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

03OCT11 Update

No, I'm Not Dead!

Not Dead, Jim!

"No, I'm Okay, Really! It's a Flesh Wound!"

... but I was sick for a while.

Back in June, I started classes at CCR ....

CCR Logo

CCR Logo

.... but about a month before that, I had developed a slight cough.

I moved, and the cough came along with me. It took a while, but I finally got myself in to see a doctor. She listened to me breathe for about 10 seconds, and said, "Whoa! You are tight!" She then wrote me a prescription for about $200 worth of medications for asthma.

No $$$ and no insurance ... so after a bit of quick thinking, I contacted my local VA office and told them what was going on. They gave me a voucher to get the meds I needed, after first giving me a stern lecture on registering with the VA Hospital in Seattle -- or ELSE!! I promised them I would (I did, a week later), and took the voucher.

It took a couple days (the pharmacy tech couldn't read the doctor's ID number, and I had to come back the next day), but I got the meds I needed ... just in time for midterms to start!

I had dropped myself down to 60 wpm when I started because I hadn't touched my writer since April, and had taken a couple of tests at CCR before my cough caught up to me, but not very much since then ... and then we had a few days of marathon testing ... and I passed those 60s fairly easily.

Unfortunately, I somehow managed to miss my English midterm ... but I did better the next half of the semester, but, alas, not well enough to keep going!

I don't want to say my grades were bad, but ... well, if it were possible to get a G, I would have had one!

Long story short, I will be taking this semester off, and will try again -- er, DO BETTER, starting in February.

Health Warning!

A quick note for those of you who have asthma and are using an inhaler to keep it under control: I have discovered that trying to use your inhaler while watching a comedian is not a good idea! Case in point:

While watching The Tonight Show With David Jay Leno --

Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show

Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show

-- I took a puff of my inhaler, and, while trying to hold it for the requisite minute, Jay Leno said something funny ... and there went that dose from my inhaler!

Good thing it wasn't my last dose ...!

Anyway, as for CCR itself, here's a link to a recording of an orientation on the course management system CCR uses:


Clicking the link will open a web page which will tell you to keep the window open until Elluminate starts. At the same time, a small file will be downloaded. That file will then auto-run and start a Java application. It's been a while, but I believe the presentation will just start playing. If it doesn't, click the Play button.

The link SHOULD work, whether you're a CCR student or not ... but if it doesn't, shoot me an e-mail!

And, Speaking of School ....

Marc "Simply Steno" Greenberg contacted me recently; seems he has updated Simply Steno's method of instruction: Introducing Simply Steno Plus!

Gone are the mailed CDs, schedules and tests; instead, everything is done online.

Marc allowed me to use his system for a week, gratis. As I recently moved, I had to wait until after midnight (I'm sure those of you out there with toddlers will understand this part), to ensure the house 3-year-old was asleep before beginning ... but I followed the schedule, and testing was ... surprisingly easy: The schedule included a few finger exercises, some five minute practice sessions at various speeds, complete with notereading practice afterwards, then the test at the goal speed ... so it was pretty much like the faster practices I had done before, except slower. :o)

During that week, I managed to pass my 80 Lit (which at CCR I missed by one or two points) and 80 Q&A (which at CCR started off badly and didn't get better!).

A little vindication!

On a related topic, this question was recently posted on Facebook:

"I know I've seen things on here before about SimplySteno, but I didn't pay close attention. Anyone have any information or experience with Marc and his company?"

Here's what I wrote in response:

Hi, Christine.

Marc and Simply Steno has been around for a few years now, and one of the girls I went to my first school with saw the writing on the wall before that school closed and switched to Simply Steno (she has since graduated and has been extremely busy!).

At the time, Marc would mail the materials to the students: CDs, daily schedules, etc., and the student would do the requirements and mail them back.

Recently that method has changed: Everything is online.

Marc recently asked me if I wanted to test his program for a week, gratis ... and being a Starving Student(tm), I naturally said, "Sure!"

The daily schedule I had consisted of 10 minutes of finger exercises, from (I think!) Donna Cole, the author of the book, "Don't Quit, Do It!" (http://www.donnawhitecoaching.com/page/2084378 (the site has a few broken links)) a few five minute drills above goal speed, below goal speed, and at goal speed, some with note reading practice.

All that comes along with relaxation exercises and some positive visualization, including putting together your own dream board (http://www.qualified-lifecoach.com/Dream-Board.html), which every student should do at some point.

There is also a section for students to blog about their practice sessions and etc. Never used that one, as I had to do the daily schedule while the house three-year-old was sleeping, so my time was limited! :o)

Feedback is given on the tests you take at the end of each week, which is how I found I had passed two of my 80s tests. This is good, because while I was at CCR, I had missed my Lit by two points, and my Q&A was just awful and never got transcribed ... so technically, I'm at 100 wpm these days!

Marc also has included a growing library of audio and video tests of varying lengths (one minute and up), with instant feedback on how you did.

Overall, the experience was a good one! The only minus is there is no financial aid ... but if you can afford it, Simply Steno Plus is a good program.

Hope that helps!

Oh, and you can read about Simply Steno Plus in Marc's FREE newsletter, issue number 25 of The Steno Life.

In The Meantime ....

During the coming weeks, I will be assisting one of my former CRI classmates who is about to make the move back into steno by attending CCR with setup, using the school's course management system, and setting up a schedule or two to play with.

I will also be going through the book, "Beginning Medical Stenoscription," which I purchased some years ago.

What I didn't know at the time was the book was intended to be used in conjuction with the SUM Program for Medical Transcription. Note that that link doesn't actually work properly; if you click the "Add to Cart" button, you will end up buying a copy of the aforementioned book! The real link is here, as Stenograph and HPI are no longer doing business, apparently.

Alas, that course was ~$250, and I just didn't have it ... so, fast forward a few years, and I find myself on Half.com, and, as a lark, I searched for the SUM program ... and found it! $24 for the book, and $30 for the tapes ... so I'll be working through that since my medical steno skills could use some slapping around to re-awaken them.

Before that, I will also be doing some transcription work -- hopefully for pay, this time -- and if I can, I'll see if I can squeeze in some quality time with my copy of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," while simultaneously doing some house- and cat-sitting.

Hopefully the (now former) kitten will be less inclined to nibble on my sandals this time! Grrrr ....!! Fortunately, she has taken to "diving" into my sandal instead of chewing it, so that's a plus.

Once I get through that book, next I plan to tackle that cartooning course I purchased sometime back ... I have this image in my head of a court reporter, her first day on the job (and no, her name isn't Josephine Bob), so she's already nervous ... she's all set up and ready to write, and in walks ... a clown.

And he's carrying a cream pie.

So yes ... I just HAVE to teach myself to draw! Fair warning: You may be sorry .... Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha-ha!!!

(*ahem!*) Excuse me.

Oh, and the steno for "Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha-ha!" is PHA*O /H*A, in case you were wondering .....

Favorite Dictionary Entry

Favorite Dictionary Entry

What? Did you think I was kidding?

This 'n' That


Yes, I've missed a few ... but I did manage to update Different Dictation a bit! And, speaking of Halloween ....

Halloween Death Star

Halloween Death Star

That should take care of Halloween ... and this one --

Thanks Giving Lightsaber from How I Met Your Mother

MARSHALL: All right, you guys pass the plates! Lily, you want light or dark meat?

-- takes care of Turkey Day! :o)

Hosting Stuff ....

Since Cheap and Sleazy has been up without a break since April (sans updates; sorry about that!), you know that nothing nefarious happened this year that might have forced me to have to spend my tax refund money meant for my annual hosting fee payment.

What you don't know is that this time, I got a 50 percent break on the bill!

Seems Brinkster's compuers in Accounting were a bit too ... shall we say, "enthusiastic" about letting me know that my payment was due, now, Now, NOW!!!! ... and when I tried to pay, I got a message saying there was some sort of error with the software, and please call in tomorrow.

So. Tomorrow came, and I called in and explained what was going on.

The woman who answered (whose name I can't recall off the top of my head) apologized profusely, and said, "Well, Mr. Warner, I see you have been a loyal customer for the past few years, so I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm going to cut your bill in half to thank you for being a loyal customer!"

Needless to say, I accepted her offer and thanked her just as profusely.

So, if you need web hosting services for your website, go to Brinkster.com!

Tell them I sent you -- or better yet, use the above link when you really wish to buy hosting services -- and they'll give me a free year! :o)

Steno and The Brain

I found the following (more or less) over on Depoman sometime back. It's been making the rounds again, so I thought I'd share it as well!

This is your brain.

This is Your Brain ....

.... and this is your brain on steno!

For those of you who are click-shy, the link is an excerpt of the testimony of a neuropsychologist as to how the brain of a court reporter works while s/he's writing. It's an interesting read, that's for sure!

If I recall correctly, Depoman-fam member Steno Jules posted this originally. Steno Jules has made a name for herself with the invention of something called "the Tripod Ninja:"

Tripod Ninja

Tripod Ninja

Seems Jules made several of these the day before the NCRA convention, and handed them out to Depoman-fam members at a (closed) Depoman get-together ... and rumor has it that the recipients of these little guys were most pleased!

Way to go, Jules!

Birthday Stuff

This appeared on my FB page recently:

Birthday Billboard

Birthday Billboard

Yes, that's right: Another year, another birthday ... and this one was accompanied by lots of birthday wishes, one of which included the above picture.

Thanks, Julie Samford ...!

Someone else sent me this one:

Steno Birthday Cake

Steno Birthday Cake

Looks nice, huh? Alas, I don't recall who sent me that one (thanks, whoever you are!) ... but I decided to go another way:

Mmmm ... chocolate!

"Mmmm ... chocolate!"

Yes, the "cup" is chocolate, and the "whipped cream" is actually a mousse-like substance, and underneath that is a more chocolatey version of the "whipped cream."

I expected it to taste a bit better ... but I'm not complaining!

Well, okay ... so maybe a little.

Want Work?

Are you a sports fan? If so, captioners Patti White and Deanna Baker both have your dream job!

Reporter/Firm Owner/Blogger Rosalie Kramm blogged (somewhat) recently about an interesting job. You can read the details here.

Alas, the job seems to have been filled, but for those of you who are click-shy, the job was for a reporter to take down -- well, here's the listing as Rosalie (kinda-sorta) published it:

Here is an exciting job listing for a realtime court reporter who wants to travel. As a court reporter the world is your oyster:


Req ID 199361

Able to obtain security clearance? Top Secret SCI

Currently possess security clearance? Top Secret

Location Guantanamo Bay

% Travel 100

Relocation No

RecruiterID: 3676

Requirements SAIC’s Mission Support Business Unit (MSBU) has an immediate opening for a Part-Time Court Reporter.

CLEARANCE: Must currently possess a minimum Top Secret clearance with the ability to upgrade to TS/SCI for OCONUS work.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Court reporter will be required to produce verbatim transcripts in written and digital (MS Word document unless otherwise specified) formats.

All reporters are responsible for accurate identification of proper names and places. Final records will be in the format specified by the government. Court reporters should be familiar with or have a working knowledge of "Court Room 21" technology. Stenographer will provide verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings using a stenotype machine. After documenting proceedings, stenographic reporters must edit the computer-generated translation for correct grammar.

A security clearance will be required if a transcriber is to be allowed access to sensitive/classified materials.

Transcriber (electronic reporting) uses audio equipment to record court proceedings. The court reporter monitors the process, takes notes to identify speakers, and listens to the recording to ensure clarity and quality. Electronic reporter and transcriber will produce a written and digital transcript of the recorded proceedings. A security clearance will be required if a transcriber is to be allowed access to sensitive/classified materials.

Voice writing or redictation court reporter uses computer speech recognition technology to produce real time or near real time written and digital transcripts.

Support may be required for a seven-day workweek / 24-hour day, for an 8 hour work shift. Normally work will consist of an 8 hour workday, Monday through Friday but may include work on weekends and Federal holidays. Overtime or hours in excess of 40 hours per week may be required to support the mission. Performance may vary, but the majority of the work will occur at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and some other overseas locations.

Some of the activities performed may require personnel to operate in areas deemed hostile FIRE zones such as, but not limited to, Afghanistan or Iraq. Additional work shall be performed on site in the National Capital Region.

MANDATORY requirements:

EDUCATION: High School diploma and at least 2 years of higher-level education.

EXPERIENCE: 4-5 years direct related experience.

SUBSTITUTION/EQUIVALENCY: AS/AA degree = two years general experience.


Stenography Skills; Court reporters use a steno machine to transcribe the spoken word into text. A stenographer is capable of transcribing text at rates far faster than even the fastest typists.

Detail-oriented, excellent English grammar skills, excellent listener as well as stenographer Real Time Reporting Skills; Technology has progressed to the point where "real time" court reporting is a reality. With real time court reporting the reporter's steno machine is connected to a computer and real time reporting software. Other legal participants can connect to the real time feed and view the transcribed text as soon as it is transcribed by the real time reporter.

A real time reporter must be a skilled stenographer who is also comfortable with technology. Not only must the transcription be set up properly amongst all participants, the real time reporter may also need to package the transcripts for distribution.

Communication Skills; Whether a reporter specializes in traditional stenography or real time reporting, excellent communication skills are a must. In order to transcribe the spoken word into text, a court reporter must be an attentive listener. In addition to being able to hear the words being spoken, the court reporter must also know how to properly punctuate the resulting sentences so that the sentences accurately reflect the speaker’s meaning.

Company Description: SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. For more information, visit www.saic.com. SAIC: From Science to Solutions

So what do you think? Would you take this one?

And Speaking of Blogs ....

Have you seen Mary Margaret Kruse's blog yet? If not, you should, as Steve Shastay, of Court Reporting Help fame once said, "Make like a sorority girl and clique here.

As I write this (01DEC11), the current entry is kinda-sorta about contracting ... and when I commented on it on Facebook ("Good blog entry, with some educational insight on contracting."), she told me, "Oh, stop. You ain't seen nothin' yet!!!!!"

I not only recommend that you keep your eye on this one ... I recommend that you subscribe!

One more blog for those of you who use Case Catalyst might want to check out from time to time is Stenograph trainer Cindi Hartman's "Recently Asked Questions" blog. There you will find lots of tips, as well as answers to questions that you might have thought about but never actually asked (though Google is still your Friend on the whole "Why is the sky blue?" thing).

"There's an App for That."

I Have an App for That!

"I Have an App for That!"

Surely you are familiar with the book, "Brief Encounters" ...?

Well, whether you are or not, sometime back, the author posted a question on the CRF about making an app ... so hopefully, there will soon be a Brief Encounters app!

Not to be outdone, Margie Wakeman Wells, the author of the new and soon-to-be-required grammar/punctuation text, "Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation" is thinking about putting her book into app form!

Alas, I don't have an ETA on when that will happen, but it's defnitely something to be on the look out for!

Not to be outdone, Marc "Simply Steno" Greenberg has managed to get The Brief Machine from his StenoLife website running on the various iDevices from Apple, and just recently he announced that he had a version ready for the Android. Unfortunately, there's a problem with that version, so it is on hold for a while ... hopefully it will be ready in a couple of weeks!

One more app you might want to download when you get a chance is the Merriam-Webster dictionary app.

Why, you ask?

During the speed contest this year, a few of the entrants in the contest lost a few points because some of the words they transcribed that were fine when the book "One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated?" was published were shown to be wrong when checked against the new standard, the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

If you happen to have your CAT software open, here's a few things to check:

•   good-bye

•   workforce

•   child care

•   part-time

•   full-time

•   tiptoe

All of those should be spelled as shown ... and if your CAT's dictionary doesn't reflect those spellings, there are two things you should do:

(1) Fix your dictionary entries! And --

(2) Grab that MW Dictionary app.

And, Speaking of Margie Wakeman Wells ....

She posted this message on Facebook not too long ago:

I have great news. Margie Holds Court Publishing is in business!! I am taking over the publication of my books and will be publishing them through my own website. I am very excited about this new venture and hope that it will be the one-stop shop for all things English! This is the site for ordering my books, booking me for a seminar, and sending me emails.

New website: http://www.margieholdscourt.com

New email address: mww (at) margieholdscourt (dot) com

John, my operations manager, will be handling orders and shipping: jws (at) margieholdscourt (dot) com.

We hope you will drop by the site. There is a description of the books, plus the table of contents and sample chapter sections. My seminar schedule is there. If you want me to come speak for your group, there is a form to fill out and send. You can link directly to the CR: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation’s Facebook page from the website.

Look for exciting new things: I am going to be starting a blog in the very near future in order to give us a place to discuss your questions. Details will be available on the website.

Drop by. Order a book. Book a seminar. Let us know what you think.

As always, happy punctuating!


The State of the States

As you might recall, Marc "Simply Steno Plus" Greenberg did a lot of leg work on a list of the requirements for a court reporter to work in the various states, only to have that work ... co-opted by another webmaster.

Heeding the hue and cry from folks on Facebook, he went at it again, and came up with a more complet list! You can see the New and Improved list here.

This Just In ... (about three months ago):

Mark Kislingbury's new school is now open and ready for business!

They offer live classes one can attend for $99/month for speedbuilding, though you can't test ... and rumor has it there is a chance for financial aid coming to the school in the not-too-distant.

One of his students was selling their fairly new Stentura Fusion on Facebook. Someone asked why she was selling, and she said she was a student at Mark's school, and he highly recommends using the LightSpeed ... and has made a video for Stenovations' website about it. You can watch it here.

Those Frelling Viruses

I'm sure by now you all know how much I hate those frelling viruses ... and it doesn't help when they look like a Microsoft update(!).

And then there's the "ransom ware" variant.

That one makes the infected system inoperative, declaring (in Russian) that child pornography was found on your system (!!), and your system is locked down and will stay locked down until the poor user (you) buys the software the virus writer is pushing ... and even after they've been paid, the victim's system still remains unuseable!

One commenter in the above link recommended "Find the people who released this and execute them." Another agreed: "Absolutely! When doing so, it is important to use a .50 cal round right between the eyes."

Looks like people are getting tired of viruses and those that create them!

It's not clear from the above article exactly what "locked down" means. Normal procedure would be to boot off of a CD, run your antivirus program, and you're free of the virus ... but that assumes that your antivirus peeps were on top of things ... AND that "locked down" didn't entail being unable to boot from a CD.

And Speaking of Hackers and the Like ....

Sometime back, some low-life, scum-sucking slime (that's a technical term, by the way) hacked my Twitter account!

They used my account to announce that I had gone to a certain link and managed to pick up an iPad for $30!

Someone (I think Aleece DePuey) sent me a note through Twitter, and I logged into my Twitter account (through my browser). That's when I discovered about six or seven tweets I had never sent!

I did some Googling and figured out what I had to do -- namely, update my Twitter client, Twitteriffic.

Twitteriffic icon

Twitteriffic icon

Within that update was a change in the way the software handled passwords ... about which, I really didn't care! All I knew was someone had hacked my account, and I didn't want it to happen again ... so I installed the update, and logged into my Twitter account over the web, and changed my password, then did the same thing in Twitteriffic.

Long story short, those errant tweets were deleted and I tweeted an apology to my followers (yes, all 30 of 'em).

Besides ... if I HAD picked up an iPad for $30, I not only would have tweeted about it, but I would have put all the details here on Cheap and Sleazy! :o)

Then there was that hacking of my Yahoo e-mail account. Someone used that to hawk some sort of diet pill. The come-on? "Those of you that know me know that I have been fighting my weight for most of my life."

Those of you who actually DO know me would know that the only fight I had with my weight was gaining it ... which, by the way, I have now learned to do very well these days, thankyouverymuch! ... which will necessitate the ingestation of a green smoothie or two in the not-too-distant ... but I digress.

Fortunately, that Yahoo account is used primarily as a spam-catcher, and the only personal contacts on that account were from the year-long web design and development program I was in about 10 years back ... and I noticed that most of them no longer had Yahoo accounts, as those accounts all bounced that spam back to me.

Well. New password, so problem solved -- for now.

And If That's Not Enough ....

Recently I stopped by my Friendly Neighborhood Starbucks, and I noticed their Free App of the Week: "How to Cook Everything."

How to Cook Everything App

How to Cook Everything App ("Mmmm ... Fudge!")

Apparently, all I had to do was log into my iTunes account, type in the magic code, and eureka! Free app!

Unfortunately, that didn't quite work like it was supposed to. Seems that "I" had recently purchased and downloaded Sims 3.

When I saw that, I said -- well, I try not to use profanity on here, but this picture should give you a rough idea of what I said:

What the frell?!?

What the --?!!?

The reason I made that excited utterance is simple: I don't like the Sims games, and have NO REASON to download one!

I sent an e-mail to Apple Support, and was soon e-mailiing with a woman who, by her own admission, would be done for the day in about an hour. No matter. I told her what was going on, including the "I HATE Sims games!!" bit.

By this time her shift was over, but someone else contacted me. He had me change my password, then removed the game, informed my bank, thereby getting the charges removed, and I was *finally* able to download my "How to Cook Everything" app ... which, one of these days, I'll actually put to use!

One of these days. One of the catfish recipes has caught my eye .....

I suspect this came from running my laptop on an unsecure network ... and that won't be happening again!

Well, it won't, unless I'm at the local library. Not going to be running iTunes, though!

Frelling hackers ...! Hate those folks almost as much as I do those viruses! Grrr!!!

ProCAT Winner 11.1 Released

Deby Owens of ProCAT posted this press release over on Depoman:

Following are a few of the new features included in ProCAT Winner Version 11:

•  Enhancements to "Smart Punctuation" table for globaling or editing

•   New logic to handle mixed case words (e.g. iPhone, ProCAT, etc.)

•   Dual Mic recording allows for clear audio from both sides, helping to eliminate background noise. Play back track A or B when editing

•   AutoBrief -- offers suggested briefs in realtime from reporter's dictionary as well as Mark Kislingbury's briefs

Did you read that last bit? Winner's AutoBrief offers Mark Kislingbury's briefs! Nice one ...!

TeLiTor Update

While messing about in "The Good Stuff," I clicked on the link to the TeLiTor homepage, and I saw this:

Telitor Home page, ca. 24JUN11

The TeLiTor Homepage, ca. 24JUN11

For those of you who were curious and clicked the TeLiTor link already, you might have noticed that the site is down (it is as of today, 03OCT11).

Not sure what's up with that ... but I will call the number there and see what's what in the not-too-distant!

"Um, Dude? What's 'TeLiTor?' And Why Did You Write it Like That?"

Good question! As for what it is, check out that Good Stuff link up there, and search for "TeLiTor."

As for why I wrote it the way I did ... well, take a look at their logo!

TeLiTor Update (17OCT11)

Finally got around to calling the folks at TeLiTor and asking questions today! I spoke with Michael Lenti, the son of the (now deceased) TeLiTor creator and lead (say "only") developer, Umberto Lenti. He told me that the software is still under development, and is very popular with folks still using Windows XP and Word 2007.

A deal between TeLiTor and Acculaw is in the works which will give Acculaw the ability to bundle TeLiTor with writers that Acculaw sells or leases. Not sure of the ETA on that.

I asked about the status of the website, and was told that the hosting company's servers crashed and took the website with them ... and apparently the backup servers fried as well.

New hosting company, same problem ... so they are in search of a new host -- and yes, the website itself still exists on one of his dad's laptops. I (naturally!) suggested the folks that host Cheap and Sleazy: Brinkster.com.

I recall that when I installed TeLiTor way (way) back when, it modified Word's normal.dot file ... which means that when I ran Word without intending to start TeLiTor, I still had the TeLiTor artifacts in every document. I recommended having Word create another template to use for TeLiTor; this way, Word maintains its ... er, uncluttered look.

I also recall that dictionary manipulation was no easy task, and required developer intervention! Sure hope that's been fixed!

I then asked if the problems I had experienced with the comunications protocol (Baron Transcriptor X) had been updated, and he asked me if I was the guy that stopped by a few years back. I admitted that I was. A little more chit-chat, and he asked if I would like a copy of the software to test, as a development consultant -- which is basically a software tester (but I still like the sound of "development consultant") ... and naturally, I said yes.

They'll get back to me.

Now then ... where did I put that copy of MS Word ...?

Case Catalyst 12: Keyless

As you might recall from the 27DEC10 update, Case Catalyst 12 has become keyless:

Has anyone seen ...

Has Anyone Seen ....

What you might not know is that there have been some misconceptions regarding Case CATalyst and the whole keyless (say "E-Key") thing.

If you go keyless with Case CATalyst and choose not to renew your software contract, you WILL NOT be locked out of, lose access to, or anything like that to your software. It will be the same as before if you let your contract lapse; all that will happen is you won't have access to the software updates.

"Just the FAQs, Ma'am."

.... and then there are the FAQs.

That ought to dispel some of those misconceptions.

Oh, and here are some upgrade instructions that might help ... but my recommendations are to backup your dictionaries -- heck, backup everything in your USR folder! I've been hearing one too many reports of updates taking bits and pieces of dictionaries away of late ....

And if that's not enough, Adam Woznicki, a Stenograph sales rep, posted the following on Facebook recently:

Good morning, everyone!

I hope all of you are studying hard and steadily building your speed up. Keep working hard and you will succeed! I wanted to clear up a few things I read in here that seemed a bit muddy regarding "Rent-to Own" student software and writers.

First of all, when you purchase your Case CATalyst software, you OWN your software license forever. Whether it is student or professional software. You will be able to access your software whenever you wish, with or without a support contract.

Rent-to-Own Student Case CATalyst: Stenograph has a rent-to-own program for the student version of Case CATalyst. The cost of this program is $90.00 every three (3) months. Which equals out to about $1.00 per day. After six (6) payments of the $90.00, you own your software license. Also, every dollar spent on the student version is deducted from the professional version when you are ready to upgrade.

Rent-to-Own Student Writers: Stenograph also has a rent-to-own program for student writers. You can get a refurbished Stentura Protege for a $400.00 deposit and three (3) payments of $265.00. After the last payment, you own your writer.

If there are any further questions about whether you really own your software/writer and the rent-to-own programs, please contact me or your dedicated Education Rep at Stenograph. The phone number is 800.323.4247.

I will post some photos of flyers about the student products as well.

My regards,

Adam Woznicki, Stenograph

Need Help With Case Catalyst?

If so, go here:


This page belongs to Sonya Wilcox, who graduated from my (now closed) first CR school about the same time I was getting out of the Navy.

She also runs a Facebook page that is worth checking out. Once you've been approved, look through the pictures on the page. No cute kittens here -- just tips and tricks for using Case Catalyst better.

Oh, and Sonya is the guilty party responsible for the milk carton picture up there (though I did make a modification or two).

Anthony Frisolone, another Stenograph trainer, also has a FB page. FB users can post questions to him here.

But Wait, There's More ...!

Stenograph Trainer Extraordinaire Cindi Hartman wants you (yes, you) to know about the "Recently Asked Questions" tips blog.

What this is is a collection of questions received by Stenograph, all funneled into one place. Perusing this site when you have questions will more than likely help you resolve whatever issue you're wrestling with ... and help Stenograph keep their tech support lines free for those difficult-to-answer issues that you always seem to have! :o)

Passport Note The First

Julie Sanford, Eclipse trainer and Head Woman in Charge over at Realtime Ready recently posted a reminder for Passport owners:

Passport owners, you should stick with no larger than 2GB regular SD cards for the writer, and there is a distinction between SD and SDHC, even though they look the same. For cards that are labeled "SDHC," you can get the larger capacities.

Here are the recommended SD and SDHC cards that work well with the Passport:

•   Kingston SD 2GB (Kingston part number SD/2GB)

•   Kingston SDHC class4 4GB (Kingston part number SD4/4GB)

•   PQI SDHC Class10 16GB

•   PQI SDHC Class6 4GB

•   SanDisk SD 1 GB

•   SanDisk SDHC 8 GB (SanDisk part number SDSDB-8192-A11)

•   ATI SD 1 GB

•   PNY SD 2 GB (PNY part number SD-M02G)

I know the ones listed above are in the Passport manual, but I think most people would naturally want to get the highest capacity available.

Passport Note The Second

For those of you looking around for a used Passport, Greg Seely, the HMFIC (that's "Head Man Frelling In Charge," in case you were wondering) over at Advantage Software wanted me to remind you shoppers of something very important to consider before buying that used Passport.

"It's easy to find inexpensive used writers for sale by individuals or on Ebay, or you can pay more and get a refurbished writer with a "warranty." Generally speaking, only the original manufacturer and their authorized service representatives are authorized to refurbish writers. Critical parts are not available to anyone else.

Before purchasing a refurbished writer, be sure to find out if the reseller is an authorized service representative for the company that manufactures the writer. If so, the reseller should have paperwork to back that up. If they can't provide that, chances are that their definition of refurbishment is little more than a good wipe-down and a bit of Armor All, and that warranty may turn out to be worth less than the paper it's written on. Caveat emptor."

Eclipse 5.0

That's right ... Eclipse 5 has been released ... and I've been hearing Good Things(™). Because those Good Things are so numerous, I highly recommend watching the video on that aforelinked page so you can see what those Good Things I've been hearing are!

Eclipse Can Do

Eclipse: Can Do!

One thing I have been hearing is if you update your 4.x version of Eclipse by downloading the update, you don't get the visualizers ... so you should probably order the DVD.

And speaking of Eclipse ...

Eclipse has an iPad client!

It's called "myView:"



On one of the Facebook groups I frequent, the question came up about whether or not Stenograph will have a similar client. I pointed out that Stenograph and Advantage were competitors, and if I were running Stenograph, I would be keeping a close eye on the competition, and so there probably is a Stenograph iPad client in the works.

On the other hand, Advantage designed MyView to accept the Bridge protocol: "MyView is compatible with any CAT software that fully supports the Bridge protocol. The Bridge protocol is available to other vendors free of charge."

Currently, StenoCAT, SmartCAT, and AristoCAT are the only CATs that support the Bridge protocol, and Stenovations' soon-to-be released digitalCAT 4 (DC-4) will also support the Bridge protocol.


One thing that pretty much a given in the world of software development is as soon as you release your application into the wild, SOMEBODY will find something wrong with it, and MyView is no exception to this rule. In the case of MyView, the most vocal person out there is Cheap and Sleazy alumnus Mary Ann Payonk, as shown in this article.

As you might guess, this article and the corresponding reports has caused serious concern over at Advantage Software, and resulted in several posts on the Eclipse forums.

It soon became apparent that the problems everyone is having with MyView was because of ... an Apple iOS software update.

For those folks who did not automatically update their iPads (following Tech Commandment Numba Three, which, for those of you who don't know, is "Thou shalt not adopt early, or install Version 1.0.", MyView continued to work just fine, thankyouverymuch ...! But for those that upgraded? Not so much.

The good news: There is a fix!

The bad news: In order to upload the fix to Apple's App Store, the fixed app has to go through Apple's time consuming approval process ... which means that an app can have a bug reported at noon, a fix can be written and tested by 3:00 pm, and it could take DAYS before Apple gives the okay to release the app!

I blame this on one of those rather inept hackers that pretty much pushed Apple to go this route for software distribution ... but don't worry folks ... the update is ready, and is merely awaiting the Apple Seal of Approval.

Not to worry, though; Dave Siebert is ON THE JOB.

And speaking of DC-4, as I'm fairly sure I was a moment ago ....

Stenovations Demos DC-4 at the 2011 NCRA Convention

Alas, I was unable to win the lottery in time for the convention in Las Vegas (and when I did win, all I won was $2.00), so I was unable to attend ... but thanks to those of you that were there that asked about me! :o)

However, Stenovations did demonstrate DC-4 there. Here's what was on their old (and now gone and replaced) Facebook page that day during the convention:

•  New Features in DC-4:

We have not totally forgotten DigitalCat. Today they are demonstrating DC-4 (final test stages) in Las Vegas. I do not have the full list of improvements but here is what I do know the techs are familiarizing themselves with.

•  DigitalCAT 4 Features

Digital CAT 4 supports direct USB connection with Stenograph's Cybra, Mira, and Diamante (in Mira mode) writers. This means you can now connect these writers -- and more to come -- directly via USB, with no need for bulky adapters or outdated real-time serial cables.

Network editing and video are options in Digital CAT, along with the ability to track changes.

Digital CAT 4 now supports live real-time broadcast refresh through DocSync (an improved version of CIC) when used in conjunction with Bridge.

DocSync also supports live real-time broadcast refresh for LiveLink, Stenovations' own real-time broadcast receiving software.

Dictionary Maintenance now has built-in automated dictionary cleanup processes which look for and correct issues that sometimes occur when a user imports converted dictionaries originating from other CAT software, such as Case CATalyst and Eclipse.

Redaction -- the ability to black out a selection of text in a transcript so that it cannot be viewed by anyone but the transcript's creator -- is now included in Digital CAT, easily accessible from the Edit menu.

"One Key Off" Suggestion: This takes any untranslates and puts them through dictionary searches to compile a list of any entries that are within one key of the steno it then picks the entry with the highest translation count from that list and uses it as the translation. It draws this translation in the untranslate color so that it is easy to see. You turn this option on by checking Translator --> Dictionaries -->​ Translation Tab --> Search for Untranslate Suggestions.

Dictionary Query One Key Off: This is the keyboard command version of the one key off untranslate suggestion but can be used on any steno not just untranslates.

• Suggest briefs and Steno outline view.

• View --> Notes. This is a window/view that shows up where the steno usually does but displays and lets you add/change bookmarks with notes.

• Printing Notescript has the option to print any bookmarks with notes out on the lines on the right of the reduced pages.

• Drop down lists for COMM ports only show available ports now. This is a small detail but a very big deal for some people.

• New UAC friendly folders.



The recommended requirements for DC-4 are the same as DC-3: 2 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM, and 100 MB of Hard Disk Space.

We're still working on internal testing builds, and ironing out some bugs with some of the new features. We'd like to get those resolved before release. We should be releasing shortly after.

UPDATE: Greta Duckett Talks DC-4 and Bridge:

"I am on a beta of DC-4. Yesterday and today I was in federal court. The judge asked me if I could hook up for realtime. Well, of course! So I hooked up to judge and clerk. They have Bridge for receiving software. DC-4 refreshes to Bridge instantly. As soon as I made a change either from my machine or computer keyboard, it instantly reflected on the Bridge computers. Greta was a very happy girl today!"

I asked Greta if DC-4's refresh worked like Eclipse's does; i.e., if you make a change on page 5 while you're actually on page 75, would that change be reflected on the attorney's viewing software?

Here's what Greta wrote:

"It refreshes all the way back. DC-4 also will have network edit, so a scopist can be working on the very same file the reporter is writing to. Other new features: Scopist notes -- appear in a column like the steno notes, linked to the tript; redaction -- redact confidential info, like minors' names, SS numbers; one key off translation -- with an untran, will search dictionary for an outline that is one key off from the outline and translate it, with a highlighted background. For instance, I had "Klan" yesterday, misstroked as K H A PB, and it translated as "klan" with a yellow highlight behind it."

Sounds promising ...!

"It's Dead, Jim."

No, not digitalCAT ... just the StarLight.

Fortunately, Greta posted this picture on Stenovations' Facebook page:

The LightSpeed LSQ

The LightSpeed LSQ

Greta described it thusly:

"It is the Lightspeed and a computer keyboard in a machined aluminum casing. It sits in your lap nicely. No more twisting around to type on my laptop keyboard during proceedings. Yay!"

I can definitely see the potential usefulness of such a gadget ...! Now, if could just actually see a LightSpeed anything in my neck of the woods ....

On the Technolust Side of Things, we Have a Couple of Contenders:

The ProCAT Impression

The ProCAT Impression

And the rear:

Impression:  Rear View

Impression: Rear View

Alas, I am no longer a ProCAT rep; otherwise, I'd have one of these *right now*! :o)

This is the ProCAT Impression. Reporter Marla Sharp, who was embedded at the convention for Cheap and Sleazy (though she didn't know it at the time), dashed off her, um, impressions of ProCAT's new writer, the Impression:

•   bigger screen

•   touch screen (can scroll like an iPhone)

•   adjustment scroller thingies (for stroke depth and the other adjustment I can't remember) are on the outside, not inside the machine

•   number bar adjusts at the same time as you adjust the other keys; not a separate adjustment

•   USB port

•   HD audio

•   bigger memory card capacity

•   bigger internal memory

•   it's all one unit and doesn't open up anymore (it seemed plasticky and flimsy before) (and yes, those are technical terms ...!)

•   the base of the keys aren't metal anymore; they're kevlar. So they're lighter weight.

•   adjusting the keys is a much easier process through the screen

Here's What ProCAT is Saying About Their Newest Addition:

•   Wireless realtime to attorney's Tablet/PC

•  Download your notes or transcript directly to a USB (Flash) storage drive

•   Awesome touch -- easy on your hands!

•  Large easy-to-read LCD panel with LED backlighting

•  Touch interface -- no archaic buttons to line with screen prompts

•  Clear stereo audio recording and monitoring

•  Automatic and user-defined keyboard adjustment

•  Full depth adjustment -- make it as shallow as you like!

•  Open older files for read-back or append while remaining in current realtime file

•  Fully protected LCD when it is not in use

•  Append to previous job and continue recording

•  Automatic number processing, conflict resolution, and suffixing

•  Stack detection and Drag and Drop recognition

•  Two processors ensures reliability

•  High capacity SD cards, plus multiple other backups ensure reliability (four physical drives)

•  Export RTF/PTF formatted transcripts

•  Dictionary import from popular CAT systems

•  Compatible with popular CAT systems

•  Multiple colors to choose from

•  30-day quibble-free return policy (limited time)

Deby Owens-Sebasitan would like you to know that the Impression won't be shipping until mid-November, at $5195 ... and there will be (for a limited time) trade-in allowances for other writers; call ProCAT for details: Eastern or Western Regional Sales numbers -- 1-800-255-8801 and 1-800-769-6841, respectively.

Stenograph Shows The "Lunar White" Diamante

Diamante Animation

Diamante Animation

Stenograph also had this interesting writer in their booth:

Glowing Diamante

Glowing Diamante

If I recall correctly, the idea was to write fast enough to make the Diamante glow red.

The "Bejeweled" I.T. Writer

Appearing at the convention was this rather eye-catching writer:

IT Bejeweled

IT Bejeweled

As you might guess, this particular writer caused a bit of controversy at the time, mostly because the IT Writer's shipping date had slipped once or twice, and some people put two and two together and came up with "Ah-HA!! So *THIS* is why you haven't shipped my writer! Why, I oughta ..."

Why, I Oughta ...

"Why, I Oughta ..."

Turns out that assertion is not the case.

Jason took great pains to point out that this bejeweled beauty was put together during his off-time, by family members ... but for those interested, this particular model was for sale!

While the IT Writer is shipping these days, there was a period of time when they weren't, and those waiting customers were *NOT* happy ... which necessitated the folks at Infinity Traditional to send this e-mail:

Hello Future Infinity User.

We just wanted to thank everybody for their patience. We have another update for you and it's, actually, a pretty substantial update. If you have a few minutes, take your time to read through it. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail or call, whatever suits you.

Where we left off last time was we were having issues determining what was going on and why we were unable to connect our Bluetooth system. So that prevented us from shipping any writer, even those writers that didn't have Bluetooth such as the student writers. The reason for that is really simple: We don't want to ship a product (even if it doesn't have a Bluetooth requirement) only to find out that it was our design or our board issue or something on the main board that was causing the problem. We had suspected that it was the modules themselves that were the issue. That turned out to be absolutely true.

At this point, we've gone ahead and solved that problem through a couple different strategies:

One, we have rewritten our firmware for that module; and, two, we've gone ahead and added what we call an adapter board. Basically, the adapter board acts as an additional interface or ground point for the Bluetooth module.

The benefit of adding that adapter board has given us an added benefit. Instead of being 300 feet, we're now almost 400 feet of range, which is huge. Nobody was close to this before. Now nobody's anywhere in our ballpark, which is pretty cool.

Prior to determining the problem, we disassembled every machine with the assumption that we were going to have to do major work in solving the issue. We've now reassembled the student models and are currently testing those; we’ve reassembled the captioner models and they are waiting to go to test and we will begin testing those soon; and then the court reporter models, which make up a majority of our units, will follow soon after.

At this point, the student writers are about a week to ten days from completing their test and being ready to ship. The captioner models started the test process as student models come out. We are working within a facility that is, quite honestly, way overloaded at this point.

Then, as far as the captioner models go, they're just basically an extension of that student system with some additional features. So that will move forward, and we expect to be shipping those out shortly behind the student models. The student ones get finished, get boxed, the captioner models will be completed testing and basically in line, followed by the court reporting systems without screens and court reporting systems with screens, because they take longer to test.

Since we've had some time while we were sorting out the Bluetooth, we've added some new features which are cool. Since most you have haven't seen the writer, it may be hard for you to imagine, but I think every one of you will appreciate when you get it.

Feature number one we've added is an auto calibration tool. Basically, what that means is when the writer starts, it looks at the relative position of the keys compared to when it was turned off and when it was last setup. What that allows us to do is to gauge whether or not the machine has changed in position from the last time it was written on. That's important because that gives you a more accurate writer style. If the writer notices the keys have been moved through, let's say, depth of stroke, the writer alerts you and prompts you with a message saying "I'm not in the same settings I was before. Did you change my depth?" And you can answer yes and it will recalibrate; or you can answer no, which tells us it could be indicative of some other problem. With that feature, we have another level of problem solving built into the writer.

In addition to that, every time you start a job file, the machine will, again, check its settings in comparison to what the last known good settings were. So it's always monitoring what its condition is no matter when you start or stop a job. It pays attention if two keys or three keys or five keys are held down, etc. It will alert you to say "These keys aren't in the right spec," and take your hands off the machine to let it recalibrate. It checks itself to make sure it always stays in tune.

We've added some new menus and moved menus around to make it easier, better user experience, quicker and easier to get to stuff. We've been moving items into better position to get better response from the machine.

Now for a request: Not everybody is registered. If you have not yet done so, please go register on the site. If you're a committed purchaser, the registration puts you on the list for the email updates, in addition to being granted access to the SimuWrite system once you receive your writer. If you have not registered, you will need to register as soon as you receive your writer in order to receive any additional updates or use our SimuWrite system.

We will be unveiling a bunch of new features. As registered purchasers you'll get access ahead of time. We'll announce a lot of stuff at (the) annual convention.

If you are not a current purchaser, you are welcome to register, but please know you will not be receiving the e-mail updates.

We are committed to providing the best writer in the industry. We all know you're excited. The worst thing we could do is release a product that did not work in some way. Please bear with us as we maintain our competitive advantage.

As everybody has learned, especially us, all dates are subject to change but, as usual, we are hopeful they don’t... ;o)

P.S. I would like to thank those of you who have connected us and me personally to gather more information. I would especially like to thank you reporters who have reached out with your assistance in disseminating information out to everybody. We have a big job and an exciting future and each of you is owed a debt of gratitude on our parts.

Well, there you go! The Infinity Traditional and the Infinity Ergonomic writers are now shipping ... and one happy customer mentioned recently that when she eventually sends her writer in for a cleaning, she can get a different color for an extra $150 (and no, that does not include the Bejeweled look! Nice try, though!).

And that takes care of the Technolust portion of this update.

This Just In ....

A reporter (who shall remain nameless) recently got this e-mail from a company (who shall also remain nameless). I have made appropriate deletions to protect the guilty:

"Hope all is well -- I saw online that you are considering another writer as I'm sure you are unhappy with your (insert Writer A *HERE*) as most customers are. If you would like a demo of (insert Writer B *HERE*), I would be happy to show it to you -- I will be in your area on the 18th. I'm sure you'll discover like over 6,000 of our customers that (insert Writer B *HERE*) is far superior to any other machine out there. Please let me know if you are available the morning of the 18th for a demonstration."

While difficult, I will add no comments on this one ... but --

No. I said "no comment," and I will stick with that decision -- with great effort.

As you might guess, the customer went with "Writer A."

Young Man With a Gemini  LightSpeed

While chatting with Stan "Young Man With a Gemini" Sakai sometime back, I mentioned a website I found for a school in Argentina that teaches a Spanish theory.

I sent an e-mail asking if their theory required a special keyboard, because I recalled reading an article in the JCR sometime back about a Spanish theory that required a special keyboard.

The response I got back said no special steno machine required, so that's interesting.

Anyway, Stan said that he had been talking to the school as well, and, in fact, had an article coming out in Argentina's JCR equivalent -- the title of which escapes me. From what I remember, the article was/will be about speedbuilding and briefs, and it included an interview with Mark Kislingbury.

Stan promised to shoot me an e-mail when the article was published.

Oh, and in case you haven't guessed, Stan switched from his Gemini to the LightSpeed.

NCRA: Site Redesign and New Direction

For those of you who may have missed it, the NCRA has redesigned their website:

NCRA's New Look

NCRA's New Look

With that site redesign comes a new direction ... and that is discussed in this video.

This comes on the heels of a rather unfortunate encounter with an earthquake a few months back:

23AUG11: To all court reporters: NCRA's building sustained major damage from the earthquake in Virginia. Foundation cracked in several places. Ceilings caved in. Bookshelves and monitors fell over. By some miracle no one was hurt. Only sprained ankles and pulled hamstrings from fleeing the bldg.

Defintely a bad hair day! Glad everyone escaped unscathed.

Ripoff Alert!

And here I thought I was having trouble with hackers ....

This note was sent out by the NCRA after the convention. It's old news now, but ... well, here it is anyway:

To: NCRA Las Vegas Convention Attendees

Subject: Vendor Alert - "Performance Company" and/or "Powerhouse Fitness Industries"

We have received information indicating possible fraudulent activities by this vendor who was exhibiting and selling massage devices at the NCRA Las Vegas convention exhibit. If you purchased a massage device or anything else from this company please contact your bank, credit, or debit card company immediately to stop payment and instruct them not to process transactions from this company on your behalf. It is also recommended that you check your statements carefully for any unauthorized charges and take any other actions necessary to protect yourself against the improper use of the information you may have provided (including credit monitoring services that may be provided by your bank or credit card company.) NCRA is in contact with our legal counsel and the authorities to further investigate this situation. If you have specific questions, please contact us at: exhibit@ncrahq.org.

Speed Contest Results

Jeff Eaton was kind enough to collate the results of the last NCRA speed contest, including which CAT each contestant was using!

Jeff is the court reporter behind the new Brief Catcher, a practice keyboard which he is using to teach himself all of Mark Kislingbury's Magnum Steno strokes during those times when he has nothing else to do (doctor's office, waiting around at the bank, etc.). Last I heard, he was about half way through ... and his goal is to beat Mark some day!

Here's that list:

First Place: JoAnn Bryce – Total Eclipse

Second Place: Mark Kislingbury -- digitalCAT

Third Place: Douglas J. Zweizig -- Total Eclipse


Bryce, Jo Ann, Castro Valley, CA, 99.039% -- Total Eclipse

Kislingbury, Mark, Houston, TX, 98.972% -- digitalCAT

Zweizig, Douglas J., Philadelphia, PA, 98.878% -- Total Eclipse

Boenau, Deanna C., Sarasota, FL, 98.822% -- Total Eclipse

Schuck, Jennifer L., Scottsdale, AZ, 98.272% -- Total Eclipse

Phipps, Denise L., Reno, NV, 98.161% -- Case CATalyst

Brewer, Laura P., Los Altos, CA, 98.072% -- Total Eclipse

Becker, Louise M., Tacoma, WA, 97.861% -- Total Eclipse

Cortopassi, Kathy A., Dyer, IN, 97.683% -- Total Eclipse

Howd, Elizabeth A., Scott Depot, WV, 97.667% -- digitalCAT

Niles, Emily K., Seattle, WA, 97.650% -- Total Eclipse

Menck, Karyn D., Nashville, TN, 97.189% -- Total Eclipse

Landerman, Laura J., Orlando, FL, 97.128% -- Total Eclipse

Darrenougue, Teri B., Walnut Creek, CA, 96.856% -- Total Eclipse

Urlaub, Donna M., Chicago, IL, 96.739% -- Case CATalyst

Cook, Ronald L., Seattle, WA, 96.739% -- Total Eclipse

Brock, Alan H., Boston, MA, 96.700% -- Case CATalyst

Weigl, Jeffrey A., Edmonton, AB, 96.583% -- Case CATalyst

Wissenbach, John, San Francisco, CA, 96.439% -- Case CATalyst

Lefler, Jerrold, Tarpon Springs, FL, 96.367% -- digitalCAT

Ott, Cynthia R., Vienna, VA, 96.300% -- Case CATalyst

Bonfilio, Jennifer M., Hamilton Twp., NJ, 95.589% -- Total Eclipse

Humphrey-Sonntag, Melanie L., Wheaton, IL, 95.461% -- Case CATalyst


Eclipse ----------------- 13

Case CATalyst ------------ 7

digitalCAT --------------- 3

This info comes from the NCRA and Jeff "Brief Catcher" Eaton! Thanks, Jeff!

Convention Greetings from Ann and Breck Record

Ann and Breck Record:  In Toon

Ann and Breck Record: In Toon

Ann and Breck Record, who jointly run the Facebook group, Encouraging Court Reporting Students, which you will read about in my article on Facebook, did a live chat from the convention:

Ann and Breck Record Convention Chat

Ann and Breck Record Convention Chat

As my plans for world dominion winning the lottery and attending the convention fell through, I was one of the chat participants, as was Marc Greenberg ... and I think I saw Virginia Kling walk by the camera once or twice.

This was set up by Nicky Rodriquez, the Admissions Ninja over at the College of Court Reporting, whom you can see on occasion ... simply by watching the recording of the event.

But Wait! (Yes, You Guessed it ...) There's More!

Every Tuesday afternoon and evening, Ann and Breck host a live chat from their office in Texas, where they are both officials. The evening chats take place from their home, and are longer.

During these chats, they take questions from the students, and occasionally have guest speakers stop by and chat. You can watch the first one of these by clicking this link.

This one is from the 28th of September, and there are more .... BUT you have to read the Facebook article to get those links!

Unlike the CCR class orientation I linked to way, way up on this page, this one is hosted on Breck's server, and downloads itself to your hard drive (~200 MB). Once it's done downloading, double-click the file, and Java will start, load the file, and all you have to do is click "Play."

I have to admit I haven't seen all of these myself, so that will be something I'll have to take care of in the not-too-distant! Rumor has it that federal official Krista "Red Dot Secret" Burgeson stopped by and did a little educating ...!

The after-action report on that one was very positive ....

Speaking of "Conventions" ....

This CR association came up with an interesting way to advertise their convention! Take a look!

Jade Notes

I'm sure some most all of you remember Jade.

For those of you who don't, she is the author of the "Captioning Down Under" article.

Turns out she is also a member over on Depoman ... and she and Mike "Depoman" Miller got to talking. Seems that Mike was going to be in the vicinity, so they set up a meet ... and you can read about that here on Jade's blog, Jadeluxe.

Depoman Meets Jade

Depoman Meets Jade

While perusing Jade's blog one day, I came across this ... interesting picture:

Jade's Cables

Jade's Cables

Yes, that's right ... those are Jade's cables ... and here is the story behind that interesting picture.

I wrote a comment at the time about the inartful way she had her cables ... um, "stored," and I promised to take a picture of my cables, and write an article to show her how that look was accomplished.

Here's how one of my cables looks:

Glenz Cables:  Final

Glenz Cables: Final

Yes, that's an ethernet cable, and I used that instead of the phone-like cable my ProCAT Flash uses because you can actually see it!

Well, that, and the cables that Stenograph's writers use look like ethernet cables.

I have an article in the works that shows you how I did that. The method depicted here came from an actual *class * I had to take in my Navy days ... except instead of cables, we were dealing with paper tape, from teletypes: Yellow, with holes everywhere, and the resultant little bits of yellow paper tape that ended up in the most unusual places .... but I digress.

I also have a way to deal with "wall warts" (you know ... the charger for your writer), your USB-serial adapter, your laptop's power adapter, etc., etc. ... but unfortunately, my camera has chosen today to tell me thay I need new batteries (seriously?! I've got Cheap and Sleazy Business to attend to, and you choose TODAY to whine about needing new batteries!?!), so those shots will have to wait!

Sorry, Jade!

In the meantime, you can take a look at this animation to see how I got the cable to look like that:

Cable Fun!

Cable Fun!

Court Reporters on TV

During the summer, I got hooked on two new summer replacement shows: Franklin and Bash and Suits.

Franklin and Bash is about a pair of, shall we say, unorthodox attorneys. In the first episode, they beat a Big Law Firm in a class action suit using their patented unorthodox methods, and the owner of that firm hires them -- much to the chagrin of many at the firm.

Suits is about an experienced attorney who teams up with a bright young man with a photographic memory, who makes a couple grand a pop by taking the LSATs for people. He's so good at taking these tests that he can tell the buyer what score he'll get for them before he starts the test!

During the first episode, the bright young man gets caught up in a bad drug deal, and ends up "hiding" in the lawfirm at which the aforementioned experienced attorney works ... and while trying to blend in with all the applicants from Harvard Law, he manages to convince the experienced attorney's secretary that he is THE one to hire.

.... and interesting situations ensue.

The good thing about these shows is that they will, from time to time, conduct depositions and trials ... and in order to do that, they have to have a court reporter! Naturally, I just so happen to have a screenshot of these things, garnered during my TV watching activities for your later viewing pleasure!

You're welcome!

Here's a shot from Franklin and Bash:

CR on Franklin and Bash

CR on Franklin and Bash

The good news is she's not staring at the keyboard! The bad news ... well, what would your instructor say if s/he saw you writing at your machine like that?! S/he'd probably beat you like a drum!

... and here's a shot from Suits:

CR on Suits

CR on Suits

No tripod ... else the steno machine would be hidden under the table, and therefore bad for TV ... so I can understand that one.

The good news: None of these CRs are using one of those ancient green machines, nor is there a growing pile of paper at their feet!

Ruminations on TV CRs

Sometime back, Cindi Hartman and I were chatting back and forth on one of the forums, and I raised the possiblitiy of having a NCRA-Hollywood Liaison office. The idea (well, my idea) was to match a local CR or CR student with local or visiting TV production crews, so that the CRs shown on TV would be authentic: Proper posture. No ancient writers. Laptops. Realtime feeds -- you know, all that good stuff.

Cindi came back with a sad tale of how she had spent somewhere around 30 hours of her time working with a TV crew for what was originally going to be three or four scenes of the CR in the show doing their job ... but that got cut down to a two second clip. Stenograph provided the writer, and she worked with the extra to make everything look real ... and poof! All that work for nothing.

I guess Hollywood-types aren't known for their depiction of reality all the time .....

Oooooh, and don't get me started on reality TV! That will for SURE lead me to ranting and raving about the SyFy channel canceling long-running series and replacing them with things like wrestling, more ghost hunter-like shows, and a cooking show (now mercifully canceled -- I think!).

(*valiantly resists urge to comment further on the SyFy Channel  Fail debacle!!!*)

(*ahem!*) Sorry about that. But I did say not to get me started ....!

"You Down Wit' OCD?" ("Yeah, You Know Me!")

I have to take a couple seconds here and give credit where credit is due to my niece, Jasmine.

Jasmine, ca. 2006

Jasmine, ca. 2006

Seems she has a cousin with OCD ... so, when Jazz' house was a bit, shall we say, on the messy side (a natural (and frequent!) occurence for someone with a three-year-old), she invited her cousin over for a visit ... and shortly after Cuz arrived, my niece said, "Oh, I've got to run an errand. I'll be *right back!*" ... and off she went.

The Three-year-old in Question

The Three-year-old in Question

Left to her own devices, our cousin began cleaning ... and a couple hours later when my niece returned, the apartment looked almost as good as it did the day she moved in!

And *THAT,* ladies and germs, is how you put an OCD relative to use! (*gives Jasmine a high-five!!*)

Cheap and Sleazy Fashion Advice

Yes, that's right: Not too long ago, I gave out some fashion advice on Facebook. While it is true that the recipient didn't ask me directly for said advice, that certainly did not stop me from providing said advice ... nor will that whole "Nobody Asked YOU, Buddy!!" thing stop me from sharing both the request and the advice with the readers of Cheap and Sleazy!

And now, without further -- er, here's how the question appeared, closely followed by my answer (and a little commentary on said answer):

Glen Gives Fashion Advice

Cheap and Sleazy Fashion Advice

06OCT11 Update

Update In Progress

Yes, that's right -- I am in the process of putting together a rather hefty update! Hopefully it will be done by next Friday Sunday um, Soonest! But first ....

Steve Jobs Memorial

Steve Jobs Memorial: Thank you, Mr. Jobs

26MAR11 Update

It's Back ...!

Yes, that's right ... I'm talking about CSR Nation.

It's been a long time coming, but Kelli managed to get her site back, though unfortunately at a cost of about $25,000 in attorney's fees.

So those of you who are in a good financial postion, when the call comes in for donations ... well. I can't tell anyone to do anything, but $25,000 is a *lot* of money to recoup. Lend a hand if you can.

But .....

you should be aware that the site has been ... damaged, in Kelli's words. In fact, Kelli's account has been deleted!

Kelli requests that for the time being, hold off on joining if you would be a new member, and hold off on adding any new content. She is going to try to restore from an older backup, and hopefully things will get restored properly.

Update (13JAN12)

Ignore that last bit! Everything is fine!

Bad Hackers! Bad!

Back on 10FEB11, I got a message from Mike "Depoman" Miller on Facebook, telling me that I had been hacked. I assumed he meant my FB account, so I asked what he meant, but changed my FB password anyway.

He wrote back that my FB account was okay, but my website had been hacked! Acckk!!

I pulled up a new window and opened Cheap and Sleazy ... and sure enough, I was greeted by this:


Hacked!! (thanks to Nev for having the presence of mind to get that screenshot!)

I immediately opened my FTP program, Transmit, to make sure all of my files were still there, and they were ... so I then contacted my web hosting service's Tech Support folks and told them what was going on.

He did ... well, something, and had me refresh the page, and after forcing Firefox to do so, my main page came back, in all its glory, such as it is.

Naturally, I asked what he did to fix it.

He was a bit on the cryptic side, but essentially he said he had corrected a "server-side vulnerability."

I asked if this fix would prevent these guys from hacking my site again, and he said it should.

For those of you interested in the (semi)-techy details, I have a folder on my Mac called "gdwarner." Inside that folder is all the HTML files, a folder for the images, and a folder for the non-text, non-image files, like .pdfs and .mp3s and stuff.

When I start an article, all files (.html and .gif/.png/etc.) are saved to their respective folders ... and when the article is done, I upload it to Brinkster's web servers via the afore-mentioned Transmit, which basically opens a window with my gdwarner folder on one side, and the equivalent folder on the server on the other side ... and then I drag the files (pictures first, of course) to the equivalent window on the right.

This way, if anything happens on the server side, I can restore from my hard drive ... and if the unthinkable happens, like some low-life, scum-sucking slime were to abscond with my MacBook Pro, I would be able to download the files again onto one of my other computers, and be back in business, as it were.

Hope all that makes sense!

23MAR11 Update

The Annual Trimming of the Main Page

Yes, that's right ... it's that time of year again where I lop off most of the content from the main page and stick it somewhere else (hey! Watch it, buddy --!) ... in this case, you'll find that more recent old content in Volume Seven of the archives.

This Just In ....

Cheap and Sleazy Warning

Thanks (again) to Realtime Ready's Julie Samford!

Welcome New Visitors!

Of late, I have been directing a few new visitors from various forums and Facebook to ol' Cheap and Sleazy.

To that end, I try to remember to remind them to grab a snack and a beverage before diving in too deep! I don't want anyone to complain about missing meals or anything from spending so much time reading! :o)

So for those of you who are new that I did not direct here on Facebook or one of the other forums I frequent, well ... grab a snack and a beverage!

Steno Practice News

No, I'm not talking about practicing my steno (not directly, anyway). I'm talking about StenoPractice.com.

Some months ago, I got an e-mail from one of my readers telling me that she had ordered a copy of both volumes of their books, "The 800 Most Common Depo Phrases" and had not received her books yet. She wanted to know if I had heard anything.

It took a while, but I managed to reach Todd Leiter a couple months back. I had a few suggestions for his website and also asked what was going on with his shipping and etc. He sent this back:


Thanks for the thoughts on the website. It's obvious it is homemade...I learned just enough HTML to get a website up. I do have Meta Tags with a specific # of keywords. And the color blobs were supposed to have readable text, with the "keywords" tiny around the border, so it looks like a box with text...now it just looks like a color blob!

And about people trying to contact me, etc...overall, I'll say I've disappointed a lot of people, myself included. In the last couple years, we've moved twice, changed jobs, broke my elbow, and have been just trying to keep homelife aloat...I kept expecting to be able to get StenoPractice working/flowing like it was; but it was always down on the list, and I couldn't get to it. I'd be getting to bed a midnight, 2am, and expect to ship on weekends, etc...no good excuses, really. Then I'd have a dozen+ people with emails and phone calls, and just no time to respond to them all; and when I did get to ship, it would take a couple hours just to sort through all the confusion I created, and I'd only get a couple items out...so it compounded...

That's the back story. Wish I could say it was something better than "I was too busy and irresponsible." Now I have Kari in Washington State taking over all shipping. She's been burning and shipping all CDs for a few months, and I've been trying to get all the books to her as well. I just placed an order for another 100 books, so she should be stocked and ready to ship all items, Promptly, in a couple weeks! I expect soon to be back to quick turn arounds and good customer service. However, I have expected that before, and made some promises to customers that weren't kept -- ouch. But now, it is not just me; Kari will be taking over all shipping and most correspondence. I'll be working on the website and some advertising.

I owe many customers some apologies, and I do hope to be able to get things righted. But yes, still in business here - nearly closed the doors a couple times in there...but there are too many requests for the material, so that's why I joined up with Kari. Thanks for your concerns and thoughts about getting some promo material out. I do have school promo packs...but I haven't been close to getting those out - Kari and I expect to be able to do that as well.

I know you have a blog & website, so if you want to cut & paste any of the above, that is okay. I'll fill you in more as we actually get things up and running properly....and probably ask you for some web tips, if you don't mind.



Alas, the response I had written somehow ended up in the "Not Sent" folder in Thunderbird, my e-mail client of choice these days -- except when it does crap like that.

Sorry about that, Todd! I'll be getting back to you in the not-too-distant.

Say, Did I Mention ....

... the new articles? No? Well.

While I haven't updated ol' Cheap and Sleazy in a while, I have been writing and procuring articles.

First up is a review of the LightSpeed by April Davis, the author of the review of the ProCAT Stylus.

Next up is another article on captioning ... from down under! You can find that one here.

Those new visitors from Facebook might have seen this one already, but for those of you who have not, I found a reporter who had a secret for staying focused during a test, and after reading about it in one of her posts, I asked her if she could write it up for the readers of ol' Cheap and Sleazy, and after looking around the site for a while, she agreed ... and so now we have "The Red Dot Secret."

Next up is a pair of articles I wrote originally for my (now former) school's newsletter: "The Art of the Forum." which offers the reader a few do's and don'ts of foruming, and "Troubleshooting," which teaches the reader the broad strokes of figuring out why their CAT software and their writer aren't talking to each other, and how to eliminate the various possibilities.

I also have procured an interesting article by a young man in Seattle who found himself an original Gemini writer, and has been teaching himself to steno. He talks about how he modified that old Gemini to work with batteries. I call this one Young Man With a Gemini."

Also on offer is an article by high speed student Nicolete Booth. Nikki was forced to quit school in frustration over (among other things) a lack of decent dictation. She then went in search of as much free dictation she could find, and she put together a page full of links which she would send out to people who asked.

Those of you who have been reading my babblings for a while know that the "cheap" part of the site's name means I'm out to save my readers money, so you all know I'm not one to pass up something my readers might enjoy using for *F R E E* ... so check out Nikki Links when you feel the need for some good (and don't forget free!) dictation.

I do have one more rather lengthy one for those of you using Case Catalyst who might have watched some movie or TV show and said, "What the --!? I could write a better story than that!"

Alas, you'll have to wait a bit on that one.

"Alas, Poor Yorick ..."

The time: Sometime back in December of 2011.

The place: Deep in the Heart of Texas.

The circumstances: A CR student and semi-professional dog walker has discovered her car has a problem tire, the weather is bad, and she was curious as to whether or not she should go to school ... so she posed a Shakespearean question on Facebook.

Naturally, I just had to answer that question ... and here's how it looked:

Shakespearean Facebook

Shakespearean Facebook

Also, just in case ...

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