on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)
Create Your Own Bluetooth Realtime System
Use off-the-shelf Components for Wireless-to-Writer, and to Attorneys!
Dorothy "Dotchie" Blankenship is a "techy court reporter." She's so techy, she has come up with a way to make your writer talk to the laptops of multiple attorneys, via Bluetooth ...!
She originally posted a link to the Word document version of this article on the Eclipse Forum, but she also warned readers to grab it quick, because when she gets low on space, it will be gone, gone, gone ...!
In an effort to avoid that, I asked Dotchie if I could put her article here on ol' Cheap and Sleazy to avoid having that much-needed article disappear, and she gave her okay, so here it is ...!
without any further ado -- er, let me just shut up and let Dotchie teach you how to do Bluetooth!
Create your own Bluetooth realtime system for a fraction of the cost of a StenoCast system and without requiring any expensive, complicated, confusing technical training. Make realtime connection difficulties a thing of the past. Affordable, true plug-n-play has finally arrived. Say goodbye to bulky realtime equipment.
Introducing Blue Soleil 8. It does the job of the StenoCast system, USB/serial adapters, express cards, PCMCIA cards, and wireless routers or access points, all in one system.
• Blue Soleil (say SO-LAY) 8 software. Approximate cost is $30. Only required for the court reporter computer.
• For file sharing realtime, purchase these Blue Soleil Bluetooth dongles. Approximate cost is $30 apiece. These dongles take the place of a router. They can also be used for Bridge file sharing, Teleview, and CaseViewNet.
NOTE: Purchasing the BlueSoliel 6 program separate from the dongles may result in a significant discount.
• For serial realtime connections, purchase these Totally Wireless RN-USB-X Bluetooth dongles. Approximate cost is $70 apiece unless bought in bulk. These dongles take the place of serial cables and/or StenoCast dongles. Can be used for serial Bridge, LiveNote, Summation.
Other Bluetooth dongles may work equally as well with this system; however, these dongles have been tested and are known to work well together.
About Those COM Ports ....
Blue Soleil requires that the CAT software create a separate COM port for each Bluetooth realtime connection. Some CAT software can create an unlimited amount of realtime COM ports, and some CAT software is limited to only one or two COM ports. If your CAT software is limited in the amount of outputs it can create, a program such as the Eltima Serial Port Splitter will solve this issue.
In this way, the CAT software will only require a one-time setup of one realtime COM port output. Then the Eltima will create multiple outputs out of that one. The Blue Soleil program then turns those multiple outputs into Bluetooth connections. However, the one to two ports created by the CAT software is sufficient for most realtimers since the majority of realtime jobs are really only one to two hookups anyway. The Eltima is required only if you have the need to create more realtime outputs than the ones already provided by your CAT software.
COURT REPORTER COMPUTER: The court reporter computer must have a Bluetooth device. Many computers come with internal Bluetooth devices, which is the best method. Use this utility to determine, first, whether you have an internal Bluetooth device; and/or secondly, to determine whether your internal Bluetooth device is compatible. If the test is negative, you will need a Bluetooth dongle to serve as the court reporter's Bluetooth device.
The dongle shown here only has a 10-meter coverage area, but there are many dongles with a much further coverage area.
I'm not saying you have to purchase this particular dongle. If you do purchase a different dongle, make certain the dongle has the features listed above. The best thing about buying the dongle and the Blue Soleil program from the same place is that the manufacturer can provide support in case of installation issues, if any, but the process should be pretty straightforward.
RECEIVING COMPUTERS: There are two types of dongles outlined in the Requirements section. Simply attach the desired dongle to the receiving computer, i.e, the Blue Soleil dongle for file sharing or the Totally Wireless dongle for serial realtime (click here if you have problems with the Totally Wireless device). No disk driver is needed. No special program is needed.
Upon receiving the Totally Wireless dongles, a small setup is required. There are exposed dip switches on the dongle:
A safety pin is the best tool to use in this process. Position the dongle as shown. The top dip switch (Number 4) is to be flipped away from the USB connector end. The remaining dip switches (3, 2, 1) need to be flipped towards the USB connector end (or when ordering, request Totally Wireless personnel perform these services before shipping.)
Installing Blue Soleil on the Court Reporter Computer
Purchase and install Blue Soleil 8
Once installed, right click on the blue icon located in the lower right-hand toolbar of the computer screen:
This will produce this contextual menu:
Click the My Device Properties menu item. This will give you this window:
Change Device Name to any name you choose, and select the appropriate Device Type.
Next, click the Accessibility tab, and set it up as in the below image:
Exit the Device Properties and then double-click on the Bluetooth icon located on the desktop to open the Blue Soleil program:
Next, double click the golden globe to turn on the program and to start searching for nearby Bluetooth devices:
After the search is complete, if you have an internal Bluetooth device in your computer and it is working properly, several icons on the Blue Soleil program will light up as shown in the image below:
If your computer has no internal Bluetooth device, all icons will remain darkened. You must use an external Bluetooth device. Connect one of the Blue Soleil USB dongles mentioned above in "Requirements."
NOTE: Only the lit services are available for use.
The first lit icon indicates file sharing capability, and the second lit icon indicates serial port capability. The remaining icons are not necessary for realtime purposes.
Be certain to save the serial numbers in a safe place.
Blue Soleil 8 activation needs to be done when there is an active internet connection.
An attached dongle will override an internal Bluetooth device.
Establishing the Initial Connection
Connect a file sharing dongle and a serial dongle on loaner laptops. (We will use loaner laptops in this instance to gain experience on how to connect an attorney?s computer out in the field.)
On the court reporter computer, click on the Bluetooth icon located on the desktop to open the Blue Soleil program.
Make certain the court reporter computer has either an internal or external Bluetooth device:
Then double click the golden globe to turn on the program and to start searching for nearby Bluetooth devices:
All available Bluetooth devices will be indicated as icons on the Blue Soleil 8 program as follows:
Right click any device and select Search Services as indicated:
All available services will be discovered:
For serial realtime, establish a serial connection by clicking on any of the serial port entries. Keep in mind that each serial realtime connection will have its own serial port number. Take note of the COM ports assigned to each device.
To establish a file sharing realtime connection, click on Personal Area Network (PAN). The IP address of each device will be indicated by a pop-up screen. Make a note of this information.
On the initial setup of any device, a passkey challenge occurs as follows on both the court reporter computer and the loaner laptop:
Any number can be entered, but whatever number is used, the same number must be entered on both computers.
A second pop-up window will occur on the court reporter computer, asking whether to automatically connect this device in the future. For recurring connections and to preserve COM ports for those recurring connections, click "yes."
When the connection is successful, the Bluetooth icon located in the bottom right-hand corner of the computer screen will turn from blue to green.
Now, for serial realtime, start the CAT software with the appropriate realtime outputs defined; however, with the Totally Wireless dongles, you must now choose only the 9600 baud rate and no other. Start the realtime viewer on the loaner laptop with its appropriate COM port defined and also at 9600 baud rate. Once an output is defined, in the future, all that is required for setup is to simply begin a realtime session in Eclipse and press Connect in Bridge. The Blue Soleil will connect automatically without any intervention.
Instead of allowing the CAT software to establish a link automatically, right click on the Blue Soleil 8 icons and connect to the desired device ... and THEN start your CAT software. This is as an alternative way to ensure COM port preservation.
Sometime back, Dorothy sent me a .pdf of her notes for a class she teaches on Bluetooth. I *thought* I had included a link in here, but ... well ... (*cough*) here it is!