Jumping into steno (Part One)

Before I left for the 2019 PyCon conference, I remember telling myself that I would take some truly excellent notes to bring back to my co-workers at Ansible. I arrived at the first talk, eager to start jotting down as many details of the talk that I could. The speaker launched into their talk and I, likewise, took off taking notes as quickly as I could.

Things went well for about the first half of the talk, but after that my hands were begging me for a break. I went on to the rest of the talks that day knowing that I couldn’t capture the level of detail that I wanted with Dvorak at 80-90 WPM.

I got back to my hotel room with the nagging feeling that there must be a better way of capturing information in real-time. Away I went to the trusty internet to find the answer I knew had to be out there.

After wandering around for a while, unsure of what I was even looking for, I eventually came across something called shorthand. These were systems for fast hand-writing. Close, but not exactly what I was looking for. Then I found it: stenography.

I had seen this before; I remembered watching Matlock, the detective, on television, presenting his case in the courtroom, and seeing the court reporter sitting up by the judge, quietly doing the impossible…capturing every single word in real-time. I remember puzzling about this when I was young and earnestly concluding that it must be impossible. (After all, they were hardly typing, and the machine they were using seemed to be missing an awful lot of keys.)

So, wait. This stuff was real?!

It was real. It was all gloriously real. And damn, that was pretty exciting.

To be continued…