My Next Challenge: Realtime Scoping

Okay, finally one of my court reporters has decided to tackle realtime scoping with me. She took a seminar on it a few weeks ago, and I've had a couple of opportunities to see it in action this week. She's still trying to get everything set up properly for us. We have a big trial coming up in a few months that will require realtime scoping, so I hope we get our act together before then!

From what I've seen of it so far, it's pretty cool. I get superb audio streaming of what's going on in the courtroom. It's like everyone is right here in my office with me. We are using GoToMyPC to do this with, and I think the biggest thing that I'm going to have to get used to is the 5-second delay that apparently is normal with this system. When I place my cursor on a spot to edit, it takes about 5 seconds for the cursor bar to show up and start blinking. Then it takes about 5 seconds to show the change that I made. Sometimes the change doesn't seem to show up after 5 seconds, so I redo it. Then sometimes it will show up, or sometimes it shows up twice! AUGH. So I'm definitely going to need some time to get that right. It can actually be pretty frustrating!

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to getting it down to a fine art. I'd love to hear from any other scopists or court reporters who are doing this. Maybe we could even start a group?

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Comment by Linda C. on April 8, 2008 at 14:15
Hi, Breck!
I was actually going to ask you if I could get a copy of that article, but I've been so dang busy the last few days that I haven't had time! Thanks so much! :D
Comment by Breck Record on April 8, 2008 at 14:09
Linda,
Please feel free to copy it. By all means.
For those that didn't get to read the article I mentioned in the JCR, I'm going to copy and paste it here.
Hopefully, this will helps others.
As follows:

Editing with a Scopist

For many years now, court reporters have been utilizing the services of scopists to enable them to get transcripts out at a quicker pace, or, just don’t want to edit the job after sitting through it for several hours. I would much rather spend my time writing the job and moving on to another job and handing it over to a scopist and letting them clean it up and get it ready for production.

With the advent of internet and computers and software upgrades over the years, scopist can now take an even more active role in this process by being able to edit a transcript while the reporter is still writing in realtime. There are many ways that this is being done.

A reporter can begin writing the job and after they take a break in the proceedings, they can upload the file to a scopist, if the scopist is not actually with the reporter.

A reporter can set up their software to “break” the file at a designated time and make the file available on a network for the scopist to retrieve it remotely, if they’re not with the reporter, or, the scopist can retrieve it from the network if they are on the same network from the reporter.

A reporter can write a job in realtime and the scopist can actually be editing the same job that the reporter is writing to. There are many ways that this can be handled. If the reporter is not hooked up to any network, they can just have the scopist sitting next to them in the proceedings and edit from the same computer that the reporter is writing to.

A reporter and a scopist can use a program called GoToMyPc where the scopist can be located elsewhere in the country and can access the reporter’s computer, over the internet, and be able to edit the proceedings as if they were sitting with the reporter in the proceedings. This has many benefits because it allows the scopist to not have to travel to the proceedings and be able to edit the job at their house or office. GoToMyPc also allows the scopist to be able to check audio from the reporter’s computer. Be careful, though, and make sure that the reporter’s audio is turned down so that the scopist doesn’t turn on the sound to check something from their end and the sound is heard on the reporter’s side. The only drawback that I can see from GoToMyPc from talking with others is that the reporter isn’t really able to do any editing on the screen since the scopist has “control” of the keyboard and screen.

Many reporting programs now are able to allow the reporter to write realtime and the software will take the file and copy out the last few minutes (depending on what the reporter has set it to) and then make the file available for the scopist to retrieve. If the scopist and the reporter have set everything up correctly, sometimes the scopist is even able to not only edit the job but to listen to the audio backup to ensure an accurate transcript if they run across a trouble spot in the transcript and the reporter is not available to help with the trouble spot. The options are numerous as far as how this is done. Many reporters are now using a program called Hamachi. Hamachi is a program that creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between computers. It is downloaded easily off of the internet and installs very quickly. With any fast connection, you should be able to download and install Hamachi within five or 10 minutes, if not faster. Their website is www.hamachi.cc or https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi/download.asp. LogMeIn has recently purchased or acquired Hamachi, but it still works just fine. And, best of all, there is a free version that is available and that will work within the parameters of what I’ve been talking about and will talk about below.

What I’ve done in the past is be able to write a job in realtime and use what my software calls Division Interval. What this does is allows me to define a time when I want my program to extract out what I’ve written and put it into a separate file and allow a scopist to access it. I am able to choose the amount of time between extraction of the file, whether I want it to be five minutes or 30 minutes or more. Once the file has been extracted, I am able to tell the software where to put the extracted file, either on my laptop or on a network drive of my choosing. Once the file has been extracted, the scopist is then able to open that file and begin editing it and also able to pull up the audio portion off of my laptop, even though I was still writing the job in realtime.

With what I just mentioned above, I’m now able to do something similar, but with a twist to it. I’m now able to write realtime on my jobs and have my scopist be with me in the same room or office, or, be located remotely and editing my jobs over the internet. My software is set up to where I am able to write realtime on my computer, output the note file over the internet to my scopist and they are able to retran the job on their end, using a duplicate copy of my dictionary on their computer, and begin editing the job. Basically, I’m translating on two computers. Using Hamachi, as I mentioned above, my scopist not only now receives the file and it translates, but they are now able to listen to the audio back over the internet from my laptop. The trick is that we have to make sure that all of the “pathing” of the files is set up correctly to make this possible. But, once we have Hamachi set up correctly and we have the network path set correctly with the software, it has been very efficient and effective. We’ve been able to provide a transcript back to the attorneys within an hour or less in most cases from the time the proceedings were closed.

One other feature that is nice is that the scopist is able to global words from their end and those globals, whether Main, Job, or other, are sent back through the network and are added to my dictionary while I’m writing. The one thing that I don’t get the benefit of is all of their changes that they make while editing. The other drawback from this option currently is if the scopist requires the need to listen to the audio, I have to wait at the office I’m at until they are finished editing on their end. Normally, if I’ve written good and the attorneys have behaved themselves, I only have to wait for 30 minutes or less. If I’m doing this in my office, I can just leave the laptop connected to the scopist and go do other things while they clean up the file for me. Whether at a remote site or at my office, if my scopist has any questions, we can communicate over a chat window (Yahoo Messenger or the like) and I can answer any questions. I can find the area they have trouble with on my laptop and help them out.

The really nice thing about this Hamachi program is that, so far, it’s been able to allow us to hook up to each other in every office I’ve been to that has allowed me access to their internet connection. Firewalls haven’t been a problem yet.

What lies ahead? I know that in the future, reporters and scopists will be able to view the same document and be in different places within that document and either one make editing changes. This will be very beneficial and not make it necessary for the scopist to have to then send the file back to the reporter when they are done with it.

There are many things to consider before agreeing to do a job like this, but once you’ve jumped through all the loopholes and tested everything out, the day of the job should go much smoother. I know that many reporters are currently using this technology with great success with their programs, and, I hope that many others will begin to look for opportunities to use this technology in the future.

Good luck!

Breck Record
Comment by Linda C. on April 5, 2008 at 16:37
Hi, Breck,

Thanks so much for taking the time to give us all that info. Much appreciated! We've started a group called Realtime Scoping here at CSRnation. If you have the time, I hope you'll join the group and contribute to the discussions there. So far there has been a lot of interest from scopists and reporters who would like to learn about it, but you're the first one who's had experience with it. May I copy your post here and paste it over on the Realtime Scoping discussion board? Thanks again :)
Comment by Linda C. on April 5, 2008 at 16:25
Ha, Kelly! That's so true about the software bugs!
Comment by Breck Record on April 5, 2008 at 9:18
I don't want to toot my horn here too much, but if you look in the JCR from last month, not the most recent one, I wrote an article about this exact subject.

I can't speak too much about Case Catalyst, but I can tell you what I've been doing on Eclipse for a couple of years now.

I live in El Paso, and my scopist is in Port Aransas. I've successfully hooked up with her over the internet using a program called Hamachi. What she and I are able to do in that scenario and with Stenolink option within Eclipse is be able for her to scope the job in realtime on her computer, and, she is able to listen to the audio from my laptop. What Eclipse does in this regard, using Stenolink, is that I set up my realtime like I always do for jobs, but under the output options, I choose Stenolink and this sends the note file across the Internet to her computer and it retrans on her end. So, two files translating at the same time. But, like I said, with Hamachi, this allows her to be able to go back to my computer for the audio.
Her file is the final file for the attorneys at the end of the day. At this point, all of her editing changes only stay on her end. All I would get, if anything, are any globals that she were to apply to her job. Those would come back to my computer and update my file.

Now, I have done this, and do this frequently, even in my office through my office network with my scopist that works in El Paso.

With Case, I believe they talk about using Folder Share or some other ways to do that. I don't want to speak on behalf of Case, but I know that there are some reporters that have done something similar to this. Not sure of the logistics. The only problem I have with the GoToMyPC is that the scopist basically overtakes the reporter's computer. Basically.

Hamachi is a free program ...but you can also purchase it with some added feature which aren't necessary...and it establishes a VPN (virtual private network) connection between computers, and, it assigns your computer a specific IP address that stays with your computer. It has its own IP address protocols that begin with the number 5.??.??.?? instead of the normal designation with 1.??.??.?? or whatever you are normally used to seeing.

This is very basic explanation, but just wanted you scopists to know that this technology has been around for some time, but just not a lot of talk about it.

Also, I'm on the NCRA Tech committee and am in charge of putting on two Realtime Troubleshooting seminars in Anaheim where we are planning on trying to get as many vendors together as possible, from the reporting software side as well as the viewing software side and have hands-on seminars to teach reporters how to troubleshoot and feel comfortable with being able to confidently walk into a room with attorneys and hook up their laptops successfully.

Hope that helps,
(tipping hat)
Comment by Linda C. on April 5, 2008 at 9:09
I'm not sure. My reporter said that the trainer mentioned that a 5-second delay was normal. I am hopeful we can tweak it, though, because it can be really frustrating!
Comment by Linda C. on April 5, 2008 at 8:58
Hi, Kelli,

Yeah, you just gotta love that last-minute expedite notice!

If you're interested in live scoping, please check out the new group called Realtime Scoping. Hopefully we'll get everyone who's interested in this topic to join up. Then we can get some discussions going with those who are already using this technology.

I am just starting to work with a new client next week. She's a freelance court reporter and asked me if I did live scoping. She is interested in it and it sounds like she may have done it before, but not with GoToMyPC. I asked her to e-mail me the details on what she has trained on, so I will pass that info on in the discussion group when I get it.

The few times that I have been on GoToMyPC, the audio quality was great and there was no delay with that part of it, just the cursor and typing part.

Have a great weekend!
Comment by Linda C. on April 2, 2008 at 15:44
You know, I just might do that! My master plan is to spend the winters where it's nice and warm and relaxing. Sounds like Puerto Rico might just be the ticket! Me gusta mucha la playa y el sol!
Comment by Rolayne Volpe on April 2, 2008 at 15:35
Warm. I'll be in Boston this weekend for NCRA convention. I don't even have a coat to bring. Great Spanish. You should join us over here. Love it!
Comment by Linda C. on April 2, 2008 at 15:04
Buenas tardes, Rolayne! That's a pretty name. I'll send you a friend request so we can hook up easier on this site, and then I can also send you an invitation to join the new Realtime Scoping Group that we just started here last night. It's for everyone that's even remotely interested in the topic. I think it will be a great place to learn about it from other's experiences and advice.

How's the weather in Puerto Rico? Hace frio aqui!

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