2012 Year-End Round-up
Well, our 15th fiscal year has ended, and overall, it was a so-so year.
Revenues were down slightly from last year and we expect the uncertain business
climate to last throughout 2013. Computerized speech-to-text technology
continues to be an elusive technology, so we don't forsee the transcription
industry going away soon. However, we have noticed some of our media clients
have moved to posting audio and video files online where they use to post text
transcripts. Those media files aren't searchable in Google and transcription
continues to be the best way to do it.
Fantran Hires New Assistant Manager
We have promoted Matt Feltz to replace Kevin Morris as Assistant Manager.
Matt is not a new face around Fantran since he's been transcribing for us for
the past year. He has a BA in Biology, which helps him with our scientific and
medical transcripts, and he has written for various Websites on science and
sports which helps with his editorial duties. Plus his easy-going personality
helps with the stressful pinch periods.
Fantran Assistant Manager moves to Chicago
Our assistant manager Kevin Morris has moved back to Chicago
where he and his family are from after resigning from his full-time
job with us here in Boston. He has already found work in the Windy City,
but is continuing to work for us when he can on a freelance basis. He
has great editing skills and we wish him luck.
Endicott the Mighty
It is with a sad heart that we have to note the passing of our mascot
and our constant companion Endicott the Mighty, our Boston terrier, at
age 11. After battling juvenile epilepsy and allergies his entire life,
he contracted cancer that his medications masked until it was too far
advanced. Vets at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston valiantly
tried to remove the cancer but discovered it had encompassed too many of
his internal organs and he was put to sleep.
Endicott came to work every day and both our employees and our clients
loved seeing him. We were told that pictures of him adorned many a PC
screen saver, and he had lots of commuter friends on the train. His
passing was noted by our local newspaper and several online sits.
Everyone misses him greatly.
Well, we completed our move to our new offices last summer. The move
went well, but we had issues with the new building not being ready for
us, despite the real estate company's promises that it would be. It
took about a month, but the new landlords were responsive, and they
solved nearly all the problems we had. If we do get annoyed about
something, we look out our windows opening onto picturesque Winthrop
Square and that takes most of the sting out of it.
We're also getting use to the change of neighborhood. Even though we're
only a couple of streets away from where we were, being in the Financial
District now, we're away from the tourists and the shoppers of Downtown
Crossing, so it's a much more professional atmosphere.
Our dining options are also more upscale with real restaurants in the
area and up-scale cafeterias serving all natural foods. But they're a
bit more expensive too.
The taller buildings do kick up a bit of wind, so the winter months may
be tougher when walking through these wind tunnels. But we're pretty
hardy here in Boston with our L.L. Bean coats and our Timberland boots.
We did learn that we got out of our old building just in time. The
landlord there has given all the tenants one year to get out, at which
time the new owners will start converting it to a boutique hotel! It
seems a little strange that our former 100-year + old offices will be
luxury hotel rooms. We might even stay a night in them for old time's
Fantran Moving to Winthrop Square
Well, we have big news to announce, at least for us. If you're reading this before
July 21, 2012, we will be moving to 10 Winthrop Square in the Financial District of
Downtown Boston on that day. If you're reading this after, then we've already moved.
It's just about three blocks from where we are/were in Downtown Crossing, but it
seems a world away since the area doesn't attract shoppers or tourists.
It's a small building that was built in 1872 just after the Great Boston Fire of that
year and it's located in a pretty little square (which in Boston, "squares" are mostly
triangles). Our lease, for some reason, prohibits us displaying a picture of the
building, but you can see a Google Street View of it
here. It's the white building behind the trees. There's also an official
All of the tenants in the building have been there more than a decade, and we're
hoping to be there a decade or more ourselves.
A couple of clients recently sent us some rough-sounding audio files. By now, we're
quite use to hard-to-hear sound files, but this time they sounded different. In
analyzing them we found they were only 4-bit where most audio is 16-bit. When we
asked about how they were recorded we found out our clients were using the record
feature on their MP3 players rather than using digital recorders as we advise.
This is a problem that we thought we had left behind in the past with those awful
micro-cassette recorders we warned our clients about. Both the micro recorders
and MP3 players use cheap, 10-cent microphones that in no way can be considered
professional quality. The MP3 players are doing additional damage by compressing the
sound even further by throwing out 3/4th of the number of bits used by most sound
We recommend real digital recorders with real microphones either built in or available
as an add-on. We particularly like the Olympus brand of recorders because most of
them record in either Windows Media Audio or MP3 audio for high-quality sound but
small file sizes. And some of them also allow you to store your MP3 musical files on
them as well. You can see some
Olympus digital recorders here.