Thursday, December 5, 2019

Georgi Review!

All right, friends! Here it is!

A Georgi keyboard resting on a laptop tripod with a Polarpro Osmo Pocket case propping up each side

When I first got the new version of the Georgi with the reinforced connectors and lovely heavyweight case, I figured I'd try it out, put it through its paces, do some transcription on the couch, use it to chat with steno buddies on the Plover Discord, that sort of thing. Little did I know that my Infinity would break after 6 years of heavy use in the last 5 minutes of a multi-day job and I'd have to rely on my Alienware (since lost on a plane, sob), Georgi, and TinyMod to fill in the gap between August 1st, when I ordered my new Infinity, and November 29th, when it finally arrived. In that interval, I've used my Georgi to caption prominent public events, conferences, college classes, Twitch streams, webinars... You name it. And I have to say it's performed astonishingly well.

The Georgi is the first non-professional grade machine that never made me feel like I was sacrificing speed in order to get all the keys to register. The lightweight springs require almost no effort to activate, so I was able to caption 8-hour conferences without any fatigue. Unlike on the Infinity, there's no individual key configuration, where I can dial the sensitivity up or down depending on the strength or speed of each individual finger. With only a few exceptions, though, that didn't prove to be an issue. I occasionally had some problems getting words containing more than the typical number of keys to register at high speeds. Particular thorns in my side were REFRPB (research), which kept coming out as REFPB (resin) for some reason, and SKWRAURBGS (new paragraph), which kept leaving out different keys here and there. There was also a piece of the right hand vowel bank that had what felt like a detached keybed; if I lifted the key, whatever it was seated in lifted up as well, and unless I pressed down firmly to reseat it, those vowels didn't always register properly, sometimes leaving the E out of strokes and sometimes giving me phantom presses of the U key.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the clackiness is something that was always a bit of a problem for me, both in classrooms and at my coworking space. No one ever complained, exactly, but I did get a few dirty looks here and there, and it always made me feel self-conscious. At some point I want to try the lube/silencer combo that Germ recommended, but I have to admit it's been a huge relief to have a blessedly silent Infinity back. The ergonomics, on the other hand, wound up being far better than I'd feared. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, I tend to tent my Georgi by resting it on the Polarpro Osmo Pocket case I picked up in the digital camera section of an electronics store. The Georgi fits inside this ingenious little clamshell, with both of its cables in the interior zip pocket, and when I need to use it, I take everything out, put the case on the platform of my InStand laptop tripod, rest the Georgi on either side of the case, then tape it down with gaffer tape. I can get away with four pieces, but generally tend to use six for added security. Sometimes it slips and slides on me a bit, which can be frustrating, but for high stakes gigs I just tape the hell out of it and it stays put.

It's a bit more work than I sometimes feel like doing, but it's worth it. Especially with the tripod tilted forward and the Georgi positioned below the level of my knees, the ergonomics have been pretty extraordinary. I got a small recurrent wrist twinge before I hit on just the right positioning, but after I finally figured out the magic formula I've been totally pain-free even after an entire day of captioning. That's not something to underestimate. I sometimes write more than 100,000 words in a day, and walking away from that without massive fatigue or cramping is a serious achievement.

So yeah, in short: The Georgi has saved my absolute bacon these past four months. I was able to continue working steadily without any drop in speed or captioning quality, without any sacrifice to my wrists, using this tiny ultraportable machine that fit in the palm of my hand and cost a twentieth of what I spent on the professional machine I'd used up to that point. I should say that both Georgis I own were gifts given to me by Germ in exchange for an honest review, but if he hadn't offered them to me for free I would have paid for them in an absolute heartbeat. And I don't get any kickbacks or anything; I'm just a massive fan. I think literally everyone who uses steno for any purpose should keep one of these in their bag. You never know when your fancy pro machine will suddenly kick the bucket, and having this thing on hand as backup could be career-saving. I love the Bluetooth and battery life and lever action and ergonomic armature and dead silence of the Infinity, but I don't love its bulk, weight, fragility, or price tag. As a professional, it makes sense for me to have an ultraconfigurable pro machine, and I don't regret spending the money on it, but I'm quite sure I'll still be using my Georgi plenty when I don't feel like lugging around all my equipment. The Georgi is a fantastic machine for learner, amateur, and professional alike, and I couldn't possibly recommend it more fervently. Buy one, buy one, buy one!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Stuck



I got my Infinity today, but one of the keys seems to be sticking? Enough excuse for me to kick my Georgi review down the road by just a few days until I get the issue sorted out. No more, I promise.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Placeholder/Promise

Well, I got a call from The Neutrino Group today, saying that my new Infinity was ready to ship out. I've been using the Georgi for nearly all my work since around August 1st (when I sent my old Infinity in for trade-in credit and ordered a new one) and the TinyMod for everything else. (I'd say in about a 90%/10% split.) I'm looking forward to having an Infinity again for three main reasons:

1) It'll be much quieter than either of the two spring-based machines, though I've been told that manually lubing the keys, using silencers, and buying special silent switches might cut down the clickiness considerably. All of that is beyond me, though, so I've just been putting up with the noise.

2) It'll have Bluetooth, which means I won't have to stay tethered within a foot or so of my computer; useful for certain captioning jobs where I need a degree of flexibility to let clients read off of my laptop's screen.

3) It'll be simpler and quicker to set up and break down at each jobsite, as opposed to my multistep Georgi tenting and taping process, which I'll go into detail about during my review.

Speaking of which, that's what this post is really about. I've been slacking on reviewing both Georgi and TinyMod even as I've been using them more than I ever thought I would before my old Infinity broke down. I feel like I've got a ton of familiarity and experience with them both now, and am equipped to give both a thorough review... As soon as I can find the time. Well, I've set the goal of not letting myself use the Infinity on a job until I've got both Georgi and TinyMod reviews posted here, and you can hold me to that. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

OSP on Hacker News

Rather an interesting conversation on Hacker News about the OSP from earlier in the week. We've made Hacker News a few times over the past ten years, and I have to say this is overall the least hostile, least dismissive iteration I've seen. Perhaps we're finally starting to get through?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Gherkin with 3D Printed Keytoppers

Check out Ewen's machine, a Gherkin with keytoppers that he printed from Thingiverse. Gorgeous, huh?3D printed keytopper
side view of steno gherkin
top view of steno gherkin

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Typey Type's New Robots

Not a huge update in terms of content, but I just wanted to mention how big a fan I am of Typey Type's new Steno Robot friends, who cheer you on when you complete your steno drilling goals. Ain't they adorable?

smiling pink robot with a steno machine on its belly

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Steno in a Cigar Box

From Hermes on the Plover Discord:

a cigar box with a TinyMod and an Android phone showing Typey Type for StenographersA torso holding the closed cigar box

$5 Cigar box + OTG + 9" left USB + Android + TinyMod3 + Dotterel + DiDoesDigital = awesome Steno laptop. I love the OpenSteno community! Thanks!

I love it, and might make something similar for myself. I've actually been using my TinyMod a fair bit for work lately, both for offline transcription and for live classroom captioning. It's nice to be able to mix it up a bit, sometimes using my Georgi and sometimes the TinyMod. Certainly in portability the TinyMod wins hands down, as this picture shows. I've been wanting a clamshell case that can fit a phone or small tablet in the top half and a steno machine in the bottom half for a while now. The cigar box trick is very smart, though I wonder if there might be something even smaller that would fit the bill. Hm!