It’s The Little Things

At the end of last month, I had the pleasure of working with and training a wonderful group of reporters at STARCON 19 in Minneapolis. In addition to the five classes I taught, I worked with eight reporters in half-hour, one-on-one sessions to answer questions they needed to have answered, and countless others during breaks and between sessions. I was reminded, yet again, that frequently, the most valuable lessons that reporters take away from a convention; the ones that make the biggest impact, the takeaways they tell me were, by themselves, worth the time and expense of the entire conference – they’re the smallest things. Tiny little tidbits in and of themselves, but eye-opening and mind-expanding when it comes to making the job faster, easier and/or more pleasant!

What kinds of “little things” made a big difference at this last convention? Here are just a few examples of “situations” that reporters brought to me and told me they assumed there was no solution other than asking for an enhancement request, and told me not to worry if I couldn’t answer the question; they could live without an answer… only to be stunned and delighted when I was able to quickly show them how to address their concern immediately:

Q. I have a steno stroke that I occasionally write “accidentally” that means nothing at all; is there a way that I could define it as a “null” stroke; i.e. make it translate as nothing rather than have it appear as an untranslate? I don’t want to have to delete it and it comes up too often to make it practical to try to phrase-define it with other things whenever it comes up!

A. First, click Tools, All Options, Edit Panes, Hotspots, and name one of your available Oops Category n entries as Null, and assign a color to it. Then, define that “accidental, means-nothing” stroke as that <Oops Category n> format symbol.  It will translate as “nothing” in your transcript text and realtime output, however you’ll be able to see how often that stroke occurs in your Reveal Codes and Hotspots pane.


Q. Is there any way I can figure out how many words are in my transcript (aside from exporting the file over to Microsoft Word or counting)?

A. Open the job in Edit and click View, Folio Count (or press Alt+v, u). The total number of words in the document will be listed in the Folio Count dialog.


Q. How can I define a Twitter handle? When I define something beginning with the @ format symbol, CATalyst thinks I want an autoinclude, and translates it as “Include File Not Found.”

A. Define the steno as {Stitch On}[web]@TheName{Stitch Off}. That will prevent the @ symbol from being seen as the command to autoinclude.


Q. My judge requires me to redact juror names, but eventually, I will need two versions of the transcript; one with the redactions and one without. Is there a way I can remove all the redaction at once or do I have to search for it and delete each occurrence one at a time?

A. You can do it all at once. First, save the transcript with all redactions under one name, then make a copy of the transcript and name it differently; perhaps the same name followed by the word unredacted. Then, all you have to do is E-define the first <Redaction On> format symbol as an otherwise unused <Oops Category n> format symbol. Or, if you’re using all of your Oops format symbols, E-define <Redaction On> as F4 w – the <Superscript Off> format symbol. That will remove all of the redactions.

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