Friday, March 15, 2019

Japanese Layout Plover Lessons on Typey Type!

From the ever-amazing Di of Typey Type for Stenographers:
Japanese steno layout
For the Japanese speaking stenographers out there, there’s a Japanese steno layout available on Typey Type using Dawson Harvey's Japanese steno theory. You can try out the Japanese steno theory using a custom lesson on Typey Type like one from the community’s lessons.


Seriously cool stuff! Apparently Dawson is still tweaking the theory, so tune in to the Discord for latest developments, but if you're interested in a homebrew Japanese steno theory, this should be enough to get you started!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Plover on the Sensel Morph

The Sensel Morph with a theraband steno overlay



Check out this beautiful video from ElephantEars on the Plover Discord of the Sensel Morph writing sentences from StenoJig with a custom theraband overlay, a homegrown app, and Plover's MIDI protocol. Truly magnificent stuff! ElephantEars has promised to write a guest post for this blog with all the fascinating details, but I couldn't resist sharing the video as a teaser for what's to come. The Sensel Morph is about $300, so it's not the cheapest amateur steno hardware option out there, but it sure is an elegant piece of gear.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Guest Post from Di: Typey Type Recommendations!

Typey Type Recommendations

I'm so excited to share Typey Type's new recommendations! This aims to help steno students focus their efforts: you'll know exactly which lesson to do next and how much time to spend on learning new words versus practicing previous words.

Screenshot of Typey Type's recommended practice lesson “The Wolf and the Kid”. “Practice  a longer lesson and mimic real usage as closely as possible. Write as fast as you can without causing misstrokes. Explore classic stories that use simple sentences and common words.”

Study session recommendations

Some people ask questions about how much to revise a lesson before moving onto the next and which stories to do after which lessons. These recommendations were made to help answer those questions and guide people through.

The recommendations include suggestions for stories to practice, memorised words to drill, words to revise, new lessons to discover, and games to try. After each study session, it's recommended that you take a break before continuing on, with a little bit of randomness injected to keep you interested.

The course

The course steps you quickly through the fundamental lessons so you can practice a few words of each as you learn the theory. It then concentrates on top words and briefs to give you more bang for buck. As your vocabulary grows, you'll start to see more suggestions for stories and sentences to practice your skills.

Practice

Practice a longer lesson and mimic real usage as closely as possible. Write as fast as you can without causing misstrokes. Explore classic stories that use simple sentences and common words.

Typey Type suggests stories and lessons containing real sentences to practice, as well as tailored practice for you using all the words you've seen so far.

Drill

Regularly drill common words to build up your muscle memory and test your skills. Write as fast and furiously as you can, aiming for a high speed score. Pick specific drills that focus on a certain kind of brief or many similar words so you can associate them together.

Typey Type suggests top words and "Your memorised words" for you to drill.

Revise

Revise 50 briefs a day from a lesson with loads of words you want to memorise, like the top 10000 English words. Try to recall the briefs before revealing their strokes. Avoid fingerspelling or writing out the long forms of words, so you can memorise the best brief for every word.

Typey Type suggests top words and "Your revision words" for you to revise.

Discover

Discover 5–15 new briefs a day from various lessons, revealing their strokes as you learn to write them. Write them slowly, concentrating on accuracy and forming good habits around how you stroke word parts.

Typey Type suggests the first 15 words or so of each fundamental lesson to follow along as you learn the theory. It then suggests the top 100 most frequent words to help get you operational with stenography as quickly as possible. After that it makes smart recommendations based on what you've learned.

Play a game

You’ve been so diligent! You might take a break from drilling and try a game.

So far, Typey Type recommends two possible games to build your speed: TypeRacer to increase your speed while racing against others, and Cargo Crisis to increase your speed while breaking cargo.

Take a break

Well done! You’ve typed a lot of words today. You might rest your hands and your mind for now. Save your progress and take 5 minutes or come back in 4+ hours.

It's important to take breaks while practicing stenography. If you don't break, after a while your performance starts dropping anyway and you might reinforce bad habits. Mentally, taking a break helps the new stuff settle in. Meanwhile, taking a break can also help for ergonomic reasons, avoiding injury.

Try it out and share your thoughts

Review your progress and take a recommendation. If you want to help make Typey Type better, you can fill out this survey about Typey Type recommendations.

And remember to take a break!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Georgis Are Almost Here

I'm so excited about the Georgi, a fully assembled split steno/qwerty keyboard that will sell for $75 with ultra-ultralight springs. I posted about it a while back, but the boards are actually here and working, which is tremendously exciting:

georgi keyboard
georgi keyboard

Check out those beautiful birds!

Germ at gboards.ca is just waiting for the 6-gram springs to arrive, plus he's gonna do some custom firmware tweaks to make the boards accessible to people who aren't comfortable with using QMK out of the box. But soon after those things happen, I'll have mine, and I can't freaking WAIT to try it out.
I'll probably use it for steno only, but for people who like it both ways, Germ says:

Georgi does hotswapping between normal operation and steno. Or pure of either if you configure it. In QWERTY mode any unrecognized chords are whacked out as steno to the host so you can hook plover for weird sh*t and augment your workflow. There’s just a toggle key for that and a momentary symbol key in an additional left hand column. It’s rad.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Small StenoFest Plug

If you're interested in various steno topics from a primarily professional perspective, you might find it worthwhile to pay $65 for rewatch-on-demand sessions from StenoFest, the virtual steno conference Ted and I participated in last weekend. Ted and I will be releasing our talks for free after the view-on-demand period is over, so if all you're interested in is open source steno (him) or the future of stenocaptioning in the face of automated speech recognition (me), cool your britches; they'll be up on YouTube soon. If you're interested in Dom Tursi's talk on the Evolution of Machine Shorthand, Jade King's talk on International Reporting, Tori Pittman's talk on Intersteno, or any of the other 15-odd hours of content, feel free to give it a go. The talks will be available on demand until February 17th and then lord knows what will happen to most of them (from what I understand, most speakers are not intending to release their video for free), so get while the getting's good.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Michela English Theory

diagram of Michela MIDI keyboard If you've ever wanted to do realtime on a MIDI keyboard, check out Sillabix's documentation of his newly devised Michela theory for English! I think I'm already too deep into traditional steno to be able to commit to learning something like this, but at a glance it certainly seems to have merit! He's also accepting feedback via the Plover Discord, so feel free to drop him a line if you've got any questions, comments, or suggestions. Very cool stuff.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Exploring Custom Steno Machines



A fantastic followup to last week's article about professional steno machines, Thomas's article on Custom/DIY/Hobbyist steno machines was just released yesterday on his blog, including a write-up on the fantastic new Georgi a fully assembled split-layout machine with 20g ultralight springs, now available for preorder at a stunning $75! I can't wait to receive mine, and will definitely give it a full report on this blog after putting it through its paces. It's been so amazing to watch the low-cost custom steno hardware field exploding in the past few years, and I'm so grateful to Thomas for putting together such a concise and beautifully written profile on everything that's currently available. Thanks, Thomas!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Exploring Professional Steno Machines

I wanted to point you to an article by new Plover user Thomas, where he explores various steno machines intended for professionals. It's the first in a series, and next he intends to do a survey of the amateur hardware sector, mostly made by members of the open steno community. Great stuff from a novel perspective, and I'm looking forward to reading more!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Some Cool Little Dictionaries

There's been a ton of stuff happening on the Plover Discord lately, involving MIDI-based English shorthand theories, ultralight key switches, wearable Ergodox harnesses -- almost too much to keep up with sometimes! But today I just wanted to highlight a few cool dictionaries, posted by their creators in the course of conversation over the past few days.

First up, Elzed's punctuation chart, a devilishly clever way to construct many common types of punctuation in a systematic way.

Then Jeremy's machine generated phrase dictionary, which is as exhaustive as it is impressive.

And finally, SyntaxBlitz's short but sweet dictionary of definitions with symmetrical strokes, extracted from the Plover default dictionary. Might be fun to use for finger drills sometime!

That's it for now. Stay tuned for an extremely exciting blog post coming soon from lead dev Ted!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Call for Contributors

Many of us are on the quite stable and feature-rich but officially pre-release Version 4 of Plover. In order to turn it into an official release, though, we need to resolve some issues (labeled with '4.0.0' on our Github repo), and our current devs are a bit overstretched at the moment. If you have some Python experience (it doesn't have to be a ton!) and feel like wading in to tackle one or two of those issues, they'd be extremely obliged! Being able to ship Version 4 as an official release would be amazing.