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:

NCRA members take advantage of 2018 Best.Friday.Ever.

Diane Kraynak

On Black Friday, NCRA members took advantage of five fantastic discounts and giveaways. These giveaways were tied to membership renewals, event registrations, and purchases for e-seminars and certification tests.

Hundreds of NCRA members renewed their membership on Black Friday for an opportunity to win one of several giveaways. Diane Kraynak,  RMR, CRR, CRC, a captioner with Mid-Michigan Reporting from Wyoming, Mich., won a free registration for the NCRA Realtime Contest. “I am delighted to win a free Realtime Contest entry!  I try to compete every three years, hoping to get some CEU points,” Kraynak said. “My sister lives near Denver, so the 2019 convention has been on my radar since 2016.”

Kraynak said that she has competed in the national Realtime Contest several times and used to compete in the Speed Contest each year. “It is such a wonderful way to check one’s skills and get a tax-deductible vacation to boot! I won seven times, but never reached my goal of winning three in a row. I placed fifth in my first one 42 years ago and second the rest of the times.”

Also heading to the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo., will be Elena McClash, RPR, an official court reporter from Center Moriches, N.Y., who won a free registration to the Association’s premier event. Other winners in this year’s Best.Friday.Ever. Black Friday event included: Pamela Myers, a freelance reporter from Glendale, Calif., who won a free NCRA membership for 2020; and Trina Semino, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Winter Park, Fla., and Hannah Jagler, RPR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Milwaukee, Wis., who each won a free Skills Test registration.

“Winning a free membership is very exciting. I just rejoined NCRA after many years, so it’s a great surprise,” said Myers. “I’m hoping to complete the final (225 Q&A) leg of my RPR in 2019, in anticipation of maybe moving in the future to a state where that is required, and I look forward to checking out the continuing education classes,” she added.








Why Black Friday deals on electronics are seldom what they seem

I have been a victim of cheap electronics sales; I have been enticed by a mind-boggling low price and purchased a cheap tablet. That tablet is in the pile of worthless electronic garbage that consumes considerable real estate in my office. The tablet was unable to hold a charge and won’t stay on for more than 2 minutes. I take personal notice and hope to keep my wits about me.

According to many news stories, predictions are for a slow holiday season in the retail market, and campaigns have started early to get you to spend your holiday dollars with them. For instance, consider the ABC News article which recommends against buying any of the tablets in the $50 range, as they are unlikely to work well. Also, The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch blog recommends against buying tablet computers on Black Friday. Do your research, shop around, and buy wisely.