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!

Monday, October 29, 2018

3D Printed Stentura Laptop Mount + Custom Word Range Drills

Check out this cool 3D Printed laptop mount for a Stentura 400 SRT by community member repalviglator!

Front view

Side view

Close-up of 3D printed mount

Also, new from Typey Type: Gutenberg sentences using top 100 words and a new "start from word" setting. From Di:

Using a new “Start from word” setting, you can skip ahead to the 20,000th word to try long sentences. Together with “Limit word count”, you can drill ranges like top 1000–2000 words.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Last Call for Survey + Typey Type Dictionaries

Only six more survey responses needed to exceed last year's tally. Come on, steno friends! You can do it!! I'll probably close the survey fairly soon, so please get in a response if you can. It only takes a few minutes. Feel free to share the link to all and sundry!

Also, Typey Type for Stenographers now has downloadable dictionaries for each lesson, especially useful if you use the suggestions window and don't necessarily want to have to wade through misstroke suggestions from the default dictionary. Good stuff!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Tiny Steno Board 2 - New DIY Machine

Check out this beautiful DIY steno machine, the Tiny Steno Board 2, by community member SashaK!

Sasha writes:
The idea was stolen from Charley, the internals - from OLKB/Planck project. I stumbled upon an old mechanical machine, so had a chance to compare the Stenograph keyboard feelings you mentioned in some articles with the computer switches. I measured the size of keys and tried to re-created their form. The link to the project is in the Thingiverse article, it is rather primitive - holes laid out, the case is built around them to fit the switches. The controller fits nicely in the empty space under the right palm. Case is connected with stand-offs and screws from both top and down parts.

Component prices (approximate) - one ProMicro chip (10CAD), 23 Matias switches (10CAD), 2xUSB connectors (10CAD), 23 diodes (2CAD), USB cable (5CAD), screws and stand-offs (say 3CAD). PLA plastic - 200 grams, about 5CAD. Some wire, and old micro-USB cable to connect the chip to USB connector. 50CAD in total.

What a beautiful little piece of work! Go read more about it on Thingiverse, or use the detailed schematics there to build your own!

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