Out with the old, in with the new

Mar 30 2015

Capitol Hound is transitioning.

When old methods don’t suffice, we find new and better ones.

The transition we are going through is crucial to the upkeep of Capitol Hound, the legislative transcription and alert service that I work on, and it is our duty to fully grasp what is expected of us individually and as a team.

CloudFactory, the service we are beginning to use to create transcripts, not only simplifies our job, but also gives us the opportunity to put more efforts into marketing and sales.

CloudFactory is a human-assisted software program that combines both human minds and technological intelligence into one. Capitol Hound is specifically using SpeakerText, a transcription service provided by CloudFactory. SpeakerText takes the audio we upload via the SpeakerText website, chunks it into 10-second segments, and runs it through a transcription software. It is then overseen by CloudFactory workers who edit and email us the final transcript files. After receiving the file, we upload it to Capitol Hound for our subscribers.

SpeakerText is replacing the old system we used to generate transcripts.

We are making the switch to CloudFactory at a steady pace, carefully making sure each and every team member understands what is to be done, when, and how.

It is an incredibly simple process.

Before we began using CloudFactory, we used a program called Typing Pool that allowed us to send transcripts to the old transcription software. Unfortunately, Typing Pool is only available on four computers in Reese News Lab. Therefore, we had to be in the Lab to do anything transcript-related.

Thursday morning I tested out CloudFactory for the first time and had a fantastic epiphany – I no longer have to jump between numerous computers just to upload an audio file to be transcribed.

To me, that is pretty exciting. While I enjoy rolling around in a computer chair like a “pro” using several computers at once, having the ability to stay in one place is very convenient and efficient.

It gets better. I no longer have to frantically search Google Docs, my email, sticky notes, or text messages for which computer holds a particular recording, for we cannot record numerous legislative sessions simultaneously on one computer. If there are four sessions going on at 8:30 a.m., all four computers will have a different audio file saved onto it – each audio file is coded into Typing Pool to be transcribed and must correspond with the same computer it came from.

Now, as long as the audio file is uploaded to Amazon S3, a massive online storage service provided by Amazon that provides us with audio mp3 links, I can upload audio and receive transcripts from CloudFactory anywhere.

Thank you, Internet and CloudFactory. This means I can remain in the comfort of my apartment or even a coffee shop while working on Capitol Hound.

Recording itself can be hectic enough and CloudFactory eases the communication process.

Back to Google Docs.

Speaking of communication, the Capitol Hound team has been working together via Google Docs, briefer group messages, and email in order to better communicate throughout the process on a daily basis.

The further we move into the legislative session, the more crucial it becomes for us to properly keep up the site and make sure everyone is on the same page doing exactly what needs to be done.

We are managing.

In all honesty, it’s been mad stressful, but without stress there is even more room for mistakes.

I try to remind myself that we are all college students and we are all human. Mistakes happen, and we work through them.

Moving forward.

By switching to CloudFactory, we now have a little more time to move forward with marketing and sales.

Throughout the week we have been handwriting letters to North Carolina lobbyists informing them of our service.

We can only hope the hours spent with cramping hands will be convincing. I really like the idea of having our personal touch and voices in the letters because I want people to know who is behind Capitol Hound. We work hard for this service and want to reach out so that others may benefit from what we provide.

We plan to send these letters with a Capitol Hound card inside throughout the next month. We won’t stop here though. We have to constantly move forward and plan on sending letters to legislators are in the near future.

There is much to be done in very little time. Summer is just around the corner, but that doesn’t stop the legislature or Capitol Hound.


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