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On November 2nd, the court reporting profession lost a true hero, Anita Paul. Her contributions to our profession and also her passionate devotion to helping everyone she met be the very best they could be will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone whose lives she touched. She had the ability to captivate any size room she ever entered. I’m certain that most reporters in the field today have either heard her name or were lucky enough to have attended one of her seminars.

Anita was a huge fan of SearchMaster and spoke about what an incredible time-saver it is in all of her seminars, including the last one she did in October in South Dakota. Anita was one of those people I call larger than life. One of her favorite quotes was by Maya Angelou: “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” After reading the many wonderful tributes, praises, and memories people shared on her Facebook page and elsewhere all over the Internet upon learning of her passing, it can truly be said that Anita not only believed that but truly lived it out in an exemplary way.

She was a dear friend of Jim’s and mine since back in the ‘90s, and I’ll always treasure the times we shared together. Here is a picture of Jim and Anita attending a convention in Boston in ’99.

Rest in peace, dear friend. Your legacy will surely live on!

– – Lynda Barker, RDR


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Windows 10 has been around for a while now, so what does it mean for me?

By now, everyone has seen and heard dozens, if not hundreds, of opinions on the whole Windows 10 issue. Everyone from your neighbor to your grocery bagger to your local tech expert has likely weighed in on this issue, and opinions are across the board. However, I have worked with court reporters for many years, and with technology and Windows for even longer, so I trust you’ll find me qualified to offer advice on this subject.

The most important thing I will say is that there are two major issues at hand here that need differentiating: should I UPGRADE to Windows 10, and should I buy a NEW computer with Windows 10? These might seem the same, but I can assure you that they are two totally different animals.

Upgrading from one version of Windows to a new version of Windows has always been inherently dangerous. Just about any doomsday scenario you can think of is possible during an upgrade as extensive as an operating system, and I am fairly certain I have seen most of them personally.

Admittedly, Microsoft has made a LOT of progress improving the upgrade process over the years, most of it between the Windows 8 and Windows 10 lifespans. I could bore you with all kinds of horror stories, statistics, and even a list of improvements they have made; but the single most important one they have made is an effective rollback system that lets you “undo” the upgrade to Windows 10 should you decide it was a bad call. With that said, even after the rollback there can be major issues, including leaving the computer completely unusable; so my recommendation on UPGRADING to Windows 10 is to NOT do it. Stick with whatever operating system you have right now because THAT is what your computer was designed to work with.

I’ve seen many people who have taken the plunge, both intentionally and accidentally, and there are pros and cons to each side just as with any issue. Whenever I approach a big decision like this, where things could go either way, I always ask myself: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” So in this case, is the benefit of upgrading to Windows 10 from my current copy of Windows 7 or 8 really worth the possible BAD things that could happen, the time and headache it will take, AND the changes I would need to make and get used to? From a court reporting professional’s perspective, I can guarantee you that it isn’t worth the squeeze as Windows 10 just doesn’t bring enough (or really ANY) enhancements that will make your life better or your job easier.

Now let’s talk about Windows 10 and NEW computers. Windows 10 has proven itself to be a very reliable and very stable operating system. There are virtually no compatibility issues I have seen with major programs between Windows 7, 8, and 10. Windows 10 does a very nice job of quickly starting up and shutting down without cutting corners or keeping the computer secretly in hibernation like Windows 8 did. See where I am going with this? Purchasing a NEW computer with Windows 10 already installed on it is PERFECTLY SAFE, and I would encourage you to do this.

I saw a great comment on Facebook recently that went something like this: “Why would you walk into a computer store and ask for old, unsupported technology?” While I can find quite a few little arguments with that statement (see anything involving Windows Vista or even Windows 8.0 to an extent), it really does hold true. Windows 10, at this point, is just as stable as I have ever seen Windows 7 act for court reporting purposes, and it contains a lot of enhancements that help speed the computers up these days, enhancements BUILT for newer technology that Windows 7 doesn’t know how to handle properly.

See? That was easy enough. The upgrade process itself is too dangerous for an average consumer to deal with themselves IF something goes wrong, but Windows 10 on a NEW system will treat you well for years to come. And if you are more comfortable with a Windows 7 look to your computer screens, Classic Shell can come to your rescue. More on that in a later article!

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How can I install drivers that are not digitally signed? Like my Passport writer, or any other driver that isn’t digitally signed…

Windows 10 (as well as Windows 8 and 8.1) enforces driver signatures by default, in order to ensure that the drivers you install have passed inspection and will not make your computer crash or misbehave. It’s a good thing, really, but some companies haven’t digitally signed their device drivers for whatever reason. In these cases, you need to disable this feature in Windows before you can try to install or use the device. This disable driver signature enforcement feature can be disabled to install drivers that are not digitally signed, using following steps. These instructions are the same for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. Please read this article in its entirety BEFORE executing the steps so that you know what to look for, including the note below the instructions.

  • Unplug the device you are trying to install drivers for from the computer, IF you haven’t already

  • Click the Start menu and select Settings

  • Click Update and Security

  • Click on Recovery

  • Under Advanced Startup click the Restart Now button

  • When the computer reboots to a new, typically blue, screen, click Troubleshoot

  • Click Advanced Options

  • Click Startup Settings

  • Click on Restart

  • When the system restarts again, you will see a new screen with a list of about 10 or so menu items. On this new Startup Settings screen press ‘7’ or ‘F7’ on your keyboard to disable driver signature enforcement

  • Your computer will restart automatically and you can now install non-digitally signed drivers just as you normally would, except now they will actually install.

  • Once your drivers are installed, connect your device before you restart you computer again just to make certain they installed properly.

Disabling driver signature enforcement is NOT a permanent change. When you restart your computer again, the driver signature enforcement will be re-enabled. That means you need to install the driver that isn’t signed BEFORE you reboot your computer again. Once the driver is installed, it’s in there, and becomes an accepted unsigned driver by Windows. You won’t need to follow that process again unless you need to reinstall it, or another unsigned driver.

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If you use a Web-based e-mail client like Gmail or Yahoo, you’ve probably encountered this hassle before: you click a mailto link on a Web page, then watch while Windows tries to open Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or some other desktop program you don’t use and haven’t configured. Error messages (and possibly cursing) ensue.

There are various hoops you can jump through to configure Windows and/or your browser to direct these e-mail links to the proper destination (e.g. Gmail), but why bother? GmailDefaultMaker is a small, simple utility I found that does the hoop-jumping for you.

Just run the free program, then choose the default mail service you want: AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo. (I know: the program needs a name change.) Then go about your business. It really is that easy.

Now, whenever you click a mailto link, you’ll land in the proper Web client, not an unwanted desktop program.

Download Link:

Does not currently support Windows 8 or 10, only Windows 7.

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