Which one are you using and why?

I am a CR student dreaming of my first professional machine and software. All the prices are way out of reach. :( During a test today I finally decided I'm over the whole paper thing. I wanted to keep paper optional, but after not being able to find my grease before the test I was fed up.

My fingers and forearms hurt lately. I feel like I'm writing in mush. The depth of this stentura400 is so deep and the touch is far from soft. Yes, it is set very shallow and light.

I've started my research. I want to know everything. I've read cheapandsleazy and some other sites. I'd like your personal opinions. I want the good column and the bad column. Software too. I'm so in the dark about this stuff. I wish we had a machine/software class or something that gave us info on the options. Not just this specific software only. :(


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Actually, we really should vary how we sit all the time during the day. Too much pressure on one part for too long causes physical problems.
Hi Anastasia!

I just saw that you're in Plano. If you'd like to get the student version of Eclipse, I can get it for you for free. I offer it to all the students who live within driving distance of me (I'm in Austin) because I really, really believe in the program and I know when I was in school I was as broke as anything!

The deal is that I'd be your tech support ... you couldn't call in to the headquarters, but there's lots of help and free training included inside the program. If you'd like to check it out, just let me know and I'll send you the contract. Just let me know where you go to school. I could also show you the new Passport writer, if you'd like to check out all your options.

You're so smart to be checking all of this out now. You'll hit the ground running when you get your CSR!

Good luck in school...
P.S. - You can probably get a great deal on a used writer right now, since a lot of reporters are wanting to get the new ones that just came out. I still adore my Smartwriter that I got in the '80s! If you're doing realtime and have your laptop there with you, the one main consideration is that your machine doesn't stack. If you have great software and a machine that is accurate, you're all set. You don't have to spend $5000 on a machine to be a great reporter!
Have you considered the Gemini Revolution Grand for court reporters? It has a split keyboard and is fully adjustable. The machine adjusts and turns and twists as you need it. I have had problems losing the feeling in my pinky. I am not able to use a regular machine where your arms are so close together and it forces your shoulders to roll forward slightly. I went to the Gemini writer and all my problems were solved. Here is the website: http://www.geminiwriter.com/
I love my writer and have not had any problems with it. The customer service at the Neutrino Group, who manufactures the writer, is the best anywhere.
Many people ask if it is hard to get used to writing with a split keyboard and it is not. It took me a week or two, max. It is a paperless writer. I write directly to a tablet kiosk (mini computer) that sits on my writer and is actually a full computer running MS Windows and I can load my transcription software on there. It is also a wireless writer so my notes are sent via Bluetooth to my Eclipse software.
Since the machine is so adjustable, I no longer have fatigue in mhy forearms, wrists, and shoulders. I also do not lose the strength and feeling in my fingers. It was a career saver for me. Someone recently wrote an article about the writer in JCR. I just don't recall which month. Good luck.
Hi everyone,
I am interested in becoming a court reporter. I have no idea how to start, what to expect, pay scale (real world advice), job demand, what type of school to look for.

I currently live in Florida but after I am done studdying here plan on moving back to San Diego, California. Is this something I can train for here and also work there?

Are there any national test or state test that I will need to take? I am beyond clueless and looking for any advice anyone can give me.

Thank you so very much! Jaime
Attending reporting school in Florida and then moving to California will be fine. Plan to complete the reporter training at the school where you begin. When students transfer, a new school can require that students take certain classes at the new school that weren't offered at the previous school, thereby increasing the length of time you are in school and how much it costs. The length of time required to complete the training varies, depending on the student's skill, but plan on three or four years.

Court reporting requires certain skills and abilities that cannot be taught. As a generality, if you are good at keyboarding (computer input) or piano, you have a good chance of making it through court reporting training. Your English skills must be very strong. Good grammar and punctuation are imperative. Court reporting requires you to hear words, translate them into phonetic strokes, and input them on the keyboard very quickly. Lots of people drop out of reporting school because they do not have the ear/brain/hand connection required in this job.

Look for schools in your area. Courses through a public school, such as a community college, will be less expensive than private schools, of course.

The pay scale varies depending on where you work. This is a profession that does pay well. Currently, thanks to our economy, business is slow. By the time you graduate, who knows? When the economy eventually picks up, there should be a stronger demand for court reporters.

California has a certification test. Here is the link to the CA CSR Board:
Go to the "Applicants" tab for more information, including how to qualify to take the exam. You cannot work as a court reporter in California, in court or in depositions, until you have passed the CSR exam.
Thank you so much for the info.

From the last time I looked, I think one of the requirements to pass the csr exam in Ca. was working in the field for one year. I was dissapointed to hear that as I hate FL..

On any-note, I truely appreciate you advice and knowledge.
Okay. The Mira and the LS sound good. But how many different Miras are there? I'm ready to get professional software. I currently have student software. I don't really play around with it since I know it will change and it is also limited with what I can do. I know my basics with it that is needed for school.

If anyone is selling which ever Mira or LS let me know. Even if you know someone who is. I'd really like the LS.
Actually, I'd really like to write on them first somehow.

Thanks for the information everyone. PLEASE feel free to keep posting thoughts and opinions. I'd love this thread to keep going with this topic in case something else someone says is important enough to try something different.

Hi, Anastasia.

There are three different Miras: The original, the second one ("G2"), and the current one ("A3").

I would avoid the first two versions of the Mira. These are the ones with the floppy drive -- and if you've been reading ol' Cheap and Sleazy for a while, you *know* how I feel about floppy drives!

There is also that unfortunate issue with the CF card being able to only see 32 MB -- no matter how large the CF card is!

Also, there is the "stuttering" issue, where certain keys will repeat after a while. My local steno repair ninja says he has a fix for that (and has promised me an article, with pictures, explaining the problem and the fix).

This affects all Miras, and the Fusion as well.

The LightSpeed has a bit of a learning curve to it, but most people using it are very happy!

I had a chance to get some "hands-on" time with a Gemini Revolution Grand at the Washington Court Reporter's Association's educational seminar recently. The touch was set to it's lightest setting, so just breathing on the keys was enough to make something register on the screen!

Alas, the best way to get a feel for these writers is with a hands-on demo ... but both the LightSpeed and the Gemini have restocking fees, so you'll lose a good portion of the funds for your writer in restocking fees if you decide against both writers ... so you might reach out to your state's association via their forum and ask if anyone has the writers in question and some time to demo it for you.

As for software, you can save quite a bit if you opt for digitalCAT. For the first six months after you graduate, it's free ... then for the next year, it's $79/month ... but after that year, you have to tell them that your payments are to apply to the purchase price; otherwise, you'll be leasing the software, thinking you're buying it ... and you're not.

Finally, you should check out the forums listed in my Links article. You might find a good deal! Someone on Depoman is selling a LightSpeed ... and I think all of the forums have people selling their A3 Miras, because of the arrival of the Diamante ... and I am selling my spare ProCAT Flash here on CSR Nation.

Good luck ... and hope that helps!

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
To write on the Mira or LS, go to reporter conventions in your area. Different vendors will be there with their products for reporters to try. Usually you can walk in and visit the vendor area without registering for the seminars.

The LightSpeed is wonderful. I've had one since June. The touch is so light! My posture has changed, since it sits on my lap. My shoulders, arms, and hands are pain free even after a long day in the courtroom. The LightSpeed is manufactured by Stenovations, which also has DigitalCat software. A friend of mine was on DigitalCat and liked the software quite well. I'm on StenoCat 32 and like it. Both DigitalCat and StenoCat 32 are smaller companies and charge less for their software.

The big players in software are Stenograph's Case Catalyst and Eclipse. Both are very expensive. Personally, I've had bad experiences with Stenograph and cannot recommend them. Eclipse seems to be a great program. It is well liked by the reporters I work with who use it.
gdw, what about current student with digitalCAT software?

I'm seeing my research pointing that direction with LS.
Anastasia --

Not quite sure what you're asking about digitalCAT. Can you re-phrase?



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