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Q. Why can't I hear the audio after I've done my first AVsync session during Real Time?

A. This question has come up before and will come up again mostly because using Audio with your AristoCAT software involves not just your CAT software but also settings having to do with the audio hardware on your computer. If you have never recorded audio on your computer before then there is a simple test to see if things are working the way they should.

To test the recording ability of your computer you can start by doing a recording using the AVSync recorder
(image at left) accessible thru the AVSync program icon in your AristoCAT folder. With your microphone plugged into the laptop and if necessary turned on double-click on the AVSync icon and the AristoCAT AVSync recorder will appear (image at right). Press the 'RECORD' button and record at least 10 seconds of audio by speaking clearly into the microphone. Press the 'STOP' button to end the recording then press the 'PLAY' button. If all is well then you should hear the recording thru your computer speakers.

Of course if everything always went as it should there wouldn't be a need to do this article. If you don't hear anything after doing a test recording there are a couple of things that can have gone awry: No sound was recorded because the microphone input level of the computer is turned down or the main output volume and/or wave volume is turned down. In the first case no signal is getting into the computer to be recorded. In the second case no signal is getting out of the computer because the volume is turned off.

To check these settings click on 'START>PROGRAMS>ACCESSORIES>ENTERTAINMENT>VOLUME CONTROL'. This will bring up the computers Volume Control interface which looks like a mixing board (image at left - this display can be customized so yours may look slightly different).


Volume Control
setting determines the overall output level of audio on the computer.
Wave determines the output level for wave files (AristoCAT's audio files are recorded in the wave format).
CD Player controls the audio output for music CD's.
Line In is an input channel for non-microphone sources.
Microphone controls the input levels from your microphone.

In order for AristoCAT's AVSync program to work properly all the components of the audio recording and playback must be properly set. It is always wise to first test out the recording and playback process before you start using AVSync in your work. If everthing is set properly then you should be able to successfully record during an Real Time session and playback while in the Edit program.



Q. I've just loaded the AristoCAT software on a new computer and when I try to translate a file I get an 'idx error' message. I loaded my dictionary. Is there something wrong with my dictionary?

    A. An idx error message means the software is looking for your dictionary but cannot find a dictionary named the same as the Reporter Code used when the software was installed on the computer. Whenever the AristoCAT software is installed on a new computer the first part of the process is a request for a Reporter Code. Most people use their first name or initials to create this Reporter Code identity. Once you type in the Reporter Code a folder with that name is created and all the AristoCAT programs will point to that folder. If your Reporter Code is 'Chris' then when you open the Edit program the software will look in the 'Chris' folder for your work files. The Reporter Code is also the name of your dictionary.

If, however, you entered a different Reporter Code into the computer during installation from what you originally used during earlier installations such as using your initials instead of your first name then the software will not be able to locate your dictionary and the idx error message will appear during translation or when you start Real Time.

To determine the correct name of your dictionary open the File Management program. To the right of the upper window look for the area title 'View Files of Type'. Click the black drop-down menu arrow and from the list select 'Dictionary Files'. Now all files associated with you dictionary are listed in the upper window. Find the file which ends with the extension '*.PER'. If it says 'CHRIS.PER' then your Reporter Code should be: CHRIS.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this. The preferred method is to create a correct Reporter Code in your computer and then reload your dictionary. First open the ACAT Main Menu program. Under the heading 'Set-up>Reporter Folders' select 'New Reporter Folder'. A window will appear. Type in your correct Reporter Code and click the OK button. A new Reporter Folder has now been created. Next use the same menu but select 'Change Reporter Folder', A window will appear. Type the same Reporter Code you used to create the new Reporter Folder and click 'OK'. Now all the AristoCAT programs will point to this new Reporter Folder. Restore your personal dictionary and everything should work fine.




Q. Should I be using the a Job Dictionary list when doing Real Time?

A. Not necessarily but you should familiarize yourself with process just in case you want to use it in the future. Essentially a Job Dictionary List is a way to apply several job dictionaries to a Real Time session without having to merge dictionaries together.  In addition, you can determine in what order the job dictionaries will be searched and used. The program will then maintain the named list (named for the current Real Time session) of those job dictionaries so you can access it again and again.

This process of using a job dictionary list seems most useful to folks doing complex Real Time work. Once you have clicked on the 'EDIT LIST' button in your Real Time options screen the window at right will appear. The area to the left of the window contains every job dictionary in your Reporter Folder. The window to the right is where selected and added job dictionaries appear. To add a job dictionary simply select a job dictionary in the left window and press the 'ADD' button and it will appear in the right window. You can add as many job dictionaries as you want. The way these job dictionaries are applied during translation is determined by their position on the list. If you have 2 dictionaries with identical steno entries but different English defines the dictionary highest on the list will take precedent over the one below during translation and so on. You can change the order of the list by using the 'MOVE UP/MOVE DN' buttons to shift a job dictionaries position. You can also remove a dictionary from a list by using the 'REMOVE' button.

Now here is where it can get a bit confusing for some folks. If you have not created a named job dictionary beforehand whenever you start a Real Time session a blank job dictionary named for the job is created. A job named 'smith' will have a job dictionary named 'smith'. If you decide to use a job dictionary list the dictionaries in the list are applied during translation but do not become part of the 'smith' job dictionary. Now it is possible to append a different job dictionary to the current dictionary. The appended dictionary will contain all the entries from the previous job dictionary. To do this Pick Job Dictionary window select a dictionary from the left window, add it to the right window then type in the name of the dictionary to append in the area marked 'APPEND JOB DICT.'

As with all AristoCAT programs there is detailed information available to the user whenever you click on the HELP button.


Q. What is the difference between globals and my dictionary?

A. I'm not sure why there seems to be some confusion about globals and the dictionary but I suspect it might be a carry-over for some other CAT software terminology. Regardless of the reason for the confusion the issue has come up several times in support calls when someone is trying to describe a problem and they conflate the two terms. The distinction in AristoCAT is sharp:

Global- Globaling only takes place in the Edit program and refers to applying a change throughout a transcript. When you make a define regardless of whether it be a misspelled word or untranslate and you decide to add or keep the 'g' after you've pressed the backslash the Edit program will then search for any other instances of matching text or untranslated steno and change that instance. If you elected to put or keep a 'j' or 'd' after the backslash it will also add the change to either your job dictionary or personal dictionary.

Dictionary- The dictionary is only applied to the transcript during translation. Any changes you make in your dictionary after a file has been translated will not affect the translated file.

Since we're taking the time to talk about the these two aspects of the AristoCAT Translation software I thought it might be helpful to review some program features which will allow you to be more efficient in your use of the software. While working in the Edit program you can review and edit your list of globals applied to the current job and edit your personal dictionary without having to exit. To review your globals for a job simply press Ctrl+QG and the window at the left will appear. From this window you can 'Find', 'Delete' or 'Edit' any entry in the list. This is particularly helpful when you've made an incorrect global and you will be using the same global file for a continuing case and don't want the error to carry over.

Another feature of the Edit program which folks are surprised to hear about is the ability to edit/remove entries in your dictionary from the Edit program. Most AristoCAT users are familiar with the process of recalling steno : Alt+S once will display the steno notes for the current job, Alt+S twice will recall the English translation as well. Once the steno window appears at the right side of the Edit program you can then use the Up/Dwn arrow keys to scroll the steno. There is a yellow highlighting bar which identifies the Steno/English currently selected. If you press the 'E' key on the keyboard the program will display the Edit Outline dialog which is used most often when in aspects of the  Dictionary Management program. From here you can edit either the steno or English of an entry in your dictionary without having to change programs. If you want to remove an entry press the 'R' key when the highlight is over appropriate entry.







Q. How do I convert my AristoCAT Personal Dictionary for use in my new writer?

A. This questions has come up quite a bit lately with more and more reporters buying Stenograph's Úlan Mira and now ProCAT's Stylus writer. The process is different from our earlier dictionary conversion program for the Stentura8000. Under the new procedure we give you the utility to convert your AristoCAT Personal Dictionary into the RTF/CRE format. The resulting file will then be used by the vendor supplied software and converted into the dictionary format used by the writers.

Note: Stenograph offers dictionary conversion software to customers with active Úlan Mira support and ProCAT supplies the conversion utility when you purchase the Stylus writer. These conversion programs are not associated with AristoCAT and any questions about their installation or use should be directed to the vendor.

To convert your dictionary to RTF/CRE first open the AristoCAT Dictionary Management program and under the heading 'Personal Dictionary' click on the menu item 'Print Personal Dictionary' or with the Dictionary Management program open press CTRL+P. The Print Personal Dictionary dialog window will appear. First make sure 'All Entries' is selected under 'Entries to Print' and under 'Print to:' select 'RTF/CRE' (highlighted in red on image). Next click on the 'OK' button and after a minute or so (depending on size of dictionary and speed of computer) you will see a confirmation window telling you your dictionary has been printed (converted to RTF/CRE). At this point in your Reporter Folder is a file named for your AristoCAT Personal Dictionary (this name is also referred to as your Reporter Code and is usually your first name or initials) with an *.RTF extension.

Next you will have to get access to this RTF in order to import it into the vendor's conversion software. The easiest way is to move the *.RTF onto a floppy diskette and then use that as your source for the dictionary. Open AristoCAT's File Management program. To the right of the upper window there is a drop-down menu area called 'View Files of Type'. Select 'All Files'. Now everything in your Reporter Folder is displayed in the upper window. Find the *.RTF file named for your Reporter Code and simply copy to your diskette. If the RTF file is too large for a floppy you will need to use another storage device (Flash Drive, CD) or use Windows Explorer to locate the file in your Reporter Folder and copy/move to another location.

From this point on you will have to follow the instructions included with the vendor's dictionary conversion software.

Note: If, when you get to the 'Print Personal Dictionary' options dialog, there is no setting for 'RTF/CRE' you are not working with the latest version of AristoCAT software. If you have installed the December 03 Masterload but not installed updates from the website or an update CD then the RTF/CRE selection will not appear. If you are not current with support and did not receive the December 03 Masterload you will not be able to update your software to include this feature. Please call 1-800-727-4786 for information on updating your AristoCAT software.


Q. Why can't I plug in my writer cable into my new computer?

A. First off congratulations on the new computer. Back in the good old days there was a serial port included with every computer. This port is where you plugged in your writer cable. Some years back the computer industry decided to use a standard plug for all hardware devices instead of different plugs for each device. Hence the USB (Universal Serial Bus) port was created and the serial port was consigned to history.

In order to plug your writer into your new computer you will have to purchase a USB/Serial Adaptor (prices range from $39 to $65). This hardware device acts as a bridge between the writer cable and the computer. Along with the hardware it is necessary to install driver software into the computer in order for a com port number to be assigned to the USB plug. When you first plug the adaptor into a Windows XP computer a balloon will appear at the lower right corner announcing 'New Hardware Found'. Clicking on this balloon will start the New Hardware Wizard and prompt you to insert the CD/Floppy disk with the products drivers.

Once the drivers are installed you will need to determine what com port number has been assigned to the USB port in order to make a change in you AristoCAT Information File. To discover the com port number assigned to your USB port you must access the Device Manager. First plug in your USB/Serial Adaptor and then find the 'My Computer' icon on your desktop or under the Start Menu. Place your cursor on the icon and right-click once. A small menu will appear. Select 'Properties' from the menu. A window called 'System Properties' will appear and under the tab 'Hardware' you will find a button for the Device Manager. Clicking on 'Device Manager' will open a window showing all the devices connected to your computer. Click on 'Ports' and you should see a listing for your USB/Serial Adaptor and in parenthesis the com port number assignment. Once you've determined the number open your Information File and under the tab 'Tran Options>Real Time Options' put the number in the area 'Com Port'.

Note: If, when you look at the Port listing in the Device Manager, there is a yellow caution sign next to the listing for your USB/Serial Adaptor it means the drivers are not properly installed or the device is not working correctly.




Q. I've accidentally added some misspelled words to my proofreading dictionary. Can I edit this list?

A. Yes. Just as in other AristoCAT programs the Proofreading program has a background window where you can set preferences and gain access to your Update Dictionary or Accept Word Lists. To access the Proofreading background window first click on the Proofreader program icon in your AristoCAT Program Folder. A list of *.wrk files will appear. Click the CANCEL button. You will now see the Proofreader background window (image left). From this window you can access Accept/Correct Word Lists, the main Update Dictionary and the Proofreader Preferences.

The Update Dictionary for the Proofreader contains words that you add during a proofreading session. These are words that are correctly spelled, but are not in the main spell check dictionary. Examples of such words would be names, cities, etc. that come up often while proofreading transcripts and you do not want the proofreader to stop at. To access the Update Dictionary click on the drop-down menu selection 'Update Dictionary' from the Proofreader Background window 'Edit' heading menu and this window will appear:

To delete a word from the update dictionary, use your up/down arrow keys to highlight the word you wish to delete, then press the Delete key or click on the Delete button. A delete warning window will appear confirming the entry delete. Simply click 'YES'.

A file is also automatically created by the proofreader program that contains a list of all of your accepted and corrected words for a particular job. If you exit the proofreader before the end of the transcript and then resume your proofreading at a later time, the proofreader will know not to stop at those words that you accepted earlier. You can elect to append this list of accepted and corrected words to another transcript. If this box is checked, then each time you proofread a transcript for the first time, you will be prompted if you want to append the accept list from another transcript. If this box is not checked and you wish to append the accept list from another transcript, you can do it manually on the proofreader menu under File. Note: The accept file only contains words that you have chosen as Accept All and Correct All. The accept file does not contain words that you have accepted or corrected once.

You can also set preferences for the Proofreader by clicking on the heading 'Options>Set Preferences'.



For the week of 1/30/05-

Q. Why do I have to keep resetting my Real Time com port setting?

A. This has come up more frequently over the last year or so. The permanent setting for your Real Time com port assignment is in your Information File under the tab Tran Options. You can also change the com port setting for Real Time on an ad hoc basis when you first begin a Real Time session and get to the Real Time Options screen. If the you change the com port setting in the Real Time Options screen it is changed for that session only and will revert back to the permanent setting in the Information File next time you begin a Real Time job. In order for the change to be permanent you must change the com port assignment in your Information File.

Because most new laptops no longer have a serial port (once standard on all computers) the preferred method for connecting your writer to your computer is a USB/Serial Adaptor. Using an adaptor will change your com port assignment to something other than the default com port 1 (usually com 4, 5 or 6). If you bring a personal dictionary backup from an older computer into the newer computer the Information File (which is part of the personal dictionary backup) may still have the original com port 1 setting. At that point it is a simple thing to change the assignment in the new computer but if you should go back again and backup on the old computer and restore on the new computer you will overwrite that change.

This becomes an issue when you have a laptop used for Real Time and a desktop PC used mostly for editing. Of course when you finish editing on the desktop PC you want the dictionary additions/changes moved to the laptop. Normally this means doing a backup on the desktop and restoring to the laptop. To make sure you don't change the com port assignment when you restore your dictionary change the permanent setting under Tran Options in your Information File on the desktop PC.

Don't forget to change the com port setting in all your Information Files used for Real Time jobs.


For the week of 1/12/05-

Q. Can I rename a work file (*.wrk) without having finished editing?

A. Yes, though you would not want to rename just the work file (*.wrk) before you're finished editing. Whenever you begin a job by reading in a note file, creating a job dictionary, translating and finally opening the work file you are creating linkage between all these different aspects of a job. The linkage is the name of the job. When you read in a file from your writer or start a Real Time session you are prompted to name the job. For the sake of this example let's use the name 'smith'. We start with the note file called 'smith.not'. If you build a job dictionary for this job we end up with another file called 'smith.job'. When you translate and open the job we end up with an edit file called 'smith.wrk' and a global file called 'smith.gbl'. These fiiles, all named the same, work in concert. If you change the name of just the work file (*.wrk) you break the chain and would then not be able to, say, recall steno while you were editing.

This doesn't mean it can't be done it just means you have to rename the entire chain of linked files. AristoCAT's File Management program makes this a very simple process, really no different than if you were to rename a single file. We would suggest you backup all the files under their original name on an external media (floppy drive, CD-drive or Flash Drive) before renaming just for safety.

When you open the File Management program the upper window displays the files in your Reporter Folder on the computer. At the right of Reporter Folder area there is a drop-down menu area called 'View Files of Type'. This feature allows you to display only those types of files you're interested in viewing. One of the selections for this area is 'Job Files'. This catagory allows the File Management program to display, on a single line, all types of files named the same. To the right of the name of the job a series of letters will appear and each letter denotes a type of file. Selecting the single name will select all files of the same name. Then its a simple matter to click on the heading 'Rename>Rename on Hard Disk', type the new name in the prompt window and all files associated with a job name will be changed at once. A window will appear displaying the number of files which have been changed.

This feature is also handy when you want to copy all files associated with a job to an external medium in order to finish your work on a different computer.



For the week of 1/10/05-

Q. Am I able to apply time stamps to my printed transcripts?

A. The simple answer is yes but there are conditions which need to met first in order for time stamping to work properly. The most common method for time stamping is to use AristoCAT's Real Time program to create the transcript. During Real Time a time stamp (*.tim) file is created by default. This time stamp file will be named the same as the job. This file gathers time data from your computer's clock so be sure it is set accurately. If you should move your files from one computer to another for final editing then be sure to move the time stamp file as well.

It is also possible to create time stamps outside of a Real Time session if your writer supports this feature. A Stentura8000 writer will create a time stamp file (*.hms) on the diskette if the feature is turned on and the clock on the writer is correctly set. Refer to your Stenura8000 manual for more information.

Once you've completed all editing and have inserted the necessary include files you must run the AristoCAT Time Stamp program. From the ACAT Menu under the heading 'JOB PRODUCTION' select 'TRANSLATION>INSERT TIME STAMPS'. Next an Open File window will appear displaying your work files. Select the appropriate file and click 'OPEN'. Next a window will appear giving you options for how you want the time stamps applied.

Time Stamp Options gives you the ability to select either 'ACTUAL' or 'ELAPSED' time stamps. 'ACTUAL' refers to a real time display. If the job begins at 10:15 a.m. the transcript will display 10:15 a.m.. 'ELAPSED' means the time stamps will start at 00:00 and begin counting up from that point. There is also an adjustment area where you change the time stamps by a seconds. Once you have applied time stamps to your transcript make no editing changes. If you should need to make any alterations in the transcript you will need to reapply the time stamps.

Once the time stamps have been applied you can print your transcript. Once you have selected the file to print the print options window will open. Here you must select 'Print Time Stamps' and decide whether you wish to print the time stamps on the left or right side of the transcript.

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