by Gayl Hardeman, B.A. (English Ed.), CRI, RDR, CRC, CRR, FPR

Winner of the 2017 FCRA Arlene P. Sommers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education

In trying to make the title of this article attention-grabbing, I settled on the adjective, "sick."  From the Urban dictionary, "sick" means  "crazy, cool, insane."  Some might say that settings are insane because it's so hard to understand them.  But even those people know that they're probably cool if you get them.

Let's take SICK SETTING NUMBER ONE - the FN key on PCs.  Windows keeps messing with it.  Where's my F'n key??!!  I mean my FN key. (;-) My software (CaseCAT) relies on it for formatting functions.  Yesterday, because I hadn't halted the "automatic update" setting in Windows (DO THAT!), Windows updated on my new laptop and I lost the use of F4 again (I had to change my FN keys when I first got my laptop).  I thought, here we go back into the BIOS to reverse what the update did, or undo the update completely.  But WAIT!  I just typed into my search engine, "How to change FN key on my Dell Inspiron 15 laptop," and I got some new advice:  Change the FN key in the Windows Mobility Center without having to go into the BIOS, reboot, all that.  Here's a picture:

SICK SETTING NUMBER TWO has to do with translation settings in CaseCAT - or any translation software.  Did you know that you can have ending punctuation inserted automatically at the end of any paragraph?  Conversely, you can remove automatic ending punctuation, if you're the writer who always writes your ending punctuation and you're tired of having to define double punctuation marks.  BUT BEWARE:  If you change this setting, make sure you DO write your punctuation.  I once graded the paper of  a writer who failed a test because they'd changed their automatic punctuation setting and had forgotten, hadn't tested it before writing for a speed contest.  Here's a picture of my Colloquy paragraph settings in my CARTCLAS page layout.  Same concept applies also to court reporting and to any paragraph, Q/A/Parenthetical, etc.:

In Layout, Paragraph Setup page, Colloquy Paragraph Style -->  

Note the paragraph symbol of >>, so there's no need to insert those chevrons for each speaker in a CART/Caption setting. Cool time-saver!

SICK SETTING NUMBER THREE:  If you are taking a realtime test in all caps so that you don't get counted off for lack of capitalization of proper names, such as "ray bell" instead of "Ray Bell,"  be SURE to check your ASCII file export setting to enable printing in all caps.  Remember, DISPLAY and PRINT settings are separate.  This was an error made on a test paper I graded that was written by an Eclipse user; and again, this setting resulted in the test-taker having a far lower grade than the grade should have been.  SETTINGS COUNT.

SICK SETTING NUMBER FOUR:  Translate using your phonetic display, and make sure the phonetic settings are tweaked to the way you write.  Many reporters turn off their phonetic display because it doesn't "look right."  Well, tweak it!  Once while I was captioning the news, an anchor said the word "zit" - and I was saved by my phonetic display of STKPW EU T, because "zit" wasn't in my dictionary.  Initial z, final -v and final -th sounds are the most-often overlooked theory sounds.  MAKE SURE YOUR THEORY HAS THOSE SOUNDS.  If not, input them today.  

The old theories add an asterisk or star (*) to S, -F, and -T for these basic sounds, but I'm of the opinion that's a waste of an asterisk. Ideas abound for initial Z (SD-, SG, SGL-, SWR-).  Just don't use S*, because there is a lot of competition for use of that star.  

SAVE YOUR SICK SETTINGS!  In Eclipse, it's User Settings, and you can create different User Settings for different work scenarios so that you don't have to change all the little boxes each time -- and take a chance you'll forget one!  In CaseCAT, it's Save Settings and Load Settings at the top of your Translate box.  Here's a picture of one of mine that I use for CART with my Wave machine, outputting to 1CapApp, which uses my port 52 -- all those settings are saved into this setting, which saves me time while starting a file (way cool!).  Hence, the name of the setting on the Translate bar at top, here →

I hope this has helped you get help with those "sick" settings.  They are indeed crazy and cool, and insanely helpful, if you know how to use them!  

Write on, my "sick" friends! (And I mean cool, and "crazy" and "insane" in a good way.)