NCRA members share their favorite tech gadgets

While most respondents picked their smartphone as their favorite tech gadget in response to the May 13 Question of the Week, several members shared some distinctive tech gadgets that make their jobs easier.

A couple of members found that the right gadget can both add both efficiency and professionalism. Ana Dub prepares exhibit stickers using the Dymo Labelwriter before each deposition. “Now that I have the Labelwriter, once the exhibits are marked, I’m done. Also, it is very easy to keep track of what the next exhibit number is,” said Dub. “An added benefit is that they look very neat and professional. I get compliments on my Labelwriter from attorneys frequently.”

Mike Parker, CLVS, has found similar results by using the Atomos Ninja Blade monitor/recorder. Along with the monitor/recorder’s technological capabilities, Parker said: “The larger monitor is a lot easier on my eyes than the 3-inch camera monitor, and the zebra and waveform make setting video levels a breeze.” He continued, “A side benefit is it’s impressive to clients and even witnesses.”

Kathryn A. Thomas, RDR, CCP, has found that Text on Top has helped her with captioning. “I can wirelessly add two lines (or more, or less) of captions to a speaker’s PowerPoint presentation using any regular CAT software and without requiring an encoder or character generator — and it requires no downloading of software to the presenter’s laptop,” she said. “Plus, if you have three Text on Top dongles, you can output two lines of captioning to the presenter’s laptop, and output a full screen of captioning to an individual laptop at the same time.”

Both Debbie Paulk Mixon, RPR, CRR, and Jennifer S. Walker, RPR, picked AudioSync as their favorite gadget. “When I would transcribe an all-day deposition, I might find one word in the middle somewhere that I wanted to confirm,” said Mixon. “If I listen to a mumbled passage over and over and over again, I can usually eventually determine what the speaker is saying. How easy it is to sit on the text and hit play repeatedly — versus rewinding a cassette tape over and over again.” Walker also explained a few additional benefits to AudioSync. “The audio files are easily retrievable,” she said. “Questions regarding a certain portion of testimony, even many years back, can now be answered with just the simple click of a button.”

However, a tech gadget does not need to be fancy in order to be valuable. Comparing it to a Swiss army knife, Brian Clune, CLVS, makes sure to always carry a thumb drive. “I can easily offer the reporter the deposition audio at the end of the session as long as they have a USB port. It is also a convenient way to transfer files from the reporter to the attorneys or vice versa. Having a thumb drive with me makes me more valuable to the process of finding solutions for file transfer,” said Clune.

Since the most popular tech gadget among recipients was a smartphone, the May 27 Question of the Week is about apps. Curious what your fellow court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers have to say about other elements of their work lives? Be sure to look for (and answer!) the Question of the Week in every issue of the JCR Weekly.