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Professional software contenders: CaseCat - $4,000 . Eclipse - $4,000. Both of these are the the best, but most reporters prefer Eclipse.
Procat, (Smartcat, Turbocat - made by Cheetah). $4,000 too.
Aristocat - $2,800. This is a good choice if you are not in the $4,000 financial bracket, and want to own your own software.
Stenocat32 is the best, $600 a year (but an initial first year fee too, $400?) Provides support.
DigitalCat - $80 a month. Supposedly you can buy the right to use it. Could be $2,400 or $2,800, several websites give conflicting info. Go to Stenovations website, and it doesn't show either a $2,400 or a $2,800 - just shows the $80.00 lease. It also has a purchase option of support for $300 a year. Let's assume the $80 a month rental includes support.
Old software: All assets have a lifespan. CAT software lifespan is dependent upon new technology - computers, laptops, printers. Operating systems, Windows XP, 7, 8, Vista. Old software cannot run on these newer computers - and their makers are not inclined to create patches to make them run on the newer computers (doesn't make business sense). A lot of court reporters have replaced their beloved software - for good reason. So moral of this paragraph, don't buy old Stenocat 32 installed on a 1990's laptop.
I am a longtime Eclipse user (full key, edit key, edit key, convenience key, convenience key, AccuCap, Passport), but there are a couple of developments that have made me take a sorta-kinda serious look at Case here lately; namely: http://www.stenograph.com/tour.aspx?tour=cat12&doc=601 and http://www.stenograph.com/marcom/cc13tour/cc13_tour_lexisnexis.html -- and, okay, even http://www.stenograph.com/tour.aspx?tour=cat12&doc=611 (pretty nifty).
I imagine if Eclipse does not have these features already (I don't know about them, if they do), they'll be coming along shortly, or something similar. One thing Eclipse does have going for it--BIG TIME--is their technical support. Can't tell you how many times I have called them--and usually in the wee hours.
When I bought Eclipse software a decade or so ago, I got online to some website and there actually were stats on all the software. Eclipse is more popular on the East Coast it seems, at least when I purchased it. Here where I live in Northern California, it seems maybe a tad more CC. Lots of my friends are on Eclipse, which is nice for sharing ecl files.
Anyway, that's why I purchased Eclipse because it was more popular at the time. Also, Stenograph treated me so poorly when they bought Xcribe, which was my old software, that I would have bought anything just to not give them any more of my money. Forgot about that part.
I agree with you, Kelli. I think CAT systems are popular by region. In Richmond, it was all Eclipse and a few CC stragglers. I now know a lot of NY reporters, and NY is most definitely a CC town, at least among the reporters I've come to know up there. A few Eclipse, but darn few. Also, I'm not sure what Eclipse does with the schools, but I know that Stenograph really pushes to get into the schools and get reporting students on their software early and free, or next to free. They're mostly all already on their writers, which can't be beat (it's the Diamante I'm speaking of), so it's a natural progression to move into their software. I have my issues with Eclipse, and yes, I have cheated on them ... or tried to ... but after that experience, I am quote content with Eclipse despite its few flaws. After all, it's the reporter's skills that crank out good realtime, not the CAT software. For what it's worth, I have absolutely no need to attach an exhibit to a transcript in any way, and I have eye strain enough without putting my seating chart on the screen. Those are neat features if you really need them, though, just not for me. Despite having issues with the companies that are behind Eclipse and CaseCATalyst, they both seem to be doing just fine.
I agree they both seem to be doing just fine, and I also agree the wording could have been a little better as far as "most reporters prefer." I think they are both great.
The reason I switched from being on Procat for decades to Eclipse is I saw with my own eyes that Eclipse users were the ones rocking the NCRA realtime contests, and a lot of the reporters doing the rocking gave lots of credit to their software. You still have to be a very good realtime writer to qualify no matter what software you are on, but I personally feel Eclipse does give you an extra edge.
One year Mark K. (A DigitalCat user) came in sixth or seventh place. Every reporter finishing ahead of him was on Eclipse.
I consider myself a pretty decent realtime writer. Passed the CRR the first time I took it my very first year providing realtime back in the 90s, but I can't seem to qualify in the realtime contest. Another reporter on Eclipse takes the same speed contest I do. (I was still on Procat.) I qualify in two legs, and he doesn't qualify in a single leg, and then he goes and rocks the realtime contest, and I don't qualify in the realtime contest.
I know I had the speed. I write very clean. I really think if I had the "Eclipse edge" I would have qualified.
Stenosearch.com has wonderful info. This is the link regarding software.
For the past few years, I have been trying to put together a series of articles that addresses the whole CAT Conundrum. The idea is to have a reporter that uses a particular CAT to write about it, following the guidelines posted here.
As you might guess, I need folks to write articles for the missing ones! :o) Any volunteers?
Agreed with most of the posts so far. My general impression is that Eclipse is much more graphical oriented with icons and such and some would say user friendly. I am on CC, and it is very cut and dry. Very few graphics, very business like. So I think one of the main reasons why one person would like one or the other is their personality along those lines.
Very interesting, Glen! Too bad you can't get reporters who've switched CAT softwares to write the articles, and why.
Hi, Mary Ann.
That is an idea, but that might foster CAT wars, which I'm trying to avoid! :o)
Keith, I *think* the icons can be modified so that they aren't so "cartoony," as it were ....
Probably so, GW.....and the last thing I want to see is a CATfight, lol.
:o) True! Here's what the last CAT fight I saw looked like:
Check the page numbers at the bottom.
Nobody mentioned the transfer fee. There are two people on ncra selling their Case Catalist for approx. $2,000. I contacted Stenograph to get the transfer fee. Got a response right away, wanted my telephone number. I sent her a response telling her my situation (finances, job, writer) - and I haven't heard from her since. At least with Eclipse I know the tranfer is $395 (or $350). That transfer fee is a good reason right there for choosing. Unless you want a huge financial loss from the divorce from CC, it's yours for life.