Monday, December 17, 2018

Using machine stenography in pen shorthand: Pen Steno

Longtime Plover community member and steno enthusiast Kevin Knox (codepoke) has invented a method to represent machine steno strokes using pen-shorthand-like techniques. As a fan and user of steno, I tried to learn Gregg shorthand and found it frustrating. You need to relearn all sorts of briefs, deal with phonetic conflicts, and just generally speak a whole new language compared to the one we use on our steno machines. Kevin took this frustration and actually did something about it, and I'm very excited to share what he's prepared with The Plover Blog.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Open Source Fellowship + New Version of ROPE

The Recurse Center is offering up to $10,000 coding fellowships in NYC for people working on open source programming projects, and 50% of that money is reserved for women, trans, and nonbinary people of color. If you fit one or more of those categories and feel like applying for a programming retreat, we would be mightily pleased if you consider Plover (or other open source steno-related software such as a steno learning game) as a potential project in your application!

Also, the Anki deck ROPE (Remembering Outlines in Plover Easily) has been updated with several new one-stroke outlines, as well as stories to help you remember how to stroke them. Useful stuff!

Monday, December 3, 2018

New Debugging Release of Dotterel

Nimble, author of Dotterel, the Android steno input app that tends to work a bit more smoothly than Brent's older Steno Keyboard app, has released a version of Dotterel with crash reporting, which is very exciting, because I've been having trouble running it on my Samsung tablet, and I'm hoping that if a handful of people test this app on a variety of hardware and OS versions, Nimble will be able to get enough information to make the app a bit more robust. Running the app on my tablet is part of my master plan to teach steno to my 2-year-old, so I'd be really happy if y'all could give it a try.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Highlights from the 2018 OSP Community Survey

Well, we exceeded last year's survey tally, with 103 responses! Here are a few of the highlights, but please feel free to go check out all the details at the survey site.

Thank you to everyone who responded! I love the friendliness and enthusiasm of this weird little community, and hope very much that we can preserve that as we continue to grow and mature in the future, while bringing the power and fun of steno to ever larger and more diverse groups of people.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Steno With a Screen Reader!

Check out this fantastic video from professional Italian stenographer Daniele, who uses JAWS, a popular proprietary screen reader, alongside Plover:

I've said for years that screen reader users (most of whom, like Daniele, have some degree of vision loss) are ideal candidates for professional stenography, since they tend to have extremely rapid and well-developed auditory processing capabilities. I'm thrilled that there's now one fewer barrier to steno for people who use screen readers. Marvelous work, Daniele!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Plover Learner: A New Steno Learning Blog

I love reading steno learning diaries. Over the years, the open steno community has built up quite a few, including:

Lars's Steno For Programming Diary
Martin's Stenostories
Waleed's Steno Journal

and now the newest example of the genre:

MHC's Plover Learner

I'm really looking forward to seeing how MHC's learning process develops. If you know of any other steno journals, please feel free to send them along! I think they're really helpful and interesting for novices and experienced stenographers alike.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Plover in Peoria!

Check out this great dispatch from Kathryn Dittmeier, the coordinator of the Judicial Reporting Program at Midstate College in Peoria, Illinois:

steno machines and laptops at a table
Thanks to Plover software, a closet full of Stentura 400SRTs, and an investment in tablets from our administration, the Judicial Reporting program at Midstate College was able to bring a hands-on steno exhibit to the Career Spark event at the Peoria Civic Center. Over the course of two days, 4,000 eighth grade students from over 60 area schools poured out of school buses and eagerly explored each of the four large exhibit areas. In the Law, Government, and Public Service zone, students had plenty of interesting things to see with fire trucks, police motorcycles, snowplows, an ambulance, and a utility line setup. But the steno machines really drew the students in with many returning for a second visit before their time in our zone was up. We also looped the Steno Arcade “I’m your Moon” video on a big monitor – a great draw for 14-year-olds!

Because of Plover software, we were able to invest in inexpensive Windows 10 tablets and let the students get their hands on machines to try realtime. There were aha! moments, triumphal shouts of “I got a word!!” and for many, we were able to help them draw a connection between live captions they had seen on sporting games and news in restaurants and the idea of a person on a steno machine generating those. We had a great opportunity to talk to them about careers in official, freelance, CART, and captioning domains, about the huge need for reporters, and about the earning potential one could realize with a two-year degree. Our thanks to Plover for doing just what you set out to do...making steno accessible in an affordable way so people can try it.

I love hearing about high schoolers (and even younger kids) getting to play around with steno machines, and I'm hoping we'll be able to develop even more kid-friendly steno learning video games in the near future. If you use Plover at a career fair or similar event, drop us a line!