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Back at it...

Updates on current speeds and frustration levels

Moderator: stenoknight

jgrams
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:45 pm

Back at it...

Postby jgrams » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:40 pm

I worked on this for 20 days, from June 13th through July 2nd. Made myself a scrolling drill thing so I could see some lookahead. Got all the basic consonants and vowels down, at about 20-25 strokes per minute. Then started trying to type actual text and got frustrated with the dictionary being inconsistent and not the way I wanted to think about things, so I set it aside.

Picked it up again four days ago. Been drilling just the three-finger words (left-consonant/vowel/right-consonant), and I hadn't lost much. I'm up to about 33 strokes per minute, and today it's really starting to feel automatic: with most of them I don't have to visualize the chord, finger it, and *then* stroke it; it's starting to be a single motion. And the trouble spots are the ones that I *know* I've trained my fingers to do wrong...stupid stupid. I know from being a piano player that it's way more efficient to drill at a speed where you can do it 100% correctly, but...

I just ran across Thomas Thurman's steno practice page. That's pretty sweet. I've set up my drill widget with a bunch of word sets that use particular sounds, but the number of combinations explodes pretty quickly. I think tonight I'll try playing with some scripts again: if I can auto-classify a few thousand words by which steno sounds they use and hook that up to parts of speech, then I can make a nonsense sentence generator that lets you drill a particular set of steno sounds. That would be sweet. Hmm. And my drill widget doesn't have the thing where it shows the stroke for the next word, but that would be trivial to add.

--Josh

jgrams
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:45 pm

Re: Back at it...

Postby jgrams » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:49 am

Added I and the vertical consonants: D-, B-, L-, and -N. Back at 33 WPM at nearly 98% accuracy. I think that's going to be a general principle for me, to hit those targets before moving on. 96% accuracy is low enough that I still find myself training in uncertainty and wrong moves. But 98% definitely feels like it's just the occasional error. And 33 WPM isn't an outrageous speed, but it's fast enough that it has to be at least partly automatic. So I think that's a good speed threshold for measuring "have I freed up enough brain cells to start learning something new?"

I've spent some time on my Python scripts. I decided to do some more work on my word sets first, and postpone the nonsense sentence generator. My scripts are currently taking the SCOWL level 35 wordlist, matching that up against the CMU pronouncing dictionary (which removes about 7000 words), computing ordinals based on the word counts from the Google trillion-word web corpus as extracted by Peter Norvig, collecting all the Plover strokes for each word and attempting to convert them to pseudo-steno for readability, then dumping that out to a file. Those word counts are a little wonky from being a web corpus (e.g. "information" and "search" are way up at the top): I should probably go back to using the ones from Martin's autodidict, which IIRC are from the American National Corpus?

The pseudo-steno conversion is buggy. I have to work on that. And there's some overlap, so I probably have to get the pronunciation involved to do a good job. But the leftmost-longest match would be a good start, and for some reason it's not even getting that right. So from there I've been manually grabbing the canonical strokes and putting them into my drill word-sets. In another few days I should have a respectable set of words that I can filter based on which pseudo-steno elements you know. Then I'll go back and add parts of speech and mess with sentence generation.

stenoknight
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Re: Back at it...

Postby stenoknight » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:32 pm

Ooh, a nonsense sentence generator is extremely exciting!! Can't wait to see it in action!

jgrams
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Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:45 pm

Re: Back at it...

Postby jgrams » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:47 am

Bah. Building up practice word sets by hand is taking much longer than I had hoped. And I haven't managed to automate it yet. And I got distracted by adding a timer and an accuracy report to my drill page and started on a stroke display. Still, it's coming along.

As for actual steno practice, I'm slowly adding the sounds back in. I have most of the left-hand ones, a few of the right-hand ones, and...hmm. I guess I haven't really worked on the vowels. But I think another week should see me through the sounds and ready to try writing again. Then we'll see if that's less frustrating this time around.

jgrams
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:45 pm

Re: Back at it...

Postby jgrams » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:03 pm

Still being lazy about building new exercises, so I have out-run the material I have. So I'm getting sloppy about practicing because it's kind of boring. Still, it's starting to feel very solid. Probably it's good to drill the sounds to death. 35 WPM at 97% accuracy is fairly comfortable. In fact the biggest problem I have is remembering to keep paying attention and not getting sloppy. Still haven't done the rarest sounds: G-, X-, and -J, although I pretty much know where they are.

I have been slowly working through my pseudo-steno dictionary manually selecting strokes that I like for the most popular words. Adding those to the 800+ words that I have for drilling particular sounds...and it's a respectable number. So I need to find a dictionary to match them up to parts of speech, and then I should be able to finally generate some nonsense syllables. Definitely going to try to get that going in the next few days.

I'm starting to see why key weight is such a big deal: I was drilling J- Q- V- and Y- words the other day and my wrist was starting to feel it after 15 minutes. But the Zalman has a long stroke and fairly heavy keys. Instead of drilling, I've spent a bunch of time working through the design of a steno writer. Yesterday I had the insight that maybe I could ditch the switches. If I put conductive pads on the bottom of the levers, and etch contact pads on the board...that would save almost $6 in electronic parts, and the time to solder 25 switches. So I'm going to grab some graphite powder and mix it into some silicon caulk and see if it's conductive enough for that purpose. I also finished working out the fan-out for the levers yesterday. So once I work out the vertical profiles so they don't hit the pivots, I'll be ready to try building the mechanical part.

charles.shattuck
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:27 am

Re: Back at it...

Postby charles.shattuck » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:35 pm

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

jgrams
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:45 pm

Re: Back at it...

Postby jgrams » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:08 am

Sweet! I can almost use this for actual typing! I have about 31 hours into it and on my current drill I just got 38 WPM. I still don't know a bunch of the common words that only have briefs, but other than that...

I was looking at commercial options for learning typing, and the consensus seemed to be that you can learn the basic keyboard in about 15 hours and be able to type at 10-15 WPM, and then another 20 hours will get you to about 35-40 WPM (35 hours total). So if I can maintain my current 30+ WPM speeds from drills, and get to where I can write normal text in, say, another 10 hours, that's surprisingly close to the time to learn a normal keyboard. Cool!

I haven't done anything about the hardware, as I have been working on a collaborative programming project with a couple other guys, and have been putting most of my spare time into that instead.

Also, I wrote this whole thing in Plover, and it only took me about 25 minutes. Very cool.


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