Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mac Port! Stentura Support! New Fly!

Fantastic news on the Plover front.

We have a new Windows release:

This version fixes several issues and adds a new feature:
- Capitalization is now done properly by only changing the first character.
- Plover will now work fine if the program is killed abnormally (such as shutting down while plover is running).
- Plover now supports the stentura serial protocol. If you have a stenograph machine then you should be able to use it with plover now via the serial port (or serial to USB converter). Just choose "stentura" in the machine settings and in "advanced" choose the serial port. Hit save, and restart plover.

Once we get a rtf/cre -> json conversion script, that Stentura support will be even more useful, because it'll allow the many, many steno students and professionals with Stentura protocol machines to try Plover out with their own dictionaries. If anyone wants to volunteer to write a conversion script, more info is on the Github.

We also now have a Mac distribution:

In addition to the usual install you will have to do this:
Open System Preferences, Open "Universal Access" and check the box next to "Enable access for assistive devices" If you do not do this then plover will just fail.

A million thanks to the amazing Hesky Fisher for his work on both of these!

And we also have a new version of Fly, a drill and keyboard layout teaching tool for Plover:

* Suspends translation when losing window focus, so that users can type using qwerty in other windows while running Fly
* Support for other steno machines, by using the same discovery method plover is using
* Docs updated to note xlib is needed if plover has not been installed
* Steno colour overlay option, where groups of keys such as HR are coloured according to the steno grid image, in this case cyan for L
* Returns random chord rather than easiest for uncategorized chords.
* Left shift key will toggle hint options on or off. Hint options can be set in
* Word:category dictionary now used so that misstrokes and briefs do not appear in lessons. In word mode, only canon strokes or uncategorized strokes will be presented.
* Any chord can be used that produces the correct translation, not just the one presented to the user.
* "Briefs" lesson added, that contains only briefs from word categorization dictionary.

It's still Linux-only, but we're hoping that a Windows port will happen eventually. Thanks to the superb Pragma Nolint for designing and programming Fly.

I just got back from a two-week trip, and I'm definitely hoping to post more Plover-related good news soon, but these are the three biggies, and I didn't want to wait any longer to share them with all you guys.


Anonymous said...

Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

Windows MAC Support

Soo Doe Nimh said...

This one's a biggie. I don't mind using the Linux version, but for really moving to steno, the Windows port is really a must, because I have to spend at least 50% of my working time on Windows machines, Visual Studio and SQL Server being my central software products.

I will shop for an old Stentura machine in the next few weeks or months.

My fluency is improving on the n-key rollover Filco. Chords on the piano were never this easy, but it's different for words. Thank you again for the keytoppers.

I'm not sure yet, but this could be life-changing for those of us who program and write day after day. If we can get more users to overcome the modern reluctance to sink up-front training time into something which will pay off massively in the long term, then this might be a way to escape the tyranny of the keyboard, though the steno keyboard is still, well, a keyboard, but a much less time and brain-intensive one.

Kathleen said...

Some really stupid questions. BTW, I learned machine steno years ago, and am looking forward to playing with this :-). Using Windoze. Cannot figure out how to define keystrokes. Need better instructions for dummies like me, I guess.

Mcglk said...

Miribai, is the Plover Store eventually going to be offering keyboards with the keycaps pre-installed? If so, I will happily buy one.

Mirabai Knight said...

I've got a couple of keyboards that I stuck keys onto, but they're not quite as well-aligned as I'd like them to be. I'd feel kind of bad selling them. That's why I think it's better for people to buy their own keys and Sidewinders; that way they can put them together as punctiliously and obsessively as their own particular predilections dictate. (':

Mirabai Knight said...

Your mouth to the zeitgeist's ears, Soo. (';

Mirabai Knight said...

Kathleen: Currently keystrokes have to be defined manually by editing the dictionary file in a text editor, but our programmer is currently working on a way to edit them while using Plover, which is going to be a huge increase in usability.

Mcglk said...

Miribai: That's exactly the issue; I can never get those sorts of things aligned as well as I want, and was hoping you'd come up with a good method already. :)

One other thing: Do you know for sure that the Sidewinder X4 (which is the keyboard I'm assuming is being used here) works with OS X (Mac)?

theszak said...

Decoded with Plover, stenographic record .sgstn stenograph stenonote of the public meeting of Boston City Council at

Mirabai Knight said...

As far as I know, the Sidewinder X4 works with OS X, but I haven't tested it personally, so I can't say for sure. Hesky (on the ploversteno google group) would be the one to ask.

Anonymous said...

Yay! So glad to hear about the Mac and Windows builds! I can't wait to get home and start trying to learn steno again. My interest has definitely been renewed.

IT Consulting Los Angeles said...

I am a regular computer user. Still when I tried stenography, it seems very difficult to me. Still interesting....