Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Steno Game: Sentence Sprint!

My Plover table at the New York State Court Reporters Association Mini-Convention

So the amazing Mike Neale of QwertySteno has done it again. Joining the Tetris-like fury of Cargo Crisis is a new steno game, Sentence Sprint. Set your speed, turn on Plover, and write the sentences as quickly as you can. If you don't get them all down before time runs out, you'll enter Word Mode, which will give you a chance to practice the words in the sentence slowly to help identify your slowest words. Upon completing Word Mode, you will have three more attempts at the same sentence at full speed.

I know a lot of people have been clamoring for more full-sentence practice, so I think this will be a very welcome addition to the stock of drills and practice material on hand for Plover users. If that's not enough for you, QwertySteno's new MyPractice feature lets you upload customized material for a less competitive but more directed training option. In other news, PloverDojo has tweaked its color settings to offer more visual contrast, after an accessibility survey by the fantastic Svetlana Kouznetsova, a longtime friend and ally to The Plover Project. And the work on Learn Plover! continues apace, with several chapters added and tweaked since the last time I posted about it here. The home stretch is in sight, and once we're finished, we'll investigate print-on-demand options for people who want a hard copy version of the book, though naturally the online version will remain free and open to everyone who wants to access it.

What else? Well, as you can see from the picture at the beginning of this post, I attended a mini-conference put on by the New York State Court Reporters Association (held at my old steno school!). I gave out lots of Plover and Stenosaurus brochures, demonstrated Plover with both my steno machine and the Sidewinder, and encouraged all the court reporters there to show Plover to any friends, relatives, or acquaintances of theirs who might enjoy a low-cost, no-risk introduction to steno. It was a really good time, and I enjoyed blowing their minds when they asked me how much Plover cost. "Free," I'd say. "Wait... Free?!" they'd say, blinking rapidly. "Yep. Free," I'd say, and grin my smug little Open Source grin. It was awesome.