Friday, June 28, 2013

Plover Now Supports RTF Dictionaries

Miguel recorded this video, writing along to "Tracks of My Tears" on his Sidewinder, six months after teaching himself steno with Plover. Amazing! Go congratulate him at the Aviary!

The magnificent Hesky Fisher has completed a new version of Plover which allows users to use dictionaries in rtf (aka rtf/cre, or rich text format court reporting extension) format, without having to go through the messy Python-based conversion kludge that we've been using up until now. This won't mean much to steno newbies, but anyone who's been using proprietary steno software and wants to give Plover a try can now use their own dictionaries, which I hope will make my colleagues in the court reporting, captioning, and CART communities very happy. If you're on Windows, you'll have to download the .exe file linked from the wiki and follow the instructions, but if you're on Linux, you can just get it from the Github. Check it out, and as always, if you have any bugs or feature requests, feel free to email me at, or drop the devs a line at the Plover Google Group.

Speaking of devs, if you want to play around with an alternate fork of Plover which includes support for a graphical dictionary editor, Try Garipeti's version. You'll have to build from source, so this is intended more for advanced users, but it's pretty cool. Check it out! We'll hopefully be folding some of the changes back into the canonical branch of Plover in future versions.

Exciting things are happening this summer, and I'm hoping to have an even bigger surprise for you guys in the next couple of months, but for now enjoy the new release. And if you know any other steno people, feel free to send them our way! Now that Plover supports rtf dictionaries and a variety of professional writers (Stentura, Lightspeed, Infinity series, all Gemini machines, all legacy machines running TX protocol -- basically most of what's out there, minus the Diamante, which we're still working on) I feel like it's become a proper ambassador between the computery steno newbie crowd and the pro steno community. Even though they have their proprietary software for their daily work, Plover is still a better interface between their steno machines and their computers' operating systems and can prove to be a very useful backup system if their software's DRM ever goes haywire, plus they can pass it along to anyone they know who might like to study steno if not for the prohibitive startup costs. Free, flexible steno for all!

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