Monday, August 13, 2018

Script Sending with Plover and Vim

I had a big screen gig tonight, and while I'd gotten a script in advance, I knew there would be a lot of ad libbing, so I planned to write it all on my steno machine, with the script displayed on my non-steno-connected second laptop for reference. The only exception was a song in Spanish, which I knew I couldn't fingerspell fast enough; I'd have to send it out line by line from the script. Here's how I did it using Vim:

My computer was in "extend" mode, so captions were displayed on the big screen in one gvim window and the script was on my laptop's monitor in another gvim window.

On the sending computer, I mapped F to ^v$"+y

On the receiving computer, I mapped S to <Esc>A<Enter><Enter><Esc>"+gP<Esc>

I could have made a steno stroke to automatically tab between windows, advance down a line, copy the line to my clipboard, tab back, and paste in, but I was worried about latency/syncing issues and preferred manual control so that I could more easily match the rhythm of the song. There were a few repeated lines and callbacks as well, so I didn't necessarily want to auto-advance each time.

When I heard them start to sing a line, I pressed TP*P on my steno machine to copy the line under the cursor, then TABT to quickly alt-tab to the big screen gvim window, S*P to paste the line in, TABT to alt-tab back, STPH-G to go to the next line, F to grab it again, and repeated the cycle until the song was over.
It worked quite well! I've done this sort of thing before using the qwerty keyboard, but I believe this was the first time I did a long section of scripting without taking my hands off the steno machine. Perhaps this trick is of limited utility if you're not a realtime captioner, but on the off chance that someone might find it useful, I thought I'd post it here.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Double Feature from Di

Not only has Di updated Typey Type again:
You can learn briefs shown as steno diagrams or as text
Practice writing multi-syllable words with doubled consonant letters
Use a wider layout so you can see what's coming up
A new "Exact spacing" setting to match spaces precisely—ideal for coding as well as prefix and suffix lessons
Accuracy scoring now counts hinted words separately
The "Ignore spaces" settings now considers " the", "the ", and "the" to be the same when reviewing words you've seen and deciding what material to show, making sure you don't see words more than you have to

but she also wrote a fantastic blog post on building a steno-flavored Planck, as someone who hadn't done much hardware work before.

Brilliant stuff as always.

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Version of ROPE

I blogged about the first version of ROPE back in October 2017. Now it's been updated to ROPE version 2.1.

Its creator explains:
ROPE (Remembering Outlines in Plover more Easily) is a guide to learning and recalling Plover outlines for about 4,200 common English words. It does this in two ways: first, it relies on Anki's spaced repetition system to help you solidify the outlines in your memory. Second, it includes mnemonic devices (in the form of stories) for a sizeable chunk of the outlines. These stories, about 1790 in total as of 7/7/2018, serve to connect the outlines to their corresponding word by including words that are similar to the components of the outlines.

ROPE 2.1 also includes a number of added-in outlines (about 785 as of 7/7/2018) that serve as alternatives to the outlines in the standard Plover dictionary. They're meant to let you write words in fewer keypresses and/or strokes, but are completely optional, and standard outlines for every word are provided when available.

If you like Anki-style drilling and original story drills tailor made for steno, go check it out at the Plover Reddit!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

New Bugfix Weekly

A new bugfix weekly has been released, so if you have encountered any of the issues below, you should probably give it a try.

Windows: fix C++ Redistributable DLL error (#957)
Windows: fix emoji output (#942)
Mac: fix portable mode (#932)
Fix issues when output is set to "Spaces After" (#965)
Tooltips added for dictionary status icons (#962)

Main Dictionary updates:
use AOE instead of E for prefix "e" (#951)
update from issue 400 (#960)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Typey Type Top 100 and 1000 Drills, Plus Blur

Typey Type for Stenographers keeps getting better. Now there are drills for the top 100 and top 1000 words, as well as a new custom lesson feature, and a fascinating "blur" feature, which allows you to use a screen reader (I recommend the open source NVDA) to turn the text-based drills into dictation.

Di says:

Using a setting to “blur words”, sighted people can blur the lesson material on Typey type and use a screen reader to announce each word to practice transcription. This reads out each word from the lesson material one at a time only after you’ve successfully typed the previous one. In the future, I’d like to make a feature that reads out words ahead of where you’re at to mimic dictation and real-time captioning tasks where you need to “stay on top of the speaker” and not fall too far behind what they are saying.

For now, blur material offers two particular benefits for sighted stenographers. One benefit is relieving eye strain from staring at one point on the screen for extended periods. The other key benefit is to help sighted stenographers learn to write words based on how they sound instead of how they look or are spelled.

Screen readers have a bit of a learning curve, but honestly I recommend them to any sighted user who wants to gain some proficiency and understanding of what it's like to use a computer without using your eyes. Give it a try and report back on how it worked for you!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Photos from the NYC Mechanical Keyboard Meetup!

The NYC Mechanical Meetup was last week, and there were at least three steno people in attendance: Me, Weiben, and Malcolm, all frequenters of the Plover Discord.

I gave a short talk on steno.

Malcolm showed off his amazing feather-light lubricated steno-layout board.

Weiben and I repped our StenoMod, TinyMod, SOFT/HRUF Splitography, and Infinity Ergonomic machines, giving demos to curious mechanical keyboard aficionados.

And, of course, we saw some extremely attractive qwerty rigs as well! We all had a great time, and I think we managed to win some people over to the steno side!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Modding a MIDI for Michela (Italian Steno Video)

This video is from a few months ago, but I realized I never wound up posting it here! Sillabix, the OSP's resident Italian Steno expert, demonstrates how to modify an affordable MIDI keyboard to make it usable for Michela, the Italian steno system, which conveniently has its own Plover plugin. Video notes are in Italian but translated in the closed captions. The process is seriously cool to watch, and the music is fantastic as well. Check it out!