Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Practice Transcription Audio Files

practice typing transcriptionOne of the questions I have seen asked several times in transcription forums in the past is from people new to the field looking for audio files to practice transcribing. I've always thought it would be great to provide some practice files to the next generation of Express Scribe transcriptionists to use as they are learning and gaining experience in transcription. Half the battle at the start of a transcriptionist’s career is getting fully acquainted with transcription playback software or practicing using a transcription foot pedal for that extra edge of hands-free audio control that can be such a huge efficiency boost.

With that said, I am really excited that, with the help of our friends at Accuro Transcription Services, we have pooled together a new resource for transcription students, providing several sample audio files to use with Express Scribe transcription playback software to practice your transcribing skills. In addition to the audio files, we have also included final transcribed PDFs that you can check your work against after you've finished typing out the sample.

So if you are looking for some practice transcription files, or know someone else just starting out in transcription, be sure to check out this new Practice Transcription Resource available at NCH Software, and maybe stick around and look at some of our other software for typists while you're there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Record Audio Playing Through Your Speakers
An Easy Stereo Mix Alternative

record what your speakers are playing For those of you that have used the "Stereo Mix" feature of your sound card to record audio playing on your Windows computer in the past, you might be surprised to find that this feature isn't readily available on Windows 7. Several NCH customers have informed me that they have started using SoundTap Streaming Audio Recorder as an alternative to Stereo Mix on Windows 7, after experiencing frustration with this feature gap.

After doing a little research online it seems that the primary concern leading to Windows dropping Stereo Mix is concerns about maintaining DRM (Digital Rights Management) on copy-protected audio files. They seem to have forgotten that there are a large number of perfectly legal reasons you might want to record audio that is playing through your computer. Some soundcards do allow you to update your drivers online to regain this functionality, but not all, so what used to be an easy recording option can now be quite a headache to try and get up and running. So we are glad to offer SoundTap as an easy way to record audio playing through your computer to solve this problem.

SoundTap records audio through a virtual driver on your computer for high quality audio recording. There are DRM restrictions in place to protect rights-managed content, but SoundTap reopens the door to record high quality audio from a multitude of audio streams. So if you've been looking for a simple way to capture audio playing through your computer, NCH's SoundTap audio stream recorder may be exactly the software solution you need.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Video Call Support Added to Mac Express Talk Softphone

There are times when picking up the phone is better than writing an email, and a meeting in person is betters till. Video calls and video conferencing are good alternatives to meeting face-to-face when you are separated by long distances. And Make video phone calls with the Express Talk softphone on your Mac or PC computerwith webcams and VoIP technology being as readily available as they are today, video conferencing often saves companies money when they previously would have taken a business trip to meet in person.

That’s why we are pleased to announce that video call support has been added to Express Talk for Mac, so that just like the Windows Express Talk, you can make video calls in addition to VoIP phone calls over your computer.

The benefits of having a video phone extend beyond professional use, too. Use video calls to stay in touch with out-of-state friends and family, and to show off those cute kids of yours or your stylish new haircut. It’s easy; simply set up Express Talk with a USB video phone, or use a webcam with your headset or speakers and mic, and start making video phone calls in minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Secret Life of Tone Generator Software

Tone generators have a variety of uses: for testing audio acoustics, creating phone rings or pulsed tones, or testing audio equipment. That’s all good and useful, but check out these alternative uses for NCH's Tone Generator we’ve stirred up.

Note: please consult your doctor before attempting any therapies on your own. We cannot vouch for the validity of any of the following claims.

Girl listening to tones, Sound Therapy
Sound Therapy
Perhaps the most intriguing application of sound frequencies is in sound therapy. Health problems ranging from cancer to asthma, allergies to influenza can reportedly all be treated with sound therapy. The frequencies can be delivered by radio radiation, plasma, or in Tone Generator's case, audio waves. Because every living thing can be positively or negatively affected by frequencies, there are two ways the treatment can work: either by affecting the offending agent to a point of destruction or inactivity, or by exciting the body’s response to the disease or ailment.

Other uses for sound therapy abound. The frequencies can help in overcoming insomnia, heightening concentration (I’m testing that frequency right now), or calming a person to a state of relaxation. One of the more interesting experiments I read involved lucid dreaming, or the ability to recognize a dream and then control the dream without waking up. I’ve always wanted to have a conversation with Virginia Woolf…maybe I’ll see if Tone Generator can arrange a dream-induced meeting.

Visit the following links for more information on sound therapy:

Mosquito-B-Gone
I shudder when I recall the sound of mosquitoes whizzing by my ear, warning me of the itch-fest to come. But when I think of tricking them into buzzing off, everything seems right with the world.

It’s a little early in the season yet to try this trick out on those little winged pests, but be certain that I’ll try the moment they start lurking around. Apparently, all you have to do is broadcast a pitch set at the frequency dragonflies buzz about, and the mosquitoes will keep their distance. Since I’ve already tried rubbing down with dryer sheets (didn’t work), citronella candles around the yard (which works if don't you stray too far), and rubbing garlic and onion on my skin (actually, I didn't try because even I wouldn't want to be around myself)—what do I have to lose? I’ll keep you posted on this summer’s battle with the skeeters.

For more information see:

Dog Trainer
We all know that dogs react to high-pitched sounds beyond the scope of human hearing, why not use it as a way to train them? If you can find a frequency your dog reacts to, you can use the sound to get your dog’s attention while you work on their skills.

Or, if your neighbor’s dog has a pesky habit of waking you early in the morning with yapping, you can do the whole block a favor by directing some high pitched frequencies in their direction. Just enough to stop them barking could eventually train them to stop.

So there you have it: the secret life of Tone Generator unveiled. Who knew audio waves could acheive so much? We’d love to hear if there are more, so give us a buzz if you know any other alternative uses for tone generators!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Comparing Audio Software: Recording, Editing and Mixing

Yesterday on BrightHub, Kristina Daguia posted an article comparing two of the cornerstone products of the NCH Audio Suite, WavePad and MixPad. It’s a great comparison to Audio Software make--both products are powerful audio tools that anyone serious about audio would be glad to have in their software library. Depending on the audio project, you might only need the audio editing capabilities of WavePad, the multi-channel recording and mixing control provided in MixPad, or the combined power of the two.

"Two of the best selling digital media recording and professional editing programs from NCH Software - WavePad and MixPad - established a name for themselves with their chart topping reviews and being best sellers from online marketing sites."

In addition to the flattering remarks about NCH Software and our audio software this article does a good job at looking at some of the differences between these two audio programs. Read all of Daguia's comments in the complete article, MixPad vs. WavePad: Comparing Audio Recording Software. And don't forget that all of our software including MixPad and the Master's version of WavePad all are available for a free 14-day trial to help you further explore the difference and find the solution that is best for your needs.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Video Software and YouTube Can Make Nice

Problem: you have a video you’d like to share with the world via YouTube, but for one reason or another, YouTube doesn’t like your movie file and ultimately rejects your upload. Uploading a video... the process sounds easy enough, but in reality, a lot of hand-shaking has to happen behind-the-scenes to get your video prepped accordingly before YouTube will accept your video. Do you wish there was an easy-to-use, yet powerful video editing package that would help streamline the process? Of course you do, and, like an arch-angel, VideoPad has jumped in to save the day!

If you’ve ever used any non-linear video editing software, exporting a project (that is, saving a project file to a watchable movie) can be the cause of many headaches, especially if all you want to do is upload a file to YouTube. Generally, you have to export your project file to an acceptable file format while keeping within the size limitations, and once that’s done, you’re at the mercy of YouTube to both encode the file properly and decide the video/audio quality, a sometimes shaky truce.

If you have ever had trouble with this in the past, you'll be happy to learn that VideoPad is one of the few video editing packages on the market that allows you to export your video directly to a YouTube-ready file. Simply select the "Save Movie" button from the toolbar, and in the window that pops up, choose one of the YouTube file formats under the preset tab; you can choose either YouTube standard, YouTube Widescreen or YouTube HQ, among others. VideoPad will do the heavy lifting for you, ensuring a pain-free uploading experience with minimal hassle when you're ready to share your final movie.

Taking things a step further, VideoPad even has custom presets for your mobile and PMP devices (such as the iPod, iPhone or PSP) for on-the-go sharing, so you can save your movie masterpiece to your cell phone too.

Such convenience usually has a price, but in this case, it’s free! Just head on over to NCH Software to download the free version of VideoPad Video Editor, and see just how easy sharing can be, and while you're at it maybe you might want to take a look at some of our other software for YouTube.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Transcription - A Flexible Work At Home Option

Accuro Transcription Services is an outsourced digital transcription solution for a range of specialized professions including the legal and medical sectors. Transcription is completed by a panel of independent professional transcribers.

A recent story posted on the Accuro website talks about how transcription software and technology allow transcribers to benefit from a flexible working schedule, working from home and managing their own workload.

transcription software for working at home Christine Miller joined the Accuro team of typists in 2008 as a way to supplement her income. Christine found it very easy to start working at home. With her medical secretary skills, the only things she needed to get started was a computer with a broadband internet connection and Express Scribe transcription playback software. Express Scribe allows a typist to control playback of the digital dictation audio with keyboard hotkeys or a transcription foot pedal for hands free audio control, improving transcription efficiency.

Read the entire Technology Helping Firms to Embrace Flexible Working article for more about how Christine is enjoying the benefits of working from home and information about Accuro's services and professional panel of transcribers.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Announcing NCH’s Blog Carnival: Do More with Audio

As part of the continuing effort to publicize the NCH Blog, I have recently become familiar with blog carnivals. A blog carnival is a cross between an event and a magazine in the blogging world. Editions of blog carnivals are periodically released perhaps every month or every quarter, and cover just about any topic you can think of. Any blogger can host a carnival, which entails reviewing posts and articles relevant to the topic submitted by other bloggers for inclusion, and then publishing the carnival on their blog with summaries and links to the blogs chosen for inclusion. blogcarnival.com is the largest blog carnival community, where bloggers can submit their posts to these carnivals, or where active Blog Carnival lists can been viewed.

A few months ago, I started submitting posts to some of the blog carnivals out there, and we've since been featured in quite a few:Our Audio Suite laid the foundation for the rest of the software products we have today, and WavePad is still one of our best known and most loved applications. Because of this I have decided host a carnival about audio: production tips, tricks, and projects. The Do More with Audio Blog Carnival will bring diversity, user experience, and deeper knowledge to the NCH Software Blog. The success of our audio carnival will depend on how many great submissions we get. So, if you've done anything with audio from creating ringtones to podcasts, band demos to soundtracks submit your posts about working with audio here and share your experiences with other people who are serious about audio in our first edition. I look forward to reading all about your audio escapades.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Adding Voicemail to VoIP to Help Put You in Business

add voicemail to voip Recently, we talked about the cost savings VoIP can provide to small-business owners and entrepreneurs. But to make the switch to VoIP as seamless as possible requires figuring out how to manage all your telephony needs. One of the most relied-upon pieces of any business phone system is voicemail, and our interactive voice response software, IVM, will make sure you have all your bases covered.

IVM Voicemail Software can be used to create a custom answering solution for everything from a single-user solution to a multi-line corporate system with thousands of voicemail boxes. Create as many voicemail boxes as you need with the option to check voice messages through an internet access page, by remote call-in access, or have messages sent to an email address as an audio attachment.

And it doesn’t matter whether you have standard landline telephone lines, use a VoIP phone service, or want something that will combine the two—IVM can be configured for a variety of setups.

IVM also includes some impressive features that are sure to add an extra layer of professionalism to your business phone system. For example, the Auto Hours setting in IVM allows you to set different “answering behaviors” based on the time of the incoming call. This can be used to play an off-hours message to customers calling outside of your normal business hours. You can even set up more complex interactive voice response systems, turning your phone line into an information line for customers to find answers to frequently asked questions at the press of the button.

Getting Started with IVM Voicemail Software
While IVM can be connected to your traditional landline with the use of a voice modem or telephony board to manage voicemail for your current phone system, switching to VoIP can further your cost saving, because there is no additional hardware required to connect a VoIP telephone line with IVM or a Virtual PBX.

IVM is a very powerful telephony tool and I could go on all day about the features and benefits of using IVM, but the easiest proof is in the product. IVM comes with a free 14-day trial, and will work on any PC, giving you time to interface with the application and see how it can improve your phone system and boost your business potential.
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