Will Digital Recording & Voice-To-Text Software Make Stenography Obsolete?

With the incredible advances in technology in the past twenty years, stenography has become a lost art, with fewer and fewer individuals interested in becoming a court reporter. Stenography is the practice of using special symbols to enable the writer to write quicker and take up less space than normal writing. Each system has numerous glyphs to represent common words, phrases or ideas that may need to be communicated.

The first modern stenography was developed in England in the late 1600s. Timothy Bright published a book with 500 symbols that each represented one word. Thomas Sheldon created a book describing how to abbreviate words by using some of the original Latin characters in the word. This system was immensely popular, and was used by Sir Isaac Newton and Samuel Pepys. In modern times, stenographic systems are used for recording courtroom interactions, journalism and live television subtitling. These established stenographic systems may be obsolete in the next few years because of audio recording technology and voice-to-text software.

Voice recording has been dramatically improved since its inception in the late 1800s. Magnetic tapes and microphones were introduced in 1935 and 1925, respectively. This technology was first used in World War II, mainly to play prerecorded radio programs. The magnetic tape recorder was commercialized over the next few decades and became a tool for journalism, espionage and other audio professionals. Magnetic tape was such a huge breakthrough in audio technology because a lot of data could be stored in a much smaller space than a record, plus it had higher quality audio to begin with, and also did not degrade over time. Soon cassette tapes were invented, enabling even higher quality in less space.

By the late 70s, digital audio recordings were emerging. Through the next several years different standards of recording fought to be the standard technique among the audio industry. Eventually, the CD replaced the tape, and now audio can be stored on a computer.

Today’s methods of audio recording are the easiest ever because of standardized formats, ease of storage and overall accessibility. As a result, there has been marked reduced attendance at court reporter schools. Voice-to-text software is harnessing the power of today’s high quality microphones to record speech as text. If these algorithms are perfected so that they can record speech with 100% accuracy, then stenography would be obsolete. But even if voice-to-text software isn’t perfect yet, sound can easily be recorded on a computer. Most computers can hold hundreds of hours of sound, and microphones can be purchased for as cheap as $10. Cell phones can also record dozens of hours of audio, and are much more portable than computers, making them ideal for applications like journalism. All in all, the art of stenography seems to be dying at the hands of technology.

How Does The Future Look For America’s Bleakest Cities

There are a lot of great places to visit across the United States including beautiful beaches, sprawling cosmopolitan cities and with iconic skyscrapers and lush national parks. There are also some less than desirable place in America that don’t have a booming economy, many that aren’t recovering from trying economic times. There are also the area’s that only cater to a specific genre of activities that haven’t encouraged enough revenue to help them prosper. While most cities aren’t quite “bleak” there are some that fall into that category and they have an unstable future ahead of them over the next few years.

So how does the future look for America’s bleakest cities?

BuickcityflintSt. Petersburg is one of these cities and it’s not necessarily as bleak as others but it is known as the saddest city in America; St. Petersburg has the highest levels of depression in the United States, in fact, Florida in general is the most depressing state of all. Surprisingly, Memphis Tennessee and sunny Tampa Florida have been rated as depressing places to live as well even with their beautiful skylines and historic surroundings. Reno Nevada was also named as one of the saddest cities in America but if you were to talk to some of the locals you’d probably get a different opinion.

Flint, Michigan also faced hard economic times and had their largest industry (auto) torn away, and has been consistently listed as one of the worst cities in America. Gary, Indiana also made it to “America’s Bleakest Cities” list due in part to the crime rate.

The fact is that the cities mentioned above are still functioning and in some cases they are even showing improvement; of course, without proper government support it’s difficult to say whether or not they will ever do a full turn around but still, there’s a chance.

With the American government focusing so much on health care reform and the economy we can be sure that things are going to change and let’s hope it’s for the better. This is an opportunity for these bleak cities to actually take a step forward and experience something different. Changes in government policy can funnel money into the economy of some of America’s bleakest cities, and jump start the much needed industries that can help them thrive. The future of America’s bleakest cities isn’t bright by any means but today there is a better chance than there has been in a long time for something to change.

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is alcohol awareness month. Alcohol is not only the most widely used drug in our society, its also the one which causes the greatest amount of casualties. In fact, every year, alcohol-related deaths outnumber the deaths caused by every other drug – combined.

Alcohol awareness month is a campaign across the US to increase awareness of the potential consequences of alcohol abuse. This year, the focus is on raising awareness amongst women of the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of 4+ drinks in a single occasion for women, and 5+ drinks for men. Often however, the number of drinks is signifantly higher. Binge drinking causes reduced inhibitions, impaired motor skills, and lack of judgment contributes to deaths related to drinking and driving, assaults, vandalism and other crimes. Binge drinking also contributes to increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and liver disease. According to the CDC, each year, binge drinking contributes to the death of 11,500 women every single year.

Alcoholism

Alcoholism – or chronic alcohol abuse – is a problem in both the male and female population. In fact, women can be even more vulnerable than men when it comes to the physical repercussions of long-term alcohol abuse. Long-term alcoholism can contribute to increased risk of breast, throat, liver, and esophageal cancers. It increases the risk of cirrhosis of the liver, as well as heart problems. Studies have even show that women who abuse alcohol are at a greater risk of heart disease than male alcoholics.

For more information on alcohol awareness month, visit the official cdc webpage.

Seeking Treatment & Education

If your loved one is an alcoholic, you can seek help from websites like cleanandsoberlive.com.  There, you’ll find resources that will help your loved one develop relapse prevention plan, as well as information on how to deal with an alcoholic husband.

While the majority of people who drink can enjoy alcohol without any major life consequences, for a certain percentage of the population, drinking alcohol can have a devastating effect. Alcoholism abuse is a societal problem that will require a multi-pronged solution. At its foundation, education is key.

Interesting & Weird Names

I’ve always been fascinated by weird names. With a fairly plain jane name myself, I’ve always wondered if having a name like Pilot Inspektor would have altered the course of my life. Can having a weird, quirky name affect your personality? Would it make you more outgoing, more fun? Or would the schoolyard bullying cancel out the whimsy?

For those of us with more bland names, check out this list of weird names that will make you greatful to be a Mike or a John or a David at opishposh.com:

http://opishposh.com/10-weird-names/

Compare it to the usual list of given names at Babynames.com.

While I’m on the topic, I found this list of interesting urban legends that you guys might find interesting. If horror isn’t your thing, what about a little inspiration or danger?

Sorry for the rambling, random post. Was just browsing the web and a little bored, and had an urge to share some of my random musings. Back to more serious topics on the next post!