ProCAT launches new program to support A to Z students

Trade in your old writer for a new ProCAT Xpression, and the company will supply a writer to an NCRA A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program participant.

According to Deby Sebastian, national sales manager for ProCAT, which is based in Calabasas, Calif., the program was prompted by the number of phone calls the firm has been getting from interested participants in the A to Z program looking for machines to use. ProCAT has been a partner and providing machines to the A to Z program since it began.

“We have a waiting list for machines at all times it seems. This prompted our decision to do a push for people to trade their old writers in and upgrade to a newer model. When they do, we will donate the machines to NCRA for them to use for A to Z programs. We are hoping this will help with the shortage of machines and allow many more to embark on this exciting field of court reporting,” Sebastian says.

The program, which just launched, has already generated several responses, so the firm is hopeful the offer will prompt trade-ins.

“We literally just put this out but have had several responses, so hopefully it will start bringing in the writers. We will literally take any old writer. I had a brand-new student today who wanted to trade in a four-month-old student Blaze writer to help the program. I told her to wait a bit but thanked her for her heart that wanted to help,” Sebastian says.

“We attend so many conventions and see many reporters still using old writers. We really hope that everyone will reach out, help a student, and help themselves. The newer writers are so much easier on their hands, arms, and necks,” Sebastian added.

“NCRA appreciates ProCAT’s generosity in supporting students in the A to Z program by providing them access to machines,” says Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Senior Director of Education and Certification. “Learning on real steno machines gives students an even better experience when exploring the basics of steno to see if court reporting and captioning would be a good career choice for them.”

ProCAT is offering reporters a $1,300 trade-in value towards a new Xpression writer.

CAT compatibility with Windows 10

Photo by: Anonymous Account

On behalf of NCRA’s Technology Committee, the JCR staff contacted the makers of CAT software products to ask if the different software products were ready for users to update to Windows 10. While representatives from all five companies said that users could update when they were ready, they all suggested that it may be wise to wait until more of the Windows 10 operating system’s bugs were found and the operating system has been further updated.

Microsoft is frequently releasing updates that are automatically made to Windows 10 to fix problems. Newer versions should also contain all the updates made to date.

All five companies asked that users who do have problems report them so that the companies are aware of them.

Advantage/Eclipse

“As of this time, all Advantage Software products are compatible with Windows 10. As always, should any issues come to light, they will be immediately addressed by our research and development department and a resolution (in the form of an update) would be posted on our website,” said Cathy Barbre, one of Advantage Software’s inside sales representatives. Advantage’s website is eclipsecat.com.

Gigatron/StenoCAT

“StenoCAT and TrialBook Realtime Streaming are compatible with Windows 10. The latest releases were thoroughly tested in Windows 10 prior to Microsoft’s public release. Many of our users already successfully use Windows 10 with StenoCAT.  We encourage users to keep their operating system and CAT software up to date,” said Viki McCrary with Gigatron’s sales department.

ProCAT/Winner

“All the in-house testing shows that ProCAT products are compatible with Windows 10, whether you are a steno user or a voice user,” said Lisa Gonzalez, ProCAT’s technical support manager.

“Having said that, there are some disadvantages to Windows 10 that might be a factor in not updating just yet,” Gonzalez said, citing a ProCAT user who reported being unable to boot up after updating to Windows 10. “The fix for this was to wipe the drive and start again with the user staying off of Windows 10.”

“The other factor — at least for me, although it might affect others, too — is the Windows 10 automatic updates. You cannot completely turn off automatic updates. So you must adjust the time in which it will download and restart if necessary. In other words, you will be in the middle of something important, and Windows will want to restart your computer. So, while we are compatible with Windows 10, I think it would be a wise decision to wait for Microsoft to address the infant mortality issues,” said Gonzalez.

Stenovations/digitalCAT

“We have tested our current version of digitalCAT on Windows 10. We did not find any direct issues,” said Johnny Jackson, owner of Stenovations. “However, there is a small extra step that must be taken when installing digitalCAT for the first time on a Windows 10 computer. The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 needs to be installed before the current installer can start. The .NET Framework is available from Microsoft. It is around 300 megabytes and requires an Internet connection. This extra step only needs to be taken the first time.”

“We are working on a new installer to avoid this extra step. It should be ready in September,” Jackson added.

Stenograph/Case CATalyst

“Stenograph spent several months testing Case CATalyst with Windows 10 and found versions 12 through 16 compatible. As with all updates, Stenograph recommends making backups of your work before updating to Windows 10,” said Dan Petersen, Stenograph’s director of marketing.








Registration options for the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo

NCRA has received questions on what’s included in each registration package for the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo. Here’s a breakdown of each registration option so that members can make their decision before registration prices go up by $50 after July 6 (extended deadline!).

Full registration discount package

  • With general seating
  • With VIP seating

Best value! The full registration discount package includes admission to concurrent seminars, the Premier Session, the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, the President’s Party, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include pre-convention intensive workshops, special programs, workshops, or the CLVS Seminar.

Partial registration

  • Three days
  • Two days (Fri./Sat. or Sat./Sun.)
  • One day (Fri. or Sat.)
  • Sunday only (half-day)

Partial registration includes admission to concurrent seminars on the days registered, the Premier Session, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include pre-convention intensive workshops, special programs, workshops, or the CLVS Seminar. Social event tickets are not included in this package.

CLVS Seminar

  • Three days (Fri./Sat./Sun.)
  • Two days (Fri./Mandatory Day [Sat.] or Sat./Sun.)
  • One-day (Mandatory Day [Sat.])

Registration for the CLVS Seminar includes one ticket to the legal videographer reception and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include other social events, concurrent seminars, or special programs/events. Those items must be purchased separately.

Special programs and events

  • National Speed Competition
  • Realtime Competition
  • Special offer — Speed & Realtime Competition combo
  • Punctuation Workshop
  • Teachers’ Workshop

The Speed and Realtime Competitions are not included with partial registration, certification programs packages, or the CLVS Seminar and must be purchased separately. Please register for the Punctuation Workshop and Teachers’ Workshop to reserve your seat.

Certificate and certification programs

  • Realtime Systems Administrators Workshop
  • Realtime Systems Administrators Exam
  • Certified Reporting Instructor Orientation
  • Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop
  • Certified Realtime Captioner Exam

Registration for these certificate and certification programs includes a 3-day Expo pass; social events are not included. The Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop includes admission to concurrent seminars on Friday and Saturday afternoons after the workshop breaks for the day. Partial registration (Sunday) will be required for attendance at Sunday concurrent seminars.

Pre-convention vendor workshops

  • Advantage Software/Eclipse
  • ProCAT
  • Stenograph

These intensive training seminars are held on Thursday, July 30. Registration for these workshops includes a 3-day Expo pass. Select which vendor workshop you wish to attend.

Networking package

  • Networking package general seating
  • Networking package VIP seating

The networking package includes the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, the President’s Party, the Premier Seminar, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass.

Individual social event tickets

  • Opening Reception (Thurs.)
  • CLVS Reception (Fri.)
  • CART/Captioner’s Reception (Fri.)
  • Awards Luncheon (Sat.)
  • President’s Party (Sat.) — general seating
  • President’s Party (Sat.) — VIP seating

Social event tickets are not included with partial registration, certification programs packages, or the CLVS Seminar (except as noted) and must be purchased separately.

Register now or visit the registration information page for a breakdown of prices.








Check your writers: Dayling saving time begins Mar. 9

Daylight saving time begins on March 9, 2014. While people who live in one of the many areas that observe DST will be setting their clocks forward one hour over the weekend, court reporters should also check the date and time settings in their writers to prevent any files from being lost due to skipping an hour.








Start the year right

It is that time of year to remember to:

1. Start new paper calendars for the office and the courtroom if your court still requires paper.

2. Change the year on any steno machines and computers that do not automatically change dates.

3. Change invoice numbers for the new year. Example: 20140001.

4. Synchronize the steno machine and computer clocks with the clock in the courtroom.

5. Write fast, sell lots of copies.

Jerry Kelley, RPR, CRR, is an official reporter in McKinney, Texas. He is also a member of Technology Review Committee.