Stenography

Forum for admin topics, member introductions and general non-hifi chitchat.
User avatar
Lindsayt
Posts: 3106
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:06 pm
Has thanked: 77 times
Been thanked: 67 times
Vatican City

Stenography

Unread post by Lindsayt »

Computers annoy me. They always have done. Always will.

One of the things that has always annoyed me is how you interact with them.

How I get information from me into the bloody computer.

Typing is a pain in the arse. The Qwerty keyboard layout is stupid - for computer input.
Typing is stupid. And by typing I mean putting the words into a computer one letter at a time. In exactly the right order.
Voice recognition will eventually provide an answer. But for now, it's not there.

There is an alternative. Stenography. As used before 2012 in the UK by court reporters. And as still used today to provide real time subtitles of live (non scripted) feeds.

Stenography traditionally had some major drawbacks.

1 the cost of a stenography machine. Both new and used. In the region of £1000 for a used student machine to £4000 for a new professional machine.

2 the cost of the stenography software. Initial costs plus ongoing annual costs

3 The cost of the training. BTW stenograhy training courses are reputed to have something like a 90% drop out rate. Learning stenography is like learning a new language. A new language that you speak with your fingers.

4 The time to get good at it. It generally takes a few months to overtake Qwerty typing speeds. And a couple of years to get up to court reporter speeds (225 words per minute).

Today, in 2020, there are ways of getting into Stenography on the cheap.

1 hobbyist type Steno keyboards like the Georgi at £110 brand new.

2 Plover. It's open source steno software.

3 Online free resources with stenography training books and websites. Plus semi fun training games like Typeracer.

That still leaves the time required for finger training.

The benefit of stenography is that you stroke chords instead of typing individual letters. And it is therefore a quicker and less frantic way to interact with computer - once you've got sufficient mastery of it.
For short words it takes 1 chord, which is one hand movement to type a word.
For commonly used longer words, a single chord can input these as well.
Spaces are autiomatic.
Longer rarer words require 2 or more chords.
And for really rare words there's the fallback option of typing them in 1 letter at a time.

There's also the option of inputing common phrases with one chord.
My participation on hi-fi forums, for example, would be speeded up somewhat if I were able to input "it's not my cup of tea" with one stroke. :grin:

Steno keyboards look really weird. There are fewer keys than there are letters in the alphabet.
This makes ergonomic sense because we only have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs.
And with stenography, both thumbs are kept busy, unlike Qwerty keyboards.

I've already downloaded Plover.
I've placed an order for a Georgi keyboard.
I will have a new hobby. That of learning stenography.

It might be that I give it a go and get bored of it.
Or it might be that I enjoy it enough and make rapid enough progress for it to take over as my prefered method of interacting with my computers...
These users thanked the author Lindsayt for the post (total 2):
Fretless (Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:27 pm) • slinger (Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:38 pm)

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 6511
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Has thanked: 200 times
Been thanked: 230 times
Netherlands

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Fretless »

Intriguing read, Lindsay.

Have to take a look at that.
These users thanked the author Fretless for the post:
Lindsayt (Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:21 am)
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube2 - BMU
Digits: E-Medic ST-M PC + Volumio + AQ Jitterbug
DAC: TeraDak V4.5 Chameleon CD: Cambridge CXC
USB: Oehlbach XXL Masterclock + DH Labs Mirage
Ethernet: Silent Angel Bonn N8 + AQ Cinnamon
Cans: AQ NightHawk Carbon + MF XCAN v3
Interconnect cables: DH Labs Air Matrix

User avatar
slinger
Posts: 5597
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:30 pm
Location: The Garden of England
Has thanked: 441 times
Been thanked: 445 times
Great Britain

Re: Stenography

Unread post by slinger »

One of those things I've seen in countless courtrooms (on the telly, honest) but I never really took the next step in wondering how it actually works. Now I know bit more. Cheers, Lindsay
These users thanked the author slinger for the post:
Lindsayt (Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:21 am)
Amps - NVA P50, A30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

Daniel Quinn
Posts: 7984
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:16 am
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 84 times

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Daniel Quinn »

They are redundant in modern times, court hearing and trials are digitally recorded.

When they worked, they were essentially shorthand machines.

User avatar
Lindsayt
Posts: 3106
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:06 pm
Has thanked: 77 times
Been thanked: 67 times
Vatican City

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Lindsayt »

Daniel Quinn wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:30 am
They are redundant in modern times, court hearing and trials are digitally recorded.

When they worked, they were essentially shorthand machines.
Indeed, they were phased-out in UK courts in 2012.

However, they are still used in the USA legal system.

And they can be used for more than court reporting.

Anyone that enters information into a computer can use one.
Previously they were locked behind a big financial and training time brick wall.
Thanks to Plover and hobbyist steno keyboards the financial wall has been torn down. Leaving just the training time brick wall. Which is one that I will be exploring on a hobby basis.

For me, on a personal basis, being able to stroke into a computer at over 100 words per minute would be a very nice jump up in the quality of my computer useage life. And therefore stenography is not redundant at all for me on a personal level.

Daniel Quinn
Posts: 7984
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:16 am
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 84 times

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Daniel Quinn »

You'd be hard pushed to think that fast. I think its only useful for dictation.

User avatar
Ithilstone
Posts: 514
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:54 am
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 19 times
Seychelles

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Ithilstone »

well if you want there is also an option for pc reprogrammable keyboards with rearrangeable buttons so you are not limited with qwerty ;]
think it will cost less and take way lest time to master
Nothing to see here...

User avatar
Lindsayt
Posts: 3106
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:06 pm
Has thanked: 77 times
Been thanked: 67 times
Vatican City

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Lindsayt »

Daniel Quinn wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:59 am
You'd be hard pushed to think that fast. I think its only useful for dictation.
Speeds.

The average typist types at 40 words per minute.
A skilled typist types at 70 words per minute. World record holder typists can type in short bursts at 200 words per minute.
People speak at about 160 to 180 words per minute.
In order to become a court reporter in the USA you need to pass an exam where you stenograph at 225 words per minute with a 95% accuracy.
We read at about 200 to 250 words per minute.
We form thoughts at 1000 to 3000 words per minute.

If I ever get to the stage where I can stenograph at over 100 words, that will become my prefered method of inputing words into computers.

I already have a Maltron keyboard. It's a great piece of kit. The main advantage is comfort and less fatigue than Qwerty.
I haven't used the Maltron enough for me to be quicker with it. With more practise I'd be quicker on the Maltron than a Qwerty. But not much quicker.
With stenography there's scope for me to become much quicker.

A big possible advantage of stenography is that it would allow my writing to be more free flowing and more of a stream of consciousness. As I said in the opening post, I've always found typing to be frustrating as I keep having to slow down my thoughts and hold onto them as I wait for my fingers to type what I want to type.

We, as human beings think in pictures and in phrases. We don't think in individual letters. Typing every individual letter into a computer is soooo 20th century. It's a crappy practise that has persisted because that's the way it's always been done - for most people.

Typing individual letters annoys the hell out of me.
I don't mind if other people want to carry on with this mode.
For me, it's a case of trying something different. Something very different. To see if it will work for me. If it doesn't, all I've lost is £120 and a chunk of spare time that I would have frittered away on some other activity anyway.

Daniel Quinn
Posts: 7984
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:16 am
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 84 times

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Daniel Quinn »

I find 2 of those stats to be dubious.

User avatar
Lindsayt
Posts: 3106
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:06 pm
Has thanked: 77 times
Been thanked: 67 times
Vatican City

Re: Stenography

Unread post by Lindsayt »

Daniel Quinn wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:58 pm
I find 2 of those stats to be dubious.
https://irisreading.com/what-is-the-ave ... ing-speed/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute

Not that it matters much, what the actual speed stats are.
It's clear to me that I can think and compose English a lot quicker than I can type it with Qwerty or Maltron.
It's clear to me that IF I can gain a reasonable level of mastery that I would be able to Steno a lot quicker than I can type now. And this would result in my computer useage being rather less frustrating than it currently is. That may turn out to be quite a big if. But what's life about if it's not trying different things and seeing how they turn out?

Post Reply