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Turbo Realtime: Realtime Hardware

REALTIME HARDWARE SELECTION

There are two types of realtime hardware often discussed and it can be confusing.  There's realtime hardware that is designed to "send" your realtime from your steno machine to your computer, and another "realtime hardware" that is designed to send your realtime from your computer out to other people's computers for viewing.

It is best to confer with your CAT vendor to make your choice of how you send from your steno machine to your computer.  Make sure you tell them that you're looking to send the realtime from your steno machine to your computer so there's no confusion.  They will know what works best with your particular computer you've chosen and their software.  There are also some great solutions for sending your realtime from your steno machine to your computer and they will be able to help you select the right option for you.

Now that you've selected a great computer, you may also want to move on to choosing some realtime "output" hardware for outputting your realtime to a judge or attorney.  The current options to do this are:

1.  Cables. 

2.  Stenocast Wireless solutions.

3.  Routers. 

4.  Virtual Router Softwares. 

CABLES - If you're considering cables as an option, you may want to check with your CAT vendor to see if there's a particular cable they recommend.  The Stenograph Caseview Multiline Block Kit cables have one nice feature, and that is that they are color-coded, making the connections easier to figure out.  They also come with a nice mylar diagram that you can keep with the cables to remind you of how to hook the cables up properly.  This is a nice feature. 

Always try to purchase your cables from the same supplier if you reorder anything so that you're using the same brand all the time and not mixing cables.  They are not all compatible with one another. 

If you do decide the cable option is for you, you will probably need some USB-to-Serial connectors and your CAT vendor would be best to tell you which one to get.  There are many on the market, but your CAT vendor will know which works best with their particular software.

STENOCAST WIRELESS - Should you decide you want to shed the cables, then one option is the Stenocast Wireless solutions.  They have several different options to go wireless via bluetooth.  If you want to write wireless, for instance, to just one person, perhaps your judge, you could choose the ME2U solution.  If you want to send to more than one person, then you'd want the RED or EZ Send, which sends up to 14 connections. 

can check out the options and get more information at their web site at:

http:/www.stenocast.com

ROUTERS - There are lots of brands of routers available.  They are pretty much like the home routers you might use for your internet service.  However, when you use a router, you are not necessarily providing internet service to the receiving computers, you're only sending your realtime signal to them through the router.  This can be very confusing.  We often think of routers as the internet connection, but they're also to send other types of data wirelessly, not just the internet. 

One popular brand of router is the Apple Airport Express.  Although it is an Apple product, it also works great with our Windows systems.  Many have reported they've found the connections using this particular router to be very stable. 

You can also check with your CAT vendor to see what router they suggest for your particular CAT system. 

If you are not comfortable configuring your router, you can also purchase it and have someone like the Geek Squad at Best Buy or your favorite computer store vendor set it up for you.  It shouldn't cost much and once it is configured, there's little for you to ever do except plug it in and connect to it when you want to send your realtime to others.  If you buy a new computer down the road, the router is already configured and you would just connect the new computer to it in the usual manner. 

The router allows lots of wireless connections, probably several hundred or more, so it is less limiting in amount of connections than the other wireless solutions.

VIRTUAL ROUTERS - Virtual routers have been around since the introduction of Windows 7.  Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers have a feature built in that allows you to send a signal directly from your computer to others without using any hardware other than your computer's Wi-Fi capability.  There's also several softwares that simplify the process.  One popular one is called Connectify.  You can learn more about it at: http://www.connectify.me.

Again, always check with your CAT vendor to see if they have any suggestions or warnings on what you should use.