Monday, October 8, 2018

Plover Theory is now The Art of Chording

Ted's work-in-progress textbook, previously known as Plover Theory and hosted on Gitbooks, now has a new title and URL: The Art of Chording, at He's also still taking donations via his Patreon, if you'd like to help speed up the pace of development. It's a fantastic resource, and I encourage steno newbies and veterans alike to check it out. When it's done, I think it will be the definitive textbook on the subject.

In other news, Typey-Type now saves your progress, allowing for automated custom drills, and the 2018 Open Steno Community Survey is still accepting submissions. If you haven't taken it already, please do! Your responses are really valuable in determining where we should focus our efforts going forward.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Plover + MIDI + LEGO!!!

Check out these AMAZING photos from the San Giorgio Brick Expo in Italy last weekend! Professional Italian stenographer and Plover user Sillabix posted these on the Discord yesterday, and I'm utterly in love. You can see a genuine historical Michela piano-style steno keyboard on the left and a gorgeous functional duplicate next to it, rendered out of LEGO and DIY electronics and running Plover, using the Michela protocol plugin. This is seriously one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life, and I'm beyond ecstatic that Plover has played a part in bringing it to life. Let's hear it for Sillabix, who has been doing things with off-the-shelf MIDI (and now LEGO!) components that blow my mind on the regular.

Historical Michela machine next to Plover-connected LEGO replica

Close-up of LEGO piano keys

Keyboard with piano keys removed to show electronic switches underneath

Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Open Steno Community Survey is Live!

Please take the 2018 survey here, and feel free to forward the link to anyone you know who's part of the Open Steno community in any way! I'm really looking forward to reading all of the responses and posting about the results.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Suggestions for 2018 Community Survey

It's time for our annual Open Steno Community Survey! Last year we got 91 responses, which isn't bad, but considering that the Discord is now up to 952 members, I'm hoping we'll get substantially more responses this year. This morning I solicited suggestions from the Discord on new questions to include this year and got a few good ones, but I thought I'd throw it open to blog readers as well. I'm hoping to have the new survey finalized by next week, so if you've got any ideas, feel free to comment on this post or email me,

Monday, September 10, 2018

More DIY Hardware!

It's been a bumper crop week for Plover-compatible DIY hardware!

First, a nice color-coded mod for a keyboard which claimed to be 19-key rollover, but that unfortunately only included WASD and function keys, so it didn't turn out to be compatible with chording. Still, a great idea by Robo, which will hopefully be implemented on a truly n-key rollover keyboard in the future.

Second, from SashaK, a Stenomod-inspired custom steno keyboard available on Thingiverse!

Next, some beautiful 3D printed keytoppers from verbalshadow, which apparently came out of the printer pretty much ready to mount on a Gherkin. Impressive!

And finally, from ElephantEars, a Palantype (which, if you haven't heard of it, is a mostly UK-based chording input method that uses more keys and is rather more phonetic than steno; Plover has had Palantype support for quite a while now) machine, with custom lighting that not only looks beautiful but also indicates what mode the machine is in.

Brilliant work all round! I can't wait to see more!

Monday, September 3, 2018

DIY Steno Hardware Spotlight: The Specter

User incognition on the Plover Discord completed a DIY steno machine project a while back, and I realized I never wound up featuring it here. Incognition has promised me a guest post with lots of details about the build at some point in the future, but in the mean time, here are a couple of morsels to whet your appetite. Incidentally, if anyone else has ever built a custom board, whether as a commercial prototype or as a one-off for exclusively personal use, I'd love to see it and feature it here! Nothing warms my heart more than a beautiful handmade steno machine.

The parts weren't very expensive. It's a knock-off Arduino, about 32 Gateron switches, custom keycaps and PCB, spray-painted and screwed into a piece of particle board. It took a LOT of time to assemble though, milling the PCB and hand-cutting the keycaps. I milled out one set of each keycap on a CNC machine, then made molds of those. The mold casting process still required me to cut all the keys to the right height by hand, along with an obscene (obsessive-level) amount of sanding and polishing.

What a gorgeous piece of work!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Skell: Drill any word using real sentences

Just a quick one today from niten on the Plover Discord's useful links channel:

Skell, which allows you to enter a word and get a ton of English sentences containing that word. I remember back when I was training for NCRA certification tests I always used to choke on the word "brochure". This would have come in pretty handy! If you want something a little more targeted than Steno Jig's most-common-word sentence drills, give it a try.