So THIS happened:

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.44.26

Left to Right: Deborah Smolinske, Beverly Thomas, Brenda Rogers-Fiscus

After almost four years of working together remotely and never meeting in person at the same time, we finally did it!  

The NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana, was the perfect opportunity for the five of us to finally get together.  In fact, for the first time ever, we locked the PPTB doors and all took a vacation for a week.

Debi set off on seven-day road trip on the Friday before the convention, leaving from her home northwest of Chicago, heading up to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, and winding her way down the Great River Road to Port Eads, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico.  

Brenda began her own road trip on Saturday with her husband and son, stopping for sightseeing in Springfield, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and other cities along the way.

Bev and her husband drove from their home in north Mississippi on Wednesday morning and arrived in New Orleans late that afternoon.

Needless to say, there was MUCH hugging and squeeing Wednesday night as Bev greeted Brenda and then Debi on their arrival in New Orleans just minutes apart from each other.

Molly flew in from Gainesville, Florida, late Wednesday night, and Jane flew in from Sarasota, Florida, early Thursday morning.  

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.44.38

Left to Right: Molly O’Brien, Beverly Thomas, Deborah Smolinske, Brenda Rogers-Fiscus, Jane Molaro

There was, again, much hugging and squeeing at breakfast Thursday morning!  We were FINALLY able to put voices, faces, and mannerisms with written words in Google Hangouts.

Since PPTB stayed at a different hotel than the convention hotel, we all wandered over to the Hyatt to check out things.  Then we had a planned meet and greet with some of our clients, where there was much laughter, storytelling, and general merriment.

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.44.48

Front, left to right: Jane Molaro, Deanna Dean, Deborah Smolinske, Rebekah Lockwood. Back, left to right: Alan Peacock, Theresa Reese, Brenda Rogers-Fiscus, Beverly Thomas, Molly O’Brien, Kelly Shainline, Lori Stokes

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.44.57

Left to right: Theresa Reese, Jane Molaro, Molly O’Brien, Alan Peacock, Brenda Rogers-Fiscus, Deborah Smolinske, Holly Thuman, Beverly Thomas, Tana Adams

On Friday, Brenda presented a mini seminar called “Building Reporter-Scopist Relationships,” with her hecklers entourage in tow.  With a roomful of court reporters and scopists present, there was lively discussion about how reporters and scopists can connect and how to form and maintain a good working relationship.

Afterwards, PPTB had our own Eclipse training session.  We found a nice spot in the hotel and settled in with our laptops to dig into the nitty-gritty of some Eclipse features, play around a bit with the latest Version 9 Release Candidate, and discuss some punctuation conundrums and PPTB procedures.

It wasn’t all work-related, of course.  We all explored NOLA, together or in smaller groups.  We rode the trolleys and pedicabs, found new favorite restaurants, experienced the French Quarter, heard some great music, renewed old friendships, and met new people we’ve known online for many years.

Bev and Molly headed home on Saturday, leaving with a few tears but plenty of smiles too. Brenda, Debi, and Jane all attended the Masquerade Ball Saturday night and had a blast.  Debi left early Sunday morning, Jane departed in the early afternoon, then Brenda and her family left in the early evening after additional sightseeing.

We’re all agreed this won’t be the last time we get together.  There’s always the Eclipse Winter Retreat in Florida, the Eclipse Users Group conference in Las Vegas, NCRA in Colorado next year, and many more future events!

All in all, a most excellent adventure!

What price talent, skill, education, and experience?

Ran across this story today while reading the daily Quora digest. We think it applies to each and every one of us in this profession:

QUESTION: What is the coolest line in history?

ANSWER: I recall a story where Picasso was sketching at a park.
A woman walks by, recognizes him, and begs for her portrait. A few minutes later, he hands her the sketch. She is elated, excited about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him.
“5000 francs, madam,” says Picasso. The woman is incredulous, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes.
Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says:

“No, madam, it took me my whole life.”

Dictionaries in Connection Magic: A Fresh Approach

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

One of the more important aspects of working with editing teams in Connection Magic is ensuring that the globals made by team members go into the proper dictionary so that the realtime translation consistently improves.  One of the more tedious aspects of working with multiple dictionaries is analyzing and combining them for the next day’s session.

25023767 - 3d man thinking with red question marks over white backgroundCommon wisdom and recommendation would suggest putting the carefully built case-specific dictionary into Slot 1, leaving the Job slot open for the Eclipse-generated filename dictionary, where conflicts and Auto-Briefs are stored – conflicts for use by scopists and ABs to be reviewed later by the reporter.

While working in Connection Magic jobs, however, dictionaries are shared.  As the reporter uses Auto-Briefs and team members make globals and choose conflicts, all of that data is updated and combined in realtime and can be pointed to one case dictionary, negating the need for the reporter to comb through and combine dictionaries at the end of a long day or use multiple job dictionaries with possible redundant entries.

Here are a few steps to easily streamline this process for greatest efficiency:


  • Send both main and case dictionaries to all editing team members.
  • Load the case dictionary in the Job slot in Dictionaries (F9).  For day-to-day matters, do this in the master user settings (Alt+U, Dictionaries) so it loads automatically when a new file is opened.

Editing team:

  • Direct all globals to the Job dictionary in the Edit tab of user settings.
  • Put both dictionaries in the reporter-specific user. Load the main dictionary in the Main slot.  The job dictionary will load with the Connection Magic file.   

With the case dictionary in the Job slot and globals and conflict info pointing to that dictionary and flowing to all team members, the reporter’s translation will steadily improve from day to day, making the realtime feed cleaner and impressing the end user – your client.

Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the importance of dictionary building during Connection Magic jobs. Let us help you make your realtime sparkle!