Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Recent News Roundup

Just a hodgepodge of new stuff in the world of open source steno:

* I built my Stenoboard 1.1 a few nights ago, and I'm really happy with it! It writes smooth as butter, and it turns out it's slim enough to fit in the laptop sleeve of my backpack underneath my laptop, which means I now carry two steno machines with me at all times. Great for peace of mind. Emanuele has also just released a brief user manual, which explains how to switch it into different protocols, in case you want to use it with non-Plover steno software.

* Since I had my Stenoboard with me during my break yesterday, I also got to try out Brent's new Android app for steno training: Speed Drill. It's really fun. Great if you only have a few minutes with your phone or tablet and want to get some training in.

* For Linux users who are frustrated with Plover's handling of keyboard events (particularly ruinous in applications like Vim), there's a new fork that solves the problem. This also allows you to assign one qwerty keyboard as a Plover device and keep your regular keyboard mapped to qwerty, which is another feature people have been clamoring for. Of course we're hoping to roll this change into the main branch at some point, but I thought I should offer it as an option for now.

* We now have a Wikipedia page, thanks to our recent publicity from Hacker News. It's just a stub so far, but it's a start. Feel free to flesh it out as you see fit!

* Here's an ingenious method of making your own steno-friendly qwerty keyboard without laser-cut keytoppers from ArchZombie1y. Use coins and superglue!

* If you're looking to make your own DIY keyboard and coins aren't your thing, new Plover ally Robert points out that these flat square keys from Signature Plastics look pretty ideal.

* Finally, longtime Plover user Mark is going to take the National Court Reporter Association's Certified CART Provider test this November -- using Plover! They require submission of steno notes, so this is what he plans to do:

"In Plover: Configure (opens Plover Configuration box), Logging, Browse (click on it), there is a file called plover with the current date and time (saves everything in that instance of Plover); right click and SAVE AS to the flash-drive memory stick being used (or CD); that's it. It gives more info than required by the testing folks at NCRA, but does give what they want.

I also save the actual text file transcript to the memory stick, so there are two files on the drive."

Good luck, Mark!

Coming soon on the Plover Blog: Results from the Plover Community Survey, a short essay on where I see amateur steno going over the next few years, and a video of me using my favorite one-stroke Plover Vim commands to make my daily captioning work a million times easier.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Longer Plover Coding Snippet in Python

New Video!

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but our delightfully inexplicable appearance on Hacker News this morning finally gave me the buttkick I needed to just sit down and do it. The previous Python coding snippet I recorded with Plover was only 25 seconds long, and I realized I needed something more substantial to show programmers how easily it can be done. For some reason, people often assume that writing punctuation and special characters in steno is harder than writing words or phrases. Obviously that's not the case (and I don't understand why people think it would be), but this seemed like the simplest way to demonstrate that.

From my video description:

This is me transcribing some of the code from Plover's codebase, using Plover and a steno machine. I didn't write this code, since I'm only a Python novice. It was originally written by Plover's awesome developers. But I transcribed it from a text file into Vim to demonstrate how easily and fluently code can be written with steno. It's not primarily about speed, but about chunking commands and words into single strokes, as opposed to breaking them down into individual letters and typing each letter out one by one as in qwerty. Also notice how simple error correction is; an incorrect word is deleted with a single stroke. For more information, visit: http://openstenoproject.org

There is no audio in this demonstration, so no captions are needed.
RUND for _
PL*US for +
KLN for :
TROETS for """
PRENZ for ()
PRE*NS for () and then move the cursor left so it's inside the parentheses
L*EN for len() and then move the cursor left
KWA*LS for =
SR-RS for move cursor to the end of the line
SR*RS for move cursor to the end of the line and press enter

Monday, October 20, 2014

Open Steno Project Community Survey 2.0

Last year we conducted a survey on the Plover community.

Since then, we've added hundreds of new people to the mailing list, shown that Plover is now mature enough to be used professionally, added several new hardware options such as the Stenoboard and the Ergodox, formed the Open Steno Project, and written a free online interactive textbook. It's been quite a year, to say the least! I'm very curious to see how our demographics have shifted as we've grown.

Take the Open Steno Project Community Survey 2.0 today, and please feel free to share it around to anyone who might be interested!