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!