Tips for realtime court reporters writing to Case Notebook

A blog posted on Jan. 3 by JD Supra offers tips for realtime court reporters writing to Case Notebook.

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Best tech of 2019

Your NCRA Technology Committee has gathered some of the “Best of” articles from the web for our members. So, as you make your decision for those last-minute gadget or equipment purchases before the end of the year, this article can be your one-stop source!

Need a new scanner?

NCRA Technology Committee member Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, said: “I am a huge fan of the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. This device easily fits in any machine or computer bag. It’s lightweight and easy to set up and use. It is only a single-pass scanner, so there’s no duplexing. But it’s an excellent tool to have with you in the office and on the job. You can scan directly to your desktop or to a Dropbox folder, so you can share exhibits or any documents quickly and easily.

Peacock said the Fujitsu Scansnap ix100, which made PCMag’s 2019 list, is one of his favorites.

Consider making the switch to an Adroid phone

Kimberly Greiner, RDR, CRR, CRC, another Tech Committee member, said: “Always wondered if you can switch from an Apple phone to Android and how hard it would be? Samsung has made it simple. I converted from the iPhone 8 to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It has a beautiful slim and sleek design and amazing screen quality. Converting was simple. You just cable one phone to the other and maybe not all but the majority of your apps will just transfer over. You can even keep your iTunes music with an app. It was a breeze and took a short amount of time. The swipe and home screen functionality and setup aren’t that different, and in no time, you’ll be enjoying the ability to customize your phone screens. Swiping from the top down will reveal all those settings you might need quickly. Hands down, this is an amazing device. The Google store offers plenty of free apps, ringtones, and screen wallpaper.”

Go bold with a gaming keyboard

Lynette L. Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, said: “So much great tech, so little money to purchase the upgrades sometimes! I’ve had the Logitech G413 mechanical keyboard for about a year now. I was in expedited transcript mode and asked my son to choose a great external keyboard for me, and this is what I ended up with. I’m thinking he was hoping I wouldn’t like it (it’s a gaming keyboard), but I love it! The best features are:

  • It’s backlit
  • It’s so durable
  • Striking the keys is awesome

“According to techspot.com, the upgraded model (G513) made the list for the best mechanical keyboards of 2019.”

“If you’re looking to spend a bit less, Logitech’s G513 is another solid option, coming in at $125 with a standard 104-key layout. It offers a better wrist rest and more switch options (Tactile, Linear, or GX Blue) than the K95 at the cost of dedicated macro keys, a volume scroll wheel, and media buttons.”

Never worry about your battery again

Mueller also noted that the external battery she purchased has become a security blanket for her. “With my recent purchase of the iPhone 11, I don’t find my battery draining quickly in the least. That being said, I still like to be prepared and carry an external battery with me at all times. It’s good to have the security of knowing you will be charged up and ready to go at a moment’s notice for either myself or for my client!” she added. “I’ve had the Jackery mini for quite some time and like the small footprint of it. It only has one charge, which could be a drawback at times.”

Tom’s Guide offers these insights regarding the Jackery and the Anker portable chargers, two possibilities Mueller singled out for reporters.

You can always get an Apple

One final offering, this time from committee member Teresa Russ, CRI, who said: “My family members know that I am partial to Apple products – iPhones, tablets, to my beloved MacBook Pro. My husband just recently bought me the iPhone 11. First of all, I like the sleek look of Apple products, and the iPhone 11 is no different. Mine is an olive green color. Some of my favorite features are, for example, the iPhone 11 is very fast. It’s water and dust resistant. The teenagers in my family think the Face ID is the hottest feature. Truthfully speaking, I miss the Touch ID, but the cameras are incredible. Also, it comes with a powerful battery that lasts all day with normal use.”

Want more tech? Check out these links for more articles about the best technological updates, gadgets, and info from 2019:

New Apple products predictions 2020

The Top 10 Internet Browsers for 2019

The best headphones for 2019

Best Android phones of 2019

Best tablets 2019

The Best Qi Wireless Charger for iPhone and Android Phones

Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks

The Best Scanners for 2019 The Best Keyboards 2019: Mechanical, Gaming, Wireless, and More

Black Friday Deals: Recommendations from the Tech Committee

​ ​​Black Friday is just around the corner — Nov. 29! The Technology Committee has rounded up some links and has done the research for NCRA members to make it easy to find the best sales that will be happening for the holiday season. What will be on your shopping list this year?

​​​​​​Sandra Mierop, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and agency owner from Anchorage, Ala., starts off the list: “​​​​I recommend the Apple Watch 4 with GPS and Cellular. It’s at Best Buy for $349. ​​Recently I was called out to a deposition in the morning because another reporter wasn’t feeling well. I was assured that I would be out of the depo at 3 p.m. so that I could make my 4 p.m. hair appointment. At 3, I texted my stylist from my Apple Watch that I had to cancel my appointment, and I was able to add two more hours to my parking space without interrupting the deposition. I also received texts reminding me to pick up the dog from the dog sitter on my way home and for my assignment the next morning. My Apple Watch also reminds me to breathe, that I haven’t reached my ‘stand goal,’ or that I haven’t filled out my exercise rings. (Guilt – no charge!) I’ve even seen it light up with fireworks when I have reached those goals. The GPS is great for getting to jobs and not taking my hands off the steering wheel. It’s cellular-enabled, and I love that I can go for a hike or a run without having to bring my phone with me. It’s a device that you don’t know how much you need until you have it.”

Kelli Ann Willis, RPR, CRR, a freelance court reporter based in Hutchinson, Kan., offered the following as her pick of the Black Friday deals: “I recommend the Amazon Dot for a convenient, portable way to keep track of many things. I connected mine to my Verizon hot spot, so it connects to that while I am traveling. ​​It is helpful to access local weather and have my Spotify playlists handy! The clock is helpful as well to set an alarm without having to figure out the hotel alarm clock. ​It further integrates Ring, Audible, and, of course, Amazon Music.”

​​​​PCMag shows the deal listed through Kohl’s.

​​​​​​Lauren Lawrence, RPR, of Kansas City, Mo., recommended the Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 6-quart, which PCMag indicated will be available through Kohl’s. “I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot. The one thing we use it constantly for: Boiled eggs. My boyfriend and his kiddos love hard boiled eggs and deviled eggs. We’ll do a carton of 18 eggs (or more) at a time, and they’re always easy to peel and so fast and perfectly cooked. We also use it for other things we’d normally do in a crockpot, but it’s a million times faster and gets meat just as juicy and tender. Corn on the cob is another fast favorite! When you’re busy, whatever helps; right?”

Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, of Portand Ore., said, “I’m a Dell person. I think their deals are worth checking out. Dell Online has deals going on at 10 a.m. (Eastern) on Thanksgiving and 8 a.m. (Eastern) on Black Friday. The best deal I saw was the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop, estimated value of $749.99, and the doorbuster deal is $499.99 (Doorbuster 8 a.m. (Eastern) on Nov. 29. PCMag has the link to this deal.

“I also saw good deals on iPads at Walmart — 10.2-inch 2019 32GB iPad for $249 (save $80),” Nodland continued. “And I love to shop the bargains. NewEgg will have 50 percent off items from their certified refurbish outlet – desktops, laptops, iPads, more.”

Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Mobile, Ala., shared his favorite deal: “I would recommend the Apple AirPods (with charging case). They are on sale at Walmart for $15 off of the regular price. The Black Friday price is $144. These are expensive for sure, but they are by far the best. They set up easily with any other Apple product you have. And even if you don’t have Apple products, they work perfectly with your computer’s Bluetooth system. So, it’s a great way to scope on breaks or while sitting at the airport. The battery life is great. It charges quickly, and it lasts all day long. You can double tap to answer your phone using the built-in microphone. Or if you’re just listening to music while exercising, you can tap to rewind or jump to next song in cue. They are light and fit perfectly in your ear. The case is sturdy and can be thrown in your machine case without damaging the device. I strongly recommend using these for the quality of sound and the ease of use.”

Have something in mind yourself that you want to look for? Here are a few links to consider for your own research:

TechLinks: Improving your dual-monitor setup

The NCRA Technology Committee is taking your questions on topics surrounding realtime and technology. Send the questions you want the Technology Committee members to tackle to jcrfeedback@ncra.org.

Last spring, the Tech Committee answered Tuckered from Texas’s question about the benefits of using multiple monitors for court reporters.

As a follow-up to that question, the committee wanted to share another topic related to the dual-monitor question of:  What are some ways to improve your dual-monitor setup?

Lynette Mueller, the Tech Committee Chair, loves following PC Mag as her go-to resource for technology-related tips and tricks. She found this article from PC Mag regarding how to improve your dual-monitor setup.

Some of the key points in the article are:

  1. Make the displays match
  2. Tweak your taskbar
  3. Seek out super-wide wallpapers
  4. Study your shortcuts
  5. The wandering cursor
  6. Do even more with Display Fusion

Of course, court reporters love their macros and shortcuts; right? The best key shortcuts from this article:

  • Win+Left and Win+Right: Snap the active window to the left or right side of the current monitor. You can press the keys again to move it between monitors or snap it back to its original location.
  • Win+Up and Win+Down: Maximize or minimize the current window. If the window is currently snapped, this will also resize the window from its snapped position.
  • Shift+Win+Left and Shift+Win+Right: Move the active window to the next monitor, without snapping it to the edge.
  • Shift+Win+Up: Maximize the window vertically—particularly useful if you don’t have a taskbar on your secondary display.
  • Win+Home: Minimize all windows except the one you’re working on, to banish distractions. You can press it again to bring all the windows back.

Stay productive, court reporters!

Corporate deposition — multiple witnesses at the same time?

A blog posted by JD Supra on Sept. 30 offers tips on taking a corporate deposition that includes multiple witnesses at the same time.

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Caution for court reporters – the danger of frayed cords

A blog posted by Kramm Court Reporting on Sept. 13 outlines the fire dangers from frayed cords.

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Ask the Techie: Transcript Formatting

The NCRA Technology Committee is taking your questions on topics surrounding realtime and technology. Send the questions you want the Technology Committee members to tackle to jcrfeedback@ncra.org.

Dear Techie:

I’m always trying to learn new, faster, and shorter ways to get my transcripts out the door. Embracing realtime is a priority for me, as I know that will be one of the biggest timesavers, and I’m doing great with utilizing lots of brief forms. Writing short!

Anyway, the next hurdle to conquer is getting as much formatting incorporated into my writing at the time of the job; for example, the setup of the examinations and so forth.

Can you give me a boost to get my dictionary jump-started with those type of brief forms?

Jumping Into Realtime

Dear Jumping,

Congratulations on your journey with realtime!

Kevin Hunt, a member of the Tech Committee, has the following advice and brief forms to get you jump-started to a more perfect transcript at the time of your job.

Single Strokes for designations:

/STPHAO-BGS for EXAMINATION blurb and the Q., similarly:

/SKWRAO-BGS

/KP-EUFPLT

KP-EURBGS

Also for Court/Hearing/Arbitrations:

/TKREBGT (Direct)

/TKR*EBGT(Redirect)

/TPR*EBGT (FurtherRedirect)

/KROS (Cross)

/KRO*S (Recross)

/TPRO*S (FurtherRecross)

And then paired with a speaker designation:

/TKREBGT/STPHAO generates the DIRECT EXAMINATION BY SPEAKER 01: AND the following Q.

Finally, when more than four speakers, the base designation plus alliteration of speaker’s name.

Mr. McCarthy = /STPHAO-PL

Mr. Peterson = SKWRAO-P, etc., on both sides …

TechLinks: Standing desks – Are they right for court reporters?

By Lynette Mueller

Court reporters are always looking for ways to be more productive on the job and at the desk when completing their transcripts. Recently, I shared a link of the best standing desks of 2019 on my Facebook business page and received some great feedback and sharing from it! As the chair of the Technology Committee, I thought our members would love to learn more about the benefits of using a standing desk, as well as some top picks to choose from. 

According to healthline.com: “A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions are adjustable, so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.”

Several peer-reviewed studies suggest that sitting for prolonged periods of time may reduce life expectancy. There is much speculation and not much good data at this time to suggest that using a standing desk will combat the ill effects of sitting. While there is nothing to prove a good outcome from using a standing desk, there may be some benefits for court reporters.

Healthline.com also mentions these benefits when using a standing desk:

  • Lowers your risk of weight gain and obesity
  • May lower blood sugar levels
  • May lower your risk of heart disease
  • Appears to reduce back pain
  • Helps improve mood and energy levels
  • May even boost productivity
  • May help you live longer

If court reporters do decide to make the plunge and purchase a standing desk, they should keep in mind that standing desks may also have some “side effects.” Some of the reporters’ comments on my Facebook post had a few suggestions to help with the transition.

  • Purchase an anti-fatigue mat for your desk
  • Purchase a drafting chair so that you can move freely from standing to sitting

Wirecutter.com writes about these suggestions for the best anti-fatigue mats. The posters on my shared Facebook link specifically mentioned the FlexiSpot and Varidesk as their personal favorites. According to the Wirecutter article: “The Varidesk ProDesk 60 Electric is more stable in each direction than the Uplift or Jarvis, and a little bit quieter than those desks in raising and lowering (minus an occasional thudding sound when starting). It also comes with built-in cable management and was the easiest desk we’ve ever built. But it has no wood or bamboo desktop options, just five colors of laminate, which our testers disliked.”

Ready to consider getting a standing desk? Wirecutter.com also offered their picks for the best standing desks of 2019. Forbes.com also published an article with their best standing desk picks. Those are two great places to start your research.

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at lynette@omegareporting.com.

Ask the Techie: iPads and realtime setup

Dear Techie:

I’m taking the plunge and am going to offer realtime to some select clients — not just for myself. My realtime setup will include iPads for the attorneys to view the transcript. I will be using an iPad that I use for personal use as well. What tips can the Tech Committee provide to ensure that my data on my personal device won’t be accessed by a client?

Thanks!

Realtime Adventurer

Dear Adventurer:

Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Mobile, Ala., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Committee, has the following settings recommendations to use when setting up a new iPad that will be used for a court reporter’s realtime setup.

  • Bluetooth: Off
  • Do Not Disturb: On
  • Display & Brightness: Auto Lock = Never; Auto Brightness = Off
  • Sounds: None for All
  • Messages: Off
  • Passcode: Off
  • iCloud (Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, etc.): Off
  • iTunes and App Store: Auto Download for Apps and Updates
  • Mail/Accounts/Fetch New Data: Off

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, of Memphis, Tenn., and chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, has a few more recommendations for the iPad when writing realtime for attorneys.

  • Turn off keyboard clicks
  • Turn off Siri
  • Turn off Automatic Updates and Software Updates
  • Disable Auto Lock
  • Use Guided Access: Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which features are available.

Set Up Guided Access

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access.
  2. Turn on Guided Access.
  3. Tap Passcode Settings, then tap Set Guided Access Passcode.
  4. Enter a passcode, then reenter it. From here, you can also turn on Face ID or Touch ID as a way to end a Guided Access session.

Court stenographers: Are they on their way out?

The Claremont Port Side posted an editorial on June 22 that examines whether improving technology will replace live court reporters. The article concludes: “Technology at present, while useful, is still widely unreliable, and inaccuracies can be detrimental to any court proceeding.”

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