Monday, April 29, 2013

StenoTray, Treal, and Tail

Little by little, Plover is transforming from a one-man band (initiated by Josh, taken over by Hesky) into a truly collaborative project. We've got new coders writing utilities and features for it all the time. The latest is StenoTray, by Brent. It's a Java utility that scans Plover's stroke log and dictionary to remind users how to stroke certain words. Just stroke out a word part or fingerspell at least four letters of the word you want to write, and StenoTray will show you how to do the rest. Here I'm trying to figure out how to write "antidisestablishmentarianism", and it handily reminds me that I've got a single one-stroke brief for it (SMA*IRM).

You can configure it to show you either raw steno or pseudosteno, depending on how comfortable you are with transliterating the letters on the keyboard; in raw steno mode, it would show you SPHAEURPL instead. StenoTray works in Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it's an invaluable utility for both steno newbies and advanced users. Check it out!

A few other exciting updates:

* Hesky has now implemented compatibility with the Treal steno machine, so if you've got one, you're in luck.

* If you want to view your raw steno notes as you write, there are now instructions on the Wiki. Linux and Mac users use the terminal, while Windows users need to download a free program called BareTail.

* John Keyes, the former owner of the @plover Twitter account, has generously signed it over to us, so if you want to receive pure, unadulterated Plover information on your Twitter feed (as opposed to the mixed Plover, CART, steno, day-in-the-life, and accessibility tweets you get on my stenoknight account), feel free to follow @plover.

* Also, just a reminder about The Plover Aviary, our user forum. Its focus is a bit different from that of the Plover Google Group, which is mostly feature requests, bug reports, and conversations about the future of Plover development. The Aviary is more for Plover users to talk about the best ways of learning steno, different steno theories, and record their daily practice log; that sort of thing. It was pretty quiet for a long time after its inception, but it's definitely been heating up in recent weeks, so feel free to give it a try.


Jay Liu said...

I tried out StenoTray and it is SUCH a great timesaver and makes the Steno experience so much better. Major kudos, Brent!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Jason said...

I can't get this to work (on os x). I keep getting a Cannot locate plover config file" message in console.
I put a stenotray.cfg file in the same folder as the plover.cfg file, but stenotray isn't finding it.

Mirabai Knight said...

Yeah, I think the updates to Plover broke StenoTray.

This version might or might not work. Haven't tested it:

Chris D said...

I guess this StenoTray is dead? I tried it on Windows and went through all the config file setup and...nothing happened. I tried using the above jar file instead and it said it was invalid or corrupt. I made a shortcut as described in the instructions and changed the target and ran it, and it wanted me to pick a program to open the file with.

Chris D said...

If it helps (or makes things more difficult), when I open a command prompt to run the jar file, it says "Exception in thread "main" java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 3 and some other stuff.

When I run the stenotray.jar you linked to in your above comment, it says Invalid or corrupt jar file, and ditto for another version of stenotray.jar I found.

This is all terribly over my head, if I can't double-click something to run it, I'm pretty much out of ideas. :-) But I think I followed all the directions in the readme file correctly. Should it run when I double-click it, or is there more to the story which would be obvious to programmer types but incomprehensible to mere mortals like me?


Chris D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirabai Knight said...

Hey, I'm not sure what's going on. I know a lot of people are using StenoTray without problems. Do you mind posting this comment to the Plover Google Group? A lot of our tech support people are on there, and they'll probably be able to help you out better than I can. Sorry for the trouble!