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.

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