Sunday, November 27, 2011


I love long weekends. Thanks to the first decent amount of free time I've had in a while, I've been able to change some little things on the Plover Blog and Wiki that were long overdue.

* now redirects to the Plover Wiki instead of the static FAQ page that it's superseded.

* I've put a slightly cleaned-up version of the qwerty-to-steno layout chart right at the top of the blog, where people can see it straight away. It should probably get a more prominent place in the Wiki too, though I'm not sure where; right now it's kind of buried in the FAQ.

* I've put a link to the Plover Demo near the top of the blog's sidebar and on the front page of the Wiki, because I believe that it's Plover's best low-stakes ambassador for stenocurious newcomers.

* I've updated and expanded the Wiki's Plover Cheat Sheet a bit, adding to the chart of the most common prefixes and clarifying a few of the more confusing features of Plover's default dictionary. I also submitted a bug to the Launchpad page, because the default dictionary that comes with Plover defines -FPLT as -FRPBLGTS and STPH as STKPWHR, which is only useful if you're me and you're using Plover for offline transcription work, which you almost certainly aren't. I should have changed those definitions to {.} and {?} respectively before submitting the dictionary to Josh for packaging, but I didn't, and the result is that the Hello, world. instructions on the Wiki don't work properly. Boo me.

* I've updated the Plover Blog sidebar with links to videos and interviews featuring Plover.

* I thought of another Hover Plover minigame, one that would appeal to the puzzle solvers rather than the fast-twitch kids, and which would take minimal graphical expertise to write. You'd start out with a block of text in steno, and every time you wrote one of the strokes, it would transform into its English equivalent. So at the end, you'd wind up with a block of English text. Here's a mockup, showing the starting state, the middle state, and the completion state. I based the text on a puzzle I made for a friend who didn't know steno but who liked solving cryptograms. (Solution here. Don't click the link to the graphical version if you want the fun of puzzling it out for yourself, since it shows the solution on the bottom.) I figure it'll have the satisfaction that you get from a game like Minesweeper, but without the nervous tension, because there are no penalties for misstrokes. You're just clearing the field and building up your muscle memory as you go. You'll probably start out just writing the strokes without knowing what they say, but eventually as you get more comfortable with the theory, you'll start predicting the translations before you write them.

* I'm also currently trying to sort through these guidelines for open source development, posted by Ms. Gardiner to the Plover Google Group a while back. Plover is the first open source project I have direct experience with, and since I'm not a coder myself (except on a seriously elementary level), I'm at sort of a disadvantage in figuring out the best way to organize it. The code started out completely in Josh's domain. Then Hesky joined in on the experimental branch. We've gotten several more offers of coding help since then, but except for side projects like the Plover Demo, I don't think we've had any actual committed code from anyone other than Josh and Hesky so far. I definitely want to change that, though, especially as Hover Plover development gets off the ground. Any specific advice on making the Plover Project more friendly to community development would be very welcome.

1 comment:

mirnhoj said...

glad you found some time. i know you've been busy.

i think the puzzle idea for games would be a good complement to fast-twitch games.

as for making things more friendly to the community, i think it would be good to have someone add a wiki article that goes step-by step on how people should commit code or one that documents a bugfix. that should give people an idea of the current workflow.