Looking for a new writer, and I found one

So the other day, I had to stop the depo bec. there was this very loud beeping noise coming from God only knows where.  Oh, yeah, it was me.  What's going on?  Am I about to crash?  Nope.  My disk was full and I had to end job soon!!!!

Okay.  So I say, I just need a quick second to change out my floppy, at which all the attorneys in the room mocked me for using floppies.    So there's one reason to get a new writer.

Second reason - I am on Eclipse and I will be upgrading to Eclipse 5 sometime this year.  While I'm going through a shakeout period, I would like a writer that has onboard audio that will sync in case my computer freezes up.

Third reason - newer laptops are no longer being built with the Expresscard.  It's usb all the way.  My writer is currently serial to usb or expresscard.  I need a new writer that is usb to usb or has blue tooth or something more modern than serial to Expresscard.   The Expresscard is not seated very tightly and has been knocked loose during depo which involves rebooting Eclipse in order to start a new file.  Not fun.

So now that I've talked myself into wanting a writer, which one?  Hmm, decisions, decisions.

Lucky me, the DRA Convention was this past weekend.  So I hauled MY laptop, MY microphone, My cables to the vendor hall and visited each vendor that I was interested in.   

ProCat  - maker of the Flashwriter (this was the one where they yanked out the innards of your Stentura and put in new innards), looked exactly like a Stentura.   This morphed into the Stylus.  And the latest generation is the Impression.

Eclipse - maker of the Passport, the first writer put out by this company.  As I mentioned, I do have Eclipse software.

Neutrino Group - they started off with the Piper which morphed into the   Revolution Grand and the latest and greatest is the Infinity Traditional and Ergonomic

Stenorgraph - the heavyweight champ in this ring.  Starting from the Stentura 400 to the 8000 to the Mira to their latest, the Diamante

My goodness how far we've come.  They practically write by themselves.  I'm hardly necessary.  But let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

I tried all four.   The only one that I absolutely ruled out for me is the Passport.  I really did not like the way it felt.  It just was too tight.  I know for those of you who like a really shallow stroke, this might have been great for you, but not me.  They also told me that I could individually adjust everything.  But it seemed very complicated.  It is seriously a d 5 to 10-minute process.  I don't have that kind of attention span.  That's probably why I don't have automatic indexing (but that's another blog).  

So after a day at the vendor hall, I was able to rule out the Passport for me.     Not to say it might not be right for you.  The only other issue is that once again there is a wait list.  You can't get one for 8 to 12 weeks.  I have no idea why.  Call them up and ask.  This is as of February 2013. 

The Passport looks like a great machine.  It is heavier than the others, but you can really customize the keys and there are all kinds of skins you can buy if you want to customize the look. 

The Diamante, the Impression, and the Infinity were practically plug and play.  A few drivers here, a few plugs there, and voila up and  running within minutes.   All three hooked up quickly and easily to my laptop.  I was writing within minutes, and it looked pretty clean.   

I did not try to the Infinity Ergo.  But for those of you who have carpal tunnel or other wrist ailments, you might want to take a look.  This also has a lot of color choices and customization options for keyboards and screens.  You could get one w/out a screen.  It has bluetooth.  The touch is very nice.  However, once again it seemed a little complicated to set up.

Impression v. Diamante?  They're very close in looks.  The Diamante's screen folds down over the keyboard, so you cannot have it down and write.   The screen will always be up.  Some of you won't care.   It kind of bothers me because I usually have my writer under the table.

On-board audio - I said this was important.  I tried all three.  Honestly, the Diamante had the best audio.  The Impression was decent.  I had trouble hearing the Infinity.   Once again using my mic which looks like the Martel Hi-gain with battery.  But then again, I did try the Diamante audio when everybody had left for lunch and the hall was quiet.  The other two, unfortunately everybody had come back and there was a lot of background noise.

The touch - once again all three were nice.  All are very adjustable for your writing style.

Body - the Infinity is the sturdiest and yet still the lightest.  I think Jason Pardykes is actually using metal and it's just a well-built machine that can handle getting knocked over.  I know.  I knocked two over by accident.  Whoops!!!   So sorry.  I was almost afraid I was going to have to buy it bec. I broke it.  The Steno Doctor thinks this is a well-built machine that you will not always be bringing in for maintenance or broken parts.

The Diamante and the Impression are a little more plasticky, but still nice-looking machines.  You don't have the color choices that you get with the Passport and the Infinity.   But really, I can't buy a machine just based on the fact of whether it comes in a pretty color.  That would be really too shallow; right?   Right?

So which one did I buy?  Well, I bought the Impression.  Why you ask?

I liked the touch.  I like the fact you can write via usb to usb or use blue tooth.

Did I mention it has a touch screen?  That's kind of cool.  

The audio is decent.  

It's backing up using the SD cards (actually all of them are, so this isn't that big a deal.)

The sales team actually followed up with me.  I got practically zero follow up from the other companies.  I'd like to work with a company that wants me as a customer.  I think it bodes well for the service.

Yes, at the moment their only maintenance is by sending them in to the company, but I think the Steno Doctor will be able to work on them once they take the training.

The build time is one to two weeks.  I'll have it in my hot little hands in one to two weeks, at which point I will write follow up with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Oh, there's also whispers of writing directly to an attorney's iPad from the writer via bluetooth.  Oooh, that sounds kind of exciting, especially if you're a realtime writer who  doesn't want to/can't use CVNet.  This might be a possible workaround.  Keep your fingers crossed.

So that's why I went with the Impression.  I also spoke with my friend who has an Impression and they liked it a lot.

I got a pretty good deal with convention pricing and everything.

UPDATE - 3/9/13

So I checked in with ProCat Flash.  I had been told lead time on the writer was one to two weeks.  So I thought I'd have it by now.  Alas, per ProCat, it takes a couple of weeks to build and then it goes through quality control.   So will probably ship 3/18/13.

Views: 2740

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of CSRNation to add comments!

Join CSRNation

Comment by Kyung on March 31, 2013 at 16:29

So, after playing around today.  Here are the things that were driving me bat-shit crazy.   Some of these might be pretty trivial, but just in the interest of full disclosure.

1)I know today is Easter and tech support is not 24/7, and they supposedly have an emergency tech support person, but still I dislike not having tech support 24/7 like I would with Eclipse.  I called in today and did not get a call back.

2)  The manual they sent me was put together backwards.  It went from page 1 to 25, then start at 65 to 24, then started again.   I had to take it apart and put it back together.   Seriously, for $5k, you'd think the manual would be put together correctly.  There were typos/spelling errors in the manual.  Only a fellow CSR can understand this peeve.

3)  Bluetooth dongle did not come with CD to download drivers.  My husband said maybe it's plug and play.  Okay.  Plugged in dongle.  Computer loaded something, not sure what.  The computer sees the writer and the writer sees the computer, but as my husband says, "They're just getting to know each other and they're not talking right now."  Maybe I can get a call in to tech support tomorrow and get them to "talk" to each other.


I think because I had written on the writer at the DRA convention in February, drivers were already loaded for the writer, so I was able to hook it up to my express card-to-serial adapter and plug it in via cable and was up and running.

So I can technically use it on my job on Tuesday.   I played around with the audio settings, recording and playback and they worked.  I got a little bit of crackles but not bad.  The amplification does work.

Only had one file where when I closed out and looked at my file on the computer screen later, there were a couple of lines missing.  Not sure what happened there.  In that particular file I had played with the playback settings as well as the realtime hold.  I also turned my writer off before my closing out of my Eclipse file, but that shouldn't have been a problem.

Tomorrow, I will talk to tech support and try to get my bluetooth up and running, figure out how to export audio and note files so that I can use that for backup.   I will also try to set up my back up computer.

The touch screen is pretty cool.  A couple of times the screen turned off, but the writer is still on.  I had to power down and power up a couple of times before it would work correctly.

Will post again after I speak with tech support tomorrow.

Comment by Kyung on March 30, 2013 at 6:06

Just received my writer yesterday.  The keys don't feel as sturdy as on my Stentura 8000, but I'll probably get used to it.  

Comment by Judy on March 9, 2013 at 11:04

I wouldn't suggest to any reporter to not have a backup on your machine.  That's just begging to get sued.

Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on March 9, 2013 at 10:59

I've never even heard of a Tecra.  Interesting.  Most writers are around 5400, at least the ones I've bought lately.  In the last three years I've bought one Passport and two Diamantes, all the the tune of 5400. 

I've bought three Toshibas but the last one I've been having problems with too.  I'm not saying I wouldn't buy another one, just not yet.  I'm liking my Samsung that I have now. 

I do see lots of Toshibas in the field with reporters it seems.

Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on March 9, 2013 at 9:11

When I bought the Passport a couple of years ago, I absolutely hated it.  It was way, way too sensitive and I couldn't seem to get the settings correct.  The D key would stroke constantly even though my fingers were nowhere near it.  Drove me nuts.  I sold it to a friend who hated it too.  Anyway, I think it was a lemon and Eclipse gave my friend a new Passport last year and I think Eclipse has worked out a lot of the bugs now because he really likes it.  Not as sensitive and great touch. 

Now I wish I would have waited a couple of years for Eclipse to get it right.  Apparently there aren't as many complaints on Eclipse's website any longer either.

Comment by Kyung on March 9, 2013 at 8:58

The Neutrino group writer is one of the sturdier models out there.   I'm surprised you say that.

Comment by Deborah M. on March 9, 2013 at 8:34

I was really interested in the Ergo, but when I had a demo in my house, it just (to me) looked and felt like it was built in someone's garage.  I was very disappointed because I think it's a great idea.  It just didn't seem too sturdy to me, like the tolerances weren't exact, and I was afraid it wouldn't last.  Maybe I'm too much of a pounder?  Good luck, and congrats on getting a new machine! 

Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on March 3, 2013 at 8:41

Looks just like the Diamante.  This must be a newer machine because I've never heard of it.  I love seeing what new writers are out on the market.  It's lots of fun.  Tons of them out there.  Hope you're happy with your purchase.

Comment by Kyung on March 2, 2013 at 21:21

Interesting.  When I click on the Impression link, it goes to the website.  

Here it is again.  ProCat Impression

Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on March 2, 2013 at 21:16

When I hit on the link for the Impression, all it did was take me back to your original discussion and there is nothing on the Impression writer.  That's why I wrote what I did.

© 2022   Created by Kelli Combs (admin).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service