Monday, September 13, 2021

Plover and Toki Pona Meet Again!

Back in 2010, very, very early in Plover's development, Sonja Lang, (esteemed linguist and creator of Toki Pona, an extremely simple and elegant constructed language) joined the Plover Google Group. The software wasn't really in a usable state at that point, so only the most hardcore users at the time were able to do anything with it, so she drifted away from the community relatively quickly (which I completely understand), but before she did, she introduced me to Canadian graphic designer Laura Lake, who wound up designing Dolores, our beloved steno-winged mascot!

These were her first preliminary sketches of Dolores. I love them a lot.
sketches of a bird with a steno keyboard pattern in the feathers of her wing
And now, 11 years later, the Toki Pona community has intersected with the Plover community once again. On the Toki Pona Subreddit, there's a lovely little video demonstrating timeopochin's Toki Pona plugin for Plover. It's still in development, but seems very handy for users of the language! I'm delighted to see our respective orbits colliding once again, and hope that both communities will be able to enjoy the intersection.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Plover for Legal Material

Paul Fioravanti has written a really nice blog post about using Plover to transcribe legal material, incorporating principles from Platinum Steno. I'm not very familiar with Platinum Steno personally and have never done any legal work, but it's very cool to see the ingenious way that Paul has adapted Plover (the only steno software NOT primarily designed for court reporters) for legal purposes.

Monday, August 30, 2021

AstroType, a Gorgeous New Steno Learning Game

Shane Jonas on the Plover Discord recently released AstroType on Itch. Shane says:
Astrotype is a pixel art typing game aimed to challenge your speed. See how far you can make it fighting monsters with your keyboard. The goal is to nail down a really solid typing game experience into a playable demo and build out a bigger, more content driven game from there.
The art is so beautiful, and it reminds me of Typestriker, the first typing game I ever used with steno, way back in 2005 when I started steno school. AstroType is also space-themed, but more about planetary exploration than zooming rocketship shenanigans, and I absolutely love it. Of course, you can play it with a qwerty keyboard as well, but since the game is optimized for steno, you'll find it quite a challenge.

Play AstroType in your browser today!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Tokaku's Fantastic Steno Intro Video



Okay, I'm extremely late to the game here, for a number of reasons (zero childcare for a year and a half, Discord no longer notifying users of new posts when servers get above a certain size, turning 40 last March and therefore being old and out of the loop by definition) but back in early June, a famous YouTuber named Tokaku, who goes by SKWROE/HRAOEPB (cue Dolly Parton's classic earworm) on the Plover Discord, made this amazing (and open captioned!) introduction to steno, and it's one of the clearest, most concise, and most engaging explanations I've seen in a long time! In the past two months and change it's already gotten over 300,000 hits, which is incredible, and has brought many people into the Plover community. I'm so thankful to Tokaku for her hard work and enthusiasm in putting this video out there. Absolutely marvelous work.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Steno Pedagogy: Kindergarten Edition

a selection of words made from printed letters and tiles on cardboard mats from the word game Zingo
My kid turned five today! At his birthday party yesterday, a friend of his gave him a board game called Zingo Word Builder. We played with it together a little bit this morning, and he didn't seem to find it too compelling. He's already a strong reader and using random letters to build consonant-vowel-consonant words don't seem to hold much interest for him. But as I was picking tiles from the stack and moving them around on the game boards pictured above, I realized that the game was strongly reminiscent of the words used in the first few chapters of steno books like Learn Plover and The Art of Chording.

Any ideas on how I can turn this game into a non-electronic tool to help my kid learn steno? How can I make it more interesting or challenging for him? How can I use these tiles (already strangely similar in shape to steno keys, even if they're upside down) to help my kid navigate the layout of the steno keyboard and practice constructing words according to not just English rules but steno rules? There's gotta be a way! I'd be grateful for any advice or thoughts the Plover community might have. I feel like there's gotta be a way to do this; I'm just not sure where to start.

Monday, August 9, 2021

New Plugin: Plover Number Format

Plover Number Format is a new plugin (pull request forthcoming) that allows you to format a series of numbers retroactively into times, phone numbers, social security numbers, Roman numerals, and currency using specific command strokes. Very useful especially if you're taking down testimony or doing a lot of data entry. Many thanks to Volensia for implementing it!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Guide to Upgrading Your Dictionary

The marvelous Aerick has written a comprehensive guide to upgrading your Plover dictionaries from ones that work with Plover v3 to ones that work with Plover v4. If you're still on v3, please do consider upgrading to one of the recent releases of v4. It's vastly more stable, has far more features, and is recommended for virtually all purposes. (The one time I ever use v3 these days is when I want to have two steno machines running simultaneously on one computer. If they use different ports and different versions of Plover, it actually works really well. But that's very much an edge case!) Many thanks to Aerick for helping to smooth the way.