Thursday, December 5, 2019

Georgi Review!

All right, friends! Here it is!

A Georgi keyboard resting on a laptop tripod with a Polarpro Osmo Pocket case propping up each side

When I first got the new version of the Georgi with the reinforced connectors and lovely heavyweight case, I figured I'd try it out, put it through its paces, do some transcription on the couch, use it to chat with steno buddies on the Plover Discord, that sort of thing. Little did I know that my Infinity would break after 6 years of heavy use in the last 5 minutes of a multi-day job and I'd have to rely on my Alienware (since lost on a plane, sob), Georgi, and TinyMod to fill in the gap between August 1st, when I ordered my new Infinity, and November 29th, when it finally arrived. In that interval, I've used my Georgi to caption prominent public events, conferences, college classes, Twitch streams, webinars... You name it. And I have to say it's performed astonishingly well.

The Georgi is the first non-professional grade machine that never made me feel like I was sacrificing speed in order to get all the keys to register. The lightweight springs require almost no effort to activate, so I was able to caption 8-hour conferences without any fatigue. Unlike on the Infinity, there's no individual key configuration, where I can dial the sensitivity up or down depending on the strength or speed of each individual finger. With only a few exceptions, though, that didn't prove to be an issue. I occasionally had some problems getting words containing more than the typical number of keys to register at high speeds. Particular thorns in my side were REFRPB (research), which kept coming out as REFPB (resin) for some reason, and SKWRAURBGS (new paragraph), which kept leaving out different keys here and there. There was also a piece of the right hand vowel bank that had what felt like a detached keybed; if I lifted the key, whatever it was seated in lifted up as well, and unless I pressed down firmly to reseat it, those vowels didn't always register properly, sometimes leaving the E out of strokes and sometimes giving me phantom presses of the U key.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the clackiness is something that was always a bit of a problem for me, both in classrooms and at my coworking space. No one ever complained, exactly, but I did get a few dirty looks here and there, and it always made me feel self-conscious. At some point I want to try the lube/silencer combo that Germ recommended, but I have to admit it's been a huge relief to have a blessedly silent Infinity back. The ergonomics, on the other hand, wound up being far better than I'd feared. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, I tend to tent my Georgi by resting it on the Polarpro Osmo Pocket case I picked up in the digital camera section of an electronics store. The Georgi fits inside this ingenious little clamshell, with both of its cables in the interior zip pocket, and when I need to use it, I take everything out, put the case on the platform of my InStand laptop tripod, rest the Georgi on either side of the case, then tape it down with gaffer tape. I can get away with four pieces, but generally tend to use six for added security. Sometimes it slips and slides on me a bit, which can be frustrating, but for high stakes gigs I just tape the hell out of it and it stays put.

It's a bit more work than I sometimes feel like doing, but it's worth it. Especially with the tripod tilted forward and the Georgi positioned below the level of my knees, the ergonomics have been pretty extraordinary. I got a small recurrent wrist twinge before I hit on just the right positioning, but after I finally figured out the magic formula I've been totally pain-free even after an entire day of captioning. That's not something to underestimate. I sometimes write more than 100,000 words in a day, and walking away from that without massive fatigue or cramping is a serious achievement.

So yeah, in short: The Georgi has saved my absolute bacon these past four months. I was able to continue working steadily without any drop in speed or captioning quality, without any sacrifice to my wrists, using this tiny ultraportable machine that fit in the palm of my hand and cost a twentieth of what I spent on the professional machine I'd used up to that point. I should say that both Georgis I own were gifts given to me by Germ in exchange for an honest review, but if he hadn't offered them to me for free I would have paid for them in an absolute heartbeat. And I don't get any kickbacks or anything; I'm just a massive fan. I think literally everyone who uses steno for any purpose should keep one of these in their bag. You never know when your fancy pro machine will suddenly kick the bucket, and having this thing on hand as backup could be career-saving. I love the Bluetooth and battery life and lever action and ergonomic armature and dead silence of the Infinity, but I don't love its bulk, weight, fragility, or price tag. As a professional, it makes sense for me to have an ultraconfigurable pro machine, and I don't regret spending the money on it, but I'm quite sure I'll still be using my Georgi plenty when I don't feel like lugging around all my equipment. The Georgi is a fantastic machine for learner, amateur, and professional alike, and I couldn't possibly recommend it more fervently. Buy one, buy one, buy one!!!

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