Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Steno Progress Graph

Now, this is a pretty sight, posted on r/Plover: graph showing upward progress of WPM over time for six Plover users
MagneticDuck writes:
How fast do self-learners learn to use Plover? TypeRacer might be a good source of data to answer this question.

Via automatic scanning of TypeRacer activity, I found 23 Plover users who had recently used the site. Of the 23, many had just a few races completed, didn't evidence progress or regular usage, or had not logged races before they were proficient. Only six fit the profile of users who had used the site frequently over a period of 25 weeks, starting at a point when they were still getting average speeds of less than 60 WPM.

The graph above shows the median speeds of these six users over their first 25 weeks on TypeRacer in week-by-week windows. Weeks during which a user completed less than 10 races are not graphed.

Of these six users, only four have been on TypeRacer long enough to represent data points for long-term improvement. The following graph shows the median speeds of these four over 2-week windows for longer time periods, up to 125 weeks (a little over 2 years). Highlighted areas designate interquartile intervals.
graph of users up to 125 weeks
While limited, I hope this data helps to paint a better picture of how quickly new learners can expect to get "up to speed." I think the conclusions are favorable; maybe someone will be emboldened to give Plover a try. If you want to conduct your own analysis, you may download the data I collected in the form of an SQLite database from https://mat.uc.pt/~mat1617/steno.db .

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Meanwhile, in Wearable Land

Not directly steno-related, but I was tipped off by @brewsternorth that BillieRubenMake has been prototyping cloth-mounted membrane keyboards. I know membrane keyboards are anathema to the mechanical crowd that intersects most closely with Plover hardware people, but it seems to me like this sort of design has a lot of promise. I'd certainly like to see where it goes!

cloth-mounted membrane keyboard

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mini Georgi Preview!

Mini-Georgi with partial keycap coverage

Germ is innovating faster than I can keep up! Kailh, the keyswitch manufacturer, is prototyping some new tiny narrow low profile switches, and Germ got to try a batch. They're not yet commercially available, and the date on when they'll come to market (if at all) is unknown, but look at this sleek little customer! Members of the Plover Discord are already clamoring for an even tighter layout with an even smaller footprint than the original Georgi, which on the one hand might be a case of diminishing returns, but which on the other hand might be a great solution for wearable steno, especially for someone with small hands like mine. I'm definitely intrigued and will follow this development as it unfolds! Mainly it's just so cool to see steno hardware flourishing in so many different directions at once, so different from when this project started over a decade ago and the Sidewinder X4 was the only sub-$1,000 steno game in town.