Friday, May 17, 2019

New SOFT/HRUF in the Works

I got my Georgi last week and have been really enjoying it, but I want to give myself a little more time to put it through its paces before posting a full review. Hot on the heels of the newcomer, though, was a tantalizing preview of Ecca's latest SOFT/HRUF posted on the Plover Discord:

image of new softhruf

* currently micro USB but final one will be type-c
* micro SD slot for plover files + dictionary
* fully wired or wireless
* smaller interconnect cable between the halves if you want to use wired, but it is also wireless between the halves
* uses standard 18650 cells in a carrier that lets you pop out batteries and replace them at any time without tools

The SOFT/HRUF has always taken the cake in terms of keyfeel due to its custom steno-shaped keytoppers, but it looks like it's also going to be the first in the steno hobbyist market to work as a self-contained machine without necessitating a laptop. The wireless features and battery are also unique among non-proprietary machines, and I'm really excited to see it in action. I'm so impressed by all three major manufacturers of sub-$500 steno machines, and I can't wait to see what the future will bring for all three of them.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Steno at the Venice Biennale

From our amazing Italian steno friend Sillabix, a report about a video art project featuring an Italian stenographer on a Michela keyboard, displayed at this year's Venice Biennale:

hands on a Michela keyboard

Angelica Mesiti's exhibition ASSEMBLY opens with the Michela machine, a 19th century stenographic machine, modeled on a piano keyboard, which is used in the Italian Senate for official parliamentary reporting to ensure transparency within the democratic process. The machine's inventor, Antonio Michela Zucco, was originally inspired by musical notation as a universal language. Mesiti uses this device to code "To Be Written in Another Tongue", a poem by David Malouf, which is then arranged into a musical score by composer Max Lyandvert, and played by an ensemble of musicians, whilst performers, representing the multitude of ancestries that make up cosmopolitan Australia, gather, disassemble, and re-unite.


I was unable to find anything about Plover in particular in the press materials for the event, but Sillabix said "The Venice Biennale Art exhibition started today: thank you Australia for promoting steno (& Plover)," so I'm wondering if the exhibition might have been partially Plover-powered? Extremely cool if so, but even if not, I love seeing what happens whenever steno and art combine.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Plover at PyCon 2019!

me demonstrating Plover at a table in a big conference room
Photo by Francesca Guiducci

Hey, remember when I gave a talk on Plover at PyCon Santa Clara back in 2013? Well, at long last I'm back at PyCon, this time in Cleveland, and not talking but captioning, along with four of my colleagues at White Coat Captioning, including fellow Plover user Stan Sakai! We've already met up with at least one Ploverite friend from the Discord, which was delightful, and we've been giving demos of the wonders of steno during breaks to anyone who wanders by our tables. If you're at PyCon too, please feel free to stop by! I love talking about our glorious little Python-powered steno app and showing off an array of steno hardware both proprietary (Infinity, Luminex, Alienware keyboard) and open (TinyMod and StenoMod; sadly my Georgi didn't arrive in time for me to bring it.) I'm having a blast, and I'd love to meet anyone else who might be interested in steno, whether they've already dipped a toe into the hobby or it's totally new to them. Open Steno's come a heck of a long way since 2013, and I'm so grateful to Python community and our amazing developers (Josh, Hesky, Ted, Benoit Pierre, and so many others) who've helped to make it what it is today.