I was just looking at Jennie's blog about her HP printer, and it got me thinking how if I never printed another transcript page in my lifetime, I'd be thrilled. I now send in all of my work via e-mail. I have come to take it for granted, I guess, how much better things are today than they used to be.

I can remember working on a transcript on my Baron Oz system. I bought it with another court reporter, because the monthly payments were about the same as a mortgage payment. I would then print the transcript on my dot matrix printer. That thing would shriek shrilly (say that three times fast) as it was slowly, slowly, slowly printing. Then when the printing was done, I'd have to tear off the sides of each page carefully so that they wouldn't tear. I remember the exciting day when my partner and I bought a burster and decollator to improve the manual process of separating the pages.

Before that terrific, new technology, I would dictate my steno notes into a dictaphone, and I would drive about an hour to get to my typist's house to deliver and pick up work.

Okay, I can go further back than that, too. Before dictating, I used to type the transcripts on the newest typewriter on the market, the IBM Selectric -- no, not the correcting one, the one before that. If it was a multiple-copy order, I'd stick the carbon paper in between each page and pray to God that I didn't make a mistake. When I did make a mistake, I'd have to take that white eraser that looked like a pencil with a little blue brush on the end of it, and I'd have to get the carbon all over myself while I went in and erased each copy. Then, of course, I'd touch my face for some reason, and then I'd be blue, literally. Imagine having a date after working on a transcript -- pretty!

Every once in a while, we'd have someone stop in the office that wanted something typed. I had one guy come in. He told me that there could not be one, single typo/correction on the page. He stood behind me as I was typing. First page in, type type type -- oops. Next, oops, oops, oops. Oops oops, oops. I ripped the pieces of paper out of the typewriter one by one, feeling the heat of man's glare burning through me. Wow! I might have a nightmare about that tonight. It was awful.

Today, though, I am a realtime reporter. I love my job. Wow, what technology has done for us!


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Comment by Veronica Kubat on August 11, 2009 at 14:03
Janet, I bought a "stand-alone" Baron Oz system for one person - me - $15,000. Makes me ill just thinking about it.

Comment by Lynnette G. Gertz on August 4, 2009 at 12:49
This brings back memories of being in New York in 1976 and just carrying one little case with your manual machine and the paper you needed, going on the subway to jobs. Gee, I guess you can't do that with all the stuff you have to drag around today. I'm no longer in New York, so I wonder how New York reporters get around today with all that equipment.
Thanks for the memories!!
Comment by Tricia McLaughlin on August 3, 2009 at 10:01

I sooo agree!
Comment by Janet on August 3, 2009 at 9:13
Wow, Mary Jo, that brings me back. I remember my first apartment, sitting on the floor, too, until I was able to get some furniture. I was so anxious to move in, I didn't care!

I don't even remember what happened to my old stuff. I think my IBM Selectric was going to cost more to fix than it was worth, so I just threw it away.
Comment by Mary Jo Cochran on August 3, 2009 at 9:05
I started out in 1983??? An IBM-II was $1,000. I bought a Juno - a cheaper version (very light) - for $200.00. I sat on the floor in front of the typewriter to do my transcripts (I just moved to Florida, lived in the house my parents had built). I had no money for a desk. I made a desk from plywood from Home Depot, made an office in the garage. It was a big l-shaped desk, solid wood and 2-4's; painted it brown. I still have a picture in my scrap book of the office (and desk) I made.

About a month after I bought the typewriter the house was broken into - and the typewriter (along with some nice jewelry) was taken. That was heartbreaking going through the house, getting to my garage office, and seeing that desk that took me days to make - and no typewriter there.

I got the insurance money, bought an IMB-II. I still have it, but the thin ribbon inside needs replaced.
Comment by Janet on August 3, 2009 at 7:50
I used to be able to live without much sleep, Tricia. Not anymore.
Comment by Tricia McLaughlin on August 3, 2009 at 7:21
Oh, Janet, I remember those days all too well. When did we sleep??
Comment by Janet on August 3, 2009 at 5:45
I had the Oz four-person computer, which cost more. We used to rent time to other reporters on it.

Jennie, I saw some old manual steno machines on eBay. They might get $20 or $30. You're not going to retire on the proceeds. :(

Are they still making the Land Before Time series, Tami? I can't believe how many of those we had. I think my kids got bored after the third series.
Comment by Jennie Ann on August 3, 2009 at 5:02
I still have my two manual steno machines. I think they are in my attic. I wonder if they are worth anything. I remember the smell of my steno machine. It wasn't a bad smell, but it did have a distinct smell.

I also have my father's manual Underwood typewriter. My poor dad used to be a hunt-and-peck kind of typist on that Underwood. ;-)
Comment by Tami on August 2, 2009 at 23:21
Okay, now, I'm not that old!!

I never bought into the -- I thought it was the Baron main frame that cost $30,000.

I know my first HP lazer jet in 1987 was $1600.

AND, Jenny, haven't you seen the Land Before Time series -- all those cute little dinosaurs??

I think Sarah was the Stegosaurus. They're not all big, old, and ugly. :)

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