Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Switched to Magnum Steno (Stenomaster)

I my posting Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 10 and Beyond I had formed a modified CRAH theory and was going through the lessons again.

I though to myself--what the hell am I doing.  I really like the CRAH but realized it was a bit stroke intensive--I had a hard time breaking 60 WPM.  I really struggled with where to go, what to do.

I stumbled across some Mark Kislingbury videos on Youtube (again) and watched the ones on writing speed (Part 1) (Part 2) that writing speed is how fast your finger move (strokes per minute) times strokes word. It made sense--it was simple math that on one can refute. No wonder why so many students can't get up to speed to pass their tests.  A person needs to write shorter.

So I sold my CRAH program and bought the Magnum Steno Book and then the Stenomaster Book.  The Magnum Steno Book is more like a reference and the Stenomaster Book is the theory book.  The Magnum Steno website does not list it on their sight, so you have to call to order it.  My recommendation is to start with the Stenomaster book and then get the Magum Steno book later--though I believe you can get a discount if you buy them together.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Court Reporter's Reference of Commonly Used Words and Phrases

Another good court reporting reference:

The Court Reporter's Reference of Commonly Used Words and Phrases 

It has the 5,000 most frequently used words and 200 commonly used phrases are listed alphabetically and by frequency.   300 commonly used legal words and phrases, and 425 commonly used phrases heard in the court room or depositions. 625 commonly used medical words and phrases. The 300 most commonly used male first names, female first names, and 1,000 most common last names used in the United States.

You can get a 10% off by going to the publisher's website for the book (click here) and using discount code: RW2VGPBU.

UPDATE: (April 2014):
An expanded second edition of this book has been published (click here).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Court Reporter's Reference of Realtime Conflicts

An excellent resource for realtime conflicts is:

The Court Reporter's Reference of Realtime Conflicts 

It has about 2,600 prefixes, words, word parts, or suffixes that may form homonym (by, bye, buy), stenonym ("to the" and "tot"), and word-boundary conflicts ("sent review" and "sentry view").  Definitely the most extensive list of realtime conflict out there.

You can get a 10% off by going to the publisher's website for the book (click here) and using discount code: RW2VGPBU.

UPDATE: (April 2014):
Looks like an expanded Second Edition of this book has been published (click here).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stenomaster / Magnum Steno

From what I've collected on the internet from various websites--I do not own a Magnum Steno Book-- Stenomaster (2004) or Magnum Steno (2008) by Mark Kislinbury contains these basic ideas:

1. Incorporate inflected ending onto words when possible.
2. Incorporate other suffixes (and prefixes) onto words when possible.
3. Shorten multisyllabic words to reduce strokes.  This is done by reducing word to the key letters. Rearranging the letter order (like an anagram) is OK.
4. Use phrasing (to write 2 or more words in one stroke) when possible.

Inflected Endings:
1. The plural form is written by adding -Z (or -S for words ending in T)
2. The past tense is written by adding -D
   * If word has D, then add -T
3. The "ing" ending is written by adding -G
   * If word ends in G (or B or BG), then add -DZ

Inflected Ending Examples:
PRA = practice
PRAZ = practices
PRAD = practiced
PRAG = practicing

WAUBG = walk
WAUBGZ = walks
WAUBGD = walked
WAUBGDZ = walking

-ings = -GZ
-ion = -GS (plus other "SHUN" endings)
-er = -R (May appear out of order: sweater = SWERT)
-able = -BL
-ance = -NS or -S
-al = -L
-ly = -L
-ally = -*L
-ism = -FPL

ad- = D-
an- = N-
com- = KM-
de- = D-
dis- = SD-
in- = N-

(similar to other theories)
U = you
E = he
-T = the
S- = is

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Top 25 Two-Word English Phrases

Top 25 Two-Word Phrases
1. of the
2. in the
3. to the
4. on the
5. and the
6. to be
7. at the
8. for the
9. in a
10. don't / do not 
11. with the
12. from the
13. it was
14. of a
15. that the
16. as a
17. is a
18. going to
19. by the
20. and I
21. it is
22. with a
23. I think
24. for a
25. he was

These phrase should definitely have a one stroke steno outline in your dictionary.  Further, we also see why the word "the" should be on the right bank / final side (e.g., -T = "the").

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Case CATalyst and DigitalCAT on the Mac OS X (Part II)

My last post on this topic seems quite popular, so I have an update:

As I stated in a previous post, I run Case CATalyst on my Mac (MacBook Pro, Intel Core i5, Mac OS X version 10.6.8) using Windows XP and Windows 7 virtual machines on VirtualBox.  I've been using the program on Windows XP virtual machine with my Elan Cybra for about 15 months without any problems.  For the Windows 7 virtual machine, I've only been using it for about 2 months without any problems.

Again note that Case CATalyst only recommends installing Case CATalyst on BootCamp and does not recommend installing Case CATalyst on a virtual machine like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion (or VirtualBox).

Further, I also installed DigitalCAT on the same Windows XP and Windows 7 virtual machines about 2 months ago.  The program seems to run fine, but I have not been able to connect my Elan Cybra to the program.  I don't believe it to be a software issue.  To use DigitalCAT you must use the serial output on the stenograph and use a serial to USB adapter to connect it to the computer (click here for details).  The hardware costs about $70.  Why spend this when Case CATalyst is already working for me.  However, I highly recommend DigitalCAT for students who need CAT.  The software is free for students and the only investment is about $70 in hardware while Case CATalyst is $495 for student version plus any necessary hardware.

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 10 and Beyond

Start Date: August 7, 2011
Finish Date: Late August 2011

I officially made it through lesson 10 in late August 2011.  However, during this lesson, I picked up a book called "Fashionable Realtime Toolbox".  Just like the CRAH program, the book came highly recommended and I could not find anyone who said a bad thing about it.  The book takes you through various elements testing your writing theory for realtime "air-tightness" (homonym conflicts, word boundary conflicts, etc).  I agree with the book that all theories and writers will have at least some hairline cracks.

I spent the remainder of 2011 going through the book and CRAH theory.  I have made changes which I think make it better suited for realtime.  Now I going back through the program with the modified theory.

Some may say: how can go through CRAH with a different theory.  To me, CRAH is more than a theory, it is an organized PROGRAM that has theory, speed building, academic material, etc.

Some notable changes I made:
1. Steno Outline for a word is much more spelling dependent.
2. Added kn- (I use TKPH) to eliminate conflicts like knit and nit; knight and night.
3. Added -y (I use FPL).  This eliminates many conflicts.
4. Added -w (I use FBG).  This eliminates many conflicts, e.g., so, sow, and sew.

Lately, I've been looking into the layout keyboard.  It occurred to me one day that it seems like final N (-PB) is a bit misplaced on the keyboard layout.  The letter is a somewhat frequent letter, so should it not be assigned it's own (single) key?  Further, Ward Stone Ireland modified the keyboard layout for his next stenograph in 1917, which never caught on.  Theoretically, you can use any key or combination of keys to represent any letter, combination of letter, word, or phrase.  This question is: what is the most efficient keyboard layout?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Inflected Endings - To Use Or Not To Use A Separate Stroke

The most frequent English suffixes are the plural, past tense, and –ing inflected endings.  A common writing theory question has been: should an inflected ending be a separate stroke or should it be combined, if possible, with the root stroke?  The NCRA does not “prohibited” writing theories from including inflected endings on the end of the root stroke.  However, the NCRA Theory Review Task Force strongly recommends that a theory use a separate stroke for inflected endings and has even criticized some writing theories that combine the root stroke and inflected endings.  Further, some captioning companies actually require that inflected endings be a separate stroke.

Combining the inflected ending with the root stroke saves a stroke; thus, increasing writing speed.  However, this combination of root stroke and infected ending creates MANY potential conflicts (e.g., banned and band; sinning and sing; etc.).  And the only way to resolve these conflicts is by memorizing the conflicts (or writing rules when combining the inflected ending is or is not allowed) and being able to recall them without hesitation.

I highly recommend using a separate stroke of inflected endings except for 3 situations for the plural ending that never create a conflict.

Plurals (-s, -es):
Use a separate stoke, /Z, for all inflected plural endings except for the following 3 situations.
1. Words ending in -ds (e.g., deeds, sheds, etc.) will combine the plural ending into the root stroke (-DZ).
2. Words ending in -ts (e.g., hits, heights, etc.) will use -S to indicate the plural ending and will combine the plural ending into the root stroke (-TS).
3. Words ending in -ks (e.g., disks, tacks, etc.) will combine the plural ending into the root stroke (-KZ).

Note that you can incorporate a -Z some suffixes to indicate a plural ending; thus eliminating the need for an additional /Z stroke.  For example, -GZ = ings and -RZ = -ers.

Past Tense (-ed):
Use a separate stoke, /D, for all inflected past tense endings.

-ing Ending:
Use a separate stoke, /G, for all inflected -ing endings.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

To Brief or Not to Brief, That is the Question

I am amused at the debate over using briefs.  I have read at least one posting that states that the popularity of using briefs has swung back an forth between using few (or no) briefs to using many briefs over the years.

Fact 1: Ward Stone Ireland's original theory had briefs.  Not shocking because the pen-and-paper shorthand at that time (mainly Gregg's Shorthand) had briefs for frequent words and phrases.

Fact 2: I have not read through a stenograph machine theory that not use at least some briefs.  Some use few briefs like Sten Ed and Robert, Walsh and Gonzalez.  Some use a lot of briefs like Magnum Steno.

Fact 3: Hello people, your goal is probably to become a Certified SHORTHAND reporter (CSR).  Shorthand means to write in an abbreviated form.

My personal opinion is that frequently used words and phrases should have a brief.  After that it's up to the person to decide to write out the word (or phrase) or to use a brief.  

If a person wants to write faster, they need to their increase stroke rate (e.g., 3 to 3.5 stroke per second) OR they need to increase the amount of words (or syllables) are written per stroke (e.g., 1 to 1.5 words per stroke).  

So, the fewer briefs a person uses the lower the "memory load" (decreasing the chance of hesitation which helps increase stroke rate) but the person needs to be able to increase their stroke rate to increase speed.  However, using more briefs means a higher "memory load" (increasing the chance of hesitation which might decrease stroke rate) but the person does not need increase their stroke rate to increase speed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 9

Start Date: July 22, 2011
Finish Date: August 6, 2011

Here a brief summary of that lesson:

Vowels: "oo" words, oy or oi words, ou words, and au words
Endings: -ch and -sh
Suffixes: -able, -ible, -ble, -ability, and -ibility
Briefs: became, become, damage, inform, information, nobody, person, purpose, result, return, somebody, somehow, someone, something, sometime, somewhere

For the suffixes: -able, -ible, -ble, -ability, and -ibility, CRAH has a different suffix.  For example -able = AEBL,  -ible= EUBL, etc.  I looked at other theories and they only have BL for both -able and -ible.  Why make things more complicated?  I could not figure out a conflict where I would have to know the difference (or the spelling).  The same is true for -ability and -ibility, other theories use BLT for both.