Monday, November 10, 2014

Stenosaurus Update and Survey Results!

Check out Josh's latest update on the Stenosaurus Blog! He's almost done with the PCB layout, the key switches are in production, and the countdown to getting a solid crowdfunding launch date is so close I can taste it!

More Plover news:

* There's a new n-key rollover keyboard that's selling on Amazon for less than $20.

* There are also rumors of a new gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard, though no solid word yet on whether or not it's nkro. If it is, though, I would be sorely tempted to shell out for one, even though I'm not much of a PC gamer. The idea of having an all-in-one laptop and steno machine sounds like absolute bliss to me.

* There's a new branch of Plover that includes support for snake_case, CamelCase, Title Case, and CAPS MODE. More details on the Google Group.

Also, here are the highlights from the Plover Community Survey results:

We got 64 responses in total, which is a nice increase from last year's count of 40.

What is your current steno level?

Absolute beginner - I'm very fresh. The very concept of steno is new to me, and I haven't tried it yet: 20%
Beginner - I know what steno is and have tried it: 41%
Intermediate - I'm fairly good, but steno isn't my best way to input text: 20%
Advanced - I prefer steno to qwerty for some tasks: 11%
Proficient - Steno is my primary mode of text input: 8%

What do you value in steno?

Speed: 84%
Fluency: 45%
Ergonomics: 59%
Wearability: 11%
Accessibility: 20%
Money: 20%
Cachet: 17%
Other: 14%

What do you use or plan on using steno for?

Nothing right now/just exploring: 22%
Writing prose/emails/journal/blog etc.: 66%
Conversation (IM, IRC, or text-to-speech): 44%
Writing software/code: 42%
Data entry: 14%
Offline (prerecorded) transcription/captioning: 27%
Realtime (live) transcription/captioning: 33%
Court reporting: 14%
Other: 8%

How long have you been learning or using steno?

0 - 2 months: 42%
2 - 6 months: 13%
6 months - 1 year: 11%
1 - 2 years: 14%
more than 2 years: 17%

Do you own a steno machine?

No - And I don't intend to get one: 5%
No - But I intend to get one: 20%
Yes - Sidewinder (n-key rollover keyboard): 23%
Yes - Ergodox (n-key rollover keyboard): 11%
Yes - Filco Majestouch (n-key rollover keyboard): 5%
Yes - Other n-key rollover keyboard: 25%
Yes - Stenoboard: 9%
Yes - Stentura Protocol machine: 17%
Yes - PR protocol machine: 3%
Yes - TX Protocol machine: 9%
Yes - Other commercial steno machine: 9%
Yes - Manual (non-electronic) steno machine: 6%
Other: 11%

Are you a professional stenographer OR intend on becoming one?

No: 69%
Yes - I am a professional stenographer: 6%
Yes - I intend to become a professional stenographer: 17%
Other: 8%

What steno learning tools have you used?

Learn Plover! (Online textbook): 67% 44%
Plover Dojo: 20%
Stenotutor: 16%
Steno Keyboard (on Android): 16%
Steno Learner: 3%
Steno Typer: 5%
Other: 13%

What operating system do you use for steno?

Windows: 50%
Mac: 27%
Unix/Linux: 39%
Android: 16%
Other: 0%

What have been your biggest frustrations in learning steno?

Steno theory is confusing: 14%
Too much memorization of briefs: 11%
Not enough practice material: 22%
Too tedious/repetitive: 13%
Plover dictionary is incomplete/inconsistent: 13%
Lack of free structured learning modules: 22%
Fingers won't do what I tell them: 14%
Building speed happens too slowly: 39%
Other: 34%

Selected comments:

"Not sure who/what is at fault but there seems to be missing the theory of steno so I can work things out for myself. Things don't seem to make sense and I just have to learn them. I don't learn well like that."

"I love Plover, you've done a great job. I'd love to see more examples of you beating records on TypeRacer. We should also focus on documenting Plover better, making it more accessible to new developers."

"Thank you for Plover! I work as a live voice captioner, using Dragon software, and the stenos at our company always get the fast, challenging jobs that I enjoy but that few other voice captioners can handle. Hoping to add a new string to my bow with this."

"Such a nice idea. Not sure if qwerty keyboard is really practical. Thumb and wrist position with my poker 2 keyboard is very awkward and the gaps between the keys definitely need fixing. Sustaining a home row position is equally difficult without staring at the keyboard. Nice for learning but I'm not sure it's ever going to be comfortable without a dedicated keyboard. Of course I could be entirely wrong. Will have to do a little key cap mangling and give it some time. It creates an entry point that didn't exist before but by the same token it may create a barrier with people quitting simply because the tool is awkward even though the system is logical. Thanks for the nice work."

"Would love Plover-centric typing games; I play Cargo Crisis occasionally but would like something a little less repetitive, especially if it let me 'level up' over time and ramped up speed and vocabulary range."

"Fantastic work. I'm brand new to this, but it looks incredibly exciting. I'm a software developer with a heavily customized keyboard layout. I had started developing my own chords, for common word prefixes and suffixes, but Plover is clearly infinitely better. Look forward to seeing the next developments of the Stenosaurus."

"It has been two years since I dropped out of court reporting school. I learned the theory pretty fast and was able to achieve 180 wpm within a year and a half. I started briefing everything like crazy as well as trying to implement aspects of Magnum Steno theory. This caused me to have a major burnout where I couldn't stand it any longer. I packed up my steno machine and haven't looked at it for two years. I am a stay at home mom and so I have kept busy with that since then. I hate to waste what talent I had with steno as I have been recently considering getting back into that world and dusting off the machine. The court reporting school I went to cost so much money that I do not want to get even more in debt than I am so I am looking for free options. I am also going to go back to my StenEd theory instead of trying to brief everything so I do not burn out again."

"It’s been about a year now since I first learned of Plover and stenography. I’m typing at 25 wpm after about 10 months of hobby dabbling. That’s slower than I expected to type after that long, but I’m still excited by steno and want to stick at it."

"I'd really like if there was some kind of game, with absolute beginner mode, that also presented the keys onscreen, and didn't force 100% accuracy."

Thanks to everyone for answering! It's given us some really useful things to think about.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mirabai! Awe I'm disappointed that I missed being part of the survey! But it was very interesting to read. I know that you don't remember me, but almost exactly a year ago, I wrote to you through Depoman, downloaded Plover and ordered keys from you for my Sidewinder.

"Life got in the way" as they say, and I put learning steno to the side, but now regretting I let that slide and am back on it.

Though I missed the survey, I thought I'd put my 2c in here just in case you might be interested :)

Current Steno Level: Beginner
Value: Speed
Plan on using for: Realtime
Time learning: 0-2/mths (active learning time...the year off doesnt count, right?!)
Steno Machine: Sidewinder
- Intend to become a professional
Learning Tools: Learn Plover! and Stenomaster
Operating Sys: Windows
Frustrations: None so far really, just plunking away here.

I really appreciate everything you've made available for someone, like me, who wants to learn a valuable life skill and the opportunity to enter into a new career field. As a single mom (about to send my kid off to college) I just don't have the funds for traditional or even online school, not to mention the cost of learning materials and equipment. Without a doubt, my being able to even attempt this would not be possible without you! I really do appreciate what you are doing here. Also want to say that Stan is a big inspiration as a self-learner.

Okay, so I'm going to try and keep more connected, join the Google Group as well and stay motivated to keep moving forward here!

starcrossedsky said...

So I got my hands on that keyboard and it's evidently not quite full nkey - when I hold down NM/EU, for example, I have to appeggiate any other vowels in. Keyboard won't recognize CV/AO while N/E is held along with M/U.

Otherwise I haven't had a problem with it yet, but I'm still a total beginner, so.

Mirabai Knight said...

That's disappointing. :(

I'm gonna make a retraction post. Clearly this keyboard is not Plover-compatible.

Anonymous said...

re: MSI GT80 laptop
MSI says it is N-key rollover on its site: