Monday, April 12, 2021

A Whirlwind of Plover Activity!

After a well-earned hiatus, our dauntless developers Ted and Benoit-Pierre have immersed themselves once more in the Plover codebase, resolving issues, fixing bugs, thwarting security vulnerabilities, and implementing a new continuous release schedule! As of this blog post, the most recent continuous release was delivered to the Plover Github only four hours ago, but you should click back through their recent updates to get a sense of the tremendous quantity of work they've been doing lately. It's incredible! More to come, I'm sure, but I'm so impressed and grateful to see the amount of care and attention they've been giving our beloved software. All accolades to Ted and Benoit-Pierre, and the many other contributors who have submitted bug reports and code contributions over the years!

Monday, April 5, 2021

EcoSteno Prototype Review!

black EcoSteno keyboard on a backdrop of Mario pajamas

The lovely people at Nolltronics just sent me a prototype of their new EcoSteno, and it's a gorgeous machine!! Full disclosure: I'm extremely biased in favor of tented machines, and like the TinyMod (though with a somewhat bigger footprint and wider spacing between the hands), the EcoSteno is built on a flat platform, but aside from that personal idiosyncracy, it's hard to find any flaw at all with this beauty. It connects via USB-C and can switch between steno, qwerty, symbol, and NKRO steno layouts, which makes me hopeful that I might be able to get it working on my kid's Chromebook (which I've had a little trouble booting into dev mode so that I can install Dotterel on it, but I'll keep working on it). If so, this might be an ideal first machine for him! The EcoSteno uses featherlight (20gf) Kailh gChocs, which are low travel and extremely comfortable. I'm extremely impressed with this little number so far. It's still a prototype, of course, and probably won't be released until it undergoes a few more iterations in firmware and/or hardware, but it sure is close to being perfect, as far as I can tell. I expect great things!
Ecosteno being held by a four-year-old in an ice cream shirt

Monday, March 29, 2021

Aerick's Complete Steno Learning Video Series

If you haven't yet checked out Aerick's Plover and Steno YouTube Playlist, you really should! It's a beautiful series of videos breaking down steno principles, with accurately edited English closed captions (woo!) and an engaging, polished production style. A fantastic introduction to the nuts and bolts of steno from a really talented new presence in the open steno community. Bravo, Aerick!!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Tool for Building Spanish Steno Dictionaries!

Eliseo writes:

Libero este repositorio que contiene un conjunto de scripts que ayudan a generar un diccionario para Plover, que se puede usar con el plugin plover-spanish-system-eo-variant. Una vez que lo refine, lo utilizaré para actualizar el diccionario principal del plugin, pero por el momento, lo libero para que quien quiera/necesite generar su propio diccionario especializado (por ejemplo uno con términos médicos), lo genere por cuenta propia. :D

Or, in English:

I worked on a series of tools/scripts that will eventually help me to generate the main dictionary for plover-spanish-system-eo-variant. The repository is Silabareo. There you can find a set of scripts and steps to create a dictionary that can be used within Plover with the Spanish System plugin. I hope this will be useful for those who have a large set of words that would like to add as a specialized dictionary (say, medical terms for example). If you like to know more, drop me a message here or Discord.

This is fantastic!! Thanks, Eliseo!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Nolltronics Has a Website!

protype of the EcoSteno
Nolltronics, makers of the EcoSteno -- currently in the final stages of pre-production -- now has a website where you can subscribe for updates and follow their progress as they roll out the EcoSteno to the world. The design is gorgeous and I'm so excited to try it out when it finally makes its way into my hands!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Woolf on Typey Type

Di tweets:

Practice typing Virginia Woolf's Monday or Tuesday in Typey Type's new lesson!

That's timely!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Qwertysteno is BACK!!

We heard back from Mike, creator of the wonderful Qwertysteno, and he's been able to put the site back online! We're paying the hosting fees out of Plover funds, so it should be up for a good long while. Hurray for the return of Qwertysteno and many thanks to Mike!

Monday, February 22, 2021

New Typey Type Lessons

There are two great new lessons up on Typey Type: Orthography Rules and Stenotypos! Great stuff.

I'm also waiting on a prototype of the Eco (one of the new small batch steno hardware options coming out soon) to test, and our devs have been working on getting a new release of Plover out, after a bit of a hiatus. We're looking for new devs to come join the project, so if you're interested, please come on the Discord and get together with the other volunteers! It's an exciting time in the world of open source steno.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Uni Trailer

Pre-orders for the Uni are live, and Peter made this slick trailer for it!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Follow up to last week's post on the Uni: The creator now has a website,! Currently he's selling pre-orders for the Uni's circuitboard and 3D printed flat steno keycaps, but I expect there'll be more there soon.

Here's a video of Peter demonstrating the caps on a staggered layout qwerty board:

So many exciting things happening in the small manufacturer steno keyboard space! I can't wait to see them all as they continue to roll out.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Uni, An Affordable Unibody Split Machine

render of the uni circuit board

Peter says on r/Plover:

Hello stenographers, I am currently in the process of making and prototyping a cheaper unibody split ortholinear keyboard for stenography.

I have the project up on Github for anyone curious. I plan on selling a fully assembled version for under a hundred dollars and just the pcb for even less. The pcbs will come with diodes presoldered so all you need are switches and a pro micro.

I'm still waiting for my protoypes to arrive in the mail along with the pro micro and switches.
I will be posting more updates.

I always love it when creators open source their hardware for the DIY set and also manufacture them for people who want an all-in-one option. Best of both worlds, in my opinion! This looks great, and I can't wait to see more.

Monday, January 25, 2021

New Option for TinyMod!

The amazing Charley, inventor and craftsman behind the StenoMod and TinyMod, has done it again. He's now offering a new quiet model TinyMod:

The new option is the quiet version of TinyMod4. The only difference is that it has Durock "silent" switches and the springs have been changed to 20cN. Though they're called "silent" switches I would say rather that they're very quiet. They have a solid feel to them and a pretty light touch. It took me a long time to like the feel of 20cN, but now I'm very happy with them. You might find that you press a lot of keys by accident for awhile because of the light touch. Because the switches and replacement springs cost more and it's extra work swapping springs, I'll be charging $200 plus shipping for the quiet model.

The original TinyMod is still available for $160 plus shipping, and Charley's confided in me that there are even more surprises in the works, so stay tuned! Charley is an absolute paragon of the small batch steno hardware world, and I recommend his machines unreservedly!

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Most Metal DIY Stenoboard Ever

a steno machine with a skull pattern printed on it and colorful underlighting

Sillyworld from the Plover Discord just posted pics of this incredible DIY steno board, with a custom printed circuit board and rad underlighting. I've recently been enjoying the Gideon the Ninth series, and let me just tell you, the steno pool AU fanfiction practically writes itself. I LOVE IT.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Better RTF Handling

If you've ever been frustrated by the less than perfect way that Plover handles RTF/CRE files (the court reporting dictionary format that's never quite been implemented as smoothly as Plover's native JSON format, but which is pretty useful if you're using Plover alongside commercial steno software), try this new plugin from sammdot: Plover-Better-RTF, a Plover plugin for better RTF dictionary handling that's powered by rtfcre.
rtfcre is a Python library for reading and writing steno dictionaries in the RTF/CRE (Rich Text Format with Court Reporting Extensions) format. The library provides an API similar to that of the json module for reading and writing dictionaries.

rtfcre also comes with a little command-line utility that you can use to convert your dictionaries between Plover's native JSON format and RTF.


Speed: The parsing logic is written in Rust using parser combinators, making it much faster than practically any pure-Python implementation.

Comments: Rather than just exposing translations, rtfcre also reads the comments embedded in each entry ({\*\cxcomment like this}).

Unicode: Full Unicode support -- while the dictionary files are not encoded in UTF-8, Unicode characters in translations are still fully supported. Translations can be in any language and they will seamlessly be converted to escapes when writing.

Plover support: Translations are converted automatically to Plover's native syntax (e.g. fingerspelling is represented with {&a} rather than {\cxfing a}) and converted back when writing.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Sneak Peak at EcoSteno

An official site is pending, but if you're interested in a new steno machine in the works that's focused on affordability, you might want to look through the EcoSteno's Github page. It's a cool and promising new project, and I can't wait to see more!