Sunday, January 29, 2012

#a11y unlock

Plover Blog Accessibility: Partially Upgraded.

As Plover's been getting more and more users, we've gotten a number of people wanting to learn steno who are either blind or have low vision, and who requested an audio version of the Steno 101 series. I'm happy to say I've completed the first two lessons this weekend, and I'm going to try to get the rest of them done as soon as I can, with audio versions accompanying each new Steno 101 installment as it's released. (I know I've been promising a new installment for a really long time now, and it's all mapped out and just ready to be written up; I'm just waiting for the Plover Windows Port to be finished so that all Plover users are on the same page when trying out the new features, like command strokes and numbers. Work on that is proceeding, and I'm hoping it'll be done by the end of this week, fingers crossed.)

So here are the first two installments again, now audio described by yours truly:

Steno 101: How to Do It
Steno 101: Lesson Zero

I looked around to see whether there were any accessible embedded audio players, but didn't find anything on a cursory search, so I just linked each heading to an mp3 file; you can open them in a new tab and most browsers should play them automatically. I'm very new at this, so please let me know if I need to revise any of the files, and I'll do my best to re-record them as necessary. At the end of the project, I intend to put them all into a zip file and host them on the StenoKnight servers, so people can download them as a Steno 101 audiobook if they want to learn steno on the fly. Many thanks to our blind and low vision users for giving me the spur I needed to start on this project. Enjoy the first two lessons! More coming soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Graph of visits for all pages hosted on since November, 2009 (when I started using Analytics) until today:

I just thought it was awesome and hilarious. I love the internet so much.

New Donation Page

Wow, it's been an exciting couple of days. We've already collected $200 in Plover donations, and after receiving feedback from one donor, I've made a dedicated donation page for Plover, detailing exactly where the money goes. (Right now it all goes to help our devs write code for Plover without taking too much of a financial hit when they take time away from their day jobs or freelance work; later we might use some of it as seed money to start fabricating Plover hardware, like qwerty-to-steno keyboard overlays or low-cost USB steno keyboards that plug into a computer and immediately start outputting English when they receive steno input. I've never taken any money for Plover, and I don't intend to start. My own venal reason for founding the project was to bring more people into my profession so it doesn't collapse due to the ever-increasing shortage of stenographers. If I can help raise up the next generation of captioners, transcriptionists, and steno amateurs, I'll feel more than repaid for the money I've spent getting Plover developed.) Ever since landing on Hacker News, the interest in Plover has spiked dramatically, which is glorious. Later today I'm going to try to make an entry on our wiki detailing all the various jobs that we need help with and the current state of who's working on what. Thanks for all the email and offers of support I've gotten so far! It's so inexpressibly wonderful to see this tiny little two-person project explode into a complex and multivarious international community.

Friday, January 13, 2012 Article on Plover

Longtime Plover ally Mel Chua has just written a fantastic article on about Plover! Go check it out. If any of you have come to this blog via the article, welcome! Try out the demo on your qwerty keyboard, check out the Launchpad page, or join the Google group or the Aviary to talk with Plover users and devs about open source steno and the next steps for the Plover Project.