Friday, August 29, 2008

Of Cokes and Keyboards

A reminder, gentle readers, to keep fluids away from your laptop.

Imagine the scene: 7:30 p.m. after a long day, you're downstairs in your living room, having left the upstairs office for the day. Reclining on the couch to veg, with a nice Coke Zero and a warm kitty cat, watching mindless sit-coms is your goal.

Then, the phone rings. A lawyer from the trial you covered last week needs an excerpt of one witness's testimony for closing arguments. TOMORROW. So you traipse upstairs with your cold pop. Turn to your IBM notebook computer which serves as your main computer on your desk. Find the requisite testimony and start to transcribe. A question about HIPAA and its spellng comes up - this is okay, because you have a little cheat sheet on your bulletin board (HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) but... alas, your arm clips the bottle of Coke and it spills, yes, SPILLS onto your notebook's keyboard.

The file that you so diligently found and transcribed - and which was ready to be offloaded - has now disappeared into the ether. Why? Because Coke and keyboards don't like each other. One quick despairing moan and an even quicker pop-fizzle, and like that, your work has been lost.

Fortunately, the file is still resident on a USB drive, but now you have to do it over again.

Hopefully the fast action of a quick run-over with paper towels and a blow dryer will bring my IBM baby back to life (Hey, it happens - my husband's computer had the same thing happen, and after about four days, he was able to power it up again). Only time will tell.

An update upon my return from Denver will be forthcoming.

So the moral, my friends, whether you're a court reporter or not, is DO NOT DRINK SOFT DRINKS NEAR YOUR COMPUTER. Water only, if you must. Instead, take breaks frequently and guzzle your beverage of choice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Wow, the one thing I didn't realize was how tiring traveling is. Last week, all week, I was in Winston-Salem in Superior Civil doing a med-mal. I didn't drive daily; oh, no, I got a hotel. But by 5 p.m. on Friday, I was exhausted, and still had a two-hour drive.

Saturday was a whirlwind of activity and Sunday was a complete crash/meltdown.

Being away from home certainly reminds me I prefer to eat my husband's cooking and sleep in my own bed. The novelty of the travel and the new people and interesting case was nice - but mentally and physically draining.

It's good to be in home county this week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another Week, Another Courthouse

I love being a rover. You never know where you're going to be assigned.

This week, I'm assigned to 15B, Orange Chatham - Civil. Monday I drove to historic Hillsborough, NC - revolutionary history there, folks! - and went to the old courthouse. It's a beautiful building. No security here - heck, it's civil... there were loads of television news crews out and about, though. Turns out my compatriot, the resident reporter for this region, had two high-profile cases coming on for plea; one is the murder suspect in the Eve Carson murder (UNC Student Body President) and the other is the driver of the SUV into the Pit (the congregating area near the student union at UNC). Big stuff.

Me, I had status conferences in civil matters. One of the most fun judges I've worked for so far, though, Judge Manning, made it a great morning. We had a pretty short docket and I only got a few motions, but it was good seeing some familiar faces. I saw one of the attorneys I used to occasional take depositions for out in the audience (hi, Tom!) and another I had taken a ton of asbestos abatement deps for (hi, Brian!) and I felt very comfortable in this unfamiliar courtroom.

That's the one consistent thing with this position - no matter where I go, people are so VERY friendly and make you feel right at home.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Toys!

I can't come home from convention without at least one new toy, or the plan to purchase one. This last convention was no different.

I took my LightSpeed writer (that I bought at the Boston convention) to Anaheim to work with the tech folks there because I was having some difficulty getting a good translation. It worked. I now have a much more agreeable translation rate. But while sitting at Stenovations' booth, I saw a cute little notebook. Light. Small. Loaded with Windows XP.

Now, as a roving reporter, I have to pack up EVERY DAY and reset the next morning. It's grueling! And tough on the shoulders. With this little baby computer, I could carry everything in ONE BAG AND IT WOULD BE LIGHT!!! I bought one. (and it wasn't that expensive!)

Next week I travel all week for court in a district about an hour away. This will be the test of the new bag - one bag - to see if I can work all week with the new computer and still have it be functionally appropriate for me. The screen is small and they keyboard is VERY small - not meant for major editing (and I have big fingers... could be a challenge if I wanted to do much editing on it).

But I have a feeling that my new ASUS Eee (also Black like the LS) will make me wish I'd gone smaller years ago. I'm so psyched!