Saturday, May 30, 2020

Tips on Quieting Your Georgi

When I was using my Georgi full time in classrooms last fall, I would occasionally get dirty looks at the loud clicking sound it made. I was a little hesitant to try to make it quieter, because I had added silencer clips to one of my TinyMods a while before then and had inadvertently screwed up the key recognition, so I just stared right back at all the dirty lookers, but if you're feeling awkward, you might want to try Germ's o-ring solution:

“I swear by Tape Mod + GPL103 + O-rings. The O-Rings soften the bottom out, tape softens the upstroke. Tape Mod is loops of tape around the upper housing where the stem makes contact with on return. Gets rid of the loud 'thock' on the way up. GPL103 helps dampen any remaining sound. Just try and find some thin packing tape. You'll cut it into thin strips and loop in around the two points between the tabs. Cut off the excess once you're done. Just try and find some thin packing tape. You'll cut it into thin strips and loop in around the two points between the tabs. Cut off the excess once you're done Tbh any old light oil should work. If you have a sewing machine kicking around go raid it.

Feel free to comment if you have alternative suggestions or what you think if you choose to give this technique a try!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

New Open Hardware NKRO Laptop

Check out the MNT Reform, a new open hardware Linux laptop with n-key rollover currently being funded on Crowd Supply.

Instead of following the trend of making ever thinner and smaller devices and sacrificing the typing experience, we decided to put a mechanical keyboard into Reform. Our open-hardware keyboard uses Kailh Choc Brown switches with 3 mm travel and 50 g operating force with n-key rollover and fully customizable firmware

This is quite heavy for steno, but you might be able to swap out the 50g springs for lighter ones. I can't use it myself, since I need a Windows-only app called Streamtext Connect for a lot of my work (booo), but otherwise it seems like a pretty cool machine! Support the crowdfunding campaign now, and get yourself a nice new steno deck!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Kids and Steno

Someone recently posted this video on the Plover Discord. I'd seen it before, but I watched it again, because the subject's been on my mind lately. My own kid has really been getting into writing lately, both with markers and crayons and on my computer. Just about every day he asks me if he can "play Vim", and his favorite thing to do is to make little guys going \o/ and /o\, and also mashing random alt codes to see what special characters he can dredge up. But yesterday he asked me how to write "catlike tread" and "Rude Buster". (Two of his favorite songs these days, from The Pirates of Penzance and the Deltarune Soundtrack, respectively) He already knew how to spell "cat". I walked him through figuring out "like", told him that "tread" had an A in it for no discernible reason, and helped him sound out "Rude Buster", which he typed letter by letter as he matched the sounds to the word.

Then I asked him if he would like me to write them in steno, and he said yes! So I wrote the outlines, broke them up into pieces, and told him what each chord sounded like. He grasped the concept pretty quickly, which thrilled me to my toes. The moment was fleeting, and he soon moved on to banging out random special characters again, but I'm excited about moving forward with him, bit by bit. Lately he's seemed frustrated whenever he's gotten to play on my steno machine, preferring the simple transparency of the qwerty keyboard to the mysterious seemingly random output he gets from hitting steno keys, but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to bring him into the steno fold sooner rather than later.

Has anyone ever taught their kid how to read or write steno? I was thinking about breaking out one of my old manual machines from storage and using it to write secret messages to him on paper steno rolls, if I can locate any in these strange times. What do you think?

a vim window reading catlike tread and rudebuster in English and steno, plus some random special characters

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Satisfaction of a Practice Graph

Check out this beautiful post on r/Plover by user gmat800live. I remember when I was in steno school I plotted all my thrice weekly speed tests obsessively, which helped me tremendously to see my progress over the long haul and to keep from getting frustrated when I was stuck in a plateau. If you're worried that you're not progressing, graph your practice sessions! It can be fantastically motivating.