Author Topic: 300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?  (Read 10102 times)

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Offline Popkeymon

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« on: Wed, 06 April 2011, 05:32:17 »


So, this is a real fast way of data input with proven track record. All speed demanding data input jobs employ the steno machine. It costs $5000 to have one dumb looking piano like machine. It takes weeks to learn the ABC. And once mastered, you could easily type as fast as you speak! Or it might be faster than your thinking!

So why it is not a standard keyboard? What makes qwerty layout a superior data input device?

Offline strum4h

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 06 April 2011, 05:41:08 »
Because it takes weeks to learn how to use one and they cost 5000$
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Offline Keymonger

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 06 April 2011, 06:45:17 »
And because people rarely need to type that fast.

Offline Proword

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 06 April 2011, 09:02:43 »
It actually takes YEARS to learn before you can do 300 wpm.

There are only 22 keys so you miss out on some letters.



Plus it is designed, as was pen shorthand, to capture sounds, not words.  Homophonic words, such as "read", "reed", "red", "read", "wood", "would",  etc would need to be "translated"  later to give the "correct" word, based upon its context.

This list gives over 400 homophonic pairs.

http://www.bifroest.demon.co.uk/misc/homophones-list.html

It's almost like having to learn another language.



Although the new computerised steno machine can translate the shorthand into English, you'd be much better off creating your own shorthand based upon a word processing package.

WordPerfect is far more able than any other package at doing this.

Joe
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 April 2011, 09:06:10 by Proword »
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Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:34:05 »
I have been looking at stenographic machines lately. You can actually get a new student model realtime one for $1200.

However, a stenographic machine is not just a keyboard. Modern ones are a keyboard with a build in computer, a dictionary of chords (words or sounds), and translation software. So you are not just paying for a keyboard.

It takes a couple of years to learn court reporting, but that is a whole lot more than just using the machine. That is a full business course with and emphasis on court reporting.

A stenographic machine uses cords for words, phonetics, and personal short cuts. Entering a "t" for instance is instantly translated to "the". That of course means that there are thousands of shortcuts to remember. With a standard keyboard all you have to do is learn where the key is for the letters you already know how to spell with. It is interesting to notice that using a stenographic machine is only about twice as fast as typing, 200+ would seem to be a more common speed. 300+ is about like typing 150 words per minute, not a lot of folks can do it. I am going to assume that someone who took two years of typing classes could type 100+ words per minute (secretaries used to have to do that transcribing from their shorthand notes to get hired).

My conclusion was that I am too old to bother. I used to be able to copy text at 35wpm on an IBM Selectric with 100% accuracy, doubt I could do that now, too used to rattling along and correcting it afterwords. But, I thought I would pass on some of the info I found in my research.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:36:25 by graywolf »

Offline itlnstln

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:35:04 »
Wow, a blast from the past.  How are things, graywolf?


Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:35:15 »
I have been looking at stenographic machines lately. You can actually get a new student model realtime one for $1200.

However, a stenographic machine is not just a keyboard. Modern ones are a keyboard with a build in computer, a dictionary of chords (words or sounds), and translation software. So you are not just paying for a keyboard.

It takes a couple of years to learn court reporting, but that is a whole lot more than just using the machine. That is a full business course with and emphasis on court reporting.

A stenographic machine uses cords for words, phonetics, and personal short cuts. Entering a "t" for instance is instantly translated to "the". That of course means that there are thousands of shortcuts to remember. With a standard keyboard all you have to do is learn where the key is for the letters you already know how to spell with. It is interesting to notice that using a stenographic machine is only about twice as fast as typing, 200+ would seem to be a more common speed. 300+ is about like typing 150 words per minute, not a lot of folks can do it. I am going to assume that someone who took two years of typing classes could type 100+ words per minute (secretaries used to have to do that transcribing from their shorthand notes to get hired).

My conclusion was that I am too old to bother. I used to be able to copy text at 35wpm on an IBM Selectric with 100% accuracy, doubt I could do that now, too used to rattling along and correcting it afterwords. But, I thought I would pass on some of the info I found in my research.

Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:40:05 »
Quote from: itlnstln;416684
Wow, a blast from the past.  How are things, graywolf?

More or less OK, for someone getting on toward 70 (couple of years to go). You?

Offline itlnstln

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 13:42:13 »
I'm doing well myself.  Staying busy, although it may not seem like it when I'm posting here.


Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 16:02:32 »
I'm a steno fanatic, though I've been dormant on the subject lately. Schools that teach/train stenography report 2-4 years of training (it is like learning a new language) for the average person to reach the standard 225 wpm (with I think 98% accuracy). However, those with a real talent or skill or even just extra determination can take less time to become that proficient or more so (with good English language, grammar and syntax proficiency as well).

The main creator of Plover (a Linux based, open source program for steno - I've tried to get it to run natively on Mac (as have others, as well as attempts on Windows, but not many since it's not a hugely known project)) reached that speed in just a year and a half of school. I suspect that fast typists who can also learn other layouts with proficiency would be able to learn steno in this amount of time. By the way, she uses a Filco Ninja Majestouch-2 TKL when using Plover ('cause of the NKRO that you absolutely need when stenotyping). If I were a transcriber, but more importantly a licensed stenographer, this would peak my interest immensely. Even though I'm not, it still does. =P

OH! And for the interested, I do have the ENTIRE plover dictionary (cool to look/search through). Comes from the creator's personal machine dictionary and a standard steno dictionary I believe - but of course, ANY briefs and strokes can be edited, which stenographers do all the time.

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BxDltXWEPRyKNTdiODI2MzYtYzE2Ni00OTk5LWJlZDUtNTQwZDliODBjM2U4&hl=en_US
Plain text file - over 124,000 different strokes/briefs. For many words and phrases, there's more than 1 translation. That's just a part of the language and because the author has many of her own programmed steno in there.

Keep in mind, the software that holds this info is usually hundreds if not thousands of dollars (which really makes up a lot of the price of the best machines). The dictionary was taken from one of the files in the plover-2.1.1 version, and I hope the author doesn't mind me sharing. They're always looking for people to use the program, find glitches, errors and ALWAYS looking to find a way to run it on Mac or Windows natively.

e. And on homophonic words, it does take time to learn the specific steno, but just like any shorthand program, YOU are the one who chooses the steno you want a word to be. It doesn't have to follow all the rules.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 September 2011, 19:12:58 by Playtrumpet »
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Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 19:52:03 »
Hi Playtrumpet, I looked at Plover, even down loaded it. However have not tried it out as I do not have a nkro keyboard. It certainly looks interesting. One can run Linux in a VM easily enough, so it being for Linux is not a real problem. If it becomes at all popular steno keyboards are sure to become available, since Plover provides the other features of a realtime stenographic machine, just a straight keyboard is all that would be needed and I can not see any reason why one should cost more than $100. Do you know if Plover provides 100% of the features of a RTSM yet?

Your comment on homophonic words should have added that steno is primarily phonetic, but not 100% so. Therefore, it is easy enough to have different shorthand notation for various similar sounding words. Another, point is that many words are written with a single chord. That means if you have "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilovolcanoconosis" (sp?) in your medical dictionary you could type it by hitting hitting a single cord. They say that there are about 8 million possible chords one can hit on those 22 keys. BTW, one can type out the regular alphabet on the steno keyboard, only some letters require hitting more than one key at a time, there is no advantage to that, but it does allow words to be spelled out if needed.

The real problem is, as you said, that it really is a different language; so not a lot of your normal way of typing is transferable.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 September 2011, 19:54:21 by graywolf »

Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 20:31:19 »
Quote
One can run Linux in a VM easily enough, so it being for Linux is not a real problem.
Oh absolutely, and I run Debian via VirtualBox. But the appeal in running it natively to me is that running it through VB, I have somehow much less motivation to use and learn the language simply because it requires the extra step of going out of my regular OS and into Linux, with which I'm totally unfamiliar.

Quote
Do you know if Plover provides 100% of the features of a RTSM yet?
I'm not familiar with Real-time System Management or its relation to typing/transcribing so I'm not sure. If it can operate in a Linux system then I don't see why not. With Plover activated, the steno strokes are translated and the text is then displayed wherever it's used. The creator even used it on Typeracer.

Quote
Your comment on homophonic words should have added that steno is primarily phonetic, but not 100% so. Therefore, it is easy enough to have different shorthand notation for various similar sounding words. Another, point is that many words are written with a single chord.
Yes. I couldn't think of the word phonetic for some reason. =\

It is a different language, but stenographers, court reporters, transcribers, etc. - everyone adapts new vocabulary, even non-standard (or non-existent) words and lingo. That's one area in which steno machines and programs have an advantage because they allow the reporter to add words and briefs/strokes on the fly as they type/transcribe. HOWEVER, these hurdles can be overcome and Plover is still evolving. The creator has demonstrated the ability to program commands rather than simple translations into her everyday steno (example - rewinding an audio clip 1.5 seconds for transcription with a single stroke or pause/play). I really should learn python..

And if you want to try out Plover, you need not have an NKRO capable keyboard to learn the basics. Most computers/laptops have at least 4-5 key rollover, and there's tons of steno you can do with that many keys. Also, "arpeggiating" chords requiring more than that many key presses at once is cheap sidestep to the NKRO problem which I found somewhat effective when I first tried the program. I have not used it much or learned steno since then because of how busy I am and again the lack of (what is inefficient to me personally) convenience. ALSO - to anyone who is going to try Plover, take the program with a grain of salt. There are plenty of bugs to work out. Hopefully the project will get actual funding and we may see drastic improvements, but the creator is currently working with little to no help. =P
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Online Tony

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 15 September 2011, 23:59:30 »
This keyboard is specifically designed for English-speaking court reporting only. It is too language specific and have little uses.
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Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 16 September 2011, 08:02:29 »
Quote from: Tony;416976
This keyboard is specifically designed for English-speaking court reporting only. It is too language specific and have little uses.

Of course you're forgetting that it's also used for CART services, general transcription and regular typing (where plover is trying to bring it). If by language specific you mean limited mostly to English, steno is not incredibly widespread to every country, but the most common languages have it available. If really you mean to imply the dictionary itself is limited to court language, then you are mistaken. The schools themselves focus primarily on court reporting and the skills and language it utilizes, but the technology is used way out of that spectrum. For stenographers to caption live TV, they're using a completely different language, all under the technology's capabilities. In CART services, the stenographer is at a class with a hard of hearing student, captioning verbatim the professor's lecture. The dictionary and stenographer learn and grow, simply making the typing experience faster and more useful.
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Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 16 September 2011, 18:10:36 »
Court Reporting is the main use, and the most highly paid.

However, Real Time Stenotype can be used for any thing where you want something written down. In the old days when you had a cryptic paper tape that had to be translated into a readable text that was not likely, because the translation was done on a typewriter anyway. Real time systems are automatically translated into readable text as input, usually on an attached laptop computer. The closed captions you see on the news, are being entered by a steno operator in real time, that delay is often because the stenographer is probably working at home maybe half the world away listening and typing it in. From some of what I see, English is often not their best language.

Shorthand existed at least as far back as Ancient Greece; but until real time systems became available, not all that long ago, it was only usable by specialists and had no advantage in writing. It was only used for taking down speech. Today, it can allow a writer to input text about twice as fast as he could type. If someone was paying me to write stuff like this, it would be worth my while to learn it.

So, nope, it is not only usable for English Court Reporting.

Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 16 September 2011, 20:27:43 »
Honestly, if I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life already, I'd be very willing to go to court reporting school, get a job and have that nice, simple career. It's weird to think that I'm actually in a path that has less certainty (relating to "job placement"), costs more in equipment, takes years more practice and stress, and is many times less likely to bring me the life I imagine than a court reporting career. I think if I do end up in good success and I have the time, I'll learn it anyway. It's too strong of an interest for me to ignore it forever.
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Offline Proword

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 05:03:59 »
Quote
e. And on homophonic words, it does take time to learn the specific steno, but just like any shorthand program, YOU are the one who chooses the steno you want a word to be. It doesn't have to follow all the rules.

Only if you are the person who has to transcribe your shorthand into English.  Until the invention of the computerised "scoping" system, each writer had to use the same shortforms (as in penwriting).  Sometimes the transcript might not be needed for days, if not years, and the original writer could even be dead, which was why it took so long to gain proficiency.  

It was a bit like the texting system used on the SMS.  The person who is receiving the text message has to know what the abbreviation means for it to make any sense.  Using this system

http://proword-transcription.blogspot.com/

you can have 5 different people in the one office doing machine shorthand, but each will have their own system of abbreviation, which the word processor expands immediately so nobody needs to know what somebody else's abbreviation will expand to. I've got a "dictionary" with about 7000 abbreviations, plus a series of "hot keys".  It's not really a case of "remembering" anything.  I just ask the question mentally "what's a good abbreviation for this word/phrase?"  And I use that.  Sometimes I'll do an abbreviation I created back in the last century and haven't used it since, but it pops up correctly and surprises me.  8-D

I've been using this system since the early 1990s, and it's quite easy to transcribe at 160-180 wpm, and get an accuracy of better than 99%, even before proofreading.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYJtF1I3PRs

Joe
« Last Edit: Sat, 17 September 2011, 05:09:09 by Proword »
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Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 10:10:40 »
I have no doubt that other personal abbreviation systems are  effective and worth looking at. But I think english steno is still the most unified. You learn how to spell phonetically and from most schools, you're meant to reach and test at an average of 225 wpm, and for further licensing people average even higher. But I don't just want to use speed as my argument for steno. The logic behind the language is widespread, published and effective. Personalization comes in to improve upon an already solid system and language which are my reasons for being such an advocate.

If you're arguing that one's own abbreviation system is great because others cannot and would not be able to use it as logically or effectively as the person who created it, then I don't see any potential for that system to spread.
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Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 14:00:50 »
And, I used to use a personal short hand in a word processor to type in things, then that word processor was left behind as I moved to CPM, then MS Dos, then Unix, and finally, kicking and screaming in protest, to MS Windows. Even if I still had those old 360Kb 5-1/4" discs, I would not be able to read the notes on them anyway as SuperScripsit is so long dead. Therein lies the advantage to a standardized system, you can go back to it later.

This thread is giving me delusions of youth. I have reloaded VMWare Player, will load Ubuntu, and Plover and give it a try. Ms Knight (the originator of Plover) claims you can get to 120wpm in about 6 months, then you kind of hit a plateau and it takes another year and a half or so to reach that 225wpm level. I figure it will only take a week or so to find out if my old mind is capable of learning new tricks. You never know until you try.

What would be very neat, to my mind, would be something like a netbook with a steno keyboard instead of a regular one, that seems like it would be a cheap all in one solution for maybe $400. Actually, while I think about it, one could probably build a oneoff steno keyboard that output the same keycodes Plover uses for a hundred bucks or so in parts.
« Last Edit: Mon, 19 September 2011, 11:23:26 by graywolf »

Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 14:24:29 »
Very possible. I remember even getting tempted to buy a cheap steno machine off of ebay a while back just so I could feel a real steno keyboard. I believe what the few actual stenographers do while using Plover (I say few because it's still a small, lesser known project and yes I've emphasized this enough already =P) - what they do is put steno key pads right onto their computer keyboard. Makes it easier to hit more than one key at once with a single finger (I think some strokes even require a single finger to hit 4 keys at once).

The claim of 120 wpm in 6 months of training with Plover makes it tempting, but it's important to note that those 6 months don't include just knowing the layout and practicing regular typing over and over, but rather they include learning how to think in that special phonetic language and then transferring that to steno chording.

It's taken me 2 months so far to reach an average 90 wpm with Dvorak, so Steno is tempting still. I may start to read the old manual posted online mentioned by a member of plover's google group. http://www.archive.org/stream/stenotypy00indi#page/n0/mode/2up - It's an older manual and so doesn't include the more refined real-time techniques of modern day stenographers, but the basics are all there, and the basic language remains the same (again, standardized and widespread system - big bonus). I'm gonna start reading and learning from that ('cause I'm cheap - steno manuals/textbooks are easily accessible on ebay and such).
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 15:59:58 »
about canning with can ait

That line is the first random entry using Plover. Typed on my Model M keyboard. The "ait" appears to be an unfinshed word.

Playtrumpet, a point I did not think to make when you said you did not want to have to reboot your system to go into Linux. With VMPlayer (a free application from VMWare) you do not have to do that you just open VMPlayer like any other application, click on the Linux installation (Ubuntu in my case, selected because that is what they say they are developing Plover on), and it opens in a window on your desktop. From there you just use Plover by clicking on the big P at the top of the window.

Of course it helps a bit if you know a bit about Unix/Linux when installing the Plover software, but it is not really that hard to figure out. The only problem I ran into is that "aptitude" was not installed by default and I had to install it before I could do the Plover install. Note: I have never even seen a Ubuntu installation before, and I had no real problems installing it and Plover.

So, now all I have to do is go through Ms Knights Steno 101 stuff which explains the keyboard, then actually learn Steno....
« Last Edit: Sat, 17 September 2011, 16:02:14 by graywolf »

Offline Playtrumpet

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 17 September 2011, 23:17:35 »
Oh, no. I don't have to reboot, I do just run Debian in its own window. In earnest, I'm just being lazy. =P

It's similar to how I put off learning Dvorak for... a few years before I started. Plover is readily available to me, but I'm just giving myself excuses not to seriously start teaching myself (ex. It's best taught from professionals, with proper texts and dedication, I don't know anyone in real life who knows steno (and few who even know OF it), it takes months to learn it and I'd be an amateur, all alone trying to teach myself a professional language, etc.). I've got plenty of excuses, but I PRETEND that accessibility and convenience are my actual excuses.

Soon, though.. I'll get up the courage to begin for real. Learning multiple disciplines is an intimidating prospect and it just stresses me out a bit is all..

But for anyone NOT being classically/intensely trained in a discipline (it should be relatively apparent that I am saying I'm a musician in the toughest year(s) of my training right now) I strongly encourage trying to learn steno. I'm certain that so FEW people actually learn the standard language on their own and it would be exciting to hear from the earliest self-taught, proficient stenographers as I hope there will be many more in the future.
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline Proword

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #22 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 04:04:06 »
Quote from: Playtrumpet;417644

If you're arguing that one's own abbreviation system is great because others cannot and would not be able to use it as logically or effectively as the person who created it, then I don't see any potential for that system to spread.

I'm actually arguing quite the opposite , and that is to not worry about what other people do, just work on your own system, based upon how your own mind works.  The simple question I ask myself "What's a good abbreviation?" works both ways, in creation of the abbreviation and using it later.  The trick is not to think about the answer, just do it, simply because the same mind is asking the same question, so is likely (in my experience almost invariably) to come up with the same answer.  There's no "right" or "wrong" answer.  

And there's no single answer.

eg one of the first sets of words I worked with was "became, become, because".  There are (at least) two ways of doing the shorthand, one using "hot keys" and the other "abbreviation."

For hot keys I could have chosen the keystroke combination "Alt+B" for "became" (there's an "A" in the command "Alt") Ctrl+B for "become" (there's an "O" in the command "C[on]tr
  • l") and for "because" I could use "Shift+Alt+B" as there's an "S" in "shift" and an "A" in "Alt".


If I choose (as I eventually did) to go down the path of using abbreviations for "became" I used "bca", for "become" I used "bco" and for "because" I went to a hot key combination of Ctrl B.  

Neither way of reaching the correct expanded word is better than the other, they both work, and if somebody chooses yet a different way of doing the same thing, and it works, that's fine.  I won't criticise them.

I actually started building my system back in the early 1980s on the Apple II program called "Zardax", but due to its very small size (about 32 KB) there was extreme limitation on how far I could develop.  When I moved to WordPerfect for DOS I used macro commands, and devised a "reverse reading macro" system whereby I typed in the abbreviation then hit a single keystroke, rather than the normal "start macro play function" [AltF10] type "macro name" [Enter].  If I changed machines I had to transport my macros, but since I only used one computer at a time it wasn't a massive problem.

When I moved to the Windows environment I looked at both MS Word and WordPerfect and found that the limitations of MS Word, whilst not preventing the use of shorthand (using the Autocorrect Function), were such to make WordPerfect much more effective.  

It's much simpler to 'port from one machine to another since there are only two files to copy, the *.uwl (user word list) and the *.wpt (WordPerfect Template) files.

I imagine I could reproduce something on most word processing packages that have either an automatic word replacement function or macros, but from looking at MS Word and Open Office it would be very difficult crack 120 wpm simply because I think I'd need to use so many "work arounds".  

But probably the abbreviations would still remain the same, just the method of execution would be different.

I did a 12 month assignment as the secretary for a group of forensic pathologists, doing both microscopy reports and autopsy reports.  Since most of the stuff was very formulaic I eventually found I could transcribe 10 to 15 seconds of audio recording with about 7-8 keystrokes, and I calculated once that I was going at something between 2 and 4000 words per minute.  I still had to play the 15 seconds of audio though to check and make sure that there wasn't something different in there, so the putative "high speed" was pretty pointless.  This was using MS Word and whilst not as good as I would have achieved with WordPerfect, it was certainly streets ahead of keying everything manually.

I demonstrated to a stenotypist a few years ago that it would be quite simple for her to translate her shorthand abbreviations into the word processor, and have them work fine, but unless she was able to find a way to plug a steno keyboard into the PC then it would be a retrograde step because she would lose the ability to "chord" her keystrokes.   Using the Maltron keyboard, I am able to press up to 10  keys simultaneously and (usually) get each character, but can't guarantee that the characters will appear in the same order each time.

So pressing the (10) home keys simultaneously

aes intho
ea sinthor
aethor si
aethor si

gives me different strings each time.

Thus I stuck with sequencing the keystrokes.

If WordPerfect does disappear off the scene then I'll have to look elsewhere I suppose, but I think by the time that happens I'll probably be well and truly retired, and in any case, I've still got Dragon speech recognition to fall back on, although that isn't always the preferred option.

Joe
« Last Edit: Sun, 18 September 2011, 04:08:18 by Proword »
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Offline Playtrumpet

  • Posts: 275
300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 11:20:07 »
That's a very cool system you've made, Proword. I want to ask, do you have to program a new shorthand for every new word you encounter? And how long did it take you to build your dictionary to the point where you can type most normal sentences? (disregarding medical lingo, proper names, etc. - as those always have to be made anew when first encountered)

I ask because, while I like your system and idea of personalized shorthand - using what makes most sense to YOU for your typing, my concern is the length of time one would have to dedicate to make his or her dictionary ready for fast transcription. Like I mentioned, standard steno dictionaries are filled with more vocabulary than one can ever learn word by word. Plover has over 120,000 strokes which I estimate is around 75-100,000 words and phrases in total. The benefit I find to the language, is that you don't actually have to learn each stroke/word individually, and it is based on the logic of the language, so it makes sense to those who learn the general system and practice. And of course, with the base knowledge of the language, people still make their dictionaries their own, with their own shorthand that, like your system makes sense to them personally. The difference I'm trying to emphasize is that there is that important base language, logic and extensive dictionary under which more people can learn and effectively type any word they want without creating as many new shorthands/shortcuts.
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Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 11:51:09 »
Proword, your Steno friend must have been a long while back. AFAIK, all real time steno systems are computer interfacable, first with a serial port, and currently with USB.

Playtrumpet, I was thinking about how to go about learning Plover last night, and came up with this idea. First, I will learn the chords for the alphabet, then move into the shorthand part. Reasoning, that way I can actually start using Plover day to day, typing the shorthand as I learn it, and typing letter for letter for the words I do not know the shorthand for yet. I see no reason why typing using the Plover Steno positions on the keyboard should not be just as fast as typing using Qwerty. Maybe even a bit faster as you would not have to stretch your fingers as much.

Everybody, if you think learning the shorthand stuff is daunting, you probably are using it quite often already. I noticed in my comment to Proword, I used the acronym "AFAIK". What do you think an acronym is? Yep, it is shorthand, in that case for "as far as I know". It seems that on a Steno machine, you would be able to type AFAIK with one keystroke (chord). Bingo, you have just written 17 characters (counting spaces) with one hit on the keyboard. Boy, I seem to be talking myself into learning this, don't I?
« Last Edit: Sun, 18 September 2011, 12:09:05 by graywolf »

Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 12:51:02 »
Along with the other thinking, I have been doing some research on making a custom USB Steno keyboard. (Hey we are really on topic for this form now, right.) Off the top of my head, in a post above, I said I thought I could make one for about $100.

Well, the research tells me I was right on the money. There is a USB gaming encoder that is programmable with up to 32 inputs. The inputs are individual so no need for a matrix, just wire each keyswitch to the encoder.

Some silent tactile keyswitches, a mounting plate, and a box to mount it in. It would have to be some off the shelf box. Because even if manufacturing a 100 or so of them, a custom molded case would be prohibitively expensive.

One off, point to point wiring would be OK. In larger quantities, a printed circuit board would be easier to deal with, but in quantity 100 or more printed circuit boards are not expensive.

The keycaps would be the most difficult problem. On a one off, I guess you could grind some standard keycaps down and glue something to the top; but in small quantities custom molded keycaps would be very expensive. The one nice thing is that except for the number lock keybar that I think you could use a spacebar for, there are only 3 sizes of keycaps needed, and they have no markings on them.

Another thing about the keycaps. Regular keycaps are designed so you will not easily hit multiple keys at the same time. But with a Steno keyboard you want to be able to hit as many as four keys with one finger, but still hit only one at a time if needed.

Still, all in all, it would not be too difficult to make a dedicated Steno keyboard.
« Last Edit: Wed, 28 September 2011, 13:15:59 by graywolf »

Offline Playtrumpet

  • Posts: 275
300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 12:55:18 »
I'm not so tech/engineering savvy, but that is an AWESOME project you're conceiving. Also, I'm so glad I knew what AFAIK meant. ^_^
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline graywolf

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300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 17:05:42 »
Well, it did not take long to find out two things.

1. Nope, can not type in single letters, at least without more knowledge than I have. I would imagine I would have to go into the dictionary and replace all the single letter entries with the single letters.

2. Nope, can't use my Model M keyboard. -FPLT which is supposed to be space comes out "-FRPBLGTS". Of course Ms Knight may have that tied to an acronym in Plover, but it looks more like an error to me. Of course that is the first 4-key entry I tried deliberately. Hum.... I just tried entering that with only a max of two letters at a time, and still got the gobbly-gook, so maybe I don't know what is going on.

Offline Playtrumpet

  • Posts: 275
300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 17:10:29 »
Weird. Have you tried some of these? http://stenoknight.com/STPRRPTS.jpg I remember they worked for me.

There are certainly glitches, but most words should come out correctly. If those in the picture don't work, you should re-install the program.
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline Proword

  • Posts: 231
  • Location: Perth, Western Australia
300+ wpm Stenotype (Chording) Machine? Why not a standard?
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 18 September 2011, 21:28:23 »
Quote from: Playtrumpet;418128
That's a very cool system you've made, Proword. I want to ask, do you have to program a new shorthand for every new word you encounter? And how long did it take you to build your dictionary to the point where you can type most normal sentences? (disregarding medical lingo, proper names, etc. - as those always have to be made anew when first encountered)

I ask because, while I like your system and idea of personalized shorthand - using what makes most sense to YOU for your typing, my concern is the length of time one would have to dedicate to make his or her dictionary ready for fast transcription. Like I mentioned, standard steno dictionaries are filled with more vocabulary than one can ever learn word by word. Plover has over 120,000 strokes which I estimate is around 75-100,000 words and phrases in total. The benefit I find to the language, is that you don't actually have to learn each stroke/word individually, and it is based on the logic of the language, so it makes sense to those who learn the general system and practice. And of course, with the base knowledge of the language, people still make their dictionaries their own, with their own shorthand that, like your system makes sense to them personally. The difference I'm trying to emphasize is that there is that important base language, logic and extensive dictionary under which more people can learn and effectively type any word they want without creating as many new shorthands/shortcuts.

The basis of my system works pretty much in reverse to the stenotype language model in that the user starts out being able to type English "normally" ie keying every word in full, and then as one gets a handle on a particular topic, eg law or medicine, one starts creating abbreviations "on the fly".  So if for example I come across an expression which occurs a couple of times in a single page, I may look at it and mentally say that looks like it might be worth abbreviating for the future, and quite literally I'll let my fingers key in an abbreviation without further thought.  If nothing happens then that abbreviation has not been used for anything else, so then I just create the abbreviation in QuickCorrect (the WordPerfect equivalent of MS Word's AutoCorrect) and that's all I have to do, because next time I come across that expression, I'll hit that abbreviation and bingo!  It's done.  Whilst it does happen, it's very rare that I will execute an abbreviation and have something different come up.  So then I just look at the two expressions, decide which I'm likely to use more often and go with that.  If I have to create a different abbreviation because the "old" one is too useful, then so be it.  It only takes a couple of goes before the new one is in my fingers.

I've noticed that over the last couple of years, I've grown so used to doing shorthand that I'll run a (non-existent)  short form without even thinking about it, and if that happens, then I'll create it, even if I don't think I'm likely to use it often, because, hey, I've generated the linkage, so why not use it?  

It's pretty hard to be precise, but I think the best explanation is I'm teaching myself a new way of "spelling" something.  When I'm typing (and other people have said the same thing) there's a big difference between keying in the letters "f-o-r-t-u-n-e" and the word "fortune", no matter how quickly and clearly the individual letters may be spoken.  I merely have learned how to spell "fortune" with the keystrokes "f-t-u".  I spell "fortunate" "f-n-u" and I spell "fortnight" "f-n".  And once I get a single abbreviation I can build on it.  So "f-n-y" will give "fortnightly", while "f-n-u-y" gives "fortunately", and "u-f-n-u-y" becomes "unfortunately".  There can also be a crossover between hot keys and short words.  I use Ctrl+L to give me "able"  and Ctrl+M to give "ment".  So "lamentable" becomes "L-a-[Ctrl+M][Ctrl+L]".   But I can also make a short form of "l2" for "able to" and "u-l-2" expands to "unable to".  And so it goes.

Unlike MS Word, WordPerfect has a couple of very nice tricks.  One is the "keyboard map" which shows in one screen every keystroke combo available, unlike MS Word, which only shows one set of keystrokes at a time.  The other lovely one is being able to save each keyboard map, and change it at will.  I may be wrong, since I haven't done too much serious experimentation, but the keyboard map in MS Word is attached to the document template and can't be changed without opening a new document with the new map.  

Using this function I can have a large number of different keystroke sets for different topics, so in one keyboard the keystroke combo of "Alt+H" may mean "hepatic" but swapping to a different keyboard "Alt+H" may mean "high voltage".  I have a "basic" set of hot keys, which are attached to the "Ctrl" functions, while "Alt" functions will vary depending on the topic.  So in ALL of my keyboard maps "Ctrl+A" gives me "ation", but "Alt+A" will (or may) be different in each one.

Further, by changing the "language" setting I can have different expansions for the same abbreviations.  So in one language file, "fta" might expand as "further talks" but changing to another language "fta" could be expanded to "fixed tangential axis".  Whilst I've never needed more than three language files, WP will support roughly 30 different languages, so there's a huge flexibility.

Changing the keyboard (or language) in mid-document is very useful, because, as I mentioned I worked in a forensic pathology practice doing autopsies, and when I left there I returned to working in court, which included Coroner's Court, and this involves the pathologist reading from their post mortem report on a deceased person, so when the doctor gets into the witness box, I simply switch to my medical files while he or she reads aloud,(I had a different set of files for each of the three pathologists) because I've got much of the report already abbreviated.  It was a weird feeling, but I actually had to transcribe in court a PM report which I'd done while working for the pathologists the previous year.

When I first got serious about doing shorthand back in 1990, I showed my boss (who was a reporter herself, so knew the value of it) what I'd achieved and I wrote that whilst I currently had upwards of 150 macros, I could see no reason why I couldn't get to 500.  But now I'm in the vicinity of 7000 and still generate one or two new ones every day on average.  

To answer your question about how much time I dedicate to make my dictionary ready for fast transcription, well, on average I suppose it would take between 5 and 10 seconds to create an abbreviation.  If I've already typed the full expression in I simply select the text, open the QuickCorrect function (I've a dedicated clickable button in the tool bar) type in the abbreviation (the full expression will already be in the appropriate column), click on OK, and it's done.  So it's not a case of sitting down and having a brain storming session of creating hundreds of abbreviations, but just doing what seems like a good thing at the time.  Although there will be times when I'll take on a new topic (say I'm typing a university thesis on engineering, like stress in concrete which I can recall from long ago) I'll read through it, ask the client if there are any particularly difficult, obscure or frequently recurring words or phrases I'm likely to come across, then I WILL create a unique set of abbreviations and hot keys.  But this will usually consist of taking an existing word list, copying it and renaming it, then going through and replacing existing (uncommon in this context) abbreviations with useful ones, so I wouldn't make one up from whole cloth.  But when I've finished that topic I delete that language's word list and the linked keyboard map so I can re-use them later on.

Quote
Proword, your Steno friend must have been a long while back. AFAIK, all real time steno systems are computer interfacable, first with a serial port, and currently with USB.

Yes, Graywolf it WAS some time ago.

Hope that helps you.

Joe
« Last Edit: Sun, 18 September 2011, 21:35:58 by Proword »
Maltron 3D Dual Hand (x4)
Maltron 3D Single Hand (x2 - L & R)

Many people think their lifestyle comes at a cost - but they are quite cool with that as long as somebody ELSE pays it.