Back in May, I was contacted by Zack Brown, a professional technical writer and open source aficionado, with a life-changing offer. He'd had some RSI issues and was frustrated with the inefficiency of qwerty; Plover, he thought, might be just the thing to make his day job easier. He proposed that I tutor him in steno, and in return, he'd turn our tutoring sessions into documentation that other newbies could use to learn with on their own.
Five months of fantastic dinners from a variety of West Village restaurants, late night sessions full of fevered debate, and a great deal of collaborative pedagogical floundering later, the first volume of Learn Plover! is available online. It's written in Zack's trademark lucid, friendly style, and is a whole lot more accessible to beginners than the Steno 101 lessons it supersedes. It presents a step-by-step method of learning the keyboard, with lots of practice material to help build the all-important muscle memory that lies at the root of steno. Part 2, which is coming soon (we mapped out the scope of it last night over fish and chips), will go into higher level steno concepts such as brief building and avoiding word boundary errors, but Part 1 offers a complete overview of the stenographic system, and anyone who studies it thoroughly should be able to write virtually any word in the language. Eventually we're hoping to release Learn Plover! as a book, in both online and print-on-demand formats. For now, enjoy the lessons, and feel free to send feedback about it either to him (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to me (email@example.com).
I can't express the extent of my gratitude for the staggering amount of thought and work Zack has put into this project. It's one of the best things anyone has ever done for me. Thanks, Zack. You're the best.