The Archives (Part Cinqo)

(Or "Here There Be (Even More!) Old Stuff")

Yes, that's right ... more Old Stuff.

I try to keep the main page at about 50 pages ... but I've apparently been remiss in checking the page count! When I finally checked (by making a .pdf of the page), it topped out at 67 pages!

So that means, time to whip up another Archive page!

"And now .... he-e-e-e-eee-e-eeeeee-rr-rrr-rrrrrr's Archie!"

(What, you didn't really expect me to write "Johnny," did you? Besides ... "Archie" is short for "Archive." Sorta.)


Update (04AUG09)

A Wee Bit o' News ....

First, there has been a (slight) update to the Passport review, which I somehow managed to not mention here (sorry about that)! The update consists of a few updated pictures, and an explanation on how to use those extra keys on the Passport.

Stenovations News

I recently sent Johnny Jackson an e-mail asking if there were any surprises to look for from Stenovations at the convention. He said -- well, I'll just do a bit of copying and pasting here ....

We are working with a new a manufacturer on the next production run. We sold out of the last one. The new run we are having is not a new model. It does have some cosmetic differences, but the internal components and software are the same.

Next winter there will be a new model, one that will have everything -- audio recording, multiple backups, screen, et cetera.

So there you have it -- not much coming from Stenovations at the convention (sorry, folks!), and, alas, no pictures of the new model ... then I got this e-mail:

PRESS RELEASE

Stenovations president Johnny Jackson announced that his company's next generation writer will be forthcoming around the Christmas holidays.

The StarLight, the current code name, will support audio recording, have a touch screen and multiple backup choices.

It will have a Windows´┐Ż operating system, which means reporters and students will be able to load their personal CAT software on the writer.

The StarLight's weight will be in the range of two pounds, and the height will be an inch at its thickest point.

Mr. Jackson stated that anyone who has bought, or will be buying, a LightSpeed from Stenovations will receive 100% credit toward the purchase of a StarLight.

Mr. Jackson also announced that he has retired from reporting and is devoting all of his professional time to overseeing the design, development and manufacturing of the StarLight and future writers, as well as digitalCAT software.

I've known the LightSpeed was going to go through an upgrade eventually, but I wasn't quite expecting this! Looks like Christmas will be very interesting in the steno world this year ....!

And, for those of you wondering, yes, it was somewhat difficult to avoid any poetic headlines (you know ... something that rhymes with "StarLight"), but I managed! (Besides ... in the comedy biz, I think that's what they would call that either "low-hanging fruit" or "on the nose.")

31JUL09 Update

Finally (!!!), a Hands-on Review of Advantage Software's Passport!

The Elusive Passport

The Passport: "Elusive" No More!

Yes, that's right ... after nearly two years of begging and pleading, I was finally able to convince Oklahoma freelancer Cheri Mays to write a review of the Passport for ol' Cheap and Sleazy.

Cheri did her own begging and pleading, and was able to convince the Powers That Be at Advantage Software to allow her to be a beta-tester for them ... and soon, she got one of the first versions of the Passport delivered to her for testing.

Advantage is on the second (public) version of the body now, which means Cheri has a lot of experience with this writer ... and once I heard (well, read; I don't get to Oklahoma very often!) that she had one of these elusive writers in-hand, I immediately asked her if she would write a review for ol' Cheap and Sleazy. Alas, she declined, as the writer's software wasn't quite "there" yet ... but the most recent version of the writer's software has the writer right where it should be, so now, we have a review of the Passport here on ol' Cheap and Sleazy.

Passport Key Adjustment Screen

The Keyboard Adjustment Screen of the Passport

Alas, this review also appears in a few other places (Facebook, CSR Nation, Depoman, etc.), so you may have read it before, unedited -- but without pictures!

In Other News ....

I have in-hand a few articles which I am feverishly (hey, it was over 100 degrees up here recently!) working on getting ready: One on CART, another on the internship process, and a review of the new Gemini Revolution!

I hope to have all three up within the next couple weeks.

Hopefully.

Watch for 'em!

I also have a commitment for a review of the Diamante, by one of the beta-testers!

Alas, he's on his way out the door heading to the upcoming NCRA convention in Washington, DC ... but once he gets back, he promises to get busy on that review.

25JUL09 Update

Coming Soon to SimplySteno.com Students ....

Marc Greenberg sent me an e-mail the other day. Seems he has developed something new for his Simply Steno students! You can see a video of this New Thing(™) here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGu-HwAyTYI

Court Reporters on TV ... Sorta.

My new favorite comedy is ABC's "Better Off Ted," where Ted Crisp is the head of Research and Development at a company called Veridian Dynamics ... and recently, I caught an episode wherein Ted's company gets sued. It seems that one of their products (a perfume) caused hornets to treat 3 out of every 5,000 women who used that perfume as potential mates ... and when the hornets discovered their error, they didn't just laugh it off; they stung Veridian Dynamics' customers multiple times!

As you might imagine, there were a lot of depositions -- during the one depicted below, you might notice something familiar:

Better Off Ted Deposition

A Better Off Ted Deposition

Yes, that's right -- it's a Mira.

Ted's boss, Veronica (played disturbingly well by Ally McBeal's Portia De Rossi, to the reporter's right) is being deposed. The Q&A went like this:

     Q.     Were you involved with the development of this product?

     A.     Yes.

     Q.     And how would you summarize the company's reaction when they found out that the women who used this product were savagely attacked by insects?

     A.     Ouch.

     Q.     Could you elaborate?

     A.     No.

     Q.     Could you describe your job?

     A.     Yes.

     Q.     How would you describe your job?

     A.     Cleverly.

I'm sure that bits of that deposition would've made it into the JCR ....

22JUL09 Update

New Writer Alert

I got an e-mail today from Stenograph's Nick Ridge, the Education Team Leader. The subject: "Not So Top Secret Anymore," and as far as text, it was just a link ... this link, in fact:

http://www.stenograph.com/marcom/video/diamante/512x388/diamante_web2.html

The New Diamante

The New Stenograph Diamante

Here's a few specs (thanks to Mike "Depoman" Miller):

• Can charge battery via USB

• No serial port, just USB

• Can use inexpensive USB-based Bluetooth for wireless

• Comes with a new (12 inch high) tripod

• Backward-compatible to most CATs

• Two Lithium-Ion batteries

• Two SD Card slots

• Price: $4995 (buy before September and it's $4795!)

Upgrading

For those of you who purchased a new Mira within the last 90 days, you can upgrade to the Diamante for "a nominal fee."

Those of you who are leasing your Miras on the zero percent lease are out of luck, as the upgrade only applies to those of you on the conventional lease.

Wonder how many Cheap and Sleazy Mochas I'd have to ply my local Stenograph rep with to get one of those for free ...? You know, I could add some Kahlua ... and throw in a Jedi mind trick or two, and we're in business!

While I ponder that, here's a few more pictures:

Diamante full view

Diamante: Full View

Diamante:  Rear View

Diamante: Rear View

Diamante:  Screen View

Diamante: Screen View

More Info

Reader (and soon-to-be RMR) Melvin Kamisato was kind enough to send along the Diamante brochure the other day (it's best to right-click and download, as Firefox's .pdf viewer doesn't show the shadowed text very well) ... and Nick Ridge has given my area's new Stenograph rep my e-mail; hopefully we can arrange a hands-on demo (camera in hand, of course).

11JUL09 Update

The Countdown ....

Harry Potter fans everywhere are getting antsy ... because this is the month that the new Harry Potter movie comes out!

And, of course, if you've been hanging around ol' Cheap and Sleazy for a while, you know how we commemorate new Harry Potter movies around here:

Potter Potter Potter Potter ...

"Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner Warner -- Cheap and Sleazy ....!"

Okay, so I may have adjusted the lyrics a bit ... but they kinda fit!

Also, I already advised one proud mom of a new CRAH student to buy her a few Harry Potter videos so she can get her Harry Potter Dictionary ready ...!

Not So Fast, There ...! ("All That Glitters," Part Duh)

Some of you might recall the events depicted in the original "All That Glitters ...", wherein a working reporter was acosted by an alert, telling her her computer had a virus! If you don't recall that, either search for "glitters," or scroll down to the 29MAR09 update.

So once again I was busy doing ... well, something (I forget what) when I was once again accosted by one of those "online virus scanners," telling me my system was infected and nicely offering to scan my hard drive, complete with the graphic of my computer's file structure (not!) ... only this time, instead of killing the browser window quickly as I recommended under the original "All That Glitters ..." update, I clicked Okay a few times ... and soon, my efforts were "rewarded:"

Say, Wait a Minute ...

Say, Wait a Minute ....

Naurally, I canceled (several times, if I recall correctly; man, that was one persistent virus!) the download and closed the "My Computer Online Scan" window and the Setup window.

If I didn't have Wine installed, downloading the file would not be a problem ... but since I do have a kinda-sorta Windows environment on my Mac, I decided not to tempt fate!

Of course, the folks at Wine HQ will tell you that it is highly unlikely that you can infect your system with a virus ... but ... well, color me chicken.

Speaking of Darwine ....

I updated my article on Darwine, to include the new WineBottler. Alas, there's a few bugs ... but it works pretty well, otherwise; just has a few extra features that I talk about.

07JUL09 Update

Want Work ...?

Do you have your RPR? Are you knowledgeable about US history? Are you in the Washington, D.C. area? Would an annual salary in the range of $83,066 up to $128,753 interest you?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, have I got a job for YOU!! Go here:

http://federalgovernmentjobs.us/jobs/Realtime-Captioner-1603476.html

Yes, there are some serious requirements for this job ... but if you are a student and want to be well paid as a captioner, getting your RPR and a Bachelor's degree might be something you want to work towards!

Good luck ....

Lotsa Deaths of Late ...

You've probably noticed the spate of deaths of late: Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Fred Travelena -- just a few off the top of my head.

I'm sure you all know at least one of the names on that list, right?

Today, I got wind of the death of a man whom most of you have probably never heard of: John Alva Keel.

Those of you who have read my article Different Dictation probably know of my ... well, fascination for the strange and unusual.

That fascination began mostly because of John A. Keel.

When I was in highschool, I read everything of his I could get my hands on: His books, his column in the now long gone Saga Magazine ... and I think I read something of his in Playboy Magazine (yes, I did buy it for the articles!).

He covered a lot of stuff: UFOs, Big Foot, fairies ... and the illusive Men In Black.

In fact, neither Men In Black or Men In Black II would exist without John Keel having written about his attempts to catch these mysterious entities during the events that comprised the goings on depicted in his book, "The Mothman Prophecies."

Point Pleasant, VA commemorates the Mothman with a statue

The Commemorative Statue of the Mothman in Point Pleasant, VA

If you want to try an interesting experiment sometime, go to your local video store and rent a copy of the movie, "The Mothman Prophecies" ... then when you've watched it, go out and get (and read!) a copy of the book.

Way, way different ....

Now, then ... to bring this back to the World o' Steno, go here --

YouTube.com

-- then fire up your steno machine and CAT software and pick a video ... and transcribe it.

You probably won't believe what you're writing.

You can read about John A. Keel's accomplishments in this obituary -- eulogy by a friend of his for these past thirty-plus years, Loren Coleman -- also a notable force in the strange field of the paranormal.

RIP, John A. Keel.

24JUN09 Update

Yet Another Big Government Beat-Down Thwarted

I'm sure you've heard about it by now, but Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger made some rather disparaging remarks about court reporters recently -- on NPR, no less. Here's the exact quote:

"Like for instance, we don?t need court reporters. I mean, we can do this digitally. Why are we still holding on to court reporters? Just because the unions want to hold on and keep their jobs."

(Wait a minute ... there's a union --?)

The Governator

Arnold Disses California Court Reporters

You can hear the appropriate snippet by clicking the picture.

Like the WCRA did earlier this year, the California Official Court Reporters Association jumped in with both feet ... and their president, Sheri Turner Gray, posted this letter she wrote on behalf of the threatened California officials:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

On behalf of the 2,000 men and women currently working as official reporters in California's courts and the more than 8,000 court reporters licensed in the state, I am appalled by your recent comments on National Public Radio that many in our industry can be replaced by machines. You have been provided bad information that, if adopted by the state Legislature, threatens the court's ability to operate efficiently as well as provide access to justice for the consumer.

The Administrative Office of the Courts is not in favor of replacing reporters with recording devices. Neither are judges. While electronic recording is now being used in low volume transcript courts, the AOC has repeatedly stated that using digital devices in felony and civil cases, family law, and trials involving sexually violent predators is simply "too risky."

After removing these high volume transcript courts from the LAO's proposal, the state will save nothing.

Governor, you are wasting time and energy pursuing an ill-advised proposal. Other states have tried electronic recording in court proceedings, but most have elected to return to using court reporters because recordings caused court delays, increased costs, and equipment failures that result in expensive retrials.

Further, transcription of recorded proceedings is more expensive. These states include Texas, New Mexico, New York, Kentucky, Illinois and some Federal courts. Other states, including Florida and Oregon, are currently rethinking their decision to move to machines.

Court Reporters have been using digital technology for over 20 years now, long before recordings became digital. Court reporters are the fastest, most efficient, and most accurate way to transform the spoken word to text, and all this technology is provided at the individual expense of the court reporters.

Elimination of a workforce that is made up of 98% females, many with children to support, would be not only shortsighted but morally questionable.

Your proposal flies in the face of the needs of deaf and hearing-impaired judges, attorneys, and litigants who rely on the services of court reporters every day. A tape recorder is useless for these individuals.

Governor, I concede that, at least in Hollywood, machines often out-perform humans, but not in the case of well-trained and effective officials of the court.

I am proud of my profession and the high quality product our men and women provide California's legal system on a daily basis.

Sincerely,

Sheri Turner Gray

President CCRA

- Advancing our profession for over 100 years!

(I'm going to assume (despite knowing what happens when one does that) that the various grammatical, shall we say, irregularities in that letter were due to the "Fires of Creation" effect ... where the writer becomes possessed by the muse, and just writes ... without noticing those pesky grammar gremlins.)

The next day, I found this message on the COCRA's home page:

BREAKING NEWS: Late Wednesday afternoon a majority of the Budget Committee voted to reject the LAO?s proposal to replace official reporters with electronic recording. The Budget Committee also did not adopt the trailer bill language mentioned by Assemblymember Noreen Evans during today?s proceedings. It may, however, be addressed in Monday?s proceedings.

Assemblymember Noreen Evans (Santa Rosa), Chair of the Committee, stated that ER is "highly inappropriate" in complex civil cases and even more so in criminal. She stated that she had worked in the courts as a lawyer for 25 years. She questioned how it could be worth it to implement an entirely new statewide system of keeping the record for a savings of 13 million.

Drew Soderborg, the LAO representative speaking on the issue, cited the 1990 Demonstration Project?s findings, but that they did an inflation adjustment. Assemblymember Evans asked Mr. Soderborg whether he had seen the data about ER having been used briefly in other states and then discontinued. Mr. Soderborg stated they have different data showing ER has been used successfully in other states and the Federal Judiciary. The LAO also stated that the National Center for State Courts cites where ER is used. Senator Denise Ducheny (San Diego) stated that all the savings achieved would be in the areas most dangerous to implement i.e. criminal cases and complex litigation.

The committee voted 3-2 on the Assembly side and 3-1 on the Senate side to reject the LAO proposal.

I don't know about you, but I find Mr. Soderborg's comment that they "... had seen data about ER having been used successfully in other states and the Federal Judiciary" to be very interesting.

Where did this "data" come from? Is this the same "data" that is making other states come up with the same dumb idea to replace court reporters with tape recorders?

Sure would like to see this "data" ... and I stated as much on the COCRA's website the other day ... and further recommended that someone in the COCRA should take Mr. Soderborg to lunch and find out where this info is coming from.

Unfortunately, when I went back to the site to check for responses to my comment, I found the comments had been closed!

Guess I started a fight ... but hopefully someone is acting on the idea.

Also, California court reporter Patricia Dowling wrote a letter to the reporter that the Governator made his comments to about killing off   -- er, downsizing court reporters.

Interestingly, I notice the same gramatical blunders in this letter as in Ms. Gray's letter ...! It appears that those blunders are probably from the webmaster. Think I'll shoot him/her an e-mail.

Finally (for now!), the NCRA got into the act, sending a stern letter to the Governator ... which you can read about on the NCRA's website.

Note that I said you can read ABOUT this letter ... but the link doesn't seem to have the actual letter, for some reason (?!?).

Maybe one of these days .....

In Other News ... The Seminar

As you might recall, I mentioned that I was planning on attending the WCRA's Educational seminar -- thanks in part to the efforts of one of our local CART providers, Ms. Lisa Hutchison, who kindly offered to sponsor my student membership in the WCRA (thanks again, Lisa!).

Alas, my Cheap and Sleazy t-shirt was in the laundry -- which was probaby a good thing, in view of what's going on in this picture:

This Is a Job For ....

"This is a Job For ... Hey! Is That a Camera?!"

Sometimes it's Good to remove temptation from the grasp of Yours Truly ...!

Anyway, I had a chance to talk with Jason Pardikes, of Gemini writer fame. He told me he had talked with Stephen "Da Man Hisself" Shastay, from Court Reporting Help.com, who told Jason to look for me when he got to Washington, in an effort to come to some sort of arrangement about advertising on ol' Cheap and Sleazy (still pending) ... and I even got to play with the new Gemini Revolution.

I tell you, the touch was so light, I think if I would have sneezed in the general direction of the keys, they would've registered the sneeze, and spat out "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury!"

Fortunately , the allergies were under control that day, so no, I DID NOT actually sneeze on the writer (but if the seminar had taken place yesterday, that story might've been quite a bit different!) ... but, like I said above, if I did, I'm sure some of those keys would've registered!

I also met Ms. Kathy Brodie, local court reporter, agency owner, and author of The Court Reporting Intern Book.

Ms. Brodie gave a talk about the internship phase of a court reporter's training ... and a brief demonstration of hypnosis, in which she suggested that all of us would pass the next test we took.

As you might recall, I had planned on pelting her with questions about hypnosis ... but, since she's already written a book, and had a lot of information in her presentation, I asked her to write a few articles for ol' Cheap and Sleazy instead: One on the internship process, another on basic business practices, and yet another on hypnosis.

Best of all, she said yes! Expect to see the internship article in about a month, with the next one following in another month, and that last one yet another month out.

Watch for 'em!

... And Speaking of Da Man Hisself ....

Don't know if you've heard, but Stephen "Da Man Hisself" Shastay has a new e-mail newsletter available, called "Advanced Steno Techniques Newsletter" ... which, as you might guess, covers advanced steno techniques!

You can sign up on Court Reporting Help.com's home page.

Check it out!

STENO-QWIK Update

I sent a quick e-mail to Frances More, author of Multi-Sensory Touch Typing in Minutes ... also known as QWERTY-QWIK.

Those of you who have been reading ol' Cheap and Sleazy for a while know that Ms. More and I discussed the possibility of her writing a book similar to the afore-mentioned QWERTY keyboard tutorial for the steno keyboard ... and that I sent her an extra set of theory books (Phoenix) ... and a non-functioning X-Scribe writer.

Ms. More says she's still snowed under with work (judging from some of the testimonials on her other site, she is a teaching Ninja!), but she has managed to get that old X-Scribe working.

Even better, she says -- well, I'll let her tell you:

I talked to a young woman today in California who wants to become a court reporter. She also needed to find a quick way to learn how to type. She asked me about my qwertyqwik system and after explaining what it does she asked if I could teach her to use a steno machine, and I said that with my hectic lifestyle I haven't had a chance to work out how it works, all I know is the more I find out about it, the more complicated it is. She starts her steno course on the 22nd of this month and will learn to use the machine. I told her I can't teach French if I don't know the language and only can teach what I know. She said she would look into buying my book and applying the principles of that to the steno technique. Then she will tell me how it works, I hope.

So, there you have it: STENO-QWIK isn't dead ... it's coming right along!

The Death and Rebirth of Darwine

Darwine logo

The Darwine Logo

That's right ... Darwine is officially dead.

Seems there was some grumbling in the Wine-Dev (Wine Developer) community about the divergence of Wine for Linux vs. Wine for the Mac -- a.k.a. Darwine -- so now, the Mac version of Wine will no longer be called Darwine; it will just be Wine.

Unfortunately, that also puts an end to the Darwine builds -- er, the Wine builds -- that Mike Kronenberg used to put out.

Fortunately, Mike has found a solution: He bundles the new builds with his new version of Wine Helper, which he calls WineBottler.

You can find the latest version of WineBottler over on Mike's website, Mike's Massive Mess.

Of course, I'll have to rewrite the Darwine article to reflect the changes ... but that may be a while!

In the meantime, if you already have Darwine installed, here's what you need to do:

•  Compress your existing Darwine folder
•  Download and install the new WineBottler
•  Double-click the WineBottler application. The new Winetricks should open.
•  Configure Winetricks as you did for your other applications (ensure you only install one item at a time! Freezes your computer otherwise).
•  Close the Winetricks window, and start your favorite Windows application(s).

Note that to quit WineBottler, you have to click on the bottle in the menu bar, and select Quit ... then you have to physically click the Okay button in the little dialog box that appears.

So that's basically it for the new WineBottler application.

Iced Tea Follies

As my regular readers know, I have been known to drink some iced tea from time to time ... and as you might guess, I am pretty much hooked on McDonald's Sweet Iced Tea ...!

Yes, I know it's basically Lipton tea, sugar, and ice ... but I don't have to make it, and it comes in that really big cup -- for a mere dollar!

Unfortunately, I have, from time to time, had Difficulties in satisfying my craving for that sweet iced tea.

Sometimes I'll order it, and they'll tell me they don't sell it at that location ... or sometimes they do have it, but the employees are brain-dead enough to put ice in the tea -- before they serve it (!!!) ... and then there's those stores that give me the unsweetened iced tea instead of the sweet iced tea that I ordered.

Sure, I could test it before I leave ... but I clearly ordered the sweet iced tea, and I expect to have the sweet iced tea when I get home ... but last night, I came home with plain ol' unsweetened iced tea.

At least they didn't give me Hi-C, which is what appeared on the board when I said sweet iced tea, so that's a plus!

Did I mention that that was the 4th McDonalds I had gone to?

After finishing my meal at home, I decided I should go out and try again (at about 3:00 AM). Had to do some other stuff (send a faxed signature page to the military folk, do some light shopping at Safeway, etc.), so off I went.

The McDonalds I chose this time had what I craved -- er, wanted -- but for some reason, the two drinks added up to $4.38.

Naturally, I complained about the discrepancy.

The cashier kinda-sorta said that there were no more $.99 iced teas anymore; they were $1.99.

"That's not what it says on the menu out here," I told him.

He told me that his computer wouldn't let him ring up the iced tea at the $.99 price for some reason ... and again, the total on the LED display said $4.38.

I told him never mind, I'll try another McDonalds, and instead headed back home.

You know, I have a crock pot ... and somewhere I have a recipe for some cinnamon tea ... which uses cinnamon, Red Hots, and several Lipton teabags.

Might be time to take a trip to WalMart and buy a large box of Lipton teabags ... and make my own sugar syrup (or just use some pure Maple syrup instead) ... and then I can make a couple gallons of tea at a time ...! MU-HU-HU-HA-HA-HA!!!

(*ahem!*) Excuse me.

Rice Rice Baby (Part Duh)

Those of you who have been reading ol' Cheap and Sleazy for a while might recall my telling you about the $6.00 microwave rice cooker I bought at WalMart sometime back:

Microwave Rice Cooker

Gone, but not Forgotten ...!

As you can tell from the caption, I had a wee bit of a mishap.

I'm not sure, but I think when I put the water in the rice pot and waited an hour or so before cooking it, the water either evaporated or ... well, I don't know ... but whatever happened, when I cooked the rice, my microwave filled up with smoke ... and the rice pot *melted*!

Well, it melted in a couple of spots.

Worse, it smelled up the whole house! I had to open every window and every door to get the place aired out ... and still, the smell lingered for a couple of days!

Good thing there was nobody home but me at the time ....

When I saw that the rice pot was a lost cause, I began the search for another. Unfortunately, WalMart no longer carries the one pictured above ... so I settled for this one:

Nordic Ware Microwave Rice Cooker

The Nordic Ware Microwave Rice Cooker

Unfortunately, the instructions for this gadget specify setting the microwave at half-power ... which I can't do, because there aren't any buttons on the ancient behemoth of a microwave I'm using to do that ... so I have yet to get a decent pot of rice out of it!

As you might guess, the other rice cooker had no such limitations. It even included instructions to make just one cup of rice (the new one starts with one cup of uncooked rice, which becomes "4 to 6 servings." Not sure how much a "serving" is; it's not specified in the instructions!), and I didn't have to manipulate the power of the microwave!

So, the hunt begins anew!

But Wait ...! There's More ...!

After the fire ... er, mishap, the search took a while, so my Jasmine rice was kept in a sealed metal container.

When I bought the new acquisition home, I opened the rice ... and found the container had about an inch of water in it( ?!?) ... and with that inch of water was the smell of rotting rice!

Yes, you guessed it ... another bout of airing out the house!

Still, I have no idea how the water got into that container; it was sealed, with a rubber gasket and one of those clasps to keep it shut and the contents free from contamination ... and the container sitting a few feet away from it was dry as a bone, inside AND out!

Curiouser and curiouser ... (not to mention frelling annoying ...).

Update (05MAY09)

A Wee Bit About Darwine

As my regular readers know, I have been known to wax eloquent (or, as some might say, "squawk incessantly") about something called Darwine.

Darwine logo

The Darwine Logo

For those of you that are new to ol' Cheap and Sleazy, Darwine is a Macintosh implementation of Wine, which allows someone using a computer running, say, Linux, Unix, or the Mac OS to run Windows applications ... without having Windows installed.

Since I've been running Wine for a while now, I had forgotten how difficult it was to get everything set up just so ... so when I recommended to Keith Vincent that he try running Bridge on his Mac under Darwine, I was somewhat surprised that he had problems.

That is, until I was reminded of all the problems I had when I first got started.

Keith asked me to lay out for him the process of making Darwine easy to use, so I posted a response on the Court Reporter's Forum ... then I decided to write an article (with pictures!) so it would reach more people.

You can read that one here:

http://www.cheapandsleazy.net/darwine.html

If you're using an Intel-based Mac right now, and you have the need to run an occasional Windows application, then you really should check out Darwine!

New Site for CR-related Videos

Yes, it's true ... now you can find all of the court reporting-related videos in one place, thanks to Marc "Simply Steno" Greenberg's new site, StenoTube!

StenoTube Logo

StenoTube's Debut

And we're not just talking about the "Why I Quit Court Reporting" video that's been around for a while now, either.

Say ... did I mention the search engine?

New CR School Coming to Texas ....

That's right ... there's a new court reporting school coming soon to Texas.

Alas, I can't say much more than that ... but when the school is about to open, I will announce it here. I'm willing to bet that if you're in school now, you'll want to quit and move to Texas to sign up for this new school!

NCRA News ....

I got an envelope in the mail the other day ... with a 50 percent off deal for renewing my NCRA membership (that's $32.00, in case you were wondering).

If you're a Starving Student(™), this is a good deal!

Dollar Woes

Snap out of it, George!

NCRA News, Part Duh

(Okay, so my French is a bit rusty ... but think of that ‘duh’ as a ‘two,’ and we're on the same page!)

If you've been visiting any of the forums mentioned on my Links page, you might have noticed several threads talking about politics ... specifically, NCRA politics.

More specifically, whether or not the members want the NCRA Board of Directors to consider adding the responsibility of administering the testing/certification test for voice writing and both forms of electronic recording for the fees it would generate as a way of making more money for the NCRA.

Judging by some of the responses I've seen (14 separate threads on the NCRA Forum alone!), I'm guessing that this idea is not very popular with the members ... hence the motion to rescind ... and the call to all reporters who have let their memberships lapse to rejoin (don't forget those 50 percent off rates!) so they can travel to Washington, DC and vote on this whole thing.

Meanwhile, on CSR Nation ....

... someone inquired as to "what would an ER/DR person be tested for, exactly?" And you know me: I'm always up for a challenge, so I put pen to paper -- er, fingers to keys -- and came up with what an ER reporter might be tested on:

Okay, I'll take a stab at defining the goal of the testing.

The button-pusher ER person would have to be able to physically bend at the waist, extend his or her finger at a precisely defined angle, and make contact with the Record button.

Pushing the Stop, Pause, or Eject button will be considered an automatic failure.

The button-pusher ER person will also be tested on what to do in the event of any two of three possible scenarios which may occur on the job:

(a) The tape reaches the end

(b) The tape breaks

(c) Power failure

In scenario A, the button-pusher ER person will be automatically failed if s/he fails to do any one of the following:

1. Turn the tape over

2. Place another tape in the recorder

In the event the button-pusher ER person chooses option 2, if that other tape is clearly marked as being part of the case they've recorded, that is also an automatic failure.

In scenario B, the button-pusher ER person should do at least two of the following (#1 being mandatory, of course):

1. Inform the Court of the problem

2. Splice the tape

3. Call someone that can splice the tape

In scenario C, the button-pusher ER person should do ....

Heh. Just funnin' with ya, Quyen! Hope I at least gave you a giggle.

You'll be pleased to know that my bogus testing criteria did give Ms. Quyen a giggle ... which is a good thing, because this whole issue has a *lot* of people getting hot under the collar ... and in that event, a little comedy relief is a good thing!

Washington State to License CART Providers

From my home state's most recent newsletter comes the news that the WCRA is in talks with the Department of Licensing about getting CART providers licensed.

Sure, CART-folk can take the NCRA's test and be certified, but that's voluntary ... and not everyone is "volunteering." As it is now, anyone can call themselves a CART provider ... and that leads to pretty much unuseable realtime for the deaf/HOH (that's "hard of hearing," in case you were wondering) consumer. Check out this blog as a case in point. This consumer's CART provider was so bad, he doesn't want anything to do with CART.

Also, should those CART providers provide the afore-mentioned unreadable realtime, complaints can be made, and licenses revoked, and substitutions can be made, and the deaf/HOH consumer will get the service s/he needs, from a competent CART provider.

Way to go, WCRA!

And, Speaking of the WCRA ....

Their spring seminar is coming up on the 16th of this month ... and I plan on attending.

Sure, I'll have to fork over some $$$ ... but there's going to be a seminar on CART that I want to see, and another on hypnosis that I definitely want to see(!) ... so I'll be going.

Here's the brochure:

http://www.washingtoncourtreporters.org/documents/Spring%20Seminar%202009%20Brochure.pdf

So, if you're going and you see a guy in a Cheap and Sleazy t-shirt asking a lot of questions of the presenters ... that's probably going to be me!

Does Google Really Pay These Guys $5,000 a Month?!

I'm sure you've seen the ads, where an average Joe (or Jane) looks sincerely into the camera, and tells how they are getting paid $5,000 a month by "posting links" to Google ... AND they're willing to tell you how you, too, can join them in making that kind of money ... at home, in your SPARE TIME(!!!!), all for the low, low price of a mere $1.97!

You've seen those, right?

Did you ever think about ... you know ... pressing that "Send Me That Package NOW!!!" button?

If you did, hopefully you caught yourself and did a Google search to see what was the skinny on these ads before you committed your hard earned $1.97 (plus that $100.00 they don't tell you about) to these clowns -- unless, of course, you're one of those people that actually believes there is a credit fairy.

Not exactly the Credit Fairy ...

Not Exactly the Credit Fairy ....

Frankly, I had begun seeing a lot of these ads -- some from the same guy, stating he made $5,000 a month in one, and $3,000 a month in another ... so I decided to do some Googling and see what I came up with ... and believe me, I came up with a lot.

Caveat Emptor

Here's an interesting piece that summarizes the whole thing:

http://www.richdogmillionaire.com/josh-aka-scott-kevin-david-and-others-investigation-summary

Here's another piece that also talks about it, and similar sites:

http://wafflesatnoon.com/2009/01/10/scam-alert-website-list

Remember that $100 I mentioned earlier? Well, here's a site that shows how difficult it is to get that money back:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/415/RipOff0415440.htm

So, say it with me:

"Google will not pay me $5,000 a month, no matter what that guy in the ad says!"

"I can check a book out of my local library and learn to apply for my OWN grants!"

And, finally ....

"There is no credit fairy!"

Still not the Credit Fairy

Still not the Credit Fairy

10APR09 Update

Big Virus Delivers ...?

If you read the last update to ol' Cheap and Sleazy, you might recall I was warning about a rather nasty virus set to strike on April Fool's day (fitting, huh?). Well, that day has come and gone, and finally Conflicker has begun having its minions phone home for further commands -- at least, according to an article at Cnet News. Hope YOUR PC isn't joining in the fun ...!

The Tax Man Cometh ....

Yes, that's right ... it's almost that time yet again ....

Uncle Sam, Bill Collector

Uncle Sam, Bill Collector

Got my refund ... just enough to cover moving expenses, and ol' Cheap and Sleazy's annual bill ($144 this year).

If you and 143 of your closest friends are feeling generous, each of you could send me a buck to my PayPal account ...! That would take care of ol' Cheap and Sleazy's hosting bill for the year!

All you and your 143 closest friends would have to do is log into your PayPal account, click that "Send Money" link, fill in the amount for $1.00, and send that buck to me at gdwaynewarner (at) gmail (dot) com!

Bail outs, recessions, and vanishing jobs -- oh, my!

"Bail outs, recessions, and vanishing jobs -- oh, my!"

Heh.

This Just In ....

I recently found a link to a site created by Steve "Da Man Hisself" Shastay, which had an interesting poem I thought I would share with readers of ol' Cheap and Sleazy:

Steno!! Ste-e-e-no!!

Test time come, and me want to get one.

Steno!! Ste-e-e-no!!

Test time come, and me want to get one.

Hey, Mr. Steno Man, steno me dictation.

Test time come, and me want to get one.

Hey, Mr. Steno Man, steno me dictation.

Test time come, and me want to get one.

One test, two test, three test; I move up.

Test time come, and me want to get one.

Steno!! Ste-e-e-no!!

Test time come, and me gonna get one.

(Repeat until graduation)

For those of you wondering how the original song sounded, click the picture to watch an appropriate clip from the movie Beetle Juice:

Banana Boat Song from the movie, Beetlejuice

Banana Boat Song from the movie "Beetlejuice"

Back in my Navy days, my version of the song was much shorter than Steve's:

Day watch!

Da-aa-aay watch,

Day watch come on, so I can go home ...

Well ... guess you have to have stood a midwatch or two to appreciate that one!

Oh, I notice that Jeffery Jones, one of the guys from my big movie debut in "The Hunt for Red October" (see the 31MAR06 update for that story -- and a picture of me on the set) is in this clip! He's the one that says, "Otto, are you doing this?"

After his role as the principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jeffrey Jones was a lot less intimidating than James Earl Jones, after his (then recent) role as the voice of Darth Vader in "The Empire Strikes Back" ... so I didn't get a chance to talk with him.

Still kicking myself over that one -- and it's been 20 years!

30MAR09 Update

Big Virus Coming ... Are You Ready?!?

If you're not ready (or if you have no idea what virus I'm talking about), you really need to read this article:

http://www.windowssecrets.com/2009/03/30/01-Run-a-removal-tool-before-April-1

Of course, it goes without saying that if you did all your internet surfing on a Mac or a Linux-based system, you probably don't have to worry about it ... so I won't say it.

Good luck, everybody ... and a BIG THANKS to Candis Bradshaw for pointing everyone to this article.

Update (29MAR09)

I actually began this update on the 5th of the month ... but got distracted and forgot to finish it ... so here's that update, with some more recent updates!

Big Government Beat-Down Thwarted!

A big and well deserved CONGRATULATIONS to the Washington Court Reporters on the success of their efforts to beat back the onslaught of Big Government bean counters attempts to decimate the court reporters in Washington.

Seems someone got the strange idea that the state could save money by killing off the CSR requirements!

Here's the e-mail I got from the WCRA when this all started:

January 26, 2009

RE: Proposed Deregulation of Court Reporters in Washington State and Senate Bill 5386

Dear Washington Court Reporters:

I received word last week from Susan Colard at the Washington State Department of Licensing that the governor has asked that legislation be enacted deregulating court reporters due to current budgetary shortfalls. What does this mean to Washington Court Reporters? It means that the CCR testing legislation that was enacted in 1985 requiring certification would be negated.

An emergency meeting was called, and one of my former classmates asked me to go and take notes, so I did.

Plans were made for a trip to Olympia (the state capital) to point out a couple of rather important things:

  1. No license means any Tom, Dick or Sasquatch with a tape recorder can be a court reporter
  2. No money is taken from the state to administer the CSR exam

Letters were written, flyers were made, and in the end, the WCRA prevailed!

So, a big Cheap and Sleazy high five and Congratulations go to all the members of the WCRA that helped out on averting this crisis.

"Say ... What Happened to LadySteno.com?!"

If you tried checking LadySteno.com and found either a 404 "File Not Found" error or a bare bones skeleton of a website, never fear, for you are not alone, as I have run into the same thing. Heck, I even tried to ping the domain and got no response (100 percent package loss, the report said ... which basically means my pings were not received).

Naturally, I dashed off a quick e-mail to see what was what ... and it turns out the server hosting LadySteno.com crashed ... fortunately, the articles are still intact (whew!). Katiana says she has over 300 pages on her site, and replacing them would be ... well, difficult!

It will be a few days before things get back to normal, though. She's in the middle of a move, and her internet connection (you know ... the one that depends on the "kindness of strangers" -- that is, neighbors who don't know that they should secure their wireless connection) is spotty, at best.

On the plus side, the website will have a new look and feel when it comes back online, and will be updated a bit more frequently (work permitting, of course) ... so keep checking!

I actually have no idea how many pages are on ol' Cheap and Sleazy ... but just looking at the five archived index pages, which weigh in at about 50 pages each, that's about 250 pages right there ...!

Cheap and Sleazy, with the html files, graphics, .mp3s, and the occasional video, takes up a whopping 276 MB on my hard drive.

Think I'd better do some backing up myself ...!

Cheap and Sleazy ... in a Text Book --?!?

Yes, that's right -- a wee bit of ol' Cheap and Sleazy is going to be in a book.

I recieved an e-mail the other day from a representative of a writer of a forthcoming book on the basics of using a computer. Seems they came across a couple pictures from "Got Fear?" -- you know, the ones where I'm showing you how to clean a mouse -- and they wanted permission to use the pictures in the forthcoming book, "Computer Literacy Basics," and they wanted high-res versions of the pictures in exchange for the right to " publish the images in all editions, adaptations, derivatives, and ancillaries of the aforementioned text, " and they wanted to know how they should credit me as the author/photographer.

I told them that this blurb would probably work:

"Taken from "Got Fear?," by G.D. Warner, at http://www.cheapandsleazy.net/gotfear.html, copyright G.D. Warner, 2009; used with permission"

... and, of course, I asked them for a copy of the book ... so hopefully, it will be out in the not-too-distant!

Unfortunately, I will have to re-shoot the pictures in a higher resolution for it to reproduce properly ... wonder where I can find a really dirty mouse to clean ....?

"Tech Commandment Numba One"

You all remember what that one was, right? If not, here's a memory jogger:

Tech Commandments

The Tech Commandments

I am posting this reminder of the importance of backups for those of you who purchased an HP laptop ... and that Joy of Tech graphic accompanies a rather disturbing story, about a guy who needed one, solitary key on his laptop's keyboard repaired. He sent his laptop in, and it came back with a new key ... and a wiped hard drive!!

What kind of crap is that?!?

If, after reading that above-linked story, you aren't backing up your hard drive from time to time, maybe you should rethink that polciy of yours!

And HP, you should rethink that "policy" as well.

For those of you that need to send your laptop into HP for a cosmetic repair, take it to a local computer shop, and have the tech remove your hard drive, and THEN send it to HP.

To paraphrase a popular TV ad from a few years back: "Removing hard drive before sending your laptop in for a simple cosmetic repair: $35."

"Knowing that your data will still be on your hard drive when you get your laptop back: Priceless."

"All That Glitters ...."

About a week ago, I responded to a post on the Depoman forum from a reporter who was on a "trusted" site, when she was accosted by an alert telling her -- well, I'll just quote what she wrote:

"I am just sitting here editing my transcript when all of a sudden, I get a message stating that my computer was infected with viruses, do I want to do a scan? So I hit yes. Then it comes up with a McAfee Shield asking me if I want to remove these trojans, I have all of these flashing red trojans, for a total of 527."

My question is, should I download what they are telling me to? I'm a point and click kind of girl, if something goes haywire, I have no idea what to do. It wants me to install Antivirus 360. Should I?

I wrote back a rather lengthy response ... but before I copy-and-paste that response here, I think you should see what Google says about Antivirus 360.

Hope you clicked the link.

For those of you who are "click-shy," the first few links you will see on that page are all about how to remove Antivirus 360 ... so that should tell you something right there! :o)

That said, here's my response:

Myscilyn wrote:

My question is, should I download what they are telling me to?

Hi, Melissa.

Every once in a while, I see a message saying "Scanning your hard drive ... VIRUS FOUND!!!!"

Unfortunately, the graphic accompanying the "Scanning your hard drive" message shows a Windows directory structure -- you know: C:/My Programs, My Documents, etc. -- which is not how things are set up on my Mac.

The point there is just because something tells you it's scanning your hard drive and found a virus, doesn't mean that it's actually scanned your hard drive and actually found anything ... so in the future, ignore any such messages you see on your screen.

....

Good luck ....!

--gdw

A Slight Update

Just last night, I was trying to watch the latest episode of Joss ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly") Whedon's Doll House last night on my laptop. I could hear the show begin ("Previously, on Doll House ..."), then a pop-up ad popped up (as they are known to do), blocking my view of the episode I wanted to see (grrr!!!)!

I clicked the close box to get rid of the ad, and my browser windows disappeared, and were replaced by an offer to "scan my hard drive" for viruses.

Thinking that the browser had crashed (happens every so often when you're beta-testing the latest builds of Firefox -- or any other browser, for that matter), I clicked the Okay button (all I could do!) ... then I got this:

A Bogus Virus Scan Message

If you read the response I wrote above carefully, you should notice two things immediately:

  1. I'm on a Mac (see the blue apple on the top left?), so that directory structure is all wrong
  2. This "scan" is actually an animated graphic -- in my browser!

Of course, I didn't download anything during this experience -- at least, nothing shows up under the Download Manager -- but the name at the top of the screen says "Virus Doctor." A quick Google search for "Virus Doctor" also yields a bunch of removal instructions for Virus Doctor (no ... really?!?)!

So if this happens to you, close that browser window ... and if you're using Internet Explorer, switch to Firefox -- or better yet, get a Mac!

Oh, and this will appear in "Got Fear?", under the bit about viruses in the not-too-distant.

Do-It-Yourself Dictation Helper, Pt. I

On the Yahoo group, CourtReportingStudents, Rhoda Collins (a.k.a. "CR Grad") posted a scan of a document to help you when you're trying to mark your own dictation, and asked me if I could download and host it on ol' Cheap and Sleazy. I agreed, and promptly forgot to mention it here --!

An easy fix, fortunately:

Dictation Timing Chart

Dictation Timing Chart

Just right-click that picture and select "Save As", or whatever it says in your particular browser.

Do-It-Yourself Dictation Helper, Pt. II

From time to time, I check the stats for ol' Cheap and Sleazy ... and one of the options allows me to find out what it is that people are searching for that lead them here. I used to get a lot of hits from people looking for Darth Vader, and the It clown, but (thankfully!), that's dropped off of late.

One of those search terms (I forget what it was) lead me to the blog of court reporter Todd Olivas.

While reading his big list of articles and blog entries (ol' Cheap and Sleazy isn't mentioned there), I came across The Slasher.

What this does is allows you to copy any text from anywhere, select the number of words between each slash, paste the text into the next window, and at the push of a button, you'll have your text slashed properly.

If you use this in combination with the Dictation Timing Chart and the Mark and Dictate document, you can create your own challenging dictation for those times when you're sitting at home, tired of the normal dictation you're getting at school (and you've exhausted all the Different Dictation .mp3s you've downloaded), and just want to practice something different, at an appropriate speed ... then you can fire up Audacity and record your own dictation, at the appropriate speed, for however long you wish!

And don't forget ....

Do-It-Yourself Dictation Helper, Pt. III

... Marc "StenoLife" Greenberg's Audio Speed Shifter ... which will allow you to adjust the speed of any audio file to any speed you want ... and it also allows you to increase or decrease the speed, as you wish!

Those of you going it alone have another set of tools to add to your tool kit. Use them well!

22FEB09 Update

Links Update

Just added a link to Katiana Ball's blog, http://www.ladysteno.com ... and I also put a link to download the extra files Speed Teacher needs to work with Vista ... as well as another link that will allow you to download the Windows XP version of Speed Teacher (some of Steve's links have been broken of late ... but I'm sure he'll fix them Soonest!).

So, if you're feeling that Need for Speed, you now have two options:

  1. Download and install the Speed Teacher
  2. Read Katiana's blog and find out how she went from 140 to 200 in two months(!)

Enjoy!

19FEB09 Update

DigitalCAT Authorization Replacement: Mission Accomplished

If you read my last update, you probably saw that bit about Stenovations plans to replace the authorization scheme in digitalCAT.

Well, those plans have been turned into action! Today, you can download the new version -- even if your support contract has lapsed! You can download it from the main page:

http://www.stenovations.com

So if you're even a little curious about how digitalCAT behaves, this is your chance to test it!!

Meanwhile, Back At The Forum ....

Over on the Stenovations Phorum, Greta Duckett explains a bit about what's new in this new version. Stop by and see what's new.

You Know I Had to Do It ....

That's right ... I had to test to see if it would work under Darwine.

It installed well, but when I ran the Transcript Editor, I got this disturbing window:

Uh-oh ...

Uh-oh ....

I get a similar window when I open the Dictionary Maintenance program.

Since it's already complaining about that pesky license manager issue, you can guess what window I saw next ....

Update License Window

The new Update License Window

Naturally, I clicked on the Register button, and filled everything out ....

New digitalCAT Registration window

The New digitalCAT Registration Window

Once all that's filled out, normally you would hit the Submit button, and ... well, miracles occur!

Alas, here's where I run into a problem ....

No e-mail Client

"No E-mail Client Installed!"

This is when I tried something silly: I used the example data in the Update Application License window ... which (of course!) caused a big freeze, and generated a crash report.

But Wait ... There's a Caveat

Just so you know, when I saw that bit about Virtual Machines and the License Manager, I knew I was going to have issues (since I'm running it under Wine (a virtual machine) and all). In fact, if you look a bit closer at the "Update Application" window there you'll notice that there is nothing in the Serialization Code window. I would guess there should be something there ... so (for now, anyway) this install of digitalCAT doesn't completely work under Wine (not including the whole USB issue, either!).

Fortunately (?!?), it will be a while before Wine gets USB support working ... so that will give Stenovations some time to improve the license manager! :o)

Also (and even more fortunate for you), not everyone is on the "bleeding edge" (i.e., running digitalCAT via Wine) like Yours Truly ... so if you're running digitalCAT under Windows, it should work just fine for you.

I'll run the updater under VMWare Fusion sometime later -- like when I don't have seven other application open! :o)

11FEB09 Update

"He's Dead, Jim." (or, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Krappiness")

He's Dead, Jim!

"He's Dead, Jim!" (as Dr. McCoy Used to Say)

Yes, that's right ... my once mighty Toshimba is down for the count.

Somehow, it contracted a piece of malware called Win32.Krap.b.

For those of you lucky enough not to have encountered this one, what it does is prevent your computer from starting up ... that is, you'll see the startup screen, and then it will simply power off!

I thought it was an electronic problem at first ... then my son-in-training told me about this new bit of malware (he didn't know the name) that had the symptom we were seeing ... so I did the only thing I could: I dug out my restore disks and got to work.

Everything was going fine ... until it came time to put in the second disk. Silly me ... I only had three of the four disks, and disk two was missing ... so I dismissed the "File Not Found" error the computer was displaying ... then I dismissed another ... and finally I decided to start over again, and hit the Cancel button.

I was then presented with a dialog box that asked if I wanted to abort, or ... well, something ... and I thought I clicked the Abort option ... but since there was no mouse support, and the GUI ("graphical user interface") wasn't working very well, I apparently selected the other option, and was then presented with a black screen and a flashing line ... and no other text.

I rebooted ... and got the same screen!

I put the first CD back in, and again, I was faced with that same screen! I couldn't even access the BIOS to select a boot device, so I could boot off of the emergency floppy ... and it doesn't seem to recognize any disks in either of the drives!

By this time, I had found the missing disk ... but since the system doesn't seem to care what's in any drive, that's not doing me much good!

On the other hand, my once mighty Toshimba (while in the care of my son-in-training) is in bad shape: The screen flops around unless supported by a stack of books, a couple keys aren't attached (which is what happens when a pair of rambunctious chihuahuas run over your laptop when it's on the floor), and the keyboard seems to be full of dog hair!

Is There Any Hope ...?

Some. I talked to a PC tech about what happened and what I was seeing, and he told me to bring it in so he could take a look at it ... so I'll do that tomorrow. In the meantime ...

"Dude, You Got a Dell!"

Yes, that's right ... I bought a Dell.

In an effort to get my steno skills back on track, I purchased a Dell Lattitude from my favorite computer store, Re: PC. It has a Pentium 3, running at 550 MHz, with 250 MB of RAM, and a 12 GB hard drive, with a CD-ROM ... and it cost a mere $110.

Compare that to my once mighty Toshmiba Satellite 2400, with 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, and a Pentium 4 running at 1.6 GHz ... and I bought it for $1,000.

Sure, I could use the VMWare Fusion-powered version of Windows XP I have installed on my Mac ... but my system could use another 2GB of RAM ... and a wee bit more disk space couldn't hurt, either ... but all that costs $$$ I don't have lying around (come on, QuickPick!!), so "Dude, I Bought a Dell!"

My "Macintosh Pusher" (Chris, Re PC's Mac-tech) was at the store when I made my purchase. I told him that I had bought the Dell, and he shot me a look of disgust and left the room!

Ah, well.

As you might guess, after what happened to my once mighty Toshimba, that laptop isn't going anywhere near the wireless card I have for it. It's been online long enough to get the card working, but that's it. After that brief exposure, it will sit in the living room next to my writer ... and the card will stay upstairs next to my Newton.

"So ... How Goes Dein Steno-Life?"

Well, mein steno life is going ... okay.

As you might recall, I originally planned on enrolling in my (kinda/sorta) local CR school ... but there was a bit of a financial problem in that I didn't have that $500 lying around for the student version of Case Catalyst ... so I decided I would do it on my own.

I originally planned on going through the last few chapters of my Phoenix Theory books, and any words I had problems with, I would just go back to the chapter that covered it, and move on.

Instead, what I have been doing is going through one chapter (with the metronome set at 40 wpm), taking a 40 minute break to watch an episode from the Season 3 DVD set of Farscape I checked out from my local library (via inter-library loan; took five months to get that first season!!), then another chapter.

Hit a bit of a snag when I went overboard on practicing the homonyms. I used digitalCAT's CATNip to get the homonyms into WordPad, ensured there was a space at the end of each line, copied and pasted the list a couple times, and then opened it (after closing WordPad, of course) in the Drill Machine ... where I went through that list of homonyms about 20 times, until it was perfect.

As you might guess, that took a bit of time ... so I only finished one chapter that day.

Another small snag is that the Phoenix Theory books I have were printed in 1997 ... and (I think) in 2006 or so, an update came out for one-stroke contractions ... so I'll have to go through the Contractions exercise and replace the outlines with the new ones ... so that was another "one chapter" day.

Add to that another upcoming one chapter day, where I will give the contractions exercise the Drill Machine treatment ... and another one chapter day, where I will give the numbers (no number bar for me!) the Drill Machine treatment ... but that will be a few days in the future.

DigitalCAT Authorization Scheme Being Replaced ...?

On one of the CR forums (can't find it!), DC trainer and Stenovations' digitalCAT Support Phorum moderator Greta Duckett mentioned that there is an upcoming change to the way DigitalCAT handles licensing. Apparently, authorization will soon be handled automatically!

Naturally, being an inquisitive kinda guy, I sent Johnny Jackson an e-mail and asked what was coming with DC. Alas, he just got off of vacation, so he only had time for a couple lines, but here's what he wrote:

It is new authorization software we have been creating and refining for the last three years. Before we were using a third-party program which was very lacking and time-consuming on both ends.

Hmmm ... wonder if I'd have to be online for that to work ...? Hope not! One virus is more than enough for me, thankyouverymuch ... but maybe there's another method Johnny has up his sleeve ....

21JAN09 Update

They're Back ...!

Briefpedia banner

Briefpedia's Back!

Yes, that's right ... Briefpedia is back online ... so for those of you who have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms, now's your chance to fix that!

And, I notice it's up before the end of the month, too! A big thanks to Katiana, over at Lady Steno for the tip!

20JAN09 Update

"Google Is Your Friend." -- Richard C. Hoagland

Yes, it's that time again ... time for another update to ol' Cheap and Sleazy!

This time, I've posted an article that shows you (yes, you) how to search ol' Cheap and Sleazy. You can read the article either by clicking the "Search Me!" link at the top left-hand side of this page ... or you can simply click here.

Even better, you can apply what you learn to search other websites as well!

Happy searching!

Cheap and Sleazy Peach Iced Tea

I also updated the Cheap and Sleazy Peach Iced Tea article; I've found a couple of new flavors you should try!

Um, is anyone else suddenly feeling a bit ... thirsty?!

11JAN09 Update

A Long Time Coming ....

As some of you might already know, I'm a big fan of Stephen Shastay's Magic Drill.

Probably fewer of you know about an event that happened in 2006 that I found most amazing: Two students, using the Magic Drill, passed a test at 200 wpm!

Pretty cool, huh?

Oh, did I mention these two students were still in Theory?

No?

Well, I don't know about your theory class, but when I got out of theory, I was nowhere NEAR 200 wpm!

As you might guess, I was quite impressed ... and I thought that such an achievement deserved something ... special ... like, you know, a mention here on ol' Cheap and Sleazy!

But ... that wasn't enough. No, such an achievement not only merits mention here ... it also needed -- nay, demanded -- more ... like, say, a t-shirt.

Not just *any* t-shirt ... but a Cheap and Sleazy t-shirt!

I told Steve what I had in mind, and he thought it was a great idea -- and even offered to pay for the t-shirts!

It took a while (two years!), but I *finally* found a company here in the Pacific North Wet that I could go to, give them a graphic, and have them whip up a few t-shirts per my specifications ... so I asked Steve about t-shirt sizes, and got the shirts made and mailed.

Unfortunately, the FedEx guy kept showing up at Steve's place while he was teaching class, so the shirts eventually ended up on my door step (I wanted a signature).

A quick trip to the local UPS Store (and a waiving of the signature requirement), and finally, the t-shirts are in the hands of their rightful owners ... along with a personal letter from me.

"Dude -- What did the letter say?"

A great question! The letter to Ms. Murrell and Ms. Bittinger went something like this:

9Oct08

Dear Ms. Bittinger/Ms. Murrell:

My name is Glen Warner, and I run a court reporting student support site with the unlikely name of cheapandsleazy.net.

When I heard that you had passed a 200 wpm test while still in theory thanks to Steve's Magic Drill, I wanted to announce that incredible accomplishment on my (cheap and sleazy) website ... but that would not have done such an accomplishment justice; it needed something special from me personally, to go along with the announcement ... like, say, a t-shirt.

It took a while (sorry about that!), but I finally found a company that could make the shirts for me to my liking ... and now, finally, two years later (sorry about that -- really!), here is your congratulatory t-shirt!

The Cheap and Sleazy T-Shirt!

The Cheap and Sleazy T-Shirt!

While I haven't made the announcement yet of your accomplishment on ol' Cheap and Sleazy just yet, rest assured such an announcement will be forthcoming.

The t-shirt is a Hanes Beefy Tee, so it should last for quite a while, but you should wash it inside out in warm water, rinse it in cold, and dry it on low heat.

Finally, while it may be tempting to open your jacket ala Superman and say, "This is a job for ...", I strongly recommend that you resist that temptation!

... or at least, don't do it in public.

This Is a Job For ....

"This is a Job For ... Hey! Is That a Camera?!"

Again, congratulations on a job well done!

Sincerely,

G.D. Warner,

HMIC,

CheapAndSleazy.net

So, there you have it: A letter of appreciation from Yours Truly, to two very deserving women for the attainment of a goal usually only dreamed of by students who have actually finished Theory ...!

Join me in giving these ladies a hearty "Well Done!".

Briefpedia: Gone Forever?

As some of you might recall, I mentioned Stenovations' new site, Briefpedia sometime back.

If you've been relying on it for briefs of late, you might have noticed it's not working anymore!!

One one of the forums (I forget which one) someone asked Greta Ducket, the moderator of the digitalCAT forum, about the status of Briefpedia.

She said that Briefpedia is moving to new servers, but didn't have an idea as to when it would be back up ... but she says it will be sometime this month.

I've sent Johnny an e-mail as well, but no answer yet ... but don't panic! Briefpedia will be back!

Darwine ...

As most of my readers know by now, I've been running Windows applications sans Windows with Darwine, which is the Mac version of Wine (as in, Wine Is Not an Emulator).

Wine is up to version 1.1.12, but Darwine is only up to 1.1.9. Got worried, and sent Mike Kronenberg (the man behind the Darwine builds I use) an e-mail.

The good news is that he's not sick (or worse ...!), just snowed under with work

I asked him about USB support, and he told me he had somehow wrapped something called LibUSB into his Darwine builds, and asked me what I was testing it with.

I told him that what I was doing was testing the Transcript Editor in build 192 of digitalCAT, using the Keyspan USB adapter, and when my Keyspan device was connected, the Keyspan application didn't see it ... and therefore, no connection to the steno machine.

Hopefully he'll be able to tweak it so it works ... because if it works, that means that I'll be able to run digitalCAT without having to run VMWare Fusion! Muhuhuhahaha!!

(*Ahem*) Excuse me.

Lackluster Macworld

As my regular readers already know, this is the time of year when the annual Macworld Expo is held, where Apple talks about what's coming out "Real Soon Now," the Mac Web goes crazy with speculation and anticipation (can you say "technolust?"), and the financial folk keep watch on their stock option plays.

I was over on Mac Rumors this past Tuesday, watching their live feed report on what was going on during the keynote, when some idiot got on there and started posting, shall we say, proanity-laced comments, about 30 minutes into the keynote.

Alas, that forced the folks at MacRumors to pull the plug on their keynote coverage ... but what I remember, it looked like there was a lot of updates on things like iPhoto and iTunes, and the announcement of a new MacBook Pro (8GB of RAM, max ... and an 8-hour (non removeable?!!?) battery!).

I've been hearing rumblings about a tablet (basically a larger iPod Touch) .... and seeing that come out during the keynote would've made things much better ...!

We'll see.

Saved 30 Bucks ...!

I saw a press release during Macwold Expo week that saved me some money!

I purchased one of those boxes that lets you plug an old hard drive in so you can connect it to your computer; cost me about $40.

I (re)discovered an old hard drive that was still in the box from the manufacturer, from a Mac I had where the hard drive failed.

Not sure why, but I never installed that hard drive; instead, it sat in it's original shipping box, packing and all, in a cabinet under my television.

I came up with the idea of getting one of those external boxes and putting that old hard drive into it so I could put my VMWare Fusion virtual disk onto it, and (hopefully) free up some space on my Mac's hard drive ... and that's when I found this:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/U2NV2SPATA

"This" is a bunch of wires that you connect to a hard drive and your computer's USB port ... no box required!

Even better, it's only $12.99! Way better than that $40 box I bought. I returned it, never having opened it ... and was not charged that 10 percent "restocking" fee.

Think I'll hold off on that hard drive, though; it's only 20 gigs, and my virtual disk is 15 gigs ... so I wouldn't be saving much that way ...!

Annual Trimming of the Tree Index Page

Yes, that's right ... it's that time of year again! Time for the annual trimming of the main page ... and the addition of a new Archive page! If what you're looking for isn't on the main page anymore, you can probably find it here.

Update (31DEC08)

It's That Time of Year Again ...

Yes, that's right -- that time of year where we ring in the New Year ... some with fireworks, others with champagne, and still others with guns ... and (unfortunately) there's even a guy who insists on ringing in the new year by playing his "Boomin' System" under my window (*sigh*).

There's also a few of you who will ring in the new year with a resolution or two ... and for those of you who are trying to figure out which resolution to make, my girlfriend was kind enough to provide this helpful aid:

Resolutions

Resolutions

Oh, for those of you that are wondering ... the yellow sign in the background says "All of the Above."

As they say in China, "Gung Hei Fat Choy!" (that's "Happy New Year" for those of you who didn't watch any kung fu movies when they were younger ....)

29DEC08 Update

"Speedbuilding ... With Accuracy"

Another day, another update ... this time to bring you a new (well ... new to ol' Cheap and Sleazy, anyway) article, again on speedbuilding.

In this one, entitled "Speedbuilding With Accuracy," veteran court reporter Donna Kanabe Harvey, RMR, CRR, tells you how she incorporated a method learned during her piano student days to help herself recover the speed she lost after modifying her theory for realtime!

This article originally appeared in the JCR sometime back. Donna posted a link to the article over on the new NCRA Forum in response to a question from someone who had lost their speed.

Naturally I downloaded and read a copy, and contacted Donna about having the article available for all to see here on ol' Cheap and Sleazy ... and (as you might guess, since you're reading these words), she said yes!

A Word About Practicing Techniques

If you're reading other online sources about court reporting, chances are good that you've run across several different ways to practice: Mark Kislingbury's method, the pyramid method, the Magic Drill, the Speed Teacher, etc.

The thing about these is they all work ... and you should not hesitate to use any method you find out there to help you build your speed.


Also, just in case ...

The entire contents of this website are
copyright © 2003 - 2013 by Glen Dwayne Warner and assorted Guest Writers