When you buy your shiny new Olympus DS-5000, DS-5000iD (and also the DS-3400) digital dictaphone it comes with software for both Mac and Windows, in fact you get one licence for each operating system. Windows users get to install DSS Player Pro v5 Dictation Module and Mac users get DSS Player Version 7 Plus (at release 7.2.4 at the time of writing this). Both the Windows and the Mac software are similar in that they both let you play the audio files recorded on your digital dictaphone, both let you edit your audio and both let you convert your DSS Pro audio files (.ds2) to other formats.
On the Mac however, unlike the Windows software, the ability to automatically send your dictation somewhere (email to your typist, drop onto a network drive for your typing pool etc) is missing. On the Mac audio files need to be manually sent to your typist or transcription service, unless you use Dropbox.
Dropbox as a service has been around for a while and continues to grow in popularity. Essentially it is a very easy way to store files both locally on your PCs or Macs as well as in the cloud, making your files accessible from any computer, iPhone, Android phone or iPad at any time. We use Dropbox in our business as a file sharing tool and also as a backup solution to keep essential files stored and shared safely both onsite and offsite. In simple terms, on your local computer(s) you have a DropBox folder, just like any folder you may create. This folder is automatically syncronised to the cloud and also with other computers where you have installed a Dropbox agent. Whatever you drop in there is backed up to Dropbox’s totally secured servers in the cloud as well as any of your other computers. You may have a Dropbox folder on your office computer and also on your home computer, whatever you drop in the Dropbox folder is syncronised between folders on all computers, whether you do it at home or in the office. A really neat feature of of Dropbox is that folders within your Dropbox folder can be shared with others, meaning only files dropped in that shared folder are visible to the person you shared it with, they don’t see files from your other DropBox folders.
For example, you could create a folder called Typist within your Dropbox folder, you then share that Typist folder with your personal assistant or transcription service. Anything (documents, audio, video etc) that you drop into the Typist folder will automatically be sent to the cloud and down to the Typist, all done securely as files are encrypted as they pass across the internet and down to other Dropbox folders. This is done in the background, you just drop it and forget. DropBox is an excellent option for sharing your dictation files and also an easy way for your typist or transcription service to get completed transcription back to you. Your typist just has to drop the completed document in the shared folder and it will appear on your computer.
Here is how you can set that up on your Mac (you can also do this on Windows in DSS Player Pro v5 Dictation Module, that will be a separate blog post).
First you need to install Dropbox – click here to install Dropbox – which is free to use when you select the basic package with 2Gb of storage, more than enough for audio files. There are also paid options, these just give you more online storage, the free edition is all you need for sharing audio files and completed transcriptions. After installation you will have a Dropbox folder on your filesystem and a Dropbox icon which shows you the status of your Dropbox folder; a tick means all are syncronised, a rotating circle means it is syncronising.
By selecting Preferences and then Download in DSS Player Version 7 Plus you can define the location of the Download Tray Folder, this will be currently set to the location you specified when you installed the software, usually a folder called Message under your home directory. Click the icon to the right of this folder which appears as three dots and navigate to a folder you have created to share in your Dropbox folder. Also in the Download preferences screen are three tick box options, they are;
Delete the original files after downloading
If you tick this box, post download from the recorder to the Mac DSS Player Plus will remove the audio from the recorder. This one is up to you, some of you will prefer to remove audio, some won’t.
Convert to AIFF file during download
By default the DS-5000 (and DS-3400) record in the DSS Pro audio format which creates .ds2 audio files. These files can be played back on your Mac using DSS Player Version 7 Plus software. If you send your audio to others they may not be able to play this audio format in which case you can convert your audio to .AIFF which can be played on any Mac or Windows PC. However, converting a .ds2 file to .aiff will increase its file size significantly. If you are using a transcription service they should be able to accept .ds2 audio files, if they do not, you should be asking why not.
Automatically download all data when the device is detected
Tick this option, when you dock (or USB plug) your recorder, the audio files will automatically be downloaded from the dictaphone to the directory you have just specified, ie. Dropbox. This kicks off the auto syncronise with Dropbox (instant offsite backup) and with other computers that you have your Dropbox installed on (home maybe) and anyone you have shared the folder with (your typist or transcription service). As this happens you will see your Dropbox logo switch from syncronised to syncronising .
It is as easy as that. No more finding files to attach in an email, just dock and go. Your typist or transcription service will know when you have deposited new files as a pop-up will appear on their screen to let them know new files have arrived. Depending on their transcription setup they may be able to link their transcription software to the Dropbox folder, automatically loading the audio in their transcription software for them. Technology, you have got to love it !
If you need more information or have questions please leave a comment or tweet us @dictates