Saturday, April 30, 2016

Plover 3.0 Released!

From our amazing lead developer Ted Morin:
Plover has its first stable release in over 2 years today.

So much work and love went into this, and we're looking forward to much more frequent releases in the future. Read on below for changes, fun facts, install instructions, and download links.

The community has been testing Ted and Benoit's weeklies for months now with excellent results, and the current state of Plover is finally stable and feature-rich enough to be deemed officially release-worthy!!

To start with, we've gotten a badly needed refresh of the Plover homepage.

The new release is pretty close to the latest weekly, but if you've been stuck on Plover 2.5.8 and waiting for an official release to switch over, you've got a wondrous store of features waiting for you, such as:

  • Suggestions Window
  • Lookup Window
  • Dictionary Editor
  • Finer Grained Translation Control
  • Title/Lower/Camel/Snake Output Modes
  • Media Key Support

Dictionary improvements, bugfixes, a new icon, and much, much more. I've been using the weeklies for ages now, and I can hardly remember what life was like before all these new features. Plover is SO MUCH BETTER now.

The previous release, Plover v2.5.8:
  • Was released over 840 days ago.
  • Was downloaded over 23,000 times.

This release, Plover v3.0:
  • Adds 578 commits.
  • Has received help from over 20 contributors.

Infinite thanks go to:
  • @morinted, for tirelessly spearheading this entire project
  • Our developer emeritus, @balshetzer
  • @mighele for the dictionary editor, retrospective strokes, spaces-after output
  • @balthamos for the suggestions window
  • @rbrewer123 for fixes
  • @jeremy-w for translation transparency, documentation,, PR and issue templates
  • @avalai for the new Plover icon and help with the homepage layout
  • @Benoit-Pierre for doing so much work to make Plover better at its core, countless bug fixes, internal refactoring, new features, and great code reviews, literally hundreds of commits!
  • ...and all the other developers and users who submitted PRs and took part in issue discussion.

Go get Plover 3.0 now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

60% Funded! Plus Plover on a Planck

Okay, it took a lot less time to get from 0% to 50% than it did to get from 50% to 60%, but that's the nature of the crowdfunding beast. The important thing is that we're still edging upward. The For All To Play team is working hard on getting out an update of Steno Arcade featuring three slower songs that will be easier for qwerty typists and steno beginners. Speaking of which, I can't condone any of the language in this 20-video playlist of people playing Steno Arcade on YouTube; much of it is NSFW, in languages ranging from Thai to Italian to Russian, and it's all uncaptioned, so watch at your own risk. But I have to admit it's pretty hilarious to watch people ragequitting over the difficulty of our game, especially since they all seemed to be having a pretty good time with it. Why don't you all just learn steno already? (';

The other exciting thing I've been up to lately is playing with the gorgeous new Planck keyboard that Scott Urueta of SOFT/HRUF fame built and graciously sent to me.

This thing is by far the best steno input device I've ever tried, apart from my Infinity Ergonomic. Smooth, lightweight, extremely compact and portable, with lovely flat keytoppers and a very low actuation force. I absolutely adore it. Some people on Reddit asked if I'd make a video writing steno on 10FastFingers, so I gave it a shot:

That video turned into a 90-comment discussion on r/mechanicalkeyboards about the virtues of steno, and that led to the creator of the Planck adding Plover as a layout in the default Planck firmware, which is really exciting! I had to go through a whole process of downloading a custom firmware remapper to get Plover working on my Planck, but the new batch of Plancks will ship out with Plover already baked in. I seriously cannot emphasize enough how great a machine this is for the amateur or hobbyist Plover user. There are only two major downsides:

1) The Planck is sold unassembled, requiring some soldering skills and a fair amount of time and patience to put together, which is pretty intimidating for most users.

2) The manufacturer doesn't keep a steady inventory of Planck kits; he waits for orders to accumulate on Massdrop and then sends them out in batches.

The good news is that Scott is considering selling assembled Plancks alongside his SOFT/HRUFs. Even with a markup for his labor, they'd still be pretty affordable, and if he was able to keep a fair number in stock at a time, people wouldn't have to wait on Massdrop releases to get theirs. Fingers crossed it works out! I think this could be a huge help in filling the gap between the $40 Zalman solution and the >$500 lever-based proprietary machine option.

Next time I post, we'll hopefully have a new release of Steno Arcade up and running, and with any luck we'll have edged closer to our goal. I'm still really hoping we'll hit that $10,500 stretch goal so that anyone who wants to make a Steno Hero level with a song from their own music library will be able to do it. Fingers crossed! Even if you don't have the means to contribute financially, signal boosting the campaign in our last few weeks would be massively appreciated. Many thanks for all your help so far!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

50% Funded!

Check out the update on We've got a ways to go, especially if we want to make the stretch goal that will allow us to include an in-game song editor, but we're off to a great start!