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