The Archives (Part Quatro)

(Or "Here There Be (A Wee Bit More) Old Stuff")

Alas, I forgot to check the page count on this one when I made it, but as I write this, it weighs in at a relatively svelte 47 pages!

Ah, well ... I was close! Not to worry, though ... I made up for it in the next archive (67 pages!).

Have fun spelunking through it all ....

Update (24DEC08)

It's That Time of Year Again ...

Yes, that's right ... 'tis the season!

Stooge Christmas

"Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!"

Yes, 'tis the season ... that time of year when kids try to be good, so they don't get the proverbial "lump of coal" in their Christmas stocking ... and when guys try to avoid going to the dog house (though I guess that happens every day of the year, somewhere ...).

While I'm way past the age of worrying about lumps of coal in my Christmas stocking myself, I do have something for my fellow starving students™: A lengthy answer from Mark "Magnum Steno" Kislingbury to a question from a soon-to-be-done-with-CR-school student, Katiana, from the Yahoo group, CourtReportingStudents:

"What does this champion speed writer say about reading back? What does he say about practicing for 'control?' I don't think (he) advocates practicing for control at all."

You can find the answer here.


Passport News

The Passport is shipping!

While the software isn't quite finished, the writer is shipping and in the hands of many of those who are on The List ... and one of those lucky few has agreed to write a review of the Passport for ol' Cheap and Sleazy!

Watch for it!

Total Immersion News

I recently directed a soon-bo-be student to the home page for the Total Immersion pilot program. I was about to tell her that the program starts in September, then remembered what day it was (hint: Past September!), and attempted to find a P.O.C. to ask about the program ... and I found B.J. Shorak, the Deputy Director of the NCRF (National Court Reporter's Foundation), and asked a few questions:

Q.    Are applicants still being accepted?

A.    Yes they are. The deadline is January 15th.

Q.    I just pointed a frustrated (initial costs, sans financial aid) wannabe student to the Total Immersion site, but last I heard, the program was to start last September. Is the pilot program running yet? If so, how is it going?

A.    TIPP, as we call it (Total Immersion Pilot Program) is under way in that the horses are out of the gate. Deadline for applications is 1/15, and the program (aka training) will officially start in mid-March.

So there you have it! Get those applications in!

28NOV13 Update

Mein Steno Life, Part Duh

As some of you might recall, I mentioned last month that I was planning on attending Green River Community College's online CR program.

Alas, due to a variety of factors, I will have to postpone that plan for a few months ... but in the meantime, the plan is to teach myself.

While looking through my Big Bag o' Steno Stuff the other day, I discovered I had a lot of books: "Q&A, a Faster Way," "Practice With a Purpose" (sorry, no link for that one!), lots of Phoenix Theory books, including Beginning Medical Stenoscription (complete with two CDs: Dictation and the medical dictionary), etc. ... and a lot of CDs, including some low speed CDs and a practice keyboard from The Steno Diva ...

Steno Diva Deluxe Practice Keyboard

Steno Diva Deluxe Practice Keyboard

(note that was an ARCHIVED page!) ... and a whole bunch of speed building CDs from, and pretty much everything from Court Reporting, thanks to my uncovering a serious copyright infringement issue a few months back for Stephen "Da Man Hisself" Shastay, wherein someone was selling CDs with his, among others, entire website on them(!)

Fixed that.

Anyway ... in addition to all those books and all those drills, there's this page on YouTube:

Hopefully those resources (and don't forget the Magic Drill!) will get me up to speed ... and then I'll see about finishing up things at GRCC.

Add in Mark Kislingbury's speed building methodology, and hopefully, I'll get through those speeds!

Wish me luck ...!

Update (01DEC08)

Turkey Days ....

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!

Funky Chicken

Not Quite a Turkey ....

Alas, my Turkey Day was marred by the discovery that Dave McKenna, jazz pianist extraordinaire, passed away on October 18th.

Dave McKenna (left) with Grant Simpson (right)

Pianist Grant Simpson (left) with his mentor, Dave McKenna (right)

I found out when I was listening to NPR that day (I think it was that day ...).

I tuned in and heard some good piano music playing, but a song I had not heard before. I told my girlfriend, "You know, that piano player sounds just like Dave McKenna!" ... and shortly after that, the announcer came on, and said they were doing a tribute to "... the late, great, Dave McKenna."

I had heard that he was ill a couple years ago, but hadn't heard much since ... so now I see why.

I actually got to see him play once when I was 19. He was playing at the original Jazz Alley one evening, and at the time, his album, "Left Handed Complement" was getting heavy airplay on the jazz stations in the area.

Alas, since I was underage, I was only able to get the bouncer to let me in for all of five minutes ... but that was a five minute period of time that I will never forget! Dave played that piano like he had three hands!

The Jazz Alley, at that time, was really small -- barely seated 20 people -- and I was standing just behind Dave as he played, and I got a good look at that amazing left hand. Alas, that five minutes came and went, and I had to go. Never got to speak to him or get an autograph; still kicking myself about that. Worse, I never heard of him coming back to this area since! :o(

He will be sorely missed.

The Steno Life

Recently, Marc Greenberg, the man behind Simply, RPR, and Steno, among others, posted a question on the MSN group, Court Reporter Assistance that I participated in. The question:

"... Any questions you think I should be asking ALL the CAT companies? Remember, the questions shouldn't be specific to one company."

Naturally, I made a few suggestions, some of which kinda-sorta found their way into the final batch of questions.

Unfortunately, despite asking all of the vendors the same questions, only three sent back answers: Stenograph, ProCAT, and Stenovations.

You can read those responses in the current issue.

Mein Steno Life

As most of you know, I left one of the two remaining court reporting schools in Washington state a couple years ago when my school closed to engage in another course of study at another school. While I'm not quite finished with that course of study (I'll get back to it ... one of these days), I find myself contemplating going back to court reporting school.

To that end, I have applied for and been accepted by Green River Community College, where I will (hopefully) be participating in their online program, starting next month.

The only sticking point is they want me to switch to Case Catalyst. Seems that "no other CAT software works properly with their online program."

As hard drive space on my MacBook Pro is a bit lacking, installing Case will probably not be a good idea!

I have to drive down to GRCC this week or next. I plan on bringing my laptop and steno machine with me. Hopefully, I can test my setup on their online software!

Wish me luck ....

Update (14NOV08)

Total Immersion

A few months back, I got a private message over on the forum from denizen Laura B., who is also one of the readers of ol' Cheap and Sleazy. She quoted a thread from the old NCRA Forum (which, by the way, now has a new address: ... and is available to all) about something called "Total Immersion.". Here's a quote from the then-NCRA president Kathy DiLorenzo:

"Now for an update on Total Immersion. The program is on course to begin in September of 2008. Yes, four months from now.

"A brand-new theory has been developed from scratch. It is a realtime theory, though one the Task Force believes will be learned quickly by the students in a period of 13 weeks. We will soon be advertising for the lead instructor of the program based on a heavy set of requirements. Additionally, we will also very soon be looking for our 15 online students who will participate in the pilot. The students will be very carefully chosen following a series of admittance exams and interviews. Not a single course will be taught other than theory and speedbuilding until the student reaches 225 words per minute on the machine. Targeted completion date: one year max. No realtime, no CAT, no English, no medical or legal terminology -- nuthin' but steno until 225. Remember folks, to our knowledge, no single student failed to graduate from a court reporting program for any reason other than lack of steno speed.

"That's a quick synopsis of where we are to date. The Task Force is meeting regularly for updates."

As you might guess, I wanted more info ... so I searched through a few posts over on the old NCRA Forum, and found out ... well, very little that wasn't covered in that quote up there.

Next, I dashed off a couple of e-mails asking for more info ... one to the always busy editor of the JCR, Jacqueline Schmidt, and the other to then-president DiLorenzo ... who, it turns out, worked for Merrill Legal Solutions, one of the larger court reporting agencies.

Never heard back from Jacqueline (busy, busy, I suppose). Never heard back from Ms. DiLorenzo ... but I did get something from ... Merrill Legal Solutions.

Alas, it wasn't about anything in my e-mail.

So. Fast forward a few months ... and I find this over on the NCRA's website:


"This" being the very same project I read about thanks to Laura B., way back in June!

Here's a few highlights:

  • brand spankin' new theory
  • free student writer
  • free tuition
  • study nothing but steno for 8 hours per day
  • academics introduced at the 225 level

But Before You Get Too Excited ...

This pilot program is for new, never-been-to-CR-school students ... and I know there's a few of you out there who stumbled upon ol' Cheap and Sleazy by using the search engines to find stuff on court reporting. If this is you, then you should get busy and apply!

As you might guess, since this is an online course, you will have to have a little technical savvy. You should be able to navigate around your computer easily, know how to use Word, know how to save files, understand the difference between 'Save' and 'Save As,' know how to locate files downloaded by your web browser, be able to install and uninstall software (hint: Add Remove Programs is the best way to remove software!), use e-mail, including attaching files or documents, etc.

Some (well, a little) of this stuff is covered in my "Got Fear?" article ... but in looking at this, I should probably add more to it ...!

Fortunately, Google is your friend, here. If you don't know how to do something on your computer, you can search for what you need to know, and someone has probably got a video explaining exactly how to do it.

Also, you'll have to write a 200 - 300 word essay titled "Career Opportunities Available in the Field of Realtime Reporting and Why This is the Career Path for Me."

So, if someone asks you, "What will you do after you finish court reporting school?" and the only answer you have is "Be a court reporter, duh --!", this means you have more research to do before you begin that essay.

Good luck!

Oh yeah ... did I mention they only need 15 people? Don't get knocked out of consideration because of a spelling error in your essay!

Da Man Hisself -- on YouTube

That's right -- Stephen Shastay, Da Man Hisself, is on YouTube!

Stephen Shastay

Stephen Shastay -- Da Man Hisself -- on YouTube

You can find his videos here:

(Or you can simply click on Steve's picture)

He's got a few political things there, and (of course!) some excellent steno advice, such as how to sit at your machine, how to position your hands on the writer, the importance of clarity in your steno, and the all-important discussion of why briefs and phrases are Good Things.

I'm sure he'll be adding more stuff as time goes by (I think everything was uploaded last month) ... so stop by and check out those videos!

Update (31OCT08)

Warning ... Warning ... Warning ....!

Alas, I've been a bit under the weather (stomach flu is no fun, let me tell you!), so this update is ... late.

In keeping with the day (and the update to Different Dictation that I'm working on that should've been ready last week), cryptozoologist Loren Coleman has a rather disturbing post about phantom clowns, which were apparently spotted in the Illinois area.

Tim Curry as IT, from the Stephen King mini-series

Tim Curry as the "It" Clown, from the Stephen King mini-series, "It"

If you're in that area (and even if you're not; these things tend to spread), please warn your kids not to approach any clowns they might see on the street!

If you read the comments on Loren's Phantom Clown page, there's a disturbing incident reported by a 13-year-old about a couple clowns who tried to grab one of her friends.

So, warn those kids!

Different Dictation Update

Alas, I have yet to get back to that update ... but had I finished it, it would have mentioned that today's episode of Ghost to Ghost AM will not be hosted by Art Bell ... but rather, George Noory ... and will only be four hours.

So, get those kids all tricked and treated and in bed by 10:00 PM Pacific time, and tune in to your local Coast affiliate and do some recording (as detailed in the still not updated Different Dictation) ... and enjoy!

Update (16OCT08)

Got Thirty Bucks?

If you're in that Speed Building Game known as Court Reporting School, I have jut the place to spend it: The Magnum Steno Club! Here's the blurb:

Magnum Steno Club members, for only $29.95 per month, can join me every day of the week (Mon-Fri) for 20 minutes of briefs practice and speed building! It's archived, so come in any time of day and play the video online! I recommend doing this just before your job every day. Join the Magnum Steno Club and quickly move into the elite ranks of court reporters by practicing with me! Members of the Magnum Steno Club will receive regular discounts at the same time as they gain lots of speed and accuracy!

I've heard Good Things about this $1.00 per day offer ... check it out!

But Wait -- There's More!

If you're not sure the Magnum Steno Club is for you, perhaps a free trial might work ... so, if you want to try it for one day for free, send an e-mail to Samual at sammysteno (at) aol (dot) com ... and he'll get you started.

It would be best not to be ill that day! :o)

(Thanks for the tip, Andrea Murphy!)

Home Study Article Updated

Just went through and fixed the dead links in Dave Winkeler's Home Study article, thanks to those fine folks at Web!

Make sure you check out the link on how to mark and dictate your own material. Took a while to find that one ... and in case it disappears again, you can download a .pdf version of it here.


Update (28SEP08)

Want Mac?

If you're thinking about taking the plunge and joining me and several working reporters in following the Macintosh Way, have I got a deal for you!

Scopist Donnis Thompson has a MacBook she's selling for $850 (or best offer). The system has an 80 GB hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, Mac OS 10.5 (Lepoard), with built-in WiFi. It also includes iWork and Mac Office 2008.

She's selling it because she has decided to upgrade to a MacBook Pro, and doesn't need two Macs (imagine that!). So, her loss is your gain!

If you're interested, send Donnis an e-mail: prooferbythesea (at) gmail (dot) com.

Don't forget to tell her you heard about it on ol' Cheap and Sleazy!

Bunny Slipper Nirvana

As promised, Jill Driscoll's captioning article is up! You can read it here.


Update (25SEP08)

A Close Call For Many

As you know, Texas was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ike.

In Ike's Wake

In Ike's Wake

If you're a reader of, you might have seen this picture:

Depowife, Depodog and Depoman Pre-Ike (yes, they made it)

Depowife, Depodog and Depoman Pre-Ike (yes, they made it)

Yes, that's right ... that's Depowife, Depodog and Depoman himself, in front of their house which they had just boarded up before this picture was taken in Houston.

A lot of the folks that post on the Depoman forum are in Texas, as is Da Man Hisself, Stephen Shastay, the man behind the Speed Teacher.

Luckily, they all seem to have made it!

I sent Stephen Shastay an e-mail. He says he barely made it ... but he's still alive and kicking ... and that's the way I prefer it -- as do you, I'm sure.

And Now ... a Glimmer of Coming Attractions .....

Captioner Work Shoes

Would You Trade Your Work Shoes for These Work Shoes ...?

If so, captioner Jill Driscoll's upcoming article will point you towards "Bunny Slipper Nirvana!" Watch for it this coming weekend!

Say What?!?

Oh ... for those of you who don't want to swap their work shoes for bunny slippers, here's another pair of work shoes for you to consider:

No Bunny Slippers?  Howzabout a Pair of These ....

Don't Want the Bunny Slippers? Howzabout a Pair of These ....

Update (12SEP08)

No Joy on the CaseViewNet and Darwine Test ....

Alas, Rick and Darwine didn't get along (he got an error message about missing drivers(?), so no realworld test with CaseViewNet running under Darwine. Perhaps ... one day.

What? Want More Briefs?

In a recent e-mail, Johnny Jackson pointed me to Stenovation's new sister site:

What I've been doing for the past few minutes is searching BriefPedia for phrases, like "asked and answered," and "object to the form," with my Phoenix Theory dictionary open (via Darwine, of course), and comparing the results.

For instance, for "Object to the form," my theory didn't have anything ... but BriefPedia came up with /O-FPL (among others). Since my theory usually includes an asterisk for briefs, I would add the stroke /*O-FPL to my Glenz dictionary (or Uber; depends).

Interestingly, neither BriefPedia nor my Phoenix Theory dictionary had anything for "Dazed and confused." ....

Update (07SEP08)

Speed Teacher and Vista

As you might know, Stephen Shastay, Da Man Hisself, updated the Speed Teacher to work with Vista.

As you also might have noticed, the extra file you need to install to make Speed Teacher work with Vista are no longer on the Speed Teacher download page!

Fortunately, I think I may have found the solution -- well, two, actually.

If you've read Got Fear?, you know how to find pages that have disappeared or changed, right? That's right: We use the Way Back Machine!

Doing so will (eventually) give this page:

Scroll down a bit, and you'll see the file you need to install to make the Speed Teacher run on Vista.

The Other Solution

Click the picture!

Speed Teacher and Vista File

Click Me to Download the File That Makes the Speed Teacher Work With Vista

For those of you with Vista that couldn't find the above-linked file, your day just got a little bit better! :o)

Update (01SEP08)

   Too Much Time On My Hands ....This Just In ....

Schroeder Gives Up Piano, Takes Up Steno

Schroeder Gives Up Music, Takes Up Steno

TeLiTor Update

I got an e-mail from Michael Lenti, the son of TeLiTor creator Umberto Lenti. He says that support for TeLiTor's existing customers will continue. Not sure if there will be any more updates, though.

Bridge Refresh Protocol Going Universal ...?

In the August 2008 issue of Keith Vincent's free E-Tips Newsletter, he says that while he was at the NCRA convention in Anaheim, CA, he spoke to Johnny Jackson of Stenovations, Larry Hunt of AristoCAT, Deby Owens, ProCAT's Saleswoman Extrordinaire, and Jason Primuth of LiveNote about implmenting the Bridge refresh protocol in their respective products.

Of the four, Stenovations is actively working on making their software work with Bridge, while the remaining three are "interested in implementing it" in their software.

For those of you who are wondering what the big deal is, Bridge is a free application from Advantage Software, the makers of the Passport and Eclipse, which a reporter would use to provide realtime to the attorneys.

Bridge doesn't care which CAT software you use: It will take your translated steno, and feed it to as many attorneys you want.

But if you're on Eclipse and you see you've got some raw steno (an untran or a mistran) in the transcript, during a break in the proceedings you can go to the error and fix it ... and the correction would be sent to all the computers that the reporter (you ...?) is sending a realtime feed to.

As you might guess, if you're not on Eclipse, you can fix the problem, but your attorneys will still see that raw steno.

You can see this in action (sort of) by running the demo in Bridge. Just go to the Help menu and select Demo.

Wine and Bridge

Bridge Running Under Wine

As for what that "protocol" looks like, here's a bit of it:

Text is sent in ASCII format. It can be transmitted through a Serial port, through a shared file on a network, or directly to a TCP-IP port (or domain name.)

Commands are sent as follows: 0x02 (command) 0x03 (it can also be represented as ^B (command) ^C)

Here is a list of the commands:

P -- Page number. Followed by two bytes of data, which is a word containing the current page number (little-endian.)

Example: 0x02 P 0x1D 0x02 0x03 (represents page number 0x021D, or page 541)

N -- Line number. Followed by one byte of data containing the line number

Example: 0x02 N 0x12 0x03 (line number 0x12, or 18)


The task for the various CAT vendors is to take all that stuff there and turn it into C or C++ (I don't think anyone is using Microsoft's C# yet in this industry) code, and integrate that code with their software.

As for where this "freely available protocol" is, try here.

Update (28AUG08)

Passport FAQs

Keith Vincent, the man behind the visualizers (help videos) in Eclipse, has a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Passport. You can read that here:

Naturally, this will go to the Links page as well.

Oh, and Speaking of Keith Vincent ...

Have you ever been to a forum and collected a gazillion briefs? Maybe you printed them out, or wrote them down somewhere ... and (of course!) lost them ...?

Well, over at Keith Vincent's afore-mentioned website there's something called Steno Tips.

What Steno Tips are (is? Be? Be bein'?) is a massive collection of briefs -- all in either a handy .pdf file, an Eclipse dictionary file, or an even handier .rtf file, so you can import them directly into your CAT system of choice! (Um ... you did read Dictionaries 'r' Us, right?)

Stop by and download your Tips of Choice today!

Blog Meistress Lisa O'Sullivan

If you're lucky, you had the pleasure of reading Lisa's hilarious "diary" in the July 2008 JCR (membership required to read; sorry!).

If you were not so lucky, have I got good news for you!

Yes, that's right ... you can catch up on the funnies you missed out on by going to Lisa's website:

Please note that should you end up spitting coffee, tea, or a Cheap and Sleazy Mocha all over your laptop and/or steno machine, please feel free to direct your complaints to Lisa!



And yes, those last two items are on the Links page as well.

Wine and CaseViewNet

I installed Stenograph's CaseViewNet Client today. It runs --

CaseViewNet under Darwine

CaseViewNet Under Darwine

-- but accessing the menus is ... well, problematic. I attempted to use a keyboard shortcut (Alt-F), and in the Winelog window, I got this:

fixme:keyboard:X11DRV_ToUnicodeEx keyboard layout 0x41e041e is not supported
fixme:keyboard:X11DRV_ToUnicodeEx keyboard layout 0x41e041e is not supported
fixme:keyboard:X11DRV_ToUnicodeEx keyboard layout 0x4130413 is not supported
fixme:keyboard:X11DRV_ToUnicodeEx keyboard layout 0x4130413 is not supported

That message repeated many times ...!

Fortunately, that problem is easy to fix: Just use the mouse to access the menus.

Speaking of which, while looking through the menus, I found a "Check for Updates" menu item, so I tried it -- and it seems to have worked! Tried to get a screenshot but I was a bit too slow ... but I did get the "Update Complete" message:

CaseViewNet on Wine Updater: Update Complete

CaseViewNet on Wine Updater: Update Complete

Tried doing a Google search from within CaseViewNet, and that seems to have locked it up pretty good! Had to force-quit (the Mac equivalent of Control-Alt-Delete) WineHelper ... and when I tried starting CaseViewNet again, it wouldn't start.

Tried reinstalling it, but again it wouldn't start.

Hopefully when the next build of Wine/Darwine comes out, the problem will be fixed ... but we'll see.

CaseViewNet Update (31AUG08)

While trying to empty my trash, I got an error message along the general lines of "Unable to empty trash because CaseViewNet is still in use," (or something similar).

Since I knew I had quit CaseViewNet quite a while back, I took a look at a program in my Utilities folder called Activity Monitor, which is similar to the window you get on Windows when you do Control-Alt-Delete.

In the list of running processes was some sort of indication that Wine was running ... not just once, but three times! ... But despite the fact that I had shut down WineHelper quite some time ago, something was still running!

I shut down the offending processes ... tried running CaseViewNet again, and Eureka!! It works again!

In the meantime, Rick Greenspan has volunteered to do a live test of CaseViewNet on his fire-breathing Mac Pro while connecting to his MacBook Pro running Case Catalyst and CaseViewNet Server running via VMWare Fusion.

As you might guess, Rick, being a working reporter, is a busy guy ... so he won't be able to do this for a couple of days ... but it should be interesting!

Wine and digitalCAT: So Close ...!

Some of you might recall that my attempts at running an early build of digitalCAT had a rather nasty font problem:

DigitalCAT on Wine:  Font Problems

DigitalCAT on Wine: Font Problems

Not sure what happened, but with the next build of Darwine, the font problem went away:

Wine and digitalCAT:  Almost!

Wine and digitalCAT: Almost!

Next, I tried installing the driver for my USB-serial adapter, but had no luck, since there was no executable ... so I whipped out my trusty Keyspan USB - serial adapter and downloaded and installed the new driver.

Good News ... and Bad News!

The good news is the installation went fine!

The bad news is ... with the adapter connected to my writer, the Keyspan software doesn't show any USB devices connected:

No Keyspan for you!

No Keyspan for you!

Fortunately, work continues on libUSB ... and one of these days, this will work!

However, as Yoda might say, "Holding my breath, I am not."

Michael Whelan's Yoda

Michael Whelan's Yoda

Coming Up Real Soon Now ....

As my article on captioning is a bit, shall we say, on the old side, I have done some begging and pleading and managed to convince a long time captioner to write an article on captioning for ol' Cheap and Sleazy. Hopefully she will get that to me sometime near the middle of September.

But wait -- There's More!

Since I have captioning covered ... what about CART?

I have also asked a long time CART provider to -- er -- provide ol' Cheap and Sleazy with an article on CART.

Oh, for those of you who have heard that 180 is fast enough to provide CART or captioning services, I've asked both of these writers to specifically address why this is not the case.

... and Still More!

The "ambitious project" I mentioned in the 25AUG08 update is this:

About two years ago, I started a rather lengthy thread on the NCRA Forum. Here's an excerpt:

Subject: CAT Software Selection: What do you Look for?

Hi ...

Over on the forum at, Sue G.'s search for the Ultimate Answer to the CC vs. Eclipse question has prompted me to post this both here and on the afore-mentioned forum.

As some of you might know, I run a (cheap and sleazy) website aimed at students.

As the site has been around for a couple years now, some of those students the site was aimed at originally have graduated (or are getting close to graduation) and have moved out into the Real World(tm) ... which prompts me to consider something radical: A series of articles detailing the pros and cons of all the CAT programs out there ...!

I plan on asking a few users of the various CAT programs to write something up for my website on their CAT software of choice (not trainers or company employees, but real, honest-to-Ghod working reporters).

What do you look for when you are trying to select a CAT system?

Ease of use?

Dictionary maintenance/handling?

User interface ("Look-and-Feel")?


ASCII production?

Export choices?


Personally, if the CAT system I am evaluating cannot import an .rtf dictionary, I simply cannot use it. The Phoenix Theory dictionary weighs in at a hefty 12 MB ... and expecting a customer to stroke all that in in this day and age of RTF/CRE standard file interchange is just plain nuts, IMO.

I also like ease of use -- but these articles are not going to be written by me, so the less I say about my likes and dislikes, the better.

So. You're looking to switch CAT software, or you're buying your very first system, and you come across all these articles on my website. What would you expect these articles to tell you?

What would sway you from one CAT program to another in your search?

As you might imagine, this is a big project I'm undertaking here ... I'm hoping to make it easier with your assistance!

Thanks for your time.

To that end, a couple years ago I asked our local Eclipse expert, reporter, and trainer Ron Cook, of Premiere Realtime Litigation Services to write the Eclipse article (yes, I know I originally said "no trainers," but I've modified that to mean no one who is JUST a trainer) ... and recent NCRA speed contest winner, Mark Kislingbury to write the digitalCAT article.

Hopefully the first "CAT Wars" article will be in by the middle of September.

Watch for it!

Update (25AUG08)

In Passing

In preparation of a rather ambitious project for ol' Cheap and Sleazy (about which, more on a later date), I Googled TeLiTor ... and found that Umberto Palaoro Lenzi, the man behind the CAT, has passed away.

TeLiTor Banner snippet

TeLiTor Banner

I did not know him very well (beyond my one visit home/office, as detailed in the 01OCT06 update; and the 27JUN08 update in The Good Stuff), but he seemed nice enough, considering my unannounced visit.

As for what will happen now with TeLiTor, I have sent an inquiry (and condolences) to the contact e-mail address listed on the site. Hopefully, someone in his family is monitoring that address, and will get back to me ... and when they do, I'll post the gist of it here.

Update (21JUL08)

New Gemini Coming ...!

No thanks to my incredible sleuthing skills, I got an e-mail from Jason Pardikes, the Head Guy In Charge over at the Neutrino Group. He was kind enough to update me on what's what with the new Gemini Reolution Grand --! His new e-mail was enough to help me locate the original e-mails, and included a new brochure.

Here's the skinny from those "missing" e-mails:

We are going to release a new machine called the Gemini Revolution GRAND! The Grand is the big brother to the Revolution and is the most adjustable and softest touch (adjustable to the very firm) machine you are going to find. Longer battery life than any other product, and like all Gemini products is fully ergonomic.

The feel compared to the revolution is softer and more "buttery." It's response time in terms of key return is great (we went to an Aircraft aluminum arm) so that we could lighten the machine and lessen the forces required to move the arms either in the up or down position. We choose Aircraft aluminum for its great strength, ultra light weight and resilient properties -- which means less likelihood of bending arms in a fall, or through improper packing. It also gives the machine a better side action response.

We have three package options for the machine: The Gold and Silver UMPC (not the PDA); the Bronze court package offers the PDA and all new Revolution Grands will work with the older PDAs as well.

As always we can upgrade older Gemini to the newest product, and we have also come up with a way to embedded a proprietary super slick compound directly into the metal arms a combs giving us that unique buttery feel and greatly reduced friction wear. And now we are offering the Grand in 32 colors ... and yes we will have the machine in Anaheim.

You can read more in the PDF.

Update (09JUL08)

Passport Update

There's a new note from Advantage Software on the Passport. I have placed it below the previous update for reasons of continuity and aesthetics ....

(Small) STENO-QWIK Update

By now the regular readers of ol' Cheap and Sleazy already know what the STENO-QWIK project is ... but for those of you who don't know, check the 11OCT06 update (you'll have to scroll down a bit) and the 05JUN07 update. I'll wait.

Back so soon, huh? Okay, here's the update:

Ms. More's 2007 newsletter has this little tidbit:

December: As the snow and colder weather here in Pennsylvania takes a grip, I have been mostly busy with learning new systems on which to write about. The sten keyboard is a fascinating one and should be able to be mastered very quickly when I finally get the book written.

In her last e-mail to me (sometime in May), Ms. More indicated that she was in Georgia, taking some time off ... and would be doing more work on the book. Hopefully, I'll have some good news about this soon!

Wine and digitalCAT: Sooooo Close!

As you probably will know if you scroll down far enough, I have been experimenting with Darwine (the Macintosh implementation of Wine) and digitalCAT.

Finally got the license issues resolved ... and fired up the transcript editor (build 190) ... and ... well, see for yourself:

DigitalCAT on Wine:  Font Problems

DigitalCAT on Wine: Font Problems

I tried tweaking the font size everywhere I could, with very limited success:

DigitalCAT on Wine:  Font Fix Attempt

DigitalCAT on Wine: Font Fix Attempt

Tried a few other things, like fixing the font for the line numbers, but could not touch them, apparently (*sigh*).

Next I tried installing my USB to serial adapter. That's when I discovered that the folder for the adapter's driver didn't have a .exe file in it, anywhere! :o(

Pesky USB Issue Rears It's Ugly Head

Pesky USB Issue Rears It's Ugly Head

Worse, the version of Darwine I was running didn't have the libusb (USB library) files ... and the man I need to question about that is out of the country for a few days. Hopefully when he gets back, he'll post another version of Darwine with the libusb included ... and I'll also ask him about my font issue.

Update (05JUL08)

Just a few things today for your edifiction and delight (to coin a phrase I coin often):

Passport News

Found this e-mail posted in one of the CR forums:

Dear Valued Customer:

Within the next few weeks, we will begin shipping the eagerly-awaited Passport writer. As one of our first purchasers, you are entitled to a $500 discount off the regular price of $4695, so your cost will be $4195 plus $75 shipping and insurance, and any applicable local taxes.

To qualify for the discounted price and hold your place in line, we must hear from you within two weeks of this communication. Please indicate the keyboard configuration you prefer, and send a $500 deposit made out to our sister company, Advantage Technology, to the following address:

Advantage Technology
925 Central Parkway
Stuart, Florida 34994
Advantage Software

Looks like the wait is almost over!

New Passport Update (09JUL08)

I checked the Advantage Software home page today, and saw there was a new Passport update ... and since it's a short one, I grabbed it for your reading pleasure!

Delivery of Passport writers will begin by the end of July. The first several people on our waiting list have already been notified and offered an opportunity to purchase. If your name is on our waiting list, please be assured that you will be contacted in the order that it appears. The first Passports will go out slowly so that any unexpected problems can be expeditiously corrected. Thereafter, we will ramp up production as quickly as possible.

If you are not yet on our waiting list, but would like to be, please email There is no cost or obligation. You will simply be offered an opportunity to purchase when we reach your number. Your continued patience is sincerely appreciated.

So ... it's coming! Really!

Little Words Machine

Reporter Priscilla Trillo posted a message on the NCRA Forum, telling how she beat a problem she was having with little words: She wrote a program that drills her on little words.

Little Words Machine splash window

Little Words Machine Startup Screen

Naturally, I asked her if I could put her program on ol' Cheap and Sleazy, and she said I could!

I wrote a small manual to go with it (and asked for some improvements, which she'll get to sooner or later) ... and you can get it here:

Rules for Captioning

If you've watched some of the captions on TV of late, you may have noticed, shall we say, some disturbing gaffs: Misspelled words, words not matching up with what's being said, etc.

In an effort to correct these, er, discrepancies, the NCRA has released a 68 page document called "Captioning Style and Format Guidelines."

The Table o' Contents includes these gems:

•  Captioning Definitions

•  Slang/Poor Grammar

•  Troubleshooting

•  Realtime Skills for Captioning

•  Obscenitites and Sensitive Words

•  Parentheticals

•  Phonetics

•  Editing, Paraphrasing, Fingerspelling

While it doesn't say so in this document, if your a student and your school is telling you that when you hit 180 wpm you're ready to be a captioner, don't you believe it!! Here's a relevant snippet from the guide:

Online (realtime) captioning is used primarily for live broadcasts, such as news, entertainment, programs and sporting events. This style of captioning requires a skilled steno machine writer or voicewriter with a Total Accuracy Rate of over 98 percent and may be performed at speeds up to and possbly exceeding 300 wpm.

Hmmm ... I think I'll have to find someone to write an article about captioning and CART in the not-too-distant ....

Update (27JUN08)

StenoMaster Update

I'm sure you may have noticed that the Stenomaster website has been ... well ... a bit different these days.

I sent Mark Kislingbury an e-mail to find out what was going on. He sent me an e-mail:

Here's the status of StenoMaster, Inc. Jeniffer Aloysius, my former business partner, and I have agreed to part ways, and I will continue to run and grow StenoMaster. But I have not yet regained control of the website (which unfortunately is down), despite all my efforts to do so. So I am taking the necessary steps, attempting to regain control. In the meantime, StenoMaster is still running with 866-STENOMASTER as its phone number and is still selling The StenoMaster Theory and the Mark Kislingbury Short Stroke Dictionary.

I have also started a new venture, Magnum Steno, Inc., which unveiled my latest book, "Magnum Steno: Write Short - Write Fast!" last month, and I'm working on Magnum Steno's "Mark Kislingbury Speed Builder," which should be ready in less than a month.

Magnum Steno Logo

Magnum Steno Logo

So for those of you wondering what was going on with Stenomaster, now you know!

LightSpeed II ...? Not Just Yet .....

As you might recall, I mentioned that the current LightSpeed writer would be getting some improvements ... you know, like a screen, internal dictionaries, audio, etc.

Alas, the LightSpeed II will not be launched this year -- but it will do "... everything that our competitor's writer does, and more ...."

In the meantime, LightSpeed users can expect a "... major software update," and new users can expect new key designs "to make switching to the LS easier."

Johnny tells me that Stenovations has plans to "... make a traditional computer keyboard but with the sensitivity adjustable for every key. This will be good for people with carpal tunnel and other hand issues.

As you might guess, that one will be sold not only to court reporters, but to the general public as well. Good deal!

Johnny mentioned the development of a "multi-touch pad," also intended to be sold to all. If you're not familiar with multi-touch interfaces, head down to your friendly neighborhood Apple Store and get one of the sales-folk to demo either the iPod Touch, the iPhone, or the MacBook Air.

Why multi-touch technology, you ask?

"Microsoft announced last week that Windows 7 will support multi-touch input," Johnny says.

Hopefully they learned something from this whole Vista mess ...!

Steno Speed Shifter

If you've used The Speed Teacher's "Stair Stepper" drill, Marc "Simply Steno" Greenberg's Steno Speed Shifter is for you!

Basically, this application will take an .mp3 or a .wav file, and let you set the speed to increase, say, 5 percent at, say, 10 seconds, another 5 percent at 20 seconds, etc.!

Best of all, you make those settings before you begin playing the file, so you don't have to touch it (well ... you will have to press the Play button!) once it's loaded and programmed.

To make it easier for you, it comes with "Tempo Templates" you can use to set the timing you want, or you can create your own, if you wish.

Note that it does not come with any dictations; you'll have to supply your own.

Did I mention it's only $18.00 (PayPal only!)?

Steno Speed Shifter

Steno Speed Shifter

Gemini News

Well, I wish I had some --!

Some time ago, I got an e-mail from someone with information on a new version of the Gemini Writer. The contact told me there was a new and improved version coming out in the early part of this month ... unfortunately, I somehow managed to misplace the e-mail (I know it's in my In Box *somewhere* ..), so can't really say much about it, beyond that it's a mostly internal update due out ... well, sometime soon.

(*sigh*) I'll look around for the e-mail some more. Maybe I'll get lucky!

Wine and Bridge: A Match Made in Digital Heaven!

I stumbled across my installer for Bridge last night ... and since I haven't tried it since Wine has now reached version 1.0 (release candidates included), I decided to give it a try:

Wine and Bridge

Bridge Running Under Wine

The picture is of Bridge running in demo mode on my Mac -- without Windows. Haven't tried to install Eclipse under Wine 1.0 as yet (managed to misplace the installer disk again --!), but my early attempts led to a freeze of some sort ... so while Bridge is up and running, I have no real way of testing it, beyond running this demo -- yet.

One day ....

Update (30MAY08)

Need a Mentor?

Howzabout a whole group of mentors?

If you answered yes to either question, you should check out the new Student Boot Camp topic over on the Depoman forum! You can directly access the forum here:

Fancy Pants Loves Binita Blog -- Gone!

Yes, that's right ... the old blog is now gone! :o( But you internet-savvy students know where to go to look for it, right?

If not, you should re-read "Got Fear?"!

For those of you who have read "Got Fear?" and still have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the Way Back Machine!

Basically, you feed the Way Back Machine a web address of a site that has disappeared, like, say, Binnie's blog ... and up comes a list of pages that the Way Back Machine has archived!

For those of you who are on the impatient side, here's one such page.

Alas, no audio drills! :o(

Worse, several of the pages listed on the initial results page will not open! Something about a "Path Index Error," apparently. Hopefully that will get fixed in a couple months!

Update (19MAY08)

AristoCAT Update

I got an e-mail from the president at AristoCAT, Larry Hunt today. Seems he was upset about my saying that AristoCAT didn't import .rtf dictionaries.

Alas, that was updated on the main page (see the Vista Updates section in the Archives) ... but I somehow neglected to update The Good Stuff!

Fixed that ... and, since he invited me to ask him questions directly, I asked him about those missing hardware requirements for Vista.

Once he gets back to me, I'll look around at all the vendor's sites and see what's new with Vista support; it's been almost a year since I tried to get all that info together, so it's past time for a revisit!

Darwine Update

Darwine Logo

WINE (and Darwine) has reached version 1.0 (that's "Release "Candidate 1, in computer programmer speak) ... so naturally, I tried updating digitalCAT from the ancient Build 167 (Windows 98) to DC3.

DC3's transcript editor didn't work, so I deleted the newly created digitalCAT folder and decompressed the copy of the original (Build 167) digitalCAT folder, and applied a few updates, testing each step.

I got to Build 190 before I ran out of updaters (non-DC3 updaters, anyway) ... and as you can see, the Transcript Editor works -- except for that pesky licensing issue. Still working on that one.

digitalCAT Build 182 under WINE Release Candidate 1.0

digitalCAT Build 182 under WINE Release Candidate 1.0

As for the "Why" of the licensing problem, I started out with Build 167, and the license manager program didn't work properly, so now DC says I'm not authorized, based on the data saved ... well, somewhere ... from that license manager, so I'll have to get a code from Stenovations to see if the Transcript Editor will work ... or just crash.

Assuming that it does work -- as in, it doesn't quit when I enter the code -- the next hurdle will be with the USB adapter -- or getting digitalCAT to talk to my steno machine!

We'll see.

Update (10MAY08)

I have a small update to the Passport news from a couple days back ... and since it's such a small update, you can read it as an addition to the 08MAY08 update.

Sometimes You've Gotta Take Control ...

I'm sure you remember this advertisment for captioning that I posted in my 07APR06 update, right? If not, check the Archive page.

Okay, after having watched that video, do you know that you, as a court reporter, may be faced with a similar situation at least once in your career? Well, it's true ...!

But what are you supposed to do? Do you know?

Lisa Moskowitz knows. Better yet, she tells the tale in this thread on

Update (02APR11)

Alas, that link is no longer working, thanks to an unfortunate crash of's now former hosting company's web host ... but at least you can hear the audio!

Even better, I have the audio file, and you can hear it here.

Update (08MAY08)

CSR Nation: My Space for Court Reporters

I've been remiss in not mentioning CSR Nation!

As it says above, CSR Nation is like My Space for court reporters -- but not just court reporters. Students, transcriptionists, videographers -- pretty much anyone who works (or studies) in this field can join. You can even customize your personal home page, and upload an .mp3 file for others to play while they read your life story! (mine is rather short; sorry about that!)

Once you've finished reading today's update, rush your buns (that's a technical term, by the way) over to CSR and sign up today!

Naturally, this note will appear on the Links page as well.

Passport Delay ...?

If you're one of the millions of folks awaiting the release of Advantage Software's Passport, you may just have to wait a bit longer, according to the (very) brief update on the main page from last month. As for the why of it all, here's that brief note:

To improve realtime efficiency, the Passport software is being rewritten for Windows CE. While we're still working out some minor details with the manufacturer and can't promise a precise shipping date, we are optimistic that we'll be able to begin delivering the Passport within the next few months.

What that means is that "Unix-y Goodness" promised for the writer's operating system has been replaced by the same OS that runs the ProCAT Stylus.

I sent a quick e-mail to Developer Dave a couple weeks back to see what was going on, but haven't heard back. Hopefully once the Unix repairs are complete, the WinCE OS can be removed with a downloadable firmware update.


Passport Update

Alas, it looks like WinCE may be a permanent feature of the Passport!

Seems that there was something missed in the software design phase that is vital to the "StenoVision" feature of the Passport, which neccessitates the rewrite of the writer's operating system (or "OS," in techno-geeky parlance).

Unless, of course, the suggestion I sent in an e-mail will do the trick ....

We'll see!

And in other news ....

Hosting Fees

In addition to it being my middle-niece's birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday, Marlo!), Brinkster, the company that hosts ol' Cheap and Sleazy, sent me a bill for $144.

On the plus side, that nifty "economic expansion" check should pay for it, and that's a Good Thing™.

"I Did It!"

I Did It!

"I Did It!"

(You have seen "Heroes," right?)

Yes, that's right: I finally managed to make the video for joining two pads of steno paper together larger (see Save a Buncha Money if you don't know what I'm talking about)!

Unfortunately, the video is also larger (from 1.9 MB to 4.1 MB), but at least you can see it more clearly.

Also, it seems that Microsoft made some sort of change in Internet Explorer which may cause this video to not display for those of you still using IE. There is some code I can use to bypass that problem, but then you'd be forced to click Okay in a lot of dialog boxes ... and I didn't want you to have to do that ... so if you're on IE and can't see the movie in the afore-mentioned article, get Firefox!

Browser Wars:  IE, FF, Opera

Browser Wars

(I don't remember where I got that picture ... but I like it!!)

"Sex ... and Power III:" The Update

Still working on it ...!

Yeah, I know ... but on the plus side, I found a new emulator that I need to test! Those results will be in that article.

In the meantime, I am (once again) in the process of moving ... so things may be on the hectic side for me for the next few days. Fortunately, ClearWire, my new ISP, is available in my soon-to-be new city, Lake Stevens, WA.

Update (24MAR08)

Attention Starving Students ...!

I got an e-mail the other day from Ms. Diana Van Dyke, a CSR in Southern California. She wanted to let me know about a website just for Starving Students™!

Diana pointed me to this site:

"So what?" you say? Well ... click the Questions and Answers link, and take a look at the software available. I'll wait.

Ah, back I see ...! If you're anything like me, you probably looked at every piece of software listed on this site for your particular platform (Mac or Windows; nothing for Linux folk, alas ...). You probably already downloaded some, right?

If not, let me tell you about a couple programs I found there. I've already mentioned Audacity, the free sound editing tool (see Different Dictation if you missed it) ... but what I haven't mentioned is a pair of programs called Genius (Mac only) and jMemorize (Windows only).

These programs are flash card programs -- except unlike those flash cards of yester-year, these keep track of what you miss, and quiz you on those cards again until you get it ... and sometimes even after you do, to make sure that you still have it!

I took the state capitals list that came with Genius as a sample file, and changed the capitals to the one-stroke brief Phoenix Theory has for states:

Steno States One


Steno States One

Steno States One and Two, from Genius

I haven't figured out how to take the quiz with my steno machine as yet ... but the point here is to help me remember those 50 strokes ... and Genius (or jMemorize) will help me to do that.

Finally, I replied to Diana's e-mail, but Earthlink's spam buster kicked it back for me to authenticate; did so, and it said this message is no longer in the Spam folder! So Diana, I was not ignoring you; just got beat up by the spam filter ... so here, in public, I want to say THANK YOU for pointing out this resource for Starving Students™!

Oh, by the way ... the above portion of this update is in the Links section.


As my more regular readers might recall, sometime ago, I convinced Frances More, author of QWERTY-QWIK, to see if she could work her magic on the steno keyboard.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Ms. More has figured out a way to teach people to touch type at at least 50 wpm in as littls as 30 minutes ... without having a keyboard in front of them!

Alas, she has been somewhat busy of late with other projects, but she has been ruminating on how to teach students how to memorize the steno keyboard like she has with the regular keyboard. Two more projects, and she will be on top of STENO-QWIK!

Stay tuned .....

Sex ... and Power Update

Alas, I haven't done much on "Sex and Power III" of late ... but I do have VMWare Fusion working, so I'd best get to it before it expires and starts asking me to fork over some $$$! :o)

As for when it will be done .... well, Soonest sounds good -- and this way, I won't have to worry about another "Plutonian Week" situation coming up!

Anyone remember those Plutonian weeks?

Rumors (on the Cheap and Sleazy Side)

Rumor has it that the price of the Lightspeed is going up on or near the first of April. I'll send an e-mail or two and see what's what.

Also, Stenovations has a new online store! Check it out here.

Update (23JAN08)

"Your Web Page is Getting Heavier ... and Heavier ...!"

Yes, that's right ... it looked like I had about a year's worth of junk -- er, junque -- er, information on ol' Cheap and Sleazy's main page, so it was past time (way, way past) that I put up another Archive page! If you're looking for stuff that happened in the last year or so, go here.

In other "news," I am still working on "Sex ... and Power Part Three" ... seems I misplaced a few screenshots -- most of which I (finally!!) have recovered (whew!!).

So .... Close!

As my regular readers might have heard -- er, read, we here at the Cheap and Sleazy Labs have been busy of late trying to get digitalCAT to work with Darwine, with some semblance of success.

Darwine Logo

Darwine Logo

That "success" was getting the Dictionary Maintenance program and the Transcript Editor of an older (Windows 98) version of digitalCAT to work -- but when the Transcript Editor ran, I immediately got an error message saying that "digitalCAT was not authorized on this computer."

I sent a quick e-mail (or two) to Johnny Jackson at Stenovations and shortly thereafter I got an e-mail from Support (Mr. John Sims himself, no less). He gave me some instructions to follow ("Open the License Manager, click Authorize, and e-mail the displayed code to Support").

No Site Code? No License for You!

No Site Code? No License for You!

Alas, there was no site code in the small window that opened when I followed the instructions ... so the Licnese Manager does not function fully!

Fortunately, Darwine is updated frequently, so ... perhaps one day.

At least the Dictionary Maintenance program still works; makes it easy to look up words I hear but have never stroked before!

Darwine and Dictionary Maintenance in Action!

Darwine and Dictionary Maintenance in Action!

One day, I hope to be able to run digitalCAT, Speed Teacher, etc. on my Mac -- WITHOUT Windows!

(*sigh*). One of these days.

Oh, and did I mention since moving from CrossOver Mac to Darwine, both the Speed Teacher and the Drill Machine quit working? (*sigh*). Two steps forward, and one step back ....

Speaking of Speed Teacher (and, by proxy, the Drill Machine), neither of these programs work with Darwine! "Two steps forward, one step back ..." (as Ms. Paula Abdul once said, back in the days of Arsenio Hall).

Update (15JAN08)

"Oops" Yet Again ...!

Yes, that's right ... seems the fires of creation that I dug into to create that Christmas poem made me forget that today was the first day of Mac World ... and the rumored flash RAM-based MacBooks were to be announced!

So, without futher ado .....

The MacBook Air:  Thin is IN!!

The MacBook Air: Thin is IN!!

The above picture was stolen -- er, borrowed from the folks over a ... mostly because the pictures on Apple's website don't show how thin this baby really is ....!

Oops ... wait a minute ....

Apple shows how thin the MacBook Air is!

Apple Shows How Thin the MacBook Air is!

Where was I ...? Oh, yeah!


• 1.6 or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

• 2GB of RAM

• 80GB hard drive or 64GB solid state hard drive

• Built-in WiFi

• Built-in Bluetooth

• Built-in iSight camera

Note that the solid state drive will run you $999.

The guys at Mac wrote up a pretty good report on it; you can read it here.

Thin is IN!!

Update (13JAN08)

With apologies to all, in advance ....

'Twas a couple weeks after Christmas

And New Years Eve too

When I realized there was something

I had forgotten to do!

Seems I was remiss

In off'ring Season's Greetings

To all of the readers

Of ol' Cheap and Sleazy!

For those who felt slighted

Or dissed in the least

I have an excuse --

I've been busy these weeks!

Hard at work I've been

On "Sex and Power 3"

With testing of Windows apps

Running on my Mac Windows-free !

On I could go,

But spare you I will ...

Because poet I'm not,

And my raps are ill!

(Um ... sorry about that!)

Since I have been remiss in the holiday festivities, here's an old New Year's tune for you that I downloaded from ... well, somewhere ... and for those of you who didn't get your fill of Christmas tunes when they started playing on the radio just a few days before Hallowe'en, I still have U4IA's "Xmas Pudding Mix" and Necros' "Silent Night" for your listening pleasure ... definitely not what you heard on the radio!

Sadly ....

Alas, there have been a couple losses in the music community during the past few months: Jazz piano GOD Oscar Peterson, who died on the 23rd of December at the age of 82 (kidney failure), and reggae star Lucky Dube, who was killed from injuries sustained during a carjacking incident on October 18th.

Never got to listen to too much of Lucky Dube's music, but I started listening to Oscar Peterson when I was in high school, making my valiant attempts to play that big wooden box. His playing was definitely something to emulate -- or, in my case, aim for (never quite made it, though).

Oscar Peterson


Lucky Dube

Gone ... but Not Forgotten

Fortunately, You Tube is your friend, for both of these artists! Go listen!


I discovered that listening to reggae while practicing steno is really ... well, let's just say that I had some serious trouble with the metronome going and trying to do Fast Track drills, or even the Speed Teacher drills, for that matter; seems the rhythm of the music interfered with the rhythm I needed to maintain to practice ...!

I'm sure there's a lesson in there ... somewhere.

Finally ....

I'm sad to report that efforts to get Eclipse to run under Darwine have failed, miserably! I got the Installer window, a dialog box about some sound driver or something needing to be installed, and then ... the big freeze!

Well, it was worth a try ...!

On the other hand, I did get an early version of digitalCAT to run -- both the Dictionary Maintenance program, AND the Transcript Editor ...!

Unfortunately, the License Manager pops up a dialog box that says "DigitalCAT Translator/Editor is not authorized on this machine," with an Okay button which, when pushed, quits digitalCAT.

Transcript Editor:  Not Authroized

Transcript Editor vs. License Manager (slightly modified screen shot)

Tried to get the Support to give me a license for further testing, but no joy ... but we'll see.

Update (18DEC07)

Mac Santa logo, from Mac!

Mac Santa logo (from

Want Mac?

As you probably know by now, there has been a *lot* of interest in running CAT software on my platform of choice, the Mac.

If you have been reading ol' Cheap and Sleazy for any length of time, you might also know that I promised to write an article on this ... with the unlikely title of "Sex ... and Power (Part III)" -- and those of you who have been reading ol' Cheap and Sleazy for a while, know exactly what Sex and Power has to do with the Mac (and for those of you who do not, click here).

All that said, here's an update on the whole "Sex ... and Power (Part III)" piece (with apologies in advance to ... well, everybody!):

Better not shout

Better not whine!

Better not shout, I'm telling you why ...

Sex and Power III is coming soon ...!

Okay, so I probably shouldn't expect any calls from the Songwriter's Guild of America anytime soon (unless they have a "Cease and Desist" order in hand ... but you get the idea) ... but hopefully, this will be done in time for Macworld Expo 2008.

As for what's going to be in "Sex ... and Power (Part III)," there will be a discussion of what type of Mac to buy and where, good sources for refurbished products for my fellow Starving Students™ out there, a few links, the Windows options, and maybe ... just maybe ... a video of His Steveness' debut on American Idol!

His Steveness: The American Idol debut

His Steveness: The American Idol Debut!


Update (18NOV07)

Two items today: An announced update to an old program from the folks at Advantage Software, and another attempt to get things working with CrossOver Mac and Speed Teacher.

Building Bridges: Bridge 2.0

On the Depoman forum, I inadvertently started a fight about whether or not Advantage Software's claims of making the code for Bridge's refresh feature available to other vendors.

Bridge is a free application which allows court reporters to provide realtime to one (or more!) laptops ... and refreshes the laptop's screen when the reporter changes something -- in Eclipse, anyway.

As it says in the linked thread (and also referenced in a thread on the NCRA forum), I asked Johnny Jackson, Head Guy in Charge over at Stenovations if he had ever received any such notice, and he said he had not.

Candis Bradshaw did her own (more extensive) poll, and discovered that two other vendors had never heard of, nor received any notice about Bridge's refresh code ...!

Well. Fast forward a few months ... and there comes this notice about a forthcoming update to the (still--?) free Bridge software

While Bridge is of little or no use to students (though I suppose in theory you could hook your mom's laptop to yours and steno so she can watch), it might be good for those nearing graduating speeds! Check out those videos when you get a chance.

Speed Teacher and CrossOver Mac: Take Two

As you might have read in an earlier update, Steven Shastay (Da Man Hisself), recently updated the Speed Teacher to work with Vista.

You might also know (from another update) that I tried (and failed) to get Speed Teacher to work with CrossOver Mac -- which, for those of you that missed that update, allows someone with a MacBook, a MacBook Pro, or any Intel-based Macintosh to run some Windows software -- without actually having Windows installed.

Well, it took a misstep or two, but I finally decided to try installing the support files for the Vista version of the Speed Teacher, and removing and reinstalling the Speed Teacher under the XP Winebottle ... and ... well, take a look for yourself:

Speed Teacher Success -- Sort Of

Speed Teacher Success -- Sort Of

Note that I have included a bit of my desktop to show you definitively that I am running the Speed Teacher as an application. You can see on the top left portion of the menu that it says "CrossOver" ... and no Windows in sight!

You can also see the X (as in "Mac OS X") in the top bar of the Speed Teacher window; see it there, on the left-hand side?

I was even able to register the program:

Speed Teacher Registration Window

Speed Teacher Registration Window

Alas, when I set up the parameters (5 words, 260 wpm, top 1000 words) and hit the Start button, I got an error:

Oops ...

Oops ...

... and then the words on the top part of the Speed Teacher window vanished!

Where's My Text?!

Where's My Text?!

So close ...!

Well ... back to the grind and the drugery of homework .... (*sigh* ....)

Update (16NOV07)

Please scroll down a wee bit and read the digitalCAT and CrossOver Mac (16NOV07) update ....

Update (15NOV07)

"It's Alive ... ALIVE!!"

After a bout of feverish testing here at the Cheap and Sleazy Labs(™), I have something really cool to show you:

Drill Machine on Mac

The Drill Machine on the Mac ... WITHOUT Windows! (Check the menu bar!)

Wait ... I can hear it now: "So what?", you're saying, right? If so, take a good close look at that menu bar. See the blue Apple on the left? That, my friends, is my Apple menu ... which means that the Drill Machine window pictured above is running on the Mac .... without windows!! Check out CrossOver Mac to see what's what.

Alas, the Speed Teacher did not fare so well during that afore-mentioned bout of feverish testing:

The Never-Too-Sufficiently-Damned Missing File Error

The "Never-Too-Sufficiently-Damned Missing File Error"

Next up: DigitalCAT!!

.... right after I finish my mid-term, my final, my portion of a lengthy class project, and an e-learning assignment (*sigh*).

In short, it could be a while ....!

Stay tuned ....

Update No. Two (15NOV07)

I Tried, I Really Did ....

.... but it was nearly impossible to resist the temptation ... so (after a protracted battle between duty and Technolust) I yielded to temptation (and technolust) and did it.

Yes, that's right: I went on ahead and installed digitalCAT on my Mac, using CrossOver Mac.

Sadly, the results weren't as spectacular as they were for The Drill Machine, but it did look promising in the beginning:

Looking Goood ....

Looking Goood ....

Alas, I could not get anything to actually work ...! Double-clicking the Transcript Editor did absolutely nothing ... and the only thing that reacted to a double-click was the Steno Editor and the Convert Sten8000 ... neither of which I use.

Oh, wait ... I take that back. The Dictionary Maintenance program kinda/sorta worked ... but it wouldn't let me open any dictionaries I created, so that was pretty much a wash.

"But Wait ... What's This?!?"

CrossOver Mac Wine Bottles

CrossOver Mac Wine Bottles

When I installed Speed Teacher, CrossOver Mac created a Wine (an acronym; it stands for "Wine Is Not an Emulator") Bottle -- for Windows 2000. Naturally I thought, "Shouldn't this be a Windows XP bottle?" ... so I created one.

Alas, I haven't figured out how to move everything from one bottle to the next ... but one of these days.

(*sigh*). Oh, well. Back to work!

Update: digitalCAT and CrossOver Mac (16NOV07)

Okay, a lot has happened since last night's attempts at getting DC working under CrossOver Mac here in the Cheap and Sleazy Labs(™) ....

First, I uninstalled all of the programs I had installed previously (The Drill Machine, Speed Teacher, and digitalCAT) under the Windows 2000 Bottle ... then I created a Windows XP bottle and reinstalled the Drill Machine and Speed Teacher (which, by the way, complained about the same missing OCX file ... grrr!!) and refused to run.

I then installed digitalCAT Build 190 again ... and this time, I actually got the Transcript Editor to run!

DigitalCAT Transcription Editor (Build 190):  Success!

DigitalCAT Transcription Editor (Build 190): Success

Alas, I could not get the Dictionary Maintenance program to work ... so I installed a few updates, testing each time to see if the Dictionary Maintenance Program began working ... and I noticed the first thing to happen was that the Transcript Editor quit working ... and remained dead through all four updates I had.

I then uninstalled DC from the XP bottle ... and then I noticed, buried on that DC CD that I got from Stenovations all these years ago, a build for Windows 98: Build 167.

I then created a Windows 98 Bottle ... and installed Build 167.

First, I started the Dictionary Maintenance program -- without installing any dictionaries this time -- and tried to create a blank Phoenix Theory dictionary:

New Phoenix Dictionary:  Success!

New Phoenix Theory Dictionary: Success!

Now, to import my .rtf dictionary into this blank one here ....

Importing the Phoenix Theory Dictionary:  Success!

Importing the Phoenix Theory Dictionary: Success!

I then decided I'd better install the rest of my dictionaries (while I had the Dictionary Maintenance program up and running!) ... and then tried to run the Transcript Editor ... alas, no joy.

So, I now have, under the Windows 98 bottle, DigitalCAT Build 167, where the Transcript Editor doesn't work, but the Dictionary Maintenance editor does. In theory, if I update this Build 167 with the next update I have (167d, along with 179b, 182b, 188b, 189c, and 190d) one at a time, testing each time, sometime before I reach Build 190, I hope to have a fully working version of digitalCAT running in CrossOver Mac!

167d installed ... Dictionary Maintenance works, no joy with the Transcript Editor.

Well, I take that back. While switching between applications, I noticed the Transcript Editor's icon there, but it disappeared. Tried starting it again, and when I selected it, nothing hapened.

179b installed ... same results.

Now for 182b .... drats, the Dictionary Maintenance program quit working ...! No Transcript Editor either.

Installed 188b .... Dictionary Maintenance program runs, but doesn't see any of the dictionaries I installed before ...! On the other hand, the Transcript Editor works. Freezes everything (everything CrossOver-wise, that is) for a while when I selected Options --> Captioning ... but eventually gave me something:

Captioning Options, Build 188b

Captioning Options, Build 188b

Alas, I had to kill the Transcript Editor after that, using the CrossOver Mac's built-in Task Manager:

The CrossOver Mac Task Manager

The CrossOver Mac Task Manager

Hmmm. Well, back to the updates. Next up: 189c ... Dictionary Maintenance Manager works, but won't load or open any dictionaries ...! The Transcript Editor works, but no dictionary ... hmmm.

Well. May as well install the drivers for my Serial - USB device and hook up my steno machine -- assuming, of course, I can get the USB device to work ....

That's strange ... the driver is installed, but no way to see which port it's working on ...! Hmm ... a quick look at the CrosOver Mac's website reveals that nothing that requires a serial port is supported ... but they have received a few inquiries, and I found a terminal command that (in theory) would tell CrossOver Mac about my serial device.

Unfortunately, I have some weird directory issue that needs to be addressed (my terminal program seems to believe it's still running on my old G4 PowerBook ... and I'm not sure how (or *where,* even) to go to fix that ...!

I did, however, find out where my digitalCAT dictionaries were being stored. I tried double-clicking them, but I got the same message (you know: "Dictionary Not Found"):

No Dictionaries for You!

"No Dictionaries for You!"

Well. Back to the upgrade follies!

190d is next ... (losing hope, here!)

DigitalCAT Build 190 Splash Screen

DigitalCAT Build 190d Splash Screen

Arrgghh ...! Same problems. All I have left (update-wise) are the updates that create DC-3 ... so I'll try them, and see what happens. First up: an update dated August 8, 2006, number four: No joy ... and no Transcipt Editor, either ...!

Well. I've installed all the updates I have, but can't get this to run in a stable fashion. I'll try a few things before I give up entirely ... like, say, installing the 167 build into the Windows XP bottle, and upgrading it to the 190 level ... but it's going to be a while. Watch for an update below this entry in the not-to-distant ....

Update (13OCT07)

Speed Teacher News

The other day, I got an e-mail from Charmaine of CRI Dallas. She was wondering if I had any solutions to the "Speed Teacher Doesn't Like Vista" issue, among other things.

At the time I began to answer her e-mail, I only had a work-around for her ... but while detailing that work-around, I went to and there, on the main page, as big as life (well ... more or less) was this headline:

"The Speed Teacher has been upgraded for Vista!!"

Check the Speed Teacher download page for the Vista download. Download and install the small set of files ... then download and install the Speed Teacher ... and no more Vista woes (well ... no more Vista woes with the Speed Teacher, anyway).

Give "The Shazz" a big round of applause!

Also, just in case ...

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