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Plover demo, impromptu session by Drew Neil at Vim London

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    DREW: I actually have a Filco Majestouch keyboard,
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    so if anyone wants to try it out,
    I've got it set up here.
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    In fact...
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    Shall we do a demo on the big screen?
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    So you can see what it looks like?
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    EMILE: Yeah, if you want, yeah.
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    DREW: You won't be able to see what's happening,
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    like, what keys I'm pressing,
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    but you'll see how quickly text comes out.
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    It's mental.
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    Looks lovely, doesn't it?
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    >> Do you take that to Starbucks?
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    DREW: All right, let's see.
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    All right.
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    Also, I'm using TextEdit,
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    because if you're in normal mode in Vim,
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    with steno, it's just like...
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    you know, if you put a beginner in front of Vim,
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    random stuff happens.
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    But you'll understand when you see this.
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    Okay, so I'm just going to make this...
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    Can I make this full screen or something?
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    Or just make it big?
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    Make it really big.
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    Okay, so this is --
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    I'm running Plover,
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    and this is one of those keyboards
    that does n-key rollover.
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    So I'm just going to --
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    tell you what, I'll just mash the keys.
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    So everything that comes out in uppercase
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    is basically a chord
    that doesn't have a designated word.
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    So, like, there are --
    there's a Plover dictionary,
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    and anything -- when I mash some keys,
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    and random all-caps comes out,
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    it means there's no word defined to that.
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    So here,
    I'm going to start a new line.
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    If I use both my index fingers,
    that's like using the return key.
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    So...
    New line.
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    And let's see.
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    The...
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    Um...
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    (laughter)
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    The cat.
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    Oh, no.
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    That's not cat.
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    The sat.
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    The cat sat.
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    On?
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    How do I do on?
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    That's going to be...
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    On.
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    The...
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    Mat.
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    That would be M-A-T.
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    >> It's so fast.
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    (laughter)
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    DREW: Yeah, it's incredible, isn't it?
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    So that was...
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    That was one stroke for each word.
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    But each stroke involved, like,
    three or four keys
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    being pressed at the same time
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    but the way that, like, stenographers look on it,
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    you might be pressing ten keys at once,
    but that's one stroke.
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    As far as they're concerned.
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    They can do maybe
    five strokes a second.
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    Which sounds like nothing,
    if you're typing at 110 words per minute on qwerty.
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    You're probably doing round about
    10 keystrokes a second.
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    But five strokes per second
    is actually quite slow,
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    but text just comes out, like,
    really quickly.
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    So...
    Let's see.
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    Does anyone want to try this?
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    I'm slightly...
    So basically, like, there's loads of single keys
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    that will output a word.
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    Like, all of the shortest,
    most common words,
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    just come out with a single keystroke.
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    So all of these words --
    that's like one keystroke.
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    >> So does every word have to have a chord, then?
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    DREW: Yeah, every word has a chord.
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    Huh?
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    >> Single letters for (inaudible) Vim?
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    DREW: Okay, so single letters.
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    Right, the way it works --
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    you've got the left hand.
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    It can spell the entire alphabet.
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    And the right hand can spell
    only the parts of the alphabet that it needs to.
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    And the thumbs deal with the vowels.
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    And basically,
    you form a word
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    by putting together a consonant,
    a vowel, and a consonant.
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    And in the English language,
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    English words aren't symmetrical.
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    There are certain patterns that appear a lot
    at the end of a word,
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    and there are certain patterns that appear a lot
    at the start of a word.
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    And so the left hand
    has a completely different layout to the right hand,
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    but both are capable of typing out
    most of the alphabet.
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    But you can type all of the alphabet
    with the right hand.
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    So if I hold down the asterisk key,
    I can spell the whole alphabet.
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    I'll just demonstrate some of it.
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    So I can go a, b, c.
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    You know, this is pretty slow.
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    But basically, you never have to do this.
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    Oh, that's wrong.
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    You never have to do this,
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    because you've always got something --
    you've always got a word.
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    It's only have you have to add
    a new entry to the diction
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    that you actually have to --
    they call it fingerspelling.
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    So yeah, but basically --
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    somebody pick a one-syllable word,
    and I'll type it.
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    >> Dog.
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    DREW: What was that? Dog.
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    Okay, so with my left hand,
    it would be --
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    this finger presses two keys at once,
    and then I use the O key with my left thumb,
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    and then G.
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    It sounds crazy.
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    It really does sound crazy, doesn't it?
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    Oh, I spelled the word dodge instead.
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    It's funny,
    because everything turns out being phonetic,
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    and whereas in qwerty, it's very easy
    to misspell a word,
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    in steno, instead,
    what happens is a word comes out
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    that sounds like the word you meant.
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    It's really funny.
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    Okay, so I'll try again at dog.
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    I think I did that wrong, actually.
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    Okay, dog.
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    It's pretty mental.
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    >> It's like the T9 dictionary
    in old cell phones, isn't it?
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    DREW: Like which dictionary?
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    >> Predictive text.
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    DREW: Yeah, I suppose it is, yeah.
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    It's a bit like that.
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    Yeah, but basically the way you would
    make it work in Vim --
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    you would have to define a custom dictionary
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    with lots of chords
    representing the Vim commands.
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    >> So emacs.
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    DREW: It kind of becomes emacs, yeah.
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    In fact, you could even create, like,
    an emacs dictionary, and a Vim dictionary,
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    so that the same chords
    did the same thing in the different editors.
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    You could create a steno Rosetta Stone-type situation.
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    >> It's perfect for pairing stations,
    when people use Vim and emacs.
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    >> Yeah, how about that?
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    So if anyone wants to try that out,
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    you're welcome to.
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    It's pretty mental,
    just mashing the keys
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    and seeing what comes out.
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    I wasn't quite expecting so much
    random nonsense to come out there.
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    But I'll just try that again.
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    I'm going to press far fewer keys this time.
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    So you can imagine --
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    if I actually knew what I was doing,
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    I would compose text very, very quickly.
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    >> So when is your next book out?
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    DREW: Actually, there's a really good community
    around Plover,
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    and there's a book being written right now.
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    I learned about this stuff about a month ago,
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    and there was maybe three chapters of the book,
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    and now there's about seven chapters,
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    and I'm dying for the next chapter to come out,
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    because I'm stuck.
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    But it's really good stuff.
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    It's really worth trying out.
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    So if anyone wants to try it out,
    you're welcome.
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    Because it won't work with the
    built-in keyboard on your laptop, probably,
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    because it won't be n-key rollover.
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    >> So next month we get the demonstration with Vim?
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    DREW: I don't know.
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    That's a lot to ask.
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    Maybe, maybe.
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    One of these days.
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    I would love to get this working with Vim,
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    but it's crazy talk now.
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    So you can see why now
    if each one of these words is a single keystroke,
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    if you were in normal mode,
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    all sorts of crazy shit can happen.
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    So like I said, I think random
    just doesn't even come close
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    to describing a beginner steno operating Vim.
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    >> Drew, how long have you been typing with steno?
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    DREW: How long?
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    >> Have you been typing with it?
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    DREW: Oh, I heard about it a month ago.
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    So occasionally I sit down
    and try and actually do some freeform writing,
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    and it's quite funny.
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    I don't know if I have an example here.
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    No, I can't pull one out.
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    But yeah.
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    >> Would you second the claim
    that we heard,
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    that in six months, you'll be typing 160 words a minute?
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    DREW: I think you would have to be studying
    pretty hard to get there.
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    I'm doing...
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    So okay, comparing with, like, the learning curve
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    for qwerty or Dvorak, or any of those sorts of things,
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    with those, you learn the alphabet,
    and then you can type any word,
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    just as long as you can spell that word.
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    Right?
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    But learning steno feels to me
    a lot more like learning a foreign language.
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    In that you actually have to learn vocabulary.
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    But that said, the basic rules,
    this idea of the left hand
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    deals with the first part of the syllable,
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    the right hand deals with the closing consonant,
    and the thumbs do the middle bit --
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    oh, and by the way, multi-syllabic words
    just end up being one stroke per syllable --
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    once you've kind of internalized those rules,
    and you can find the keys,
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    it's amazing.
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    It's amazing how much of the English language
    you can just guess,
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    and often words --
    if there are different ways that you can pronounce it,
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    there are different chords
    that would produce the same word.
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    So -- but then the thing is
    that all of the most commonly used words --
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    and again, this is a little bit by learning a language.
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    You learn all of the rules of French grammar,
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    and then you spend the rest of the time
    learning all the exceptions,
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    and it kind of feels like that with Plover.
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    It's like...
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    Well, this book that I'm reading
    isn't finished yet.
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    So I've learned all of the rules
    that have been written about so far.
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    And there's gaps in my knowledge,
    and I'm looking forward to filling those gaps,
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    but I've still got a lot of exceptions to learn,
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    and of course I've still got to get my fingers
    actually finding the right words.
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    So...
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    >> And how good is it for writing code?
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    DREW: Apparently it's brilliant.
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    Shall I put up some videos of Mirabai Knight?
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    She's, like, the creator of...
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    >> If you type def in Python,
    then I'm thinking the English dictionary
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    is going to write deaf, D-E-A-F, not def.
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    So you type def...
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    >> What about C or Ruby or...
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    >> Without spaces.
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    DREW: Can you see that?
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    You won't be able to hear it.
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    That's too small, isn't it?
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    You can just about see where it's...
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    Okay, so this is nice,
    because they're actually showing the chords
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    that are being typed.
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    This is slowed down.
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    So that's the chord for demonstration.
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    One key for of, because it's such a common word.
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    Plover is six keystrokes.
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    Or six keys, but it's one stroke.
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    This is massively slowed down.
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    Look at this.
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    It's like...
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    Mirabai Knight, who's demonstrating here,
    she founded The Plover Project,
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    and she can type at 240 words per minute.
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    And that's what she does professionally.
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    She does realtime transcription for, like,
    accessibility things.
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    Pretty amazing.
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    >> Are there fewer times
    when you're reaching with your little fingers
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    around the keyboard?
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    Because that's generally considered
    the emacs RSI thing.
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    So is it just that your fingers are more compact?
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    And you're just...
    Rather than just lots of stretching
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    to shift, control...
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    DREW: Yeah, I think one of the reasons
    emacs -- you know, they talk about emacs pinky.
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    Most of the time, when you're doing a chord,
    on all modern software,
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    you're holding down some combination of
    command, control, all the, shift,
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    which are all operated with the pinkies.
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    Maybe the thumbs.
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    Combination of pinky and thumbs,
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    and then maybe one finger pressing a letter,
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    whereas this chordal input method
    puts equal weight on all the fingers.
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    Yeah, it maybe even puts more weight
    on the stronger fingers.
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    It's very ergonomically designed.
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    There is an example of Mirabai
    typing Python code.
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    So I'm just going to see if I can find that.
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    And it's really fast.
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    Sorry?
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    This was the presentation that I first watched,
    which is worth checking out.
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    Ah, where is it now?
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    Let's try again.
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    Plover...
    Python...
    Video.
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    Let's try that.
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    Ah, here we go.
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    I can Google.
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    Here we go.
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    So that's realtime, basically.
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    It's pretty much one stroke per idea.
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    >> These are all regular words.
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    DREW: So it's a really quick demo.
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    >> How about snake case or camel case?
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    DREW: There's a rule for that.
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    So you know I was saying you can fingerspell.
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    The left hand can do the whole alphabet,
    and then you hold down one modifier key,
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    with the right hand, and you get letters.
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    And if you hold down a different key,
    you get capital letters,
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    and then there's a particular chord that says --
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    make the next word camel case.
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    So start with an uppercase,
    and then don't insert a space afterwards.
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    Oh, another thing about steno
    is you don't have to worry about spaces.
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    It, like, automatically detects word boundaries,
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    which is one area --
    it's the kind of thing I'm stuck with, at the moment,
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    because I often end up having words
    joined together, or not joined together,
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    that shouldn't happen like that.
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    Yeah.
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    Can I show you one more thing?
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    I think this is quite cool.
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    When you're using something like this.
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    So I'm going to type the word silent,
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    which is two syllables.
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    But the first syllable is sigh,
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    and sigh is itself a word.
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    So watch this.
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    If I say -- forgive me,
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    while I take a moment to compose this.
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    So that was one stroke for sigh,
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    and then if I do a stroke for lent,
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    lent is also a word,
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    but silent is a word.
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    So I'm going to say...
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    L-E-N-T.
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    That should be good.
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    See what happened there?
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    It swallowed up the word sigh,
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    and changed it,
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    changed it into silent.
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    So that is something you'll often see,
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    if you watch somebody typing with steno.
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    You see words appearing,
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    and then being swallowed up,
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    and sort of consumed by the subsequent characters.
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    It's really cool when you see it happen.
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    It sort of looks like an artifact,
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    but then somehow I think it's kind of cool.
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    >> What happens if you want to say sigh
    and lent in the same...
Title:
Plover demo, impromptu session by Drew Neil at Vim London
Video Language:
English

English subtitles

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