Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 6

Start Date: June 10, 2011
Finish Date: June 20, 2011

Well, this is the first lesson where I did not breeze through the "theory"and spend most of my time practicing the word lists and sentences.  Two things slowed my progress. First, beginning X is made with the KP keys if the "X" is followed by a vowel of vowel sound.  However, use final EBGS ("ex") in a separate stroke if "X" is followed by a consonant.  Basically, KP is a shortcut to save a stroke.  Second, beginning Z is made with the S and * keys.  I had a hard time a first "reaching" with my right index finger to press the * key while pressing other keys (example: ZIP = S*EUP).

Here is a brief summary of Lesson #6:
Lesson #6:
Initial Side Letters: X  C  Z
Final Side Letters:  X
Vowels: long U
Symbol: Asterisk Key
Brief Forms: ask, could, from, had, have, should, their, they, why, would

After 6 lessons:
* All initial and final letter have been covered
* 3 punctuation characters and 3 symbols have been covered
* 41 brief forms have been covered

Friday, June 17, 2011

Case CATalyst on Mac OS X

Personally, I don't know if there is any CAT software for Mac.  When I bought my Elan Cybra, it came with Case CATalyst version 10 for the PC.  So I decided to see if I could install it on my MacBook Pro (Intel Core i5, Mac OS X version 10.6.7).  I already had installed VirtualBox on my Mac (with Windows XP) to run Windows software, if necessary.

Please 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).

However, I have been able to install the Case CATalyst software on VirtualBox, connect the blue security device and my Elan Cybra (and the Stentura 400 SRT) to my Mac and Case CATalyst program without any noticeable problem.  I must note that I am new to the program and have not tried all aspects of the program.  But  it seems to work just fine.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 5

Start Date: June 6, 2011
Finish Date: June 10, 2011

I finished CRAH Lesson #5 in less than a week, though I have to admit that I went through the material once (or twice) while doing lesson #4.  While a person is not suppose to look ahead in the lesson manual, I will read the next lesson if I find myself doing the practice lessons a bunch of times.  Here is a basic summary of Lesson #5:

Lesson #5:
Initial Side Letters: V  Q  G
Final Side Letters:  Z  J
Vowels: long O
Brief Forms: can, many, were, when, where, whether, which, with, yes

Sunday, June 12, 2011

After One Month with CRAH

After one month with the CRAH program, I have completed 4 lessons.

I think that I'm an average (skilled) person and only have about 1/2 hour to 1 hour to practice each day, and I do miss a day here and there.  At this rate, I am completing about a lesson a week and it will take me about 5 months to complete the 20 lessons of theory.

Therefore, the people that you read about on the CRAH website who finish the theory in about 3 months are probably practicing about 2 or more hours per day, which is not unusual for (full time) court reporting student.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 4

I finished CRAH Lesson #4 in about a week and a half, though I think that it would taken me only a week if I practiced everyday for an hour.  For this lesson, I was only able to practice for about 1/2 a day, but I was unable to practice everyday.  Here is a basic summary of Lesson #4

Lesson #4:
Initial Side Letters: J  Y  W  F  K
Final Side Letters:  F  M  K
Vowels: long I
Symbols: "Q:" and "A:"
Brief Forms: be, because, did, if, that, there, this, what

Similar to Lesson #3, I could not keep up with the dictation CD after doing the practice words and sentences about 20 times.  I think that I did them again another 10 times or so and could almost keep up, so I did them a few more times and was finally able to follow the dictation CD, though I did make errors.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Steno Machine -- Elan Cybra

When I was originally looking for a Steno Machine, I had considered getting an Elan Cybra, a paperless machine.  They were a bit more expensive and I had read that you really don't need a paperless machine until you finish the basic theory and a person needs the ability to read the "raw" steno notes.

But it occurred to me that I would eventually be connected to a computer where it would be translating my input into English in realtime.  On top of that, I could save money on ink and paper.

So I decided to purchase an Elan Cybra.  I would use both of them out and then sell the one I did not like on eBay.  After using the Elan Cybra for a few weeks, I generally like it a bit better than the Stentura 400 SRT, but I have not yet decided if I want to sell the Stentura 400 SRT.

(Note: the previous owner put some non-slip pads on the keys.  I really didn't like them, so I removed most of them.  I left the non-slip pads on the asterisk key and the number bar to help me with one of my ealry problems: my finger drifting from the home position)

* Paperless.  No paper or ink to deal with.
* Made in 2009.  More modern than the Stentura 400 SRT.
* The keys are more adjustable.

* Must be connected to a computer to be meaningful. This means I had to learn the CAT program (all by myself).  I would eventually have to learn it with the Stentura 400 SRT, but I had to use valuable practice time to learn the CAT program.
* More expensive than the Stentura 400 SRT, though I got it for a a good price on eBay.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 3

Well, it took me a bit more than a week to complete CRAH Lesson #3.  I continue to only practicing about 1/2 to 1 hour per day.  I spent the other time setting up and learning the basics of the Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software.  Here is a basic summary of Lesson #3

Lesson #3:
Initial Side Letters: D  B  M  H
Final Side Letters:  D  B  G
Vowels: long E
Punctuation: ","
Brief Forms: also, always, any, in, knew, how, will

Just like Lesson #2, what took me so long too complete this lesson were the practice words (about 92) and the practice sentences (about 13).  I could do them slowly, but once again I could not keep up with the dictation CD.  So if you're like me, don't be shocked if you breeze through the beginning of the lesson--new letters and brief forms--and spend most of your time practicing the words and sentences.