Gearing up for steno

Okay, so, to recap… I went to PyCon, got to hang out with some of the realtime captioners, and got hooked on steno.

The conference was wrapping up. Where would I go from here?

Well, before leaving the conference, I asked Mirabai and some others if they thought this was something that people could actually pick up and use for coding. To be honest, I was a little scared about what the answer would be. Much to my amazement, the answer was an emphatic “Yes!” It was another unbelievable moment. It’s not every day that a pro tells you a new skill is just waiting for you.

If you’re interested, you can actually see for yourself what it looks like for a developer to code in steno – check it out: coding in steno.

Before I headed home, I was already looking into getting a steno machine that I could practice on. But that’s the thing: where do you go if you want to get started with steno?

Well, one fantastic resource is… the steno community! There’s a pretty active Discord server for Plover that hosts a rich community of makers, tinkerers, and hobbyists that have come up with all kinds of steno boards that you can use.

Here’s the board that I bought while still at the conference (that’s right; I couldn’t even wait until I got back home to buy a board 😄) – it’s called the Georgi, one of many killer boards by Jeremy Bernhardt:

stenoing at Coava

After a few months of practicing steno, I bought a second board that looked like something I could use while traveling – the TinyMod, a stellar board by Charley Shattuck:

TinyMod

Both boards have been awesome. Love ‘em both. 😎 Here are some things that I enjoy about each board:

Georgi:

  • keys are super light
  • split keyboard – gives you a lot of flexibility when trying to find an ergonomic setup
  • all around beautiful board (has an amazing silk screen on the back)
  • has a Qwerty mode if you want to switch back to a traditional board at any point!

TinyMod:

  • board is a single unit – makes it a lot easier to tote around when traveling
  • keys require more force to activate (makes the board a bit more forgiving if you like to rest your hands on the board)
  • another solid board with a beautiful design

Both boards have been vetted by a pro and received high marks! Here are links to both reviews:

For more information on boards that are supported by Plover check out this page.

Its pretty incredible to have sturdy, well-designed boards at reasonable prices come out of the maker community. I’m extremely grateful to have these available (Honestly, not sure where I’d even start looking to get a board if these weren’t around!) If you’ve been thinking about getting started with steno, I definitely recommend checking them out!