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.