TechLinks: Laptop recommendations

TechLinks_logoThe Technology Committee recently shared a March 10 article from Redmond Magazine entitled “3 Roadworthy Windows 10 Laptops.” The article included the Dell XPS 15, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1, and the HP EliteBook 1040 G3.

This post prompted a discussion by the committee when one member, who uses Eclipse, asked for personal recommendations for a replacement laptop. Two committee members chimed in that they use the Surface Pro – Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, who is on Eclipse, uses the Pro 3, and Dianne Cromwell, RPR, who is on Case Catalyst, uses Pro 4 because she “missed the larger screen during trials and dailies.”

TechLinks: Sharing information

TechLinks_logoThe Technology Committee shared a few links about WiFi systems, storage solutions, and a video-streaming service.

An article from How-To Geek explains what a mesh WiFi system is and how it’s different from an extender. “If your home’s WiFi network has dead spots, or doesn’t reach across your entire house, then you might have recently considered getting a mesh WiFi system,” the article explains.

PCWorld reviews the Netgear Orbi WiFi router. The Orbi has been marketed as a mesh network system, so even though it’s technically a hub-and-spoke system, the review compares its performance against other mesh systems on the market. “The bottom line is that this is an outstanding WiFi route,” reviewer Michael Brown writes.

On PCMag, Michael Muchmore and Jill Duffy compare the best cloud storage and file-sharing services of 2017. The article also discusses cloud storage in a bit more detail, including how it can work for you and using a free vs. paid service.

Finally, vMix is a live production and streaming software. According to the site, vMix “runs on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 platforms,” and its features include “live mixing, switching, recording and live streaming of SD, full HD, and 4K video sources, including cameras, video files, DVDs, images, Powerpoint” and more.

TechLinks: Keeping your information secure

NCRA’s Technology Committee rounded up a group of tech-related articles about keeping your computer files and other information secure, an ever-increasing concern in a world where privacy and security are becoming more and more important. Two articles explain what to look for in scams and the remainder offer suggestions for keeping your devices and information secure.

A tech sector employee explains her vishing – voice phishing — experience and how such scams can threaten the information security of a business. The YouTube video also gives information on how to recognize and how to avoid such scams. See video.

How to recognize a risky email was the topic of a June 16 post on Whether avoiding viruses or phishing scams, this article offers the basics for keeping your computer safe. Read more.

A July 4 post on Gizmo’s Freeware, a community website for reviewing free software, suggested Safepad as a simple Windows notepad replacement that uses encryption. Read more.

Bringing the above together, also check out an ABA article on building strong passwords to protect your information from its June issue. The suggestions include using longer words, using both letters – a mix of upper and lowercase – and numbers, and other tricks to make your devices more secure. Read more.

An article in PC Magazine about encrypting data on external drives is a reminder to protect clients’ confidential information as well.  Read more.

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: Products and services

TechLinks_logoFor The Verge, Walt Mossberg reviews the Eero WiFi system, a wireless mesh network of devices that can be controlled via an app. Mossberg highlights how user-friendly the system is to set up and manage through the app and that it can be a good solution for trickier wireless situations without losing bandwidth.

On Fast Company, Harry McCracken explains how Logitech, which has been known for accessories for PCs, has grown in the videoconferencing hardware market. McCracken asserts that “the company has found its niche with relatively inexpensive, plug-and-play devices that are compatible with a variety of software “and other widely used services for making video calls.”

Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, also shared a couple products: Wacom’s Bamboo Spark, which is “a Bluetooth pen that captures your handwritten notes,” and Wooji-juice’s Ferrite Recording Studio, which is an audio recording app for iOS.

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

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

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

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.