on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)
Macs and CATs
How to Run CAT Software on a Mac
Every once in a while, I will see someone on Facebook asking that eternal question: "How can I use my CAT software on a Mac?"
Turns out there are four ways -- and two of them free!
I am writing this article to answer those questions for those of you who were wondering the same thing. If I remember to do so, I will also include a few links to help a new Mac user learn about their new best (digital) friend!
And now, without further ado ....
"I am a Mac user, like my father before me ..."
Well, okay, so my dad used a Lisa his company was renting, and when he told me that it cost $10,000, I was actually afraid to touch it, lest something unfortunate occur ... but that modified quote from "Star Wars" was just too good to pass up! :o)
As a long-time Mac user, I must confess a slight penchant for answering questions like so:
"Hey, Glen! My computer keeps whining about a COM port. What do I --"
"Get a Mac!"
"Hey, Glen! Windows 10 just --"
"Get a Mac!"
"Hey, Glen! Some kid just drove off in your car!"
"Get a -- wait, what?!?"
... so what that means for you is this (relatively) quickie article on using your CAT software on your Mac.
"Why on Earth Would You Want to do That?!?"
Yes, that question is usually one you'll hear from someone that just doesn't know any better ... so for them -- and anybody else that asks -- here are three reasons:
One, doing so should help keep your Windows installation free of those pesky "drive-by viruses," simply by allowing the Mac OS to handle all of the stuff you would normally do online.
Two, Macs tend to last longer (I am writing this on a
2008 2010 iMac that is running just fine, thankyouverymuch).
And as for number three ... well ...
"Ah, Windows ... How Can I Run Thee, Let me Count the Ways ..."
There are four ways -- as of this writing -- to run Windows on a Mac:
"What's the Difference?"
Well, the first two are free!
... but with VirtualBox, you have no support beyond the website's forum, so if you are a technically savvy starving student or reporter, this one would be a great choice.
Boot Camp's support is available through Apple's website, and you can find all sorts of information there just by typing in "Boot Camp" in the search field at the top of the page ... or you could just click the previous link.
You should also be able to get support over the phone as well as through the Genius Bar at your friendly neighborhood Apple Store ... but just to be clear, they can't help you with any Windows-specific issues (though you might be lucky enough to find a Mac Genius that knows enough about Windows that can actually figure out what's what -- especially if you live in the Pacific North Wet -- but don't count on that).
Both Parallels and Fusion also offer support through their respective websites ... though of course, I don't believe anybody's going to provide support if you somehow manage to pick up a virus or a bit of malware in your Windows installation. For that, you're on your own ... but, should you find yourself in such a position, try here ... but fair warning -- the new Macs don't come with DVD drives, which this solution requires; you'll have to buy one separately.
"Is that it?"
Boot Camp, which Stenograph recommends, requires you to partition your hard drive, which basically means you would be creating a part of your Mac's drive specifically for Windows software.
Here are the requirements to run Case on a Mac.
On the off-chance that link changes one day, here's a screenshot of the appropriate page:
That is, you would be basically putting Windows on half of your Mac's hard drive, while the other half is occupied by the Mac OS ... and worse, you have to choose which one controls your Mac each time you start up, like so:
In other words, you can run the Mac OS or Windows, but not at the same time, like you can with the others.
In my opinion, that's just a waste of a Mac, so you may as well just buy yourself a PC.
I say that because as I may have mentioned, one of the main attractions for running your CAT software on a Mac is to avoid any of those pesky "drive-by" viruses Windows is famous for simply by keeping the Windows side completely offline -- or at least, not visiting websites; using DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud and other online storage methods should be okay ... and for the curious, all of those online storage methods present the user with a folder, into which they can simply drag and drop a file, and it will start uploading the file as soon as it is in the folder -- assuming, of course, that you're online at the time.
"Sharing is Caring"
When I was using Fusion, Parallels or VirtualBox, one thing I used to do was create a folder on the Mac side for files that I want to pass over to the Windows side, without switching from one OS to the other ... and to do that, I simply created the folder on the Mac side, switched to whatever I was using to run Windows, checked the menus for something like "Settings/Shared Folders," select the desired folder via those settings, and that's pretty much it.
Well. Except for testing it, that is ... which I usually do by dropping a picture in it from the Mac side, retrieving it on the Windows side, and making that picture my new Windows Desktop picture.
Sadly, that last link, which leads to a site where I used to download my desktop pictures, is now archived. Apparently, the webmaster quit updating the site back in 2010. Looks like there is a Facebook page for the site as well, which I never knew existed before now.
I'm pretty sure I downloaded this one before the updates stopped:
"Which Mac Should I Buy?"
Ah, yes ... the eternal question!
Folks that have been reading Cheap and Sleazy for a while know that I put the site together to help students -- and the occasional working reporter -- buy the stuff they need without spending too much money, ideally ... but when the money starts rolling in, feel free to buy a new Mac, if you want. That way, you've got a backup should the need arise, in the form of your old Mac (though I am also a big proponent of gifting a young family member with an old Mac from time to time ... but that can be tricky if there are more than one kids involved, as with my great-great nieces).
Um ... don't anybody tell them I said that!
To that end, I will always recommend buying an older (say "refurbished") Mac, as opposed to one of the new ones.
That way, you can still get a good Mac that's good enough to run your CAT software, and actually has a USB port or two. The new (2016 and up) Macs don't have normal USB ports, so you will definitely need some kind of hub to use any of your equipment) ... so you should always check out some of the Mac resellers when you're searching for your new
toy work tool:
Unfortunately, as I write this, Apple's prices are way up there! When I'm looking for a used Mac laptop, anything more than $900 is too much, but that's (probably) just me.
Mac of All Trades
... of course, it goes without saying that you should compare prices before making your final decision, so I'm not going to say that.
Note that the "M1 chip" does not work with any of the programs you need to run to run Windows.
All that said, as for which Mac to buy, always remember the Cheap and Sleazy rules for buying computers:
"Buy the one with the fastest CPU, the most RAM, and the largest amount of hard drive/storage space you can afford."
Words to live by!
"Wait a minute. Why isn't there any CAT software for the Mac?"
Ooh, good question (says the Mac user)!
Actually, there used to be at least two: Macintosh CAT and MacTranscribe.
While looking through a stack of old JCRs, I found an issue with these two ads in them:
As an aside, I found someone on one of the forums that had actually tried both of these CATs, and he said that they were less than great. Had I been in the field at the time, they would have received several bug reports from me!
Oh, and I found this interesting link just now. Not sure what it's about, though.
There's probably a really good story there!
Old Macs vs New Macs
I think the most important feature of the older Macs is the USB port, vice the USB-C port the new Macs come with these days.
As for what is the problem with that USB-C port, in order to connect your writer to your Mac, you now require an adapter.
"What's wrong with those?", you ask?
The problem is that one port is the only port on the laptop.
Yes, that's right ... if you want to connect your writer *AND* charge your MacBook, your iPhone, or anything else, you're going to need a hub. This article talks about this issue.
Another good thing about the older Macs is the MagSafe Power Adapter:
Apple came out with these back in 2006. The idea was to avoid having somebody trip over your power cord and send your Mac flying through the air!
Since Apple introduced these, if someone tripped over your MacBook's power cord, the only thing that would happen would be that the cable would disconnect from your Mac with hardly any disturbance to your Mac -- or you. If you've got kids or the occasional rambunctious pet running through your house or apartment, you can rest (a little) easier, knowing that they can't send your Mac flying when they trip over the power cord.
With the 2016 MacBooks, Apple decided to do away with the MagSafe adapter.
As you might guess, there are several Mac users questioning the wisdom behind that decision. I mean, what's not to like with this device? Someone trips over your Mac's power cord, and instead of sending your $3,000 Mac flying across the room, just the power cord goes for a (relatively) short flight.
But wait! What's *THIS* ...?!?
"This" is a new version of that missing MagSafe power adapter, with the addition of a few USB ports to compensate for the missing ones that somebody at Apple decided you didn't need anymore.
By the way, good job, Apple.
Somebody else had a similar idea:
... so all is not lost in that department.
Then there were all those "issues" with the keyboards -- which apparently have been alleviated with the new keyboard design.
All of which is why I recommend buying an older (pre-2015) MacBook Pro.
As you can see below, many Mac users were not pleased with some of the "improvements" a couple years back:
(And, as always, a big THANKS to the folks at Joy of Tech for their always spot-on 'toons!)
"Bell, 'Book, or Pro?"
Ah, yes ... another eternal question!
Personally, I would probably always go for a MacBook Pro ... mostly because (don't tell anybody on Facebook; I hear a few folks think I'm like 20 or something! Ha ha ha!) as I get older, my eyes will most likely get weaker, which would necessitate having to buy another Mac with a bigger screen at one point or another, so I can just avoid that by buying one with at least a 15 inch screen, which pretty much knocks those 13 inch MacBooks out of contention -- for me. Your mileage may vary.
As for the MacBook itself, I remember that the original ones were a bit, shall we say, "under powered," to coin a phrase. They should be much better now, though ... but I would have to play with one to be sure.
Once you have selected one of the four programs discussed above, downloaded and installed it, the next thing to do would be to install Windows in your new environment.
If you're a bit on the nervous side, not to worry ... that's what YouTube is for! Here's one for VMWare Fusion ...
... and here's one for Parallels.
... and one more for VirtualBox.
Here's how to import a VMware Fusion virtual machine into VirtualBox.
Here's how to convert a Parallels virtual machine into something that will work with VirtualBox.
As an aside, I was helping one of my former classmates install Fusion on her new MacBook Pro. I had the Windows disk in the (external) SuperDrive, and at the appropriate time, the Fusion installer grabbed that disk, and started installing Windows -- all without me having to do anything.
Gotta love that.
Trials (and Tribulations)
As with most software these days, both Parallels and Fusion offer a free trial period.
The good news about that is you can use both of them for free for about a month before you have to decide which one you want to use.
Please note -- I am *NOT* saying you can use one program for a month then the other one for another month; rather, I am saying that between the two programs, you can use one for about two weeks (Parallels) and the other for about three weeks -- at least, that's how it was when I used them before.
So I would suggest trying Parallels first, then Fusion.
As for not wanting to re-install Windows and your CAT software of choice and starting all over again, not to worry ... both programs will import the other's virtual disk drives, so you should only have to install Windows once ... and that "Import" command should be located under the File menu in both programs.
Pretty cool, huh?
Well ... *I* think it's cool, considering what I had to do to go from my VirtualPC installation to Parallels and then to Fusion when they were new ... but I digress.
Wait a minute ...! Apparently Microsoft has continued development on that one, so now it will run on Mac OS X! I'll have to do a little snooping around to see if anybody is actually using it!
Since Macs have moved away from the old technology of physical hard drives, Apple's policy when you bring your Mac in for service is pretty much "Your data is not important."
That is, the Mac Geniuses will not try to recover your data for you; in fact, they're told they have to pretty much trash your system, and replace it with a new "Mother of All Boards" ... and they will not even attempt to recover your data.
Fortunately, Cheap and Sleazy has your back! Before you find yourself in that position, head over to YouTube and take a look at Louis Rossmann's channel.
Mr. Rossmann is a self-taught -- I think -- Mac repair technician, and he can usually repair Macs and iDevices that Apple's techs cannot touch -- let alone repair -- per Apple's policies. His store was in New York, but it appears that he's looking for another place ... so if you don't live nearby, you'll have to send him your iDevice through the mail -- USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.
... and I'm sure I don't have to tell you to insure your baby -- er, "work tool," right?
Anyway, if you look at his channel, you will see him repairing Apple products, using SMC repair tools, a binocular microscope -- a somewhat fancier model than the ones I learned to use back in my Navy days, by the way -- an interesting set of schematics that are apparently not available to the public, and an amazing program that shows you all sorts of interesting things in those schematics with the touch of a probe.
In the meantime, it can't hurt for you to invest in a Time Machine backup drive -- which apparently only works with Mac OS X versions 10.13 ("High Sierra") on up.
You know ... just in case.
Another thing to remember is that the new Macs come with both the SSD and the RAM soldered on to the "Mother of all Boards" ... which means you can't upgrade to more RAM or a larger SSD after you buy it.
Just one more reason to go with a refurbished pre-2016 MacBook or MacBook Pro.
"I don't know Macs! What should I do?"
Well, how about a two hour video tutorial?
"What About Keyboard Shortcuts?"
Oh, right! Here you go:
Those keyboard commands should help you quite a bit ... but if you decide to boldly go where no new Mac-using steno ninja has gone before, you might find folks referring to something called an "Apple Key."
Note that those folks are referring to the key with the cloverleaf -- mostly because back when the Mac was new, that command key also had the Apple symbol on it. Not sure why it doesn't anymore, though ... but I kind of miss it.
"Are there any Mac-related Facebook groups I could join?"
Of course there are ...!
If you're using Case, you should join the "Mac and Case Catalyst Users" group."
If you're on another CAT, then join the "Court Reporter & Scopist Macintosh Users Group."
If you read my article about court reporting forums from back in the day, then you probably already know the "Lurking is Good!!" rule, right? If not, this would be a great time to run through that article to "refresh your recollection" on that subject.
Ah, back so soon, I see! So let me share with you a more recent story in a similar vein.
A gal joined the aforementioned Mac and Case Catalyst group sometime back. I welcomed her to the group and told her that pretty much any question she had has probably already been asked and answered, so before asking a question, she should use the group's Search feature.
Half an hour later, she asked her first question:
"How do I run Windows on my Mac?"
Now, normally, I am a pretty helpful guy on Facebook. If I know the answer to your question, I will answer it ... but this time, as I was all set to answer her question, my fingers poised over the keys of my ProCAT Flash (thank you, Plover)! ... and I stopped.
I had told her exactly what to do before asking a question, and clearly she didn't do it ... so I let her question sit there unanswered.
In fact, her question went unanswered for several hours ... and probably is still waiting to be answered, several years later.
I groused about that in a closed group on Facebook, and one of the members of both that group and the Mac group in question saw it and said she couldn't believe that the gal actually asked that question, after I had told her exactly what to do first.
I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you the moral of that story, right?
In Defense of Old Macs
Do you remember at the beginning of this article that I said that Macs tend to last longer? Sure hope so, because I'm going to back that up here.
I have four Macs here right now -- eight if you count the four that don't work (I'll get them fixed Soonest!).
Of the four that are still working, three of them I use daily. I have a 2010 15 inch MacBook Pro (in the shop right now for a cleaning and an upgrade of the hard drive and the RAM) I use to handle my MagicJack phone, which is an internet phone service that costs me about $40/year (and there's an App for that now!), and a program called
WireTap Pro that no longer works past the system update from Mac OS 10.6.8 which I use to record some of that "Different Dictation" I'm so fond of ... and also to help feed my TV watching habits.
WireTap Pro is now dead, and has been replaced by Audio Hijack.
The ~1998 iMac in the living room I use to play some of those old games that no longer work past Mac OS9.
As a bit of an aside, I used this game to teach my non-computer-using sister how to use a mouse.
Before I downloaded that game, she would lean re-e-e-e-ally close to the screen, then push the mouse verrry sloooowly on the mouse pad, like it was going to bite her or something!
Then I started Apeiron, told her what to do ("Move the mouse around to move your gun, and press the button to shoot what's trying to get you"), and let her get to it.
Let's just say her "mad mouse skillz" improved quite rapidly, and there may have been a few -- actually, quite a few -- utterances of "Just one more game!" that first night!
I think she left a bit after one in the morning that night, a mere two hours later than she had planned.
You can see how the game looks -- and sounds -- when being played in this video.
... and don't get me started on Ferazel's Wand!
Fortunately, there appears to be action on either a re-release or some kind of update coming, according to this website, from the author of the original game.
... and you can download a disk image of said game from the Macintosh Repository which you could then play via Chubby Bunny, which is a Mac OS 9 emulator.
All that to say that those eight- and ten-year-old Macs are still going strong, despite my recent battery issues ... so yes, Macs do last a good long time.
"This is the Mac. It's Supposed to be fun!"
I saw that quote in one of the earlier editions of "The Macintosh Bible" when I was getting started with Macs, and it has stuck with me for all these years.
For instance, I have roughly 300 pictures that the system uses for desktop pictures. You've already seen one of them, in the form of that picture of Bill Gates. I have my iMac set so that a new desktop picture appears roughly every 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, I usually have a web browser window open so I don't actually get to see any of those desktop pictures very often, but it's nice to know that I can see something different each time I look at the desktop.
Sometimes it's the little things.
Personalizing Your Mac
One of the first things I do with a new Mac is rename the hard drive from "Hard Drive" to something a bit more personal ... like so:
Not too shabby ... but that icon! (*shudder*)!
Fortunately, that's an easy fix. If you have a picture that you like somewhere on a flash drive or your hard drive/SSD, find it, then click it once to select it.
Next, click and hold the Command key and tap the I key, and do the same to get to your hard drive's "Get Info" window.
You should end up with two windows open, similar to these:
The picture on the right is something I found on one of the CDs (or was it a floppy disk?) that used to come with each issue of MacFormat back in the day, and I thought it made a great icon for a hard drive!
To get your hard drive's picture to match the picture you selected, simply click the picture once, and then either do the keyboard command (Command-C) or use the Edit menu's Copy item, then select your hard drive/SSD's icon ... and paste (Command-V) the copied picture on to the picture of that nekkid hard drive's Get Info window, and you're done!
Just one more way to make your Mac life just a tad better.
... and here's a little story to go along with that "Hot Mac" icon.
I had come to know a few of the computer sales-folk at one of the local (Bloomington, Indiana at the time) computer stores that were now selling the new line of Macs -- with which, they were totally unfamiliar.
So one day I stopped by, chatted a bit about Macs and computers, and changed the hard drive icon on one of their demo Macs to the icon above ... and left.
When I stopped by the next day, they had an "Out of Order" sign on it, so I asked them what was wrong with it.
One of the techs/sales folk started it up and pointed to the icon.
I taught him how to change the hard drive's icon that day ... and put that Mac back in service.
He was relieved!
Oh, and if you feel the need to check out some of the old issues of the aforementioned MacFormat, I think they have all of them over at the Macintosh Garden, and probably over at the Mac Repository website.
Have you ever run into that term? Probably not.
Unfortunately, there are a few programs out there that qualify for that ... dubious nickname, one of which is a program called "MacKeeper."
It looks like it does amazing things for your Mac ... but if you see an ad for that program, do what Nancy Reagan used to say all the time, and "Just Say No!" (and yes, that link tells you exactly why you should do that!)
Looks like the folks that make MacKeeper have been sued for a mere $2 million.
One of the things one has to do from time to time is post a screenshot of their Mac's screen. There are two ways you can do that.
One way would be to use the keyboard command of Command-Shift-3, which will give you a picture of everything on your screen at the time.
The other way would be to use the keyboard command of Command-Shift-4, which will then change your cursor into a sort of 'X,' with which you could select just the area you want a screenshot of (these are great for those times when you're trying to explain what's wrong with your computer to somebody far away).
The resultant images will be on your Mac's desktop.
Unfortunately, if you keep taking screenshots and are not clearing them off frequently, eventually you'll end up with a bunch of screenshots all over your desktop.
Ordinarily, this would be where I would show you a screenshot of my messy desktop from days gone by, but I don't have one with a lot of screenshots ... so if you were to imagine everything you see on the desktop in the screenshot below were screenshots instead of icons, text files and etc., then you would have some idea of how messy a desktop could get:
Of course, if you're going to be taking your Mac out on jobs, chances are good you're not going to want people to see how messy your desktop is with all those screenshots ... so here's an article that will show you how to designate a specific folder for your screenshots.
Update: A Precautionary Tale
One of the (relatively) new features in the Mac OS is something called "iCloud."
For the click-shy, what that is is kind of an online backup of your Mac's data, which is saved to "the cloud."
In other words, it's kind of like "Google Drive."
So. As you might recall, I've had to replace a couple hard drives over the years, and both of them are in a case which I can connect to my working Macs and have them mount on the host Mac's desktop.
A few weeks back, I connected my most recent failed hard drive to my iMac, to move some of the TV shows I had on there that I hadn't watched yet on to the new hard drive.
While looking around on that drive, I saw my old iCloud folder, and thought it might be a great idea to sync that folder with the current data in my iCloud drive.
Sounds harmless, right? Well, turns out, not so much.
What actually happened was my current iCloud storage was overwritten by that older data.
"So what," you ask?
Well, for those of you unfortunate enough to have missed reading my TV article, I use a small program called "Notefile", to keep track of the shows I watch, and that information is stored on iCloud ... so when that "accident" happened, all of the data I had in Notefile was suddenly replaced by old data, from (I think) two years ago.
Gone were all the new TV shows I had added, along with which episode of those and older shows I had coming up, which would keep me from watching an episode I'd already seen.
Like the man said, "The horror ... the horror ...."
Still, though, the question remained."How do I get that data back?"
Then I remembered that my iPad had a recent backup, since I hadn't turned it on in at least three weeks.
So the next day, I spent some quality time (I think about five hours) in the offices of my apartment complex, copying all of those notes to some kind of app I had on there, and transferred all of those notes to the Messages app, and opened each of those messages, copied the contents, and pasted the data into the appropriate Notefile page, overwriting the bad data.
Somewhere in there, I contacted Apple Support about the issue I was having with iCloud to see if there was any way to get my data back ... and if you've read this far, chances are good you know what he said ... which was basically there was no backup at all ... which is why I had to do all that work to get the important stuff restored.
"Say ... what about those Macs with those new chips in them?
Ooh, good question! I asked a similar question in the Plover Google Group recently, and that went like this:
Someone was kind enough to answer my question, in great detail:
"I upgraded to an M1, and a couple of things happened:
-- My Infinity foot pedal no longer works on Inqscribe. Internet research indicated that is a chip issue conflicting with the pedal, and the only solution is to buy a new pedal with a specific marking. I did that and the new one is fine, but I'm down $60.
-- My Infinity Traditional Student writer no longer can be found by the Mac. Nothing has cured this yet.
-- My new Luminex CSE (1) doesn't talk to the Mac, either. The port just doesn't appear on the Plover list, though all my non-writer steno keyboards (SOFT/HRUF, Georgi) are just fine.
I wrote to Stenograph and just got the "We don't support Macs" response.
There are quite a few of us out here, guys..."
Are you Thinking of Buying One of Those 16 Inch Macbook Pros?
If so, you should "Think Different"and watch this one before you do so.
Louis up there is a self-taught(?) Mac, iPhone, and iPad repair
manNinja. He can often repair Macs and iPhones that they can't repair at your local Apple Store.
The video linked above is of Louis repairing one of those 16 inch MacBook Pros, while he talks about how it was made to be "non-repair friendly," to coin a phrase.
Well, that's the skinny of how to run Windows on your Mac! Good luck ... and enjoy!
Oh, and since you either are already or soon will be a member of this exclusive club of stenographers with Macs, did I mention that Plover runs just fine on a Mac?
Welcome to The Cult of Mac!!*