on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)

By G.D. Warner

The Note Buddy

A Little Help for Your Transcription Woes


You might already be somewhat familiar with the concept of the Note Buddy from my article on why you should keep those old JCRs called "Thar's Gold in Them Thar Boxes."

For those of you who either missed it or found yourself in a situation where you needed one but weren't too clear on how to put one together, then this article is for you!


Meet the Note Buddy.

The Note buddy

The Note Buddy (Can you read the notes?)

This is what I use when I transcribe my notes, thanks to that small mention in the JCR some years ago.

Recently I wrote about The Note Buddy on one of the court reporting student pages on Facebook in response to a complaint from a high speed student who was having some difficulties in transcribing her tests because sometimes she would lose her place in the switch from reading her steno notes and writing on her laptop.

For me, transcribing a five-minute test involved maybe 20 folds of steno paper ... but it turns out the faster you get, the more folds of steno paper you use, which makes the Note Buddy more important to a high speed student, such as the young woman who was having difficulty switching from her notes to her laptop and back to her notes again that I mentioned earlier.

With some prompting, I decided that maybe writing this How-To on making your own Note Buddy might save a few high speed students from pulling out a few handfulls of hair during their transcriptio process!

So now, without further ado   -- er, let's get started!

Required Materials

•   One (or more) index cards; I prefer the 4-by-6 size

•   A "bulldog clip"

•   a "foldy-bendy" book stand (about $1.50 5.0 ten bucks -- for four).

•   a pen or a pencil

•   a piece of steno paper (optional)

•   a pair of scissors

... and, if you're a bit on the clumsy side, a bandage or two might come in handy! But let's hope Mr. Murphy doesn't enforce his law on you, and you complete the construction unscathed.

You can get most of these items in any office supply store (less the steno paper, of course), but you can only get the book stand through the Library Store at the link above ... but you might try bribing your local librarian with a Cheap and Sleazy Mocha and a fair amount of begging and pleading -- er, asking really, really nicely if you're in a hurry ....


First, grab your pen or pencil, the card, and your piece of steno paper.

Index card and steno paper

Index card and steno paper

Use your pen to draw a pair of outlines of that piece of steno paper. Make them both about half an inch high and maybe an inch and a half apart.

Outlining the cut

Outlining the Cut

Next, grab your scissors and cut both the outlines.

In order to accomplish this, I had to stick the pointy end of my scissors (that's a technical term, by the way; just ask any hair dressing school or barber school student) through the card and do a bit of wiggling in order to get the scissors in there, using my index finger as the base (which I did, without drawing blood -- this time! Hope you are as lucky!).

With any luck, your Note Buddy will look something like this:

Note Buddy:  Final Cuts

Note Buddy: Final Cuts

Now for the fun part: Grab your bulldog clip --

Ye Olde Bulldog Clip

Ye Olde Bulldog Clip

-- and attach it to your foldy-bendy book stand on either the top, left or the right side:

Almost Done

Almost Done!

Next, slip your index card under the bulldog clip, and run the notes from your last test through the two slits, starting from the bottom one on the index card, through the top slit, and over the back of the foldy-bendy book stand:

Done! (Front view)

Done! (Front view)

This is a bit difficult to explain, but hopefully my attempt to do so combined with the picture below will get the point across properly, but you should place your notes under the front foot of the foldy-bendy book stand and thread your notes first through the bottom slit, out through the top slit, and over the back of the foldy-bendy book stand, like so:

Done!  (Side view)

Done! (Side view)

Note how the notes are piling up behind the Note Buddy. This doesn't (exactly) happen automatically; you may have to adjust the flow of the notes coming off the top of your Note Buddy to achieve this, but once you have pointed your notes in the proper direction when they're coming off the top of your Note Buddy, they will fall properly.

Hope everyone finds this to be of use ... and good luck!