. Even typing in a name and searching all files to find a PowerPoint, a Word document, or even a photo I had captioned was done with one click. The rumor was that this feature was disappearing in Windows 10! “What would replace it?” I wondered. I had not ventured into the world of Beta testing Windows 10, but I know others who had. They informed me that Windows 10 was what Windows 8 should have been.

So when Microsoft sent me an email to sign up for the Windows 10 download on July 29, without hesitation I agreed. My only caveat was that I control the download, and I selected the option to download when I requested. So on Aug. 6, I awoke early to boot up my Windows 8 computer to update to Windows 10. I had planned on an hour or two for the download. After making my coffee and dressing for an hour jog, I clicked on the download for Windows 10. I answered the first few questions about what nickname I wanted my computer to know me by (more on Cortana later), heard the pleasant new Windows 10 sound as the download began, and felt comfortable when I read the message that the download would take up to an hour and that it would occur without any clicks by me. So off for a jog.

Returning an hour or so later, my computer was ready for the final click to initiate Windows 10. Without hesitation, I made the click and was staring at what I thought was Windows 7. Where was my Home page I had become accustomed to?

So without further elaboration on what might have been, here is my experience with Windows 10:

Windows Edge is the new Internet Explorer or Google Chrome – in my opinion, it is better and easier to use. It allows you to annotate the Web page, save it in OneNote, and organize or send it to others. Think of Edge as your hub. This hub allows you access to your favorites, your reading list, your browsing history, and current downloads all in one click. Here is a screenshot of a Web page that has been highlighted:

Windows1

Meet Cortana. (I’ve met her over the past year using my Windows phone, and I am happy to see her on my computer.) She can be your new friend and director of each day. As you can see in the photo above, Cortana will greet you each morning with the weather, your calendar, or however you choose to customize her pane. Cortana is the voice-activated go-to personal assistant to search for anything you need. So personalize what Cortana provides you upon boot up. If you prefer, you can type in your search. (Now all I need is a microphone to Cortana during my realtime reporting to have her search for a word!)

Upon discovering these features, I dove into my workflow programs. Stenograph CATalyst and all of my files and drivers were migrated without a hitch.* LiveDeposition migrated without a hitch (I have yet to stream since I just updated to Windows 10, but LiveDeposition ensured compatibility). YesLaw was an easy migration, too.

Now moving on to my financial workflow group, I found that for each of those websites, I had to re-enter my user name. On Windows 8, I had saved the user name so only had to enter my password for each site. Before updating, be sure you know your user name for each of your important sites. I have created an Excel spreadsheet where I list each and every site I have created a password for. I have password protected this Excel file with a password that is considered very high.

Another feature I have grown to use often is the Task View. This is the icon on the task bar that looks like a movie camera. Just click on that icon and it brings up all of my open apps. It is easy to access my depo notice while at the same time being in my CAT program.

Snap in Windows 10, if you are familiar with it in Windows 8, is much more functional. Snap lets you put more than two programs on one screen.

Use your notifications feature in Windows 10 – it is superior to Windows 7 and Windows 8. Notifications in Windows 10 are more than just a one-line alert. You can expand and interact with them, and take action on some, too. Select the notification banner from your desktop or the notification in action center to open the app where the notification originates. If there’s more to see in the notification, select the arrow to expand it and get all the details. For some apps, such as messaging apps, it’s possible to reply to messages or interact with the app directly from the expanded notification.

One negative thing I have noticed is the speed of Windows 10 is slower than Windows 8. This could be an issue on my specific computer, as I’m within 25 percent of a full hard disk after uploading to Windows 10.

With only one issue, speed, I think the migration was a success. For those on Windows 7, it will be a much easier migration than you think. Your familiar Desktop will be front and center upon updating. After spending a long day on Windows 10, I’m a happy convert from Windows 8. I do realize I have much more to learn.

*The JCR has reached out to several vendors and plans to publish additional information about their integration to Windows 10.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, RMR, CRR, Realtime Systems Administrator, is a freelancer from Lotus, Calif. She can be reached at realtimecsr@calweb.com.