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Type 225 Words per Minute with a Stenographic Keyboard (Video)

Roblimo posted about a month and a half ago | from the you-can-type-faster-if-you-use-more-than-one-finger-at-a-time dept.

Input Devices 109

Joshua Lifton says you can learn to type at 225 words per minute with his Stenosaurus, an open source stenography keyboard that has a not-there-yet website with nothing but the words, "Stenography is about to evolve," on it as of this writing. If you've heard of Joshua it's probably because he's part of the team behind Crowd Supply, which claims, "Our projects raise an average of $43,600, over twice as much as Kickstarter." A brave boast, but there's plenty of brainpower behind the company. Joshua, himself. has a PhD from MIT, which according to his company bio means, "he's devoted a significant amount of his time learning how to make things that blink." But the steno machine is his own project, independent of Crowd Supply.

Stenotype machines are usually most visible when court reporters are using them. They've been around since the 1800s, when their output was holes in paper tape. Today's versions are essentially chorded keyboards that act as computer input devices. (Douglas Engelbart famously showed off a chorded keyboard during his 1968 Mother of All Demos.) Today you have The Open Steno Project, and Stenosaurus is a member. And while Joshua's project may not have an actual website quite yet, it has an active blog. And the 225 WPM claim? Totally possible. The world record for English language stenography is 360 WPM. And you thought the Dvorak Keyboard was fast. Hah! (Alternate Video Link)

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Now this is funny. (5, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657657)

Sorry I worked for a company that built Stenomachines and wrote software for Court Reporters.
1. Learning to write Steno is hard. It is very hard. A lot of full time students never break 180, 225 is what you need to graduate.
2. The market is small.
3. You have several companies that have been in the market for decades. Stenograph, Advantage Software, ProCat, and Stenovations are probably the market leaders.
4. The requirement for support is super high.
5. The market is shrinking.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657679)

I'm sure all you're saying is true, but I'm not sure he's marketing solely to court reporters. I think the idea is that it will be a keyboard that anyone who does a lot of typing (secretaries, journalists, writers, coders, etc.) might be interested in using to increase their typing speed, even if they don't reach 225 wpm. Many people would be happy to increase their typing speed from 75 wpm to say 150 wpm.

Re:Now this is funny. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657795)

Many people would be happy to increase their typing speed from 75 wpm to say 150 wpm.

Except that they'd have to put in a LOT of hours training on those systems to get that increase.

And for most of them, the majority of time is spent thinking about what to type.

And... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660915)

Most people speak at under 150 wpm, anyway, and...

The future here is not using your hands, but is 100% in the speech-to-text area. My phone does a pretty amazing job today, all things considered. Just the tip of the iceberg.

What would you prefer -- a funky keyboard and reams of training, or a tiny microphone and no training?

Seriously, the future of computer interfacing lies in Speech-to-Text, in-eye displays, and something ranging from an earphone to a bone conduction implant. And that's just until they tie the things right to your nervous system.

I love my keyboard, and I'm really, really fast and accurate with it, but I know its time is going to come.

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657815)

A lot of people would probably rather get voice recognition software than go to stenography school. Which probably is part of OPs point number 5.

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658479)

You may find this article interesting. It's written by the person who actually commissioned Plover, the open source steno software that inspired the machine in this video.

I'm typing with that software right now, on my Ergodox keyboard. After less than six weeks I'm typing comfortly at about 50 words per minute. (much less than my usual 100 words per minute, but not bad for the comfort it lends.)

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658521)

Forgot the article:
http://stenoknight.com/VoiceVersusCART.html

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

plover (150551) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657889)

You'll also have a lot of us dinosaurs who think 80 wpm is good enough for any coder. We tend to have a very narrow world view in that we know where we want the curly braces, we want our tabs to be the right distances, we line things up, etc. We simply don't know how anyone could write readable code with a "word-oriented" keyboard like that. How does it do camelCase? How do you put in dot operators without it starting a new sentence? And how's it all going to look - is the software going to grind all your code through a prettyprint module before painting it on the screen? We have all these questions that we use to justify our crusted-over worldviews.

But we're engineers, too. If this video showed a coder banging in C at some Hollywoodesque speed of 200 wpm, it would pique our curiosity. Of course, they aren't showing us that yet, but the promise is on the horizon. The expectation, though, is that our fears describe the truly hard problems that nobody's yet tackled, so we'll hear the familiar chorus "it's open source, you can do it yourself!" And at the end of that song, it implies we'll end up with 100 incompatible standards for entering code on a stenographer's keyboard. Been there, done that, bought the souvenir Betamax video, and watched it on a SECAM TV.

For me, it's interesting from the viewpoint that open source designs are being used to make such simple things possible, and that it could be providing real competition to an "old-guard" oligopoly.

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658021)

10 LOC per day is pretty standard. That's about 100 words. If you're good, and working on simple problems, then maybe 200 LOC is possible. 2000 words. 20-40 minutes of typing.

Re: Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47660237)

I work as a programmer in a big project and most of my writing goes to emails and chats. Sometimes even documentation and comments.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

preaction (1526109) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658129)

I honestly don't think I can break 80wpm. My bottleneck in programming is not how fast I can type, or how efficient my vim-fu, but how fast I can think, and how fast I can mentally develop the solution (reading documentation, drawing conclusions, and finally writing as little code as I possibly can).

Seriously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658303)

There has never been a software project in the history of computing that was late because of typing speed.

Re:Seriously. (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658327)

Oh shut the fuck up.

Re:Seriously. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47659263)

Grow up little boy.

Re:Seriously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47661941)

Re-read what was posted and then contemplate the fact that you're a fuckwit.

Re:Seriously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47662929)

Get cancer and die.

Re: Now this is funny. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658523)

Personally, I type faster than I speak and think faster than I can type. Much, much faster. I was forced to take touch typing in high school as a prerequisite for computer courses and despite being insulted at having to take a class I considered "secretary work" at the time, I now see it as the most useful course I ever took.

10 lines of code... dear God are you literally retarded? When I'm in the implantation phase I churn out literally thousands of lines of code in a day. You have to be making this up.

Re: Now this is funny. (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658593)

He's probably spending most of his day on /. I agree. If I'm in the implementation phase, I can churn out hundreds of lines of code in a day.

Re: Now this is funny. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658855)

And people wonder why there's so much insecure code out in the wild...

Re: Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658945)

It's because goobers like you don't write automated unit tests.

Re: Now this is funny. (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47662377)

If you're implying that I write insecure code because I write a lot of code then you're mistaken. I produce a lot of code because I'm able to utilize technology to generate clean, bug free code for very common scenarios. I also write a lot of quality unit tests. On top of that, my code contains quality documentation. You just can't write disciplined code like that and not produce many lines of code.

Re: Now this is funny. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47661355)

The 10 lines of code a day comes from an IBM report. Note that it's not just 10 lines written, it's 10 lines of bug-free code complete with documentation and tests, averaged over large projects. For each day that you're churning out thousands of lines of code, how many days are you (or someone else) finding and fixing bugs in that code?

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658557)

Well, if you're looking for that video, here's someone using Plover (open source steno software) to code in python.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu7DygveoB4

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658029)

It would never work for programmers or secretaries. Both groups rely heavily on punctuation, symbols, and formatting.

Re: Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658567)

And corrections/deletions. I can do roughly 80wpm practicing on typeracer quoting sections from a "the catcher in the rye". Coding? Nope. I'll come out and say it - programmers that claim they can do 80wpm *coding* are talking crap. Furthermore its not even measured! Remember these are not (for the most part) strings of conversations or communications between *people*.
I can honestly say I have no idea how many WPM I type when coding - on some days it looks like not much at all and the commit log will show a lot of corrections/deletions/refactoring. On the days it does *flow* right out of my massive brain - I hit 100wpm baby!

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a month and a half ago | (#47659615)

It would never work for programmers or secretaries. Both groups rely heavily on punctuation, symbols, and formatting.

I'm guessing you've never taken a test where error-free wpm is a requirement, if you did then you'd know that punctuation, symbols, and formatting exactly are required in order to either get hired, or pass as a pre-screening requirement. The last one I did(about 5 years ago) required 118wpm error free, with perfect duplication of formatting. I've seen them hit as high as 125 on your qwerty keyboard, and 145 for dvorak.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658411)

I'm sure all you're saying is true, but I'm not sure he's marketing solely to court reporters. I think the idea is that it will be a keyboard that anyone who does a lot of typing (secretaries, journalists, writers, coders, etc.) might be interested in using to increase their typing speed, even if they don't reach 225 wpm. Many people would be happy to increase their typing speed from 75 wpm to say 150 wpm.

The thing is - while it's "neat" to write 150wpm, is it practical for all the effort you need to put in to achieve it?

I mean, how many people are really hobbled by 75wpm? So far taking the time to compose the thought and sentences brings the effective wpm down to below that.

Court reporters NEED 225wpm because fast talking people can burst up to that speed and they need to keep up - a buffer overflow is fatal.

But for most people, I doubt they'd be able to compose at 150wpm (the court reporter is basically just a speech recognition system that transcribes to a "proprietary" format - humans are very good and fast at this). But trying to compose original thought happens at a rate far slower than most people can type peak.

And those that can think faster, learn to type faster too - it's possible to achieve 125wpm on a QWERTY and using regular language. If you're a fast thinker, you'll most likely type faster just through the practice of typing alone.

Re:Now this is funny. (2)

Daniel Petersen (3783133) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660165)

I was a stenographer for a short while, I could type at 225+ words per minute with something like 98% accuracy. Please believe me when I say that this is a foolish project, no matter what their reasoning.

To start with, Stenography isn't realistic for the average person who wants to increase their typing speed (ie: secretaries, journalists, writers, and especially not coders). I can't even express how hard it is to reach 225 words per minute. The goal is to have a student get to that point in 2 years, but I ran into plenty of people that took 3 years, and one or two that took 4. This is with them learning it for a career, not as some side hobby, so they were highly motivated. I think some people's brains are better wired to become good at stenography, and there's really not much you can do about it if you're not one of those people.

When you're trying to learn Stenography, the focus is all about speed, speed, speed, and accuracy can come later. You're taught a theory on how to write words which is designed to let you write quickly and without conflict (the theories are all phonetic based, so when I say conflicts, I mean something like: how to write "cell", and how to write "sell"), and these theories are basically languages in their own right. The word dime in the theory I learned, for example, is written TKAOEUPL. Why? Because speed. This translates to D (tk together is D) AOEU (long I) PL (M).

What I'm trying to get across here is that you want to shorten everything down into one keystroke, because speed is the most important thing. People would abbreviate entire sentences down to one key stroke. So while you and I might have been taught the same theory, I wouldn't be able to read what you wrote, and you wouldn't be able to read what I wrote. In order to reach that mythical 225, you need to pick up abbreviations, steal stuff from other theories (usually unknowingly), or my favorite, make up your own abbreviations on the fly and then struggle to remember what the hell that meant later. Not only are you taught a language, you take that language and morph it into a language of your own. This is very error prone, leads to you guessing based on context what you meant when you wrote some crazy combination of keys, and it requires countless hours of building your dictionary so the computer will recognize WAO as window, for example.

The marketing talk is that you can write 225 words per minute, but the reality is that you're writing 225 words per minute, and then spending quite a lot of time deciphering what you wrote, fixing typos, adding in grammar, and adding in formatting. This is all a pain in the ass, and in my mind makes it entirely unrealistic for someone such as a journalist or writer. In the case of programmers, I can't imagine how it would even work at all.

That's for the average guy. I think the project is also pretty foolish if their goal is to transform the industry. Stenography is a dead end in terms of a career. It's going to be automated. There's no reason for someone to have to sit and type what he or she hears using this ridiculous system. If they want to transform the industry, they should focus on making speech transcription software better, because that's where the future is. The companies in the market now who are selling stenographer software and equipment need to die because they're abusing their position of power and overcharging for their products, but this isn't the way to do it.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657741)

Doesn't speech-to-text obviate the need for court reporters?

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657797)

many courtrooms do not allow recording or electronic devices. thus, the courtroom sketches and transcribing of proceedings in realtime.

Re:Now this is funny. (3, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658105)

many courtrooms do not allow recording or electronic devices. thus, the courtroom sketches and transcribing of proceedings in realtime.

Except the court reporter is generally exempt from such rules. I used to be one. Most of the time the record is keyed real time. However you can't always get it all and be 100% every time. The recording is used to clean up the transcription after the fact.

The ban of recording devices is for the general public and reporters.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658909)

many courtrooms do not allow recording or electronic devices. thus, the courtroom sketches and transcribing of proceedings in realtime.

Last time I was in federal court in New York City, (a while ago), they let people take notes on laptops.

I was wondering whether by now they've given up on trying to ban smartphones too, like the museums did (for photos).

If you're sitting there with an iPhone or laptop, it's impossible for the court officers to know whether you're secretly recording the proceedings.

I suppose lawyers could be barred from doing it, because they wouldn't risk a judge's sanction or the possibility of getting disbarred.

Re:Now this is funny. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657803)

You really want to have juries looking back at statements and thinking, "Damn you Auto-Correct!"

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657869)

If it is as good as the software used for closed captioning the news, then sure why not? I mean, I am still trying to figure out what "republican nests" are and what they have to do with the story about Robin Williams but, hey....if its good enough for the deaf its good enough for kart right?

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658947)

Is the closed-captioned news created by software, or do they still have stenographers doing it?

In my understanding, transcription software like Dragon is acceptable for many purposes if it's trained on one voice, but it can't transcribe voices that it's not trained on. And Google messages is not too accurate and takes an enormous amount of cloud processing.

Is that still true? Or am I out of date?

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47659079)

Most closed-captioned TV is now done by a 'respeaker' resaying the words into speech recognition software. 90% accuracy means one word in 10 will be wrong. Speech recognition is non-deterministic and can't handle homonyms, proper nouns, etc. It also lags behind the original video, meaning the programme has moved on, sometimes with embarrassing consequences if the video is showing a grandma who saved a puppy from drowning but the respeaker is still captioning the previous story about a serial killer.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a month and a half ago | (#47662899)

Oh its terrible. If the sound is on so I can hear the story, its generally a good laugh. If the sound is off (like at the coffee shop I stop at on my way to work most days) then its maybe 2 out of 3 stories where I can even tell what they are talking about from CC text alone. It must be infuriating to try and watch the news for an actual deaf person.

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658995)

Transcription errors on the TV news might not have consequences other than humorous, but a deaf medical student needs to have complex vocabulary rendered accurately - if you've got hypoglycaemia you don't want to be treated for hyperglycaemia.

Re: Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658609)

Here in Australia those *things* aren't used at all AFAIK. Tribunals and courts burn a copy of the proceedings to CD to be transcribed - its relaxing way to earn some cash when not coding.
So yes, another american problem and a solely American market (hello world - oh I remember you guys).

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Hashable (3783053) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658659)

Apart from this argument: http://stenoknight.com/VoiceVe... [stenoknight.com] , I'd like to add that punctuation is not nearly as bad as people in this thread are making it out to be. That problem has effectively been solved on steno. Plover does a great job at converting thought to speech, and can work in a crowded area as well as in a quite office. Speech-to-text has none of these advantages.

Re:Now this is funny. (3, Interesting)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657775)

Yeah, I can't imagine who (in my admittedly small circle of friends) would really need or want this. It seems like it's great for transcribing speech, or any situation where you are trying to parse a stream of language and the rate of the stream isn't dictated by you. I don't really think WPM is the bottleneck for other endeavors. As a programmer, i just assume it's not really suited to all the punctuation in my favorite languages. More than that though, my typing speed isn't a bottleneck. The bottleneck is envisioning the idea and subsequently debugging the resulting code.

I'm not a writer, but i imagine that's similar. Is anyone really being held back from writing the next great american novel because they only type at 90 wpm? Or is it just that they don't really have a good idea.

Re:Now this is funny. (3, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657921)

Quite a few writers do 'stream-of-consciousness' writing and then go back and edit it... If we're lucky. :p

But even them I doubt really are planning to go to school to learn stenography.

More than that though, my typing speed isn't a bottleneck. The bottleneck is envisioning the idea and subsequently debugging the resulting code.

Sounds about right.

Is anyone really being held back from writing the next great american novel because they only type at 90 wpm?

Doubtful, these modern hipster authors are bragging that they pecked it out on a smartphone keyboard; and we're lucky if we don't have to read it in typical texting shorthand.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658407)

A friend of mine wrote a little tutorial thing called 2K to 10K [amazon.com] about increasing your word count as a writer. It's about properly planning what you intend to write, maximizing the output during your prime writing time, and getting excited about your writing. ("Drunk on writing" is a phrase in there that makes me giggle every time.)

Nowhere in the entire thing does she mention typing speed, at least not that I remember.

Re:Now this is funny. (3, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658205)

Typing a lot of wpm isn't the problem. It's picking the *right* words that slows you down.

Now this is funny. (1)

Gabriel Holmes (3783049) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658685)

This post deserves a thoughtful response, because I think it has the potential to give a lot of people the wrong impression about what Josh is going for. In fact I really have to wonder whether you even bothered to follow any of these links. 1. Mr. Lifton makes no claim that learning steno isn't hard. In fact, one motivation for developing low cost steno hardware and software (as well as education) is precisely because of its difficulty. Imagine if the cost of learning to ride a bike was upwards of $10,000 -- including the initial purchase, the cost of lessons, and ongoing maintenance. Biking would then be something that would only be worthwhile to an elite few, and there would be an alarmingly high failure rate. Happily, anyone can get a serviceable bike for $300 and immediately start commuting to work. And yet this is precisely what's missing from stenography today, and that's what makes this idea so revolutionary. With a lower barrier to entry, it won't matter that not everyone is able to make it to 180wpm. If they plateau, fine. At least they won't have blown their savings in the process. It will be worth it once you can steno as fast as you type -- then you'll be able to justify making the switch (no pun intended). 2 & 5 -- both statements about "the market." That it's small and shrinking. For starters, it's improbable that these are both true. If it's small, regression to the mean is likely. Second, you're presupposing that these guys won't make every effort to expand the market to more people. And lowering the costs of entry are meant to do exactly that: if people are able to buy these machines that become useful as soon as they're able to substitute them for their existing keyboards, and they're able to reach that point quickly, it's not a hard case to make. I think you might even be conflating two different things -- the market for this particular hardware and the market for court reporting and closed captioning. I think I've addressed the former adequately, and the latter is anything but a normal "market." It's a function of various state and federal regulations, to do with verbatim reporting requirements for court proceedings, administrative hearings, and meeting minutes as well as accessibility regulations like the Americans With Disabilities Act. 3 -- The fact that we've currently got an oligopoly is all the more reason to rock the boat. Nuff said there. 4 -- I assume you mean that the "requirement for support" from the aforementioned companies is super high. Again, Mr. Lifton's objective in making this open source hardware and software is to reduce those ongoing costs (and dependence on this tiny cartel of manufacturers). There's no reason to think he won't be successful in that endeavor. The current state of the industry reminds me a great deal of the classic "razors and blades" strategy -- rope people in on the razors, and charge an arm and a leg on the blades. Except that in this case, the "razors" cost a pretty penny, too.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Hashable (3783053) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658695)

None of the companies for steno are aiming at the average Joe. This machine is intended for regular people and works virtually anywhere a USB keyboard works. Lots of steno-typists can't type on their expensive machines at home. Plover changed this, and now this machine will lower the barrier of entry for people like you and me.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a month and a half ago | (#47659017)

If you get a list of the 30 or 100 most frequent words, and make unique 1- and 2-letter abbreviations for each one, you can type pretty damn fast. It get a little complicated to figure out unique abbreviations (do I use "t" for "to" or "the"?). It also gets complicated to figure out prefixes and suffixes (do I use "g" for "go" or for "ing"?).

You can even put them into auto-correct.

There was a company that wrote a small shorthand program for the qwerty keyboard. It was basically a text expansion program for a big vocabulary of common words. I forget the name.

They first sold it for $50, which was a reasonable price, and I meant to get it to try it out.

Then they raised the price to about $300, which was out of the impulse buy range.

Then they sued XyWrite with a patent claim for XyWrite's (obvious) auto-correct, so fuck them.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658873)

True. You sound like you know what you're talking about.

But as BitterOak said, there are other applications. I go to medical conferences. I take notes and write reports. Very often, I record a 1-hour lecture and transcribe the whole thing. I've always dreamed about having a cheap stenography machine, which would give me a rough transcript right there, either from a qwerty keyboard or from a stenotype keyboard, like the stenographers I see at court hearings. I type 70wpm, and 180wpm would be all I need. If it would take me 200 hours to get up to 180wpm, the learning time would be justified.

Actually, I thought the market is expanding. There are federal requirements for closed captioning, and they won't be able to do that with machine transcription in the immediate future.

Another big market is medical transcription (although that's a little easier for DragonDictate, since the since one doctor can dictate a report after training DragonDictate on his own voice).

One thing that's shrinking is the pay. In the old days, court stenographers made more than some lawyers. But they didn't just get it from skill. First, they had to be on good terms with the judges who would assign that work. Second, they sold transcripts to the lawyers on both sides in big cases for exorbitant page fees ($2 a page in the 1980s). So the top stenographers could make $80,000 or $100,000 a year. It was a great life.

The real problem for stenographers now is price competition from India.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Daniel Petersen (3783133) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660195)

I'm sure it's possible for some people, but I'd say that in general, it's going to take you well over 200 hours to get to 180 words per minute. I know people who spent, I don't know, I'll be conservative and say 10 hours a week and couldn't get to 180 after 2 years (520ish hours). In reality they were probably doing at least 20 hours a week.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Daniel Petersen (3783133) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660203)

Whoops, I meant 520 hours per year.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660279)

I dunno. I looked over the Wikipedia page for Stenotype and I didn't see anything that looked that difficult. It's a new keyboard with chorded keys, like the piano. I'd have to learn a big new vocabulary, but the abbreviations have a system. I never had any way to try it out without investing a couple of thousand dollars.

It seems as if you could create a stenotype keyboard on a tablet. I wonder if the Raven works on a tablet.

I learned Gregg shorthand without too much trouble, with probably 50 hours of applied work. Once I got to the point where it actually made my note-taking easier, it was easy from there. After I started using it, my speed and accuracy picked up.

Re:Now this is funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47659055)

1. True for court reporting, but many students could get acceptable speed for transcription of audio or video files, real-time transcription of lectures for hearing-impaired, and other uses. There's still a lot of audio-typing done in medical and legal fields.
2. The market for expensive steno machines is small. The market for cheap ones is larger. With a small up-front monetary investment, people will be more likely to 'give it a go' -- the Raspberry Pi has become very popular outside its primary application of a coding platform.
3. Yes, leading to high prices and lack of innovation. Aren't these good reasons for open-sourcing?
4. Don't know about that - but with the internet people can get so much more support for just about everything
5. Dispute that -- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. If that was all captioned it would be (a) accessible to hearing-impaired (b) searchable (c) machine-translatable. Legislation for improving access to education and services calls for more transcriptionists -- on her Stenoknight site Mirabai points out there are only about 300 qualified CART people for the whole of the USA. Speech recognition, note-taking and other methods aren't as good as CART, and more hearing-impaired students are going to demand access to education, particularly university education, in future.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

Vesuvius (14201) | about a month and a half ago | (#47659275)

Many moons ago I was in a steno school and can confirm that even a basic level of proficiency is a lot of work. It takes a lot of practice to get used to things like having the same letter on both sides of the keyboard (unmarked!), missing letters, umpteen rules for how to break up words and all the special patterns for common words and word endings. Often you have to press two keys with the same finger. I remember there was a concert pianist enrolled at the school that was on the fast track, but for normal people it's just plain difficult.

Re:Now this is funny. (1)

jittles (1613415) | about a month and a half ago | (#47662379)

Sorry I worked for a company that built Stenomachines and wrote software for Court Reporters. 1. Learning to write Steno is hard. It is very hard. A lot of full time students never break 180, 225 is what you need to graduate.

I've often wondered how fast I could type with a steno machine. When I was in college I used to do transcription for a law firm. I can burst up to 250WPM on a QWERTY keyboard and average about 170WPM. I would do full speed transcriptions for that law firm and got through a 6 month backlog of tapes in a couple of weeks. But I imagine that switching to the steno machine would be such a huge pain in the ass for me that I would completely lose my mind and give up and switch right back to the QWERTY keyboard. Same reason I never went with Dvorak.

Very useful in realtime transcribing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657659)

These sorts of things are incredibly useful for transcribers dealing with meetings, conferences and stuff like that.

I always wanted to write a chording script / program to make taking notes very easy, but that would be effort. (I done software development, what a waste of 2 years, I knew all but 4 of the classes, 2 of those were 2 languages I'd literally never use, Delphi and VB)

Outside of those, eh, they could be useful.
In a sense, tablet keyboards are sort of a hybrid approach, they offer suggestions as you type.
These are generally easier to learn because they are visual.
Would be great for those with disabilities if designed in the right way.
Single-hand chording is another thing I was going to make...uh... for reasons.

Plover (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657727)

No discussion of open source steno is complete without mentioning the excellent Plover program. If you're interested at all in steno, check it out:

http://plover.stenoknight.com/

Re:Plover (2)

plover (150551) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657945)

Damn. I'm just interested in plovers [slashdot.org] .

The new and improved buggy whip (3, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657739)

I'm sorry for being negative here, but listening to how stenography is "about to evolve" makes me laugh. In this day and age where every damn thing is captured on video and audio already, questioning the validity of a stenographer and the specialized equipment they require to do the exact same job isn't exactly an exercise in futility.

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657867)

This. I mean, it doesn't take an MIT PhD to see that...err, wait.

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658127)

Here are a bunch of reasons video and audio don't do the same exact thing as stenography (it's a six part series):

http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/03/how-to-speak-with-your-fingers.html
http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/04/writing-and-coding-with-steno.html
http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/05/ergonomic-argument.html
http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/06/mobile-and-wearable-computing.html
http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/06/raw-speed.html
http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/06/cart-court-and-captioning.html

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658397)

Seems to me that there's a whole new market there. Court stenography is less and less important, but there's a lot of new opportunities for transcription. Much of that video should be captioned or transcribed. There's a considerable market in having your video/audio transcribed so that it's searchable, or pasteable into your document, or whatnot.

I don't know how long that market will be open, since it's at least conceptually automatable, but for the moment the automated tools leave a lot to be desired. (I suspect that combining automated first drafts with manual corrections could be more profitable than transcribing, even with steno tools, but I don't really know.) For the moment, though, there may be some money to be made outside of courtrooms, and a tool that doubled your speed would double your income. (Not everybody will be able to achieve that, of course, but even a 10% raise would be a benefit many people would not turn up their nose at.)

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (1)

Hashable (3783053) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658631)

Actually, this machine is more aimed at regular people than steno graphers. If you type every day in your job, is it not good to invest time in learning something ergonomic? I've switched keyboard layouts before and to be honest, learning steno has not been particularly more difficult. If anything, it's much more enjoyable to type in chords than with individual key presses.

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (1)

Daniel Petersen (3783133) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660215)

For what it's worth, I'm not sure if it is more ergonomic. Typing on a steno machine began to hurt my wrists. I've never had a problem typing on my keyboard, though.

Re:The new and improved buggy whip (1)

germansausage (682057) | about a month and a half ago | (#47662225)

All broadcast TV in North America must be captioned. Pre-recorded shows can be captioned in advance. Anything live, news, sports, award shows, current events shows etc are all captioned live and in real-time using steno. While you are watching the show, someone with a steno machine is watching the same broadcast and transcribing it live. The steno goes to a computer that translates it to English, and then by modem or vpn to the studio's caption encoder and on to the tv. A small but thriving industry.

time better spent coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657745)

Your time better spent coding and learning new APIs rather than learning to type quickly.

Re:time better spent coding (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47661373)

Beyond a certain point, I agree. There's a world of difference in readability between code written by people who are comfortable typing and people who type very slowly. If typing is a chore, there's always a temptation to use very short variable and function names and avoid comments. If typing a comment is something you can do while you're thinking about what the next bit of code should do, then you end up with much more readable code because the tendency is to write a description of what the code should do (and, importantly, why) in a comment, and then write the code.

hum (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657799)

Couldn't you just take any keyboard and write macros using http://www.autohotkey.com/ [autohotkey.com] and do the same thing?
Neither of his demo units are functional?
He has no idea how to even use the thing he's invented?!?!
I don't think I'll be investing any time soon. :-)

Re:hum (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657853)

He has no idea how to even use the thing he's invented?!?!

To be fair, the engineers behind the x-1 had chuck yeager use the thing they invented. I'm not sure how many could actually fly a plane.

Re:hum (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658859)

He has no idea how to even use the thing he's invented?!?!

To be fair, the engineers behind the x-1 had chuck yeager use the thing they invented. I'm not sure how many could actually fly a plane.

But there were at least pilots involved in the design process, and at the presentation to the airforce. They didn't sit in a booth, wave at the jet and say "Well, I have no idea how to fly... and that one there is missing a wing... but I've seen a bird before... anyway, you guys have pilots right? Like lots of them?"

Re:hum (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657979)

Well when you are trying to maximize everything to within a tiny tolerance, no. The position, size, resistance, everything has to be precisely right.

Re:hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47659111)

C
He has no idea how to even use the thing he's invented?!?!

He's a hardware guy. The firmware for the microcontroller is already fairly advanced, and Plover for use on a computer is stable and usable.

novena (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657805)

I see he's got a Novena laptop on the left there.

Stenography for CODING? LOL! (3, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657811)

Take a quick look at the Wikipedia entry for stenotype [wikipedia.org] to see why using a stenographic keyboard for coding is such a laughable idea.

Stenography relies heavily on a highly-trained stenographer to do the recording, and on a similarly highly-trained individual to turn the record into recognizable English. Trying to use that for writing code, where you don't have the redundancy and patterns of English, is a bit like trying to use Swype to transcribe telephone numbers. Wrong tool for the task, period.

Re:Stenography for CODING? LOL! (2)

pseudofrog (570061) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658003)

Stenography for coding:

Ta-da! [youtube.com]

Re:Stenography for CODING? LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658193)

Coding already has code completion. I can type pri stat rea str foo = "bar"; and get private static readonly string foo = "bar"; already.

I'd also pay good money if Microsoft would add type-checking to Intellisense, too. When I'm assigning to an object of type X, why do you not show me possible things that return type X (or its derivatives) first in the Intellisense list? Arghble!

Re:Stenography for CODING? LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658241)

Good for may be for COBOL and Java?

Re:Stenography for CODING? LOL! (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about a month and a half ago | (#47659153)

Never used a ZX Spectrum keyboard?

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657831)

Looks like a solution in search of a problem.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657931)

Looks like a wannabe entrepreneur in search of money.

i thought it said "steganography" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657845)

and i was thinking "how the hell can you type steganographically even faster than normal?

Easy claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47657851)

Well, you CAN learn to run a four-minute mile in these athletic shoes I made from some string and two-by-fours. You just have to practice hard enough...

Time for a Race (2)

psyclone (187154) | about a month and a half ago | (#47657951)

Race Qwerty vs Dvorak vs Steno at Type Racer [typeracer.com] .

Clearly some people type much faster than a measly 120 WPM (as TFA [openstenoproject.org] indicated) using a qwerty layout.

Re:Time for a Race (1)

Hashable (3783053) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658607)

Sure they do, but as someone who has hit his wall at 100 words per minute on the Norman lay out (my favorite), I think that steno will help me overcome my limit. See, it's very uncommon to reach above 120 words per minute on a regular keyboard, but 160 isn't uncommon for steno graphers after about a year.

False excitement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47658071)

I was very exited by this story until I noticed that it is about Stenography instead of Steganography [wikipedia.org] . I want a high-speed steganographic keyboard!

Programming (1)

sls1j (580823) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658077)

This would be an utter disaster for programming. I think I'll keep my QUERTY.

&^*308cbpBO)780i76D$^*.//.we0-fw (1)

pigiron (104729) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658427)

q898(^*$*EUIDXEZ{Pm;vd80eGUIOIO:>P{
{}.

det6767ir6768P)I*)&%B(()_}K>?YIBV$WCJ!!!!!

Re:&^*308cbpBO)780i76D$^*.//.we0-fw (1)

Rashdot (845549) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658847)

Please check your medication.

Re:&^*308cbpBO)780i76D$^*.//.we0-fw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47662281)

He was actually just training his stenography.

I one tried a 'Hello World' program in 225 wpm (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a month and a half ago | (#47658553)

It worked, but came out as 'hell it suks', whereupon I got a fit and almost choked,
and a subsequent effort at 10 wpm was spent to correct the typos. At that time I felt
a dunce, and I had a program that didn't do much of anything surprising anymore.

Not too excited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47659171)

Another hipster pipe (bong) dream that will go nowhere.

Morse code (2)

marciot (598356) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660193)

I'm working on a machine to bring Morse code into the digital age. Please back my kickstarter campaign.

Thank you.

Blaring omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47660585)

It is still missing "any key".

Misread as steganographic keyboard (1)

noidentity (188756) | about a month and a half ago | (#47660823)

Awww, I read this as a SteGanographic keyboard, i.e. one that hides as you type. I thought the 225 WPM was due to all the noise words it added or something.

Stenotype language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47661063)

In order to write that fast you need to learn stenotype language...it's like learning a foreign language. We write in phrases and it takes years to learn and then get up to 225. It's not a matter of "typing." It's actually not typing. It's thinking in another language, stroking in words and phrases and building a dictionary so it's translated into English.

VeyBoard, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47661427)

Interestingly nobody bothers to connect this stuff to the Veyboard, previously known as Velotype, which would be much more suitable for developers (and even then; give me my Qwerty anyday, network effects mean that having my qwerty speed at high levels enables me to type at those high levels almost everywhere...)

Lecture notes (1)

SuperElectric (754754) | about a month and a half ago | (#47661949)

I think we can all relax about the throwaway example he tossed out there about coding with steganography. We can all see how it's a bad idea, so the 20 people who've made that same point now can rest assured that their unique insight is appreciated.

I would've loved to be able to do ~180 wpm when taking notes in university. For me, notes will always be far better than a recording because they're much easier to skim than video. Also the act of noting increases retention, and you can choose what is worth writing down and insert add your own thoughts or questions live, rather than by reviewing the video later (which, given the time crunch of university, usually doesn't/can't happen). This is why I still take notes, even while also recording audio to catch the sentences that I inevitably can't transcribe in time.

If there was some note-taking app that let you type steganographically, draw on the notes, and insert photos (e.g. of the whiteboard) in-line as you take them, that honestly would be a killer app that I'd invest time learning steganography for. (The time would come out of my Duolinguo budget; sorry France! :P)

Re:Lecture notes (1)

SuperElectric (754754) | about a month and a half ago | (#47661963)

Whoops! steganography -> stenography

Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47662941)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorded_keyboard

This was invented **literally** alongside the mouse at Xerox PARC. Talk about old fucking news.

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