Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Blue Asterisks!

Over on Kickstarter, the beautiful Asterisk keyboards are almost ready to ship, and surprise! They're not white -- they're blue! Which I'm really happy about, personally. I like blue way more than white! Can't wait to get mine and try it out!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Talking about Open Steno to Court Reporters

I'll be addressing a group of professional court reporters tomorrow, telling them about my career as a professional captioner and also about The Open Steno Project. I've found in the past that court reporters are often unimpressed when I try to explain about Open Steno. They don't see the point, or think the project is doomed to failure, or... Something! I've never quite been able to figure it out. I find the idea of making steno open source and unlocking it to a vast pool of amateurs and hobbyists thrilling and empowering, but in the past I've gotten the sense that those who don't find it futile find it threatening somehow. Anyone have any ideas on how I can break through their indifference or suspicion and make my case? Any suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

PyCon Jarne Demo Video

My friend and colleague Miss Steno just uploaded a fun video of the two of us playing with the Jarne on the roof deck of the convention center at PyCon last month!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Open Steno FAQ is Really Good!

Maybe this is old news to y'all, but have you read the FAQ over at the Plover Wiki lately? Turns out it's really thorough and well written and full of useful links! You should totally check it out if you haven't already!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Plover at PyCon 2024

me with a giant steno bag against a brick wall
me with Vanessa AKA Miss Steno

Last weekend I got to caption PyCon US 2024 in Pittsburgh alongside my fellow captioners working with White Coat Captioning, including the illustrious Vanessa, AKA Miss Steno, one of the very few professional captioners on the planet who owns nearly as many DIY/Hobbyist steno boards as I do! We got to nerd out about captioning and open steno, I got to show her my TinyMod, TinyMod Split, and Jarne, and we even recorded a What's In My Steno Bag video together! Stay tuned for that! I hadn't gotten the chance to caption PyCon since 2019, so it was all such a treat. I got to show off my big screen captioning using Plover writing into Vim and got some lovely comments from attendees, and I got to hang out with colleagues, which is a relatively infrequent occurrence in the life of an independent contractor like me. I had a blast.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Open Steno at the New York Tech Alliance

I had the pleasure of speaking about the Open Steno Project at the New York Tech Alliance Meetup this week! I might post video when it becomes available, but in the mean time, here are a few photos of the event. I had both my Jarne and my Infinity Ergonomic connected to my laptop, with the cursor in the Streamtext Connector window, which was outputting to Streamcast on the big screen in the room and also to Zoom for the one remote tech demo of the evening. I was able to caption myself with the Jarne while speaking at the podium, and then I used my Infinity Ergonomic to caption the other speakers. It all worked pretty seamlessly, and I had a great time! Thanks to Doug and Xian of the New York Tech Alliance for the invitation!

Me speaking at a podium
Me typing on a Jarne
Photo of my Infinity Ergonomic
Slide with stats about steno
Doug from NYTA introducing Open Steno with live captioning and a bunch of steno machines on the slide

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Typey Type Updates

The marvelous Di writes:
New on Typey Type!

There's a new "Qwerty steno" mode for beginners to learn the steno layout in the KAOES game before they have a stenoboard or steno engine. Thanks to trustyset for feedback on this idea.

A new exponent numbers dictionary.

Lesson: The Chaos

New Voice settings to speak words with sound

Completed lessons with accuracy less than 90% now nudge you to repeat the lesson. Thanks to Paul Fioravanti and Kaoffie for suggesting ideas along these lines.

Updated Announcer for screen readers and bug fixes

New focus styles so you know where you are when using a keyboard

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jarne Review for Walkaround Captioning

Mirabai doing walkaround captioning in an art gallery with an old fashioned Infinity Ergonomic steno machine on a Connect-a-Desk captioning to a Windows tablet. Two people are looking at the tablet to read the captions
Mirabai with a Jarne on a Connect-a-Desk
Close-up of Mirabai's Jarne resting on the Connect-a-Desk
Many years ago, I demonstrated walkaround captioning in an art museum, with my Infinity Ergonomic resting on a Connect-a-Desk (a shoulder-mounted harness usually intended for laptops) captioning via Bluetooth to a Windows tablet running Eclipse, the proprietary steno software I was using at the time. It was rather heavy and awkward, and I didn't make a habit of offering walkaround captioning as a service after that, because it all felt rather impractical.

Today, though, I was transcribing for a client who was taking a walking tour of a facility and who didn't want to read captions in real time, but who wanted a transcript of the event after the fact. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out my new Jarne in the field. I dug out my old Connect-a-Desk, taped my Jarne and my phone to it, and spent the next two hours typing over 200,000 strokes at speeds up to 270 WPM (according to the Jarne's handy speedometer). For much of it I was seated, but for a significant amount of the time I was walking around, and I have to say the difference between this experience and my earlier attempts at walkaround steno was striking. The Jarne is vastly lighter, with a much lower profile. I was able to write to my phone via Bluetooth smoothly and ergonomically, since the keys are extremely light and shallow. Unlike the previous attempt, my shoulders weren't screaming at the end of the two-hour session, which seemed like a miracle. I'm very impressed and encouraged by this experience. It feels like a new mode of captioning has opened up to me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wireless Jarne Prototype!

photo of a Jarne connected via Bluetooth

I'm a bit behind on device reviews -- I still owe Charley a review of the marvelous TinyMod Split he sent me a while back! But yesterday I got a prototype of a new wireless Jarne from Jeffrey Lim, the multitalented inventor of Javelin. This thing really packs a wallop! It's got embedded steno, tenting, Bluetooth, a steno/qwerty toggle switch, pretty multicolored lights, an embedded WPM gauge, onboard dictionary entry, a camera tripod mount, custom key mapping, you name it! I'm using it to write this blog post, and while the extra row of keys takes a little getting used to (I keep accidentally tapping the keys on the bottom row, which don't map to anything in steno mode), the touch is delightfully light and shallow, just the way I like it, and the firmware flashing process was pretty smooth, even for an inexperienced user such as myself. This lovely little device will definitely be going in my steno bag! Jeffrey asked me to emphasize that this model is still just a prototype, but I have to say that so far I'm very impressed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Another Controller Steno Diagram

Back in September of 2022, I posted an infographic on how one member of the Plover Discord wrote in steno using an Xbox controller. I asked the Discord today what I should blog about, and someone suggested that I post this new diagram of controller steno, with the assertion that at least six people have now tried to learn it! I have to admit the idea still breaks my brain a little, just as it did two years ago, but clearly the idea has something to it!
diagram of steno layout on an xbox controller, mapping each steno key to a button

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Hobbyist 's Guide to Stenography

A wonderful intro to steno by the ever-magnificent Aerick!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Open Steno in the New York Times!

The Long Case for Machine Shorthand appeared in The New York Times this week, and on the whole I have to say I was really happy with it! It mentioned steno as a fandom, talked about our 7,000 Discord members, and gave just a tiny hint of how fun steno can be. The author of the article interviewed two other stenographers as well, so there wasn't space for everything I put into our hourlong conversation (like the fact that if you add all the releases together, Plover has been downloaded 127,417 times!!), but I think it got a lot of the most relevant details. I hope it intrigues some readers into checking us out and joining our delightful little community!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Even More Javelin Updates!

Tharelia writes:

In the last week, Javelin has gained a number of features: Lookup, Paper Tape and Add Translation tools have had improvements to be more aware of what dictionaries and definitions are used and Paper Tape tool has a number of options that control the display. emily-symbols can also be reverse looked up now too. Grab a firmware dated March 17 or later for all of these!

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Stenoknight's Steno Stash

an array of 13 steno machines arranged on a purple quilt

Preparatory to my presentation at the kid's class on Friday, I decided to try to dig up all the steno machines I had in my possession. I know this picture is missing at least three, because I don't want to risk waking the kid up extracting their Javelined Uni from the bedroom, and my trusty wooden-backed StenoMod bag is AWOL, which is unsettling, since it tends to be my go-to backup machine. I also couldn't find the pieces of my late lamented Georgi. There might be still others tucked away in the messy recesses of my home office. But I'm pretty happy with this array nonetheless! Not sure I'll take all of them to the classroom, but it was fun going back down memory lane while excavating these beauties. How far machine steno has come in a little over 100 years! I can't wait to see what the future brings.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Steno Presentation to Second Graders

My kid's second grade class is reading the excellent graphic memoir El Deafo, about the experiences of a kid who lost much of her hearing at age 4 (i.e., postlingually) from meningitis. Since people of that general description make up a large part of my captioning clientele, I'm going to talk to the kids about hearing loss, realtime captioning, the ADA, and accessibility work in general, but I'd also like to give them a rundown of steno and how it works. I'll be bringing in my professional machine and a number of hobbyist machines for them to play with, I'll give a live demo, and I'll also probably print out some steno keyboard diagrams for each of them to take home. Can anyone think of anything else that might be fun to do with a bunch of 7 and 8-year-olds during an hourlong presentation? Suggestions extremely welcome!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Talking to a Georgi with C [Steno Coding]


Paul says:
This is my attempt at creating a basic HID host program using C to talk to a Georgi stenographic keyboard.The coding parts were done with Plover stenography and UltiSnips vim snippets.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Aerick's Video on Lapwing Theory



I don't know Lapwing theory, and at this point (almost 20 years into steno with Plover theory, a semi-homebrewed but ultimately very standard, middle-of-the-road steno theory) I think it's unlikely that I'll be learning it myself, but I think Aerick makes some compelling points in its favor in this video, and I'd say if you're interested in new and potentially improved theories, it might be worth a watch!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Steno in the Spotlight

I confess I haven't yet gotten a chance to watch it, but this video has been blowing up the steno community online for the past day and change, so I thought it would make sense to post it here. Apparently it doesn't mention Open Steno per se, but the comments have already led a bunch of viewers to our Discord, so that's something!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Javelin Provides Prefix Suggestions!

Wow, it's been a while since I've built Javelin firmware on one of my machines, but I really should. It's been improving steadily! From Tharelia on the Discord:

Javelin has gained the ability to provide prefix suggestions -- if you use a delete space command after a word, Javelin will show any suggestions for a prefix if it exists. Build a new full firmware to get this update. Screenshot of it in action:

image showing a screenshot of Javelin with prefix suggestions

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Fix for Missing Plugin Manager Bug

As explained in this GitHub issue, if you're having trouble accessing the Plover plugin manager, a quick uninstall/reinstall should fix the problem.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Beautiful Machines

A quick one tonight, since I just got back from taking my kid to a Broadway show for the first time and it's pretty late, but check out this lovely tableau of hobbyist machines posted by Plover Discord member TKAOEUS (aka Dice) in the Hardware Showcase channel. What a fantastic collection! Can anyone name them all?
various hobbyist steno machines arranged in a tableau

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Kickstarter for the $50 Asterisk Keyboard!


The Kickstarter for the new $50 Asterisk Steno Keyboard was funded in one day (and I'm pretty sure I was the first backer!), but there's still almost a month to pledge and get one of your own. It looks fantastic!!