Two nice little updates, while we wait for the newest Plover release (which is imminent) and the completion of the Windows experimental version (which should hopefully happen by the end of the week). First, Amber from the Google group has created a list of 21 sentences using the most common words in the English language; all together, the words in these sentences (which she's posted to the Plover Wiki) comprise 50% to 65% of all words used in English, so it's useful to have them under your belt. Check 'em out:
Practice Sentences with Common English Words
Another brilliant idea of Amber's was for there to be a forum for steno newbies and new Plover users, so that they could share tricks and travails with each other and maintain a form of reference that was less static than the Wiki and less linear than the the Google group. So this morning I installed phpBB (a surprisingly painless process), and I can now introduce to you:
The Plover Aviary
I've started it off with a few posts to get it going, including one where I took Amber's practice sentences and wrote them out on my steno machine using a dummy dictionary (with all the entries replaced with "STKPWHRAOEUFRPBLGTSDZ", so they came out as raw steno. For some reason, when I deleted all but one entry and tried to use that dictionary, Plover gave me an error, but it worked fine with all the entries redefined). If we can get more practice sentences from Plover users, I'll hopefully be able to plump up the previous Steno 101 lessons into a more useful form.
With luck the Aviary will soon be full of questions and answers and feature requests and competitive speed bragging. I also count today a success because I learned the word "dotterel", which I've used for the steno veterans forum (because after "hatchlings" and "fledglings" just comes "full-grown birds", and I thought that lacked panache.) According to its Wikipedia entry, a dotterel is both "a small wader in the plover family" and "a doting old fool", which fit my steno-obsessed batty old self perfectly. So there it is. Another place to go and get your Plover on with other steno neophytes. Have fun!