World Champion Dee Boenau on the Luminex II

We let three-time NCRA Realtime Contest Champion and 2019 Intersteno Audio Transcription World Champion Dee Boenau, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, get her hands on the Luminex II a little early. After spending time writing on the new machine, the following is her review, in her own words.

Have you always wondered what it would feel like to write on a classic steno keyboard with an extremely short stroke depth? Were you one who tried to shim an old Stentura machine for a shorter stroke so you could gain speed and not strain the old fingers? It seems people are talking faster, so we need to move those fingers quicker, and not in a manner that is like ascending large steps of a 30-story building. Well, wonder no more with the Luminex II.

I have always wanted to try an extremely short stroke depth, but I had to stop short of the machines that offered no key movement. My hands like to move in a rhythm, and the movement down in my keystrokes is important feedback to that rhythm. Not only does the Luminex II offer a much shorter stroke, but the Tension Toggle is included. I like very little tension, so I write on the Luminex II with the Tension Toggle engaged.

I was a bit hesitant writing on the shortest stroke with the lightest tension. I thought I might stack like crazy. I checked out all the keyboard settings and noted that the default milliseconds is now set to 18 instead of 8. I practiced a bit and noticed that my final B and G were missing at times. I then entered the keyboard adjustments where I wrote the final J in order to observe how the bars interacted with the horizontal lines. The bars of some keys were falling short of the horizontal lines in certain key combinations, so I changed my keyboard setting to More Sensitive 2. I did have to make the B and G keys even more sensitive because that is a weakness I have on the keyboard with striking the final J. I left the machine at balanced.

After a little bit of practice writing with the settings, I took to the airwaves with the Luminex II. I am pleasantly surprised that I’m not having to tweak my settings. The machine seems to be even quieter, too. On the original Luminex, I did have to make adjustments to avoid stacking and splitting, and I always landed on the same settings. So far I have not had to make the same adjustments with the Luminex II. Perhaps the difference is the shorter stroke depth. After all, when we’re talking milliseconds for adjustments, a millimeter difference in depth could have a significant impact. I can’t explain it other than it just plain works, and I love it!

Another improvement with the Luminex II is the USB connection in the back of the machine. With the old Luminex, I had to put a dot on the end of the cable connector so I knew I was inserting the cable in the right direction and not damaging the port by trying to jam it in improperly. With the Luminex II, the connection is reversible, so you just plug it in. It’s as easy as connecting the charger cable to a cell phone. Simple!

A favorite new feature is the screen saver. We have always had the ability to change the splash screen that we see when we turn the machine on, but the splash screen was only viewable for about four seconds. Why bother changing it? Now there is a reason. The Luminex II has a screen saver feature. I loaded a picture of my business card using the Splash Screen Loader Utility. Now, not only do I see my business card when I turn the Luminex II on, but I can see it after a minute of the machine sitting idle. The screen saver can be turned off or set anywhere from 1 to 15 minutes. This can be useful if you don’t want somebody peeking at your screen if you step away, and it’s a great way to advertise your name or business.

And if you are used to lowering your screen for privacy, I’m happy to report there is no more “creak and freak!” That horrible creaking sound that would make some of us cringe when we would open and close the screen is a thing of the past. It’s a very smooth movement now, and I have no reason to believe it won’t stay that way.

Stenograph did work on helping us remember our depth and tension settings with the wheel adjustments. There are numbers now on the adjustment wheels, but they are on the side and kind of difficult to see. Once you set the wheels for what works for you, grab a flashlight and take the time to look at the numbers on the side of the wheels and jot them down.

Someday I hope Stenograph will make it easier for us to get into our keyboard adjustments. I don’t have to get into the settings all that often, but if something wonky happens, taking five steps to get to the individual key adjustment screen is not user friendly, and then getting kicked out of the screen after a certain number of strokes is irritating. Then it’s five steps to get back to the key adjustments to finish what I was trying to do. Also, whatever we write in the key adjustment screen is not recorded by the machine. I think reporters would benefit from having the ability to write in the keyboard adjustment screen. It is helpful to see the different strokes and how the bars make contact with the horizontal lines in that screen, like how I was evaluating the B and G keys that make up the final J.

There are improvements to the touch screen. I like having the ability to pinch and zoom the screen. If you use the audio recording features of the Luminex, there is now the ability to hide the audio indicator on the Luminex II screen, and touching the microphone symbol at the top of the screen takes you directly to the audio settings.

The shell casing of the Luminex II is improved. The flat buttons are larger and are no longer angled down towards the keyboard. This design should help those who inadvertently hit the buttons when writing on the original Luminex. The screen is a bit thinner, and there are no longer visible screws on the backside of the screen. The Luminex II has a sleeker appearance overall.

Frankly, I just want a steno machine that works every time I get to an assignment and that I can adjust to my style of writing. The Luminex II gives us the option of a deep stroke, an extremely shallow stroke, and everything in between, a wider range of tension with the included Tension Toggle, and plenty of keyboard adjustments all the way down to the milliseconds. Stenograph has put it all out there for us with the Luminex II. It’s up to us to make the performance happen and show the world we are the best method for making the record and for converting speech to text in real time.

Discover why Dee and so many other top stenographers are thrilled with the Luminex II here.

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