Advancements in court reporting technology: Synchronized video depositions

Film strip of court scenes with excerpts from the transcript at the bottom as captions.

By Todd Mobley

As experienced litigators know, there is no substitute for thorough trial preparation. Knowing which details to present, and when to present them, are key to successfully making a case or impeaching the testimony of opposition witnesses.

At the same time, recalling those details, especially from hours of accumulated depositions compiled over the course of months, or years, can be difficult at best. But with the help of ongoing advances in court reporting technology, attorneys now have options that can help them prepare cases more efficiently, create a more polished presentation, and thoroughly control the cross examination.

synched video depos1 Among the best of these advanced court reporting technologies are synchronized video depositions. Potentially game-changing, synchronized video depositions feature built-in software that synchronizes video with the written transcription provided by the court reporter and legal videographer team. The benefit of this system is that attorneys can not only read the transcript on screen while watching the deposition or trial video footage, but they can also search the video record for key words and phrases at any point. This gives them the ability to quickly find important testimony or review hours of testimony for key excerpts. At trial, a litigation team can use the system to immediately locate and play back passages of important testimony to the entire court at a moment’s notice.

Linda Weber, a partner at the trial presentation service company Visual Evidence, says that synchronized depositions can help with the retention of information, especially when a jury is asked to watch a video.

“If you just put the talking head up there, it can be difficult for juries to retain the information,” said Weber. “But when you scroll the text across the bottom, they can see it and they can hear it. It really helps the jury.”

Weber has found this to be a huge advantage in business and medical malpractice litigation where the jury may be unfamiliar with terminology. In many cases, her clients will ask her to highlight specific terms or quotes so that the jury understands the importance of what was said.

Along with helping jurors retain information, synchronized video depositions are also powerful tools to impeach opposing witnesses.

synched video depos2“I use (synchronized video) in every trial,” said Marc Pera, a partner in the Cincinnati law firm Crandall, Pera & Wilt. “Nothing is more useful in trial than having an opposing witness impeach themselves.”

A plaintiff’s attorney specializing in medical malpractice, Pera has found synchronized video testimony to have a much greater impact on jurors than a traditional read back. The reason, he says, is that even the most compelling testimony loses its effectiveness when shared as a stenographic transcript.

As any juror would confirm, a passage read aloud from a prior deposition or testimony is often abstract and more difficult to remember. On the other hand, a video is much easier to recall, in both the short-term and the long-term when it comes time for a jury to begin deliberations.

Another drawback to the traditional read back is that it leaves room for interpretation, Pera said.

“If you’re using paper, it’s easier for a witness to say that they didn’t understand what was asked with the question,” Pera said. A video, he added, leaves little doubt.

For Pera, synchronized video depositions have become an indispensable tool, and he can point to specific cases where synchronized video depositions helped him to win cases for clients. One example in particular, he said, was a medical malpractice case in which a client underwent a surgical procedure and the doctor perforated his client’s bowel without realizing it. Afterwards, Pera’s client became septic. Over the course of depositions and at trial, Pera said the doctor changed his story multiple times. But by impeaching the doctor with his own video testimony, Pera said the jury was convinced.

synched video depos3“In another case, I was able to impeach a surgeon several times during his first day of testimony,” Pera said. “His team settled the next day.”

The benefits of synchronized video depositions extend beyond the courtroom, too. A powerful tool for case preparation, it offers the ability to quickly reference testimony when preparing for examination of witnesses.

Whether for trial preparation or in trial, Pera says the results synchronized video depositions offer should not be discounted.

Said Pera, “I think it’s an invaluable tool. I have no doubt that it helps.”

Todd Mobley is president of Mike Mobley Reporting in Dayton, Ohio. He can be reached at


Alert: Adobe Flash users should download emergency patch

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

Adobe issued an alert that Flash users need to update to the latest version as hackers took advantage of a security flaw to install ransomware on computers.

Adobe Flash is a software platform that runs video, animation, and games inside of Web pages. Flash was born when the Web began in 1996 and quickly became the standard for Web video, especially after a little startup called YouTube began using it in 2005. Now it’s largely obsolete, as most websites and apps use different technologies for the same purpose. In fact, in July 2015, Google and Mozilla (Firefox) each announced that their Web browsers will be dropping default support for Adobe Flash, citing the plug-in software’s newly discovered vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. Those moves came only a few days after Facebook’s chief of security called for Adobe to set an “end of life” date for the often exploited 20-year-old platform.

That being said, pretty much everyone that uses the Internet still uses Flash. If the sites you go to do not use Flash, uninstall it. Flash is a program, so uninstall it like you would any other program.

Ransomware has been becoming increasingly popular, hitting law firms and organizations as well as individuals. After visiting an infected website, your computer will install ransomware, which locks you out of your computer until you pay hackers a specified amount of money.

I know we say it over and over again and present it in some form at every convention, but I’m going to say it again because it obviously bears repeating: Back up all of your data. If you do get a ransomware attack, you will have your information saved and you won’t be scrambling to come up with the ransom money to get your important files back — and that’s if they even do uphold their end of the deal.  I recommend a cloud backup and local firmware back up.

You can find the current version number of flash:  After you locate which browser you use, write down the number. Then go to your browser and look in your gear icon or something similar, or you can go to install/uninstall programs and look for Adobe Flash and match each one as there are different programs for different browsers. You should also update your software as soon as a new version is released or have set to auto update because there are often security and bug fixes included within them. You should absolutely be running antivirus software as well.

Protect yourself by staying up-to-date with backups and current versions of your particular OS service pack releases and programs.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of North Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at

TECHNOLOGY: The benefits of early adoption

person hold laptop with digital planet; light emits from video cameraBy David Ward

Because concentration is paramount for their job, court reporters don’t like disruptions — and that often extends to the equipment and other technology they use during work. Once reporters are comfortable with their writers and other gear, many are loathe not only to try to try new hardware, but often even to update some of the software that supports their equipment. This reliance on the tried and true can help a reporter stay in their comfort zone, but it also comes with a cost.

Foregoing the opportunity to be an early technology adopter means that at least some reporters may end up missing out on trends that can help them do their job better and also grow their business.

“There are so many great new tools now with reporting,” says Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, a principal with LNS Court Reporting based in Portland, Ore. “From where it was when I started in 1980, it almost feels like we’re cheating now thanks to software that can, for example, remember complex medical terms, so if you write it two or three times, it will start to suggest it.” Though it does require both a financial investment and a willingness to learn the ins and outs of the latest hardware and technology, Nodland says being an early tech adopter has more than paid off by helping her firm generate new business.

“Being tech-savvy really resonates with our client base,” she explains. “Every single time we’ve given a five-minute tour of our technology to a client, they are beside themselves. It’s usually the assistants — the attorneys don’t want to deal with it — who are just delighted because it makes their job easier. If they go home and are not sure if they have scheduled a videographer for the next day, they can log in and double check.”

One of the main reasons LNS embraces new technology is because it now does a lot more than reporting and videography. “We are tech heavy because we have both court reporting and captioning and video conferencing over IP, so we need a real robust infrastructure,” Nodland says.

LNS has an IT person on monthly retainer to oversee and maintain the company’s servers and website. “We use ReporterBase for the calendaring, invoicing, and the repository with 24/7 access to transcripts — and it’s our IT person’s job is to makes sure it’s all running properly. He also makes sure there are backups to all our reporters’ notes and files, even though that’s really the reporters’ responsibility.”

The cost-effective early tech adopter

Not every firm or individual reporter will have the resources to invest in an array of on-site servers, let alone hire a tech guy to manage it all.

But Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, an NCRA director and freelance reporter based in Dayton, Ohio, notes there are still cost-effective ways to be an early tech adopting reporter. Terry notes that even little things like upgrading laptops and home PCs to the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system can make a huge difference.

“I know many reporters are afraid to make that switch for fear of messing up their laptop,” she explains. “But most of the upgrades are taking place on the software side, and many reporters don’t realize how powerful they can be and how effective they can be when streaming a deposition. Once you have your router in place, no matter what CAT system you’re on, it’s easier to get the hookup when all your software is up to date.”

Being an early tech adopter also requires reporters to understand what type of new tech can truly make a difference in their business.

Dianne Cromwell, RPR, is an official reporter in Boise, Idaho, as well as the owner of the Boise reporting firm Tucker & Associates. Cromwell says that virtually every reporter can help their business with relatively low-cost investments such iPads. “Compared with the old days when you had to deal with all different kinds of laptops and other repeaters, the iPad is much easier,” she says. “The freelancers that work for our company all have their own iPads, which they provide clients.”

Asking the right tech questions

Many small business owners — and not just those in the court reporting field — may understand the importance of staying on top of technology but often don’t know how to start that process.

Terry notes that people don’t have to be all that tech conversant to be early adopters; they just have to know the right people and ask the right questions.

“Many reporters buy a new laptop or other equipment, and the settings are not optimized for their job, which is the recording of proceedings,” Terry explains. “So they think they have a crappy laptop and they go out and buy another one.”

Asking other court reporters for advice is one way to get up to speed on new technology, but Terry says reporters also can’t be shy about asking the very people they’re buying the equipment from for their input. “These are professionals, and to me what they’re also selling me is support,” she says. “It really doesn’t do you any good to get a microphone that picks up the sound in a room great if you don’t know how to set the settings to make that happen.”

Most tech and software vendors say they want those questions from court reporters. Jason Yee, marketing director with OMTI, makers of the ReporterBase line of software, notes his company routinely handles queries from their hundreds of firm clients.

“We find their interest in new technology ranges from very conservative to eager early adopters,” he explains. “We view it as our job, as software developers, to be up on what is happening technology-wise and use our experience from 30 years of developing for this industry — plus insights from our clients — to decide which technologies to incorporate into ReporterBase. Then we teach our clients why they have these new abilities and what they can do with them.”

Yee says OMTI upgrades its two main court reporting products, RB8 office management software and RB Web online office, twice annually, keeping firm owners abreast of any new features through online content as well as its annual conference.

“We have found that often clients who describe themselves as not technically savvy will embrace these foreign new concepts and abilities when they understand the benefits and learn how to use the new features properly,” he adds.

Reporting technology for a rich future

The right technology can not only assist individual reporters and court reporting firms with their current work, it can also ready them for what could massive new opportunities over the next decade.

Jason Primuth, executive vice president for NextGen Reporting, points out that remote reporting — where the reporter is far from the witness being deposed — has not really taken off in many parts of the country.

“However, we’ve seen a strong growth in the demand for remote depositions where the parties are in multiple locations, and the court reporter is generally with the deponent,” he adds. “Forward-thinking corporations and insurance companies have found significant savings in time and money by conducting remote depositions.”

Primuth has also seen a surge in the use of video technology in legal proceedings, noting, “Some of our cases require the high-quality video that only traditional videographers and a professional camera can provide. But there’s a massively underserved market for video in smaller cases with smaller budgets. Other options, such as remote streaming, make video affordable to a much broader range of cases.”

Rhonda Jensen, RDR, CRR, CMRS, president of Jensen Litigation Solutions, based in Chicago, Ill., says her firm is rapidly adding new video equipment, including HD cameras, to take advantage of the growing popularity of video.

“We’ve expanded dramatically,” she explains. “We now do promotional videos for attorneys to post on their websites, and we’re very active in the local bar associations here in Illinois where we’ve done things like ‘Women in the Legal World’ videos for them.”

Jensen adds video is already influencing many parts of civil litigation. For example, her company now works with law firms to put together day-in-the-life videos used in personal injury suits.

“If someone is injured, the attorneys often want the jury to know what it’s like to be in their shoes by showing their daily life,” she explains. “We’ve also just invested in our first GoPro camera, which can be put on the injured person to show directly what life is like from their side.”

As much as video is affecting litigation, the huge growth in video outside of the legal arena has been a real technological trigger for the court reporting industry along with the need to caption much of that content.

A report last year from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicted that 80 percent of all Internet traffic will be video by 2019.

Carol Studenmund, RDR, CRC, and co-founder (along with Nodland) of LNS Reporting in Portland, Ore., agrees that the surge in video, both online and off, could have a profound effect on the captioning community – but only for reporters willing to step outside their comfort zone.

Studenmund explains that over the past five years, captioning prices in the network television affiliate world have dropped, adding, “But I still see reporters who only want to do network affiliate news, and they’re willing to take less money to just do that. In the meantime, there’s all this new work.”

One area where Studenmund is seeing growth is areas affected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“The world of people with hearing disabilities are finally beginning to ask for what they’re allowed to have through ADA,” she says. “And it’s booming. One example is stadiums. How many stadiums now have to provide captions? Another is in the workplace as people are realizing that in order to participate in a workplace webinar, they need captions.”

If that’s not opportunity enough, consider the vast amounts of old videotape that could soon be converted to digital and posted online.

“There’s so much content, not just current videos being produced, but archived content from years back when they still had VHS,” Terry says. “These are sitting at colleges and universities, and they’re dying to make that content digital and searchable.”

In addition to possessing their traditional captioning skills, Terry says court reporters should start thinking and talking like early tech adopters when it comes to video.

“You have to explain to people looking to post videos to YouTube that most search engines can’t index that content unless it’s captioned and there are keywords to pull up,” she says. “We have so much video history right now that if I was just entering the business, I would be marketing video captioning as strongly as I would depositions and hearings. If you can learn to caption videos, you really have an unlimited market.”

The good news for court reporters looking to be on the cutting edge of video is that it doesn’t require that much new tech.

Studenmund, who does captioning at stadiums, including high-profile events like the Super Bowl, remotely from her home office, says other than a great high-speed Internet connection, all you really need are great earpieces.

“I indulge in nice headphones,” she adds. “When working remotely, it all comes down to hearing clearly.”

Like most early tech adopters, Studenmund says the real key is to embrace any new technology as an opportunity rather than distraction, adding, “Everything changes all the time, so you just need to be ready for that.”

David Ward is a journalist in Carrboro, N.C. Comments on this article can be sent to

This article was suggested by NCRA’s Technology Committee.


LiveDeposition to speak at STARtech conference

In a press release issued March 9, LiveDeposition, a provider of local and remote litigation event technology, announced that Vice President of Sales Jason Richmond will be speaking on the New Video & Exhibits Technology panel during the STARtech16 conference being co-hosted by the Illinois Court Reporters Association, March 11-13 in Chicago, Ill. Richmond will discuss new technologies in the video and paperless exhibit arenas, including picture-in-picture video conferencing, the newest paperless exhibit products, and how these technologies interact.

Read more.

1CapApp Gen VI released

In a press release issued Feb. 14, 1CapApp announced the release of Gen. VI, which includes 1Net, Automatic Language translation, and an update to their state-of-the-art connector, 1Connect. 1Net allows an on-site captioner to create an ad hoc wireless network between the captioning computer and the computer displaying the captions, which works in venues where an Internet connection is not available. This release also offers automatic translation of streaming text into many other languages.

CLVS Corner: Evolution of a CLVS kit


By Kelly Boyd

boyd_kit2I like many things about being a CLVS, and near the top are the fine people I get to work with – not to mention that the importance of the issues at stake in a legal case can often make for high drama. It also is satisfying to try to continuously improve your game and learn from other videographers whenever possible. During my 23 years in the field, my “kit” has evolved many times to become what it is today, and perhaps my version will give you an idea you can use. In the pictures you can see the Panasonic HMC80 camera, a hi-def full feature camera at a reasonable price, that has served me well the past five years. That is connected to the rolling case with mixer, DVD recorder, and H4 Zoom recorder.

The advantages to this setup for me are two-fold. First, it keeps my stuff off the conference table. That piece of furniture is for the attorneys, and I don’t want to compete with their laptops, files and coffee cups for space. Second, the dual monitors not only show me the larger picture that I need for focus and composition, they allow me to compare the camera picture to what the DVD is recording. The Toshiba recorder gives an on-screen readout of elapsed time, record mode and active inputs, and instantly alerts to any problems. When it’s time to finalize, the extra screen makes it easy and quick.

The Mackie 1402 mixer has six XLR channels with phantom power to drive the AT831b lapel mics and boundary mic, with faders, mute, lo-cut filters, and full equalizing on each channel. The equalizers help reduce traffic noise and HVAC noise in most cases. The six channels allow for four lapel mics, a boundary mic, and the headset. The headset is a Beyerdynamic sportscaster’s model with boom mic, which gives on-camera announcements a certain punch that matches the other voices in the room, and makes life easy for the person who has to play it back in court. The cabling is split so that the boom mic can have an XLR male plug and the earcups have 1/4” male tip and sleeve for the mixer’s headphone jack.

The H4 recorder is attached by Velcro, and it is there simply to capture audio for the court reporter. He or she can attach an audio cable either to it or to the headphone jack, or the court reporter can download the files to a laptop at the end of the deposition. Sometimes the court reporter will ask for audio later, and it can be emailed to them.

The rugged case has large wheels, and everything can be loaded on top and strapped in place, so the trip from car to workplace can be managed easily. There is space in the lower section for mics and cables. This setup is quick, and everything is at your fingertips and – as an added bonus — nearly eye level. Although things can still go wrong, it will give confidence that you will be able to handle it.

Boyd_kit1The one disadvantage is its sheer size: It can be hard to get up stairs if there’s no ramp or elevator, but most people can probably work around it. I have used this system for more than ten years.

One deposition that stands out in my mind was a hot summer day where there was no air conditioning, and the attorney insisted on opening all the windows. The traffic noise was deafening, but because I was able to easily mute all mics except the person speaking and open them instantly when necessary, it was manageable. The equalizers cut the traffic noise down even further. I don’t think we could have produced a usable video otherwise. On another occasion, there was a defect in the DVD-R disk, and an error message popped up instantly on the monitor. After inserting a new disk, we continued on uninterrupted. You can always produce a DVD from the SDHC card in the camera, of course, but catching the error quickly means less work later, and continuous redundancy is your only guarantee.

On another occasion, I was using a FireWire connection to the DVD recorder, and experienced an SD card failure, which was a new experience at the time. Because it appeared that the DVD recorder was still capturing everything, I waited until there was a pause in the testimony to go off record. Later I discovered that when using FireWire, audio ceases to be transmitted during an SD card failure, so I had about three minutes of video that had no audio. I was able to dub in the missing audio from the H4 recorder, producing a seamless audio track on the DVD. I never used the FireWire again after that experience.

We all plan to get to a location an hour early, but how many times has it happened that they keep you waiting, and only let you into the room 15 minutes before scheduled start? With this kit you can be set up and ready, and wouldn’t we all like to be heroes instead of apologizing? It has saved schedules and embarrassment in that way times without number. I have a similar setup for courtroom playback.

I don’t expect comments on my kit from attorneys; they have more important things on their minds. It’s not there to impress them. It’s there to deliver results, and it does, every time.

Kelly Boyd, CLVS, is an associate member of NCRA and is based in Ashland, Pa. He can be reached at


Roundup: Windows 10

computer keyboard

Photo by: Anonymous Account

The JCR team and the court reporting and captioning community have published several articles on Windows 10 and how the new operating system affects the community. Here is our roundup:

TechLinks: Windows 10

Top six features of Windows 10 by Sandy VanderPol

CAT compatibility with Windows 10

TechLinks: Windows 10 tips and tricks

Advice on the Windows 10 release for captioners by Wes Long

Windows 8 to 10 migration by Sandy VanderPol

1CapApp announces maintenance release

1CapApp announces a maintenance release that includes two minor enhancements and fixes five known issues for 1Connect. The enhancements include putting a hard stop value that is displayed at the bottom left of the 1Connect display and a clear screen macro, which moves blank lines to the streaming text window and moves any text up and off the display. The fixes include making it easier to get to chat and notes on Android tablets and phones; updating a schedule import process; updating the transcript download function, so that the viewer must log in to viewer dashboard in order to see the transcript icon; and others.

The company’s press release reminds users to refresh the browser’s cache once the release is downloaded.

CAT compatibility with Windows 10

Photo by: Anonymous Account

Photo by: Anonymous Account

On behalf of NCRA’s Technology Committee, the JCR staff contacted the makers of CAT software products to ask if the different software products were ready for users to update to Windows 10. While representatives from all five companies said that users could update when they were ready, they all suggested that it may be wise to wait until more of the Windows 10 operating system’s bugs were found and the operating system has been further updated.

Microsoft is frequently releasing updates that are automatically made to Windows 10 to fix problems. Newer versions should also contain all the updates made to date.

All five companies asked that users who do have problems report them so that the companies are aware of them.


“As of this time, all Advantage Software products are compatible with Windows 10. As always, should any issues come to light, they will be immediately addressed by our research and development department and a resolution (in the form of an update) would be posted on our website,” said Cathy Barbre, one of Advantage Software’s inside sales representatives. Advantage’s website is


“StenoCAT and TrialBook Realtime Streaming are compatible with Windows 10. The latest releases were thoroughly tested in Windows 10 prior to Microsoft’s public release. Many of our users already successfully use Windows 10 with StenoCAT.  We encourage users to keep their operating system and CAT software up to date,” said Viki McCrary with Gigatron’s sales department.


“All the in-house testing shows that ProCAT products are compatible with Windows 10, whether you are a steno user or a voice user,” said Lisa Gonzalez, ProCAT’s technical support manager.

“Having said that, there are some disadvantages to Windows 10 that might be a factor in not updating just yet,” Gonzalez said, citing a ProCAT user who reported being unable to boot up after updating to Windows 10. “The fix for this was to wipe the drive and start again with the user staying off of Windows 10.”

“The other factor — at least for me, although it might affect others, too — is the Windows 10 automatic updates. You cannot completely turn off automatic updates. So you must adjust the time in which it will download and restart if necessary. In other words, you will be in the middle of something important, and Windows will want to restart your computer. So, while we are compatible with Windows 10, I think it would be a wise decision to wait for Microsoft to address the infant mortality issues,” said Gonzalez.


“We have tested our current version of digitalCAT on Windows 10. We did not find any direct issues,” said Johnny Jackson, owner of Stenovations. “However, there is a small extra step that must be taken when installing digitalCAT for the first time on a Windows 10 computer. The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 needs to be installed before the current installer can start. The .NET Framework is available from Microsoft. It is around 300 megabytes and requires an Internet connection. This extra step only needs to be taken the first time.”

“We are working on a new installer to avoid this extra step. It should be ready in September,” Jackson added.

Stenograph/Case CATalyst

“Stenograph spent several months testing Case CATalyst with Windows 10 and found versions 12 through 16 compatible. As with all updates, Stenograph recommends making backups of your work before updating to Windows 10,” said Dan Petersen, Stenograph’s director of marketing.

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:


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