Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is potentially fantastic news. If Microsoft is really serious about promoting touch interfaces and puts enough money into the concept to make it a genuine phenomenon, we could be obviating the whole hardware problem in just a few years. As I've said before, the biggest issue with promoting steno to geeks is the price. Geeks like to play around with stuff before they commit to it, and when you're talking $5,000 steno machines (huge, heavy, and ugly as sin into the bargain) plus $4,000 software, there's just no way you're going to attract anyone who hasn't already determined to singlemindedly build their career around it. There aren't many instantaneous fanatics like me, nor should there be. I want steno to be primarily an auxiliary system to facilitate high speed composition (of text and code), communication, and portable computing. Writing and distributing Plover freely will, with luck, take care of the software issue. Cheap computers with built-in touch interfaces will eliminate the hardware shortage. Add haptic feedback (which should come in the next generation of widespread touch interfaces) and ultra-portability and you're gazing at my bright utopian stenofuture right there.

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