In case you don't read the Plover blog comments as obsessively as I do, I want to post a few excerpts. I had assumed that the task of interesting people in open source steno software would be almost as difficult as writing it, but that hasn't been the case at all. The blog's already got a handful of dedicated commenters, from Sonja and Stan, the early adopters, to Abigail, Tony, Paul S., and Alice, the enthusiastic newcomers.
From Tony: Ok, let me just say how excited I am about Plover. Mirabai, I've followed, and greatly benefited from, your postings on the Depoman forum.
I decided to learn steno about six months ago because I write a lot and I hate the speed of typing. It became an obsession. I ordered an antique steno machine online, started learning first Phoenix, now intensively studying StenEd. But I have nothing electronic.
I am buying a Sidewinder this very day. You will be hearing more from me.
I've also gotten a fair amount of private email from people who came across the blog and are looking forward to trying out the program once it becomes a bit more functional. To that end, I'm devoting today and at least part of tomorrow to making Plover more than just a pretty demo. Then on Monday I'm resuming my Python lessons after a two-week hiatus (my tutor has been traveling, but now he's back in town). For now, though, let me turn the post over to the fabulous Abigail and her recent SideWinder hack. First, her introductory comment:
I just wanted to say that I've downloaded Plover and I am just amazed. It is like you have read my mind. For a bit of background, I was a steno student years ago, also at NYCI, loved it but quit because of life circumstances, moved overseas, moved back. Intended to return to court reporting - got very sick. Anyway, I say all this because I'm a little better but not good enough to go back to school but have been learning Stenomaster theory and re-teaching myself in the hopes of using steno to do transcription from home but wasn't sure what I going to do about the heavy outlay of funds just to make that happen. This could be my miracle solution. Thank you so much for using your brilliance and vision to come up with this program - please keep going! $60 for a keyboard? Heck, I could buy 10 of them and still be ahead, even with Ebay prices for dirty old equipment and ancient software! I tried Plover with my HP bundled keyboard and a few words came out so this could be just fabulous! Thank you!!!!!
Next, her amazing brainstorm:
I don't know if it will work long term but see the attached picture. I had a really, really old manual stenograph so I've wiggled the keys off of it and attached them to the keyboard with Scotch double-sided foam squares. They stick without damaging either sets of keys. Looks neat, huh? The touch of my doctored keyboard is not bad, pretty sturdy, of course not as good as the real thing, but close. The keys don't rock but I don't know if after extended use with flying fingers if they might flick off. I guess then you can just replace the sticky pad. I just experimented a little so far and I find it much easier that the keys are raised and more like a steno formation.
So if foam or leather keypads don't make the SideWinder feel enough like a steno machine, think about buying an old junky manual writer and gutting it for parts. Thanks, Abigail!