By Darlene Williams
Court reporters are very busy people. Traveling is a part of an active reporter’s schedule. Whether you’re just traveling a few miles to a law firm or all the way around the world to cover depositions overseas, your tools of the trade are your livelihood. Just imagine one or both of your most important tools failing?
Invariably, the time will come when you arrive at your destination and begin setting up, only to find that either your writer won’t turn on or your software has become host to a cyber gremlin. And if you’re like most reporters, you have become so accustomed to your writer and CAT software always working, that the immediate scenario has just turned your head spinning 360 degrees! Words you didn’t know you knew start spewing under your breath, your heart starts pounding so hard you’re sure it’s about to explode through your chest, you start sweating, you can’t think straight – suddenly you’ve forgotten everything you ever knew about what you should do, and panic sets in big time!
However, if your writer and/or CAT software support agreement is up to date, there’s no need to panic. A simple call to your provider with a description of what is, or is not, happening is usually sufficient for them to troubleshoot your situation and talk you through a few simple steps that will either fix the issue or diagnose a condition that requires a more detailed repair. But either way, you are in a position now to either move forward with your assignment or place a call to your office informing them that you are experiencing a technical issue with one of your tools and will be unable to continue.
However, if your support agreement has expired because you haven’t used it in forever and figured that nothing ever happens to your software or writer, why pay all that money for nothing, well, suddenly that yearly contract fee doesn’t seem so bad. Now you have to pay arrearages to even talk to tech support, not to mention the possibility that you may now be forced to purchase a new laptop because the upgrades available for your software won’t work on the outdated laptop you’ve been getting by on. And let’s not even talk about the cost of replacing your writer!
The possibilities are endless as to what can or may happen on any given day. What worked perfectly just the day before could suddenly stop working at a crucial time. Maybe you’ve been writing to your laptop all morning without incident. You have the rare opportunity to actually go out to lunch during a break. You arrive back to the conference room only to find your software has frozen and won’t respond to anything. You’ve rebooted the computer, still nothing. If your support agreement is current, a call to tech support describing the situation will lead you to a solution. It may not be a perfect fix, but in all likelihood you will be able to continue the assignment to its conclusion and then address a more permanent fix when you’ve finished for the day. Your technical support people are your best defense against unexpected glitches. Their ability to troubleshoot your crisis is invaluable when all eyes are on you to make it happen.
Take a look on your desk and pull out that support renewal contract. Can you really afford to not keep them current? Your livelihood depends on your tools of the trade working perfectly at all times. If your writer fails, you can’t write. If you can’t write, you’re making no money! So if you thought you couldn’t afford to renew the contracts, add up the cost of a new writer and a new laptop, then reconsider whether the cost of that contract renewal has value after all.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll discuss new features in CAT software — made available to only those reporters who maintain a support agreement. And for those reporters who insist on showing up at the job with the latest writing technology, stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll get a sneak peek at one of the newest writers on the market!