Monday, April 16, 2012

CART Problem Solving: Lag

CART Problem Solving Series

Sitting Apart
Handling Slides
Classroom Videos
Superscript and Subscript
Schlepping Gear
Late Hours
Expensive Machines
Communicating Sans Steno
Cash Flow
Test Nerves
Speech Recognition, Part I
Speech Recognition, Part II
Speech Recognition, Part III
Speech Recognition, Part IV

CART PROBLEM: There's too much delay between when a word is written and when it appears onscreen.

If you read The Plover Blog, you'll have seen today's post about the updated Windows version. This means, among many other exciting things, that I can use Plover as a monitoring system for my steno output when my clients are sitting too far away to read comfortably from their screens. Unlike systems like StreamText (which charge per minute) and Bridge (which, in my experience, are unreliable and prone to freezing the entire connection -- client computer and monitoring computer alike), Plover runs on a completely separate connection that has no effect on my client's connection. I can turn it off and on with impunity and never affect what my client views on their screen. This is a big deal. Plover's still not quite at the stage where it can completely take over from Eclipse, my proprietary steno software, but it's definitely advanced enough to be very useful as a monitoring system. One of its best features is that unlike all the other steno software on the market, it has a length-based stroke buffer rather than a time-based stroke buffer, so there's absolutely no lag between when I write a word and when it appears in its active window.

Proprietary steno software is always written with court reporters in mind, and CART functionality tends to be put in as an afterthought. Lawyers don't care if there's a 1.5 second delay between when something is said and when it appears on the screen, and sometimes court reporters are grateful for the time difference between what they see on their screen with pending translation display turned on (though they still have to read through lots of ugly metacharacters) and what the lawyers see on their realtime screens, since it allows them to correct any errors they might have made before the lawyers can spot them. But CART is a very different business. In order for CART to be truly useful to our clients, the text output has to be as smooth and instantaneous as possible. There's inevitably going to be some delay built in; it takes time for the provider to hear and write the words at one end, and it takes time for the client to read and comprehend the words on the other end. But even a small additional delay added on can mean unnecessary frustration and embarrassment. When a professor asks one of my clients a question and they pause to let the words appear on the screen, each tiny fraction of a second can diminish the professor's estimation of my client's intelligence, competence, or attentiveness. It's not rational and it's not fair, but it's a fact, and I think it's important to minimize it as much as humanly possible.

Since I can't yet use Plover in all my daily work, what do I do? I certainly don't want to make them read through the metacharacters. So I turn pending translation display off, and at every pause in speech, no matter how tiny, I invoke the {FLUSH} command, which I write "TPHR-RB". This manually dumps the buffer and avoids the 1.5 second delay. I just looked at my dictionary statistics, and it tells me that I've written {FLUSH} over 1.1 million times and counting. 1.1 million wasted keystrokes. (Sometimes instead of {FLUSH} I'll write STPH-B instead, which roughly translates to "press the right arrow key" and accomplishes the same thing. I've written that about 105,000 times.) It's so annoying that I've got to slam on the flush stroke pretty much every sentence I write, but it's the only way to give my clients truly instant text output. I've asked the developers of Eclipse if they can include a pending translation display without the messy markup and line jumping, but they've told me it's impossible. I've just got to keep working on making Plover completely functional, and then I'll be able to finally throw away that silly superfluous flush command for good.


  1. I, too have this problem. Especially because the class I'm CARTing right now is a math class where Q&A between the teacher and the students (doing problems on the board) take up most of the class session.

    Sometimes the teacher would ask a question and my student missed all but the last part (the most important usually) and is just staring at my screen waiting for the translation to come out.

    Even with flushing it's still slow enough that by the time the student gets the message, is able to process it, and has an answer, someone across the room already blurted it out.

    My student actually preferred I turn ON the pending translation display so that even though the ugly metasymbols appear, it is near instantaneous. She said the delay would bother her more.

    Can't wait 'til Plover is playing in the big leagues. I love how much cleaner and less "clunky" -- if that's the right word -- the translation looks as compared to Eclipse.

  2. Stan: Yeah, I had one student who preferred to read through the metasymbols too. She wasn't happy about them, but she found them preferable to lag, even with me sending flush strokes at every possible opportunity. Gotta get Plover just a little bit more built up and then I'll switch over forever and never look back.

  3. You and me both :D.
    We just need super and subscript support, on-the-fly globalling, and what else? Output to StreamText or some other remote viewing platform?

    So currently, does Plover always just match the longest entry for a given string of steno strokes?

  4. On-the-fly globaling is the big one. Multiple dictionary support would be good too. Plover doesn't need to handle superscript or subscript; just use a word processor that supports it and use Plover to send the necessary commands. I guess being able to output to CaseView protocol might be helpful so that people could use Streamtext, but it might be just as effective to use a free web-based text editor with realtime refresh like Etherpad or even Google Docs. So it's basically just the globaling and a few little fixes like better orthography for word endings. Then we'll be set.

    Yep, longest entry, no time-based buffer required. Beautifully simple, isn't it? But because all proprietary software is based on the old time-based legacy system and the companies have no incentive to rewire all their old code to get rid of it, Plover is the only one in the game that offers truly instant translation. Kind of staggering, when you think about it.

  5. I feel like 90% of stenographers and steno-based companies follow the adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    And in the case of Bridge and sometimes Eclipse, "it's broke but we can't do anything about it!" like in your experience calling them and asking if you can turn off the metasymbols without the stroke timer.

    I had Eclipse completely die and lose the formatting I had applied to the test transcript during the WA CSR!! When I restarted Eclipse and loaded the document while on the user preferences I had created specifically for tests, it did some wacky thing and smooshed all the text together in a giant clump. When I tried to manually expand the line height, it literally sent the text that should have been automatically pushed to the next page as a result of the increased line spacing into like an invisible hole at the bottom of each page so that every page had the last three lines MISSING.

    Its failure was literally the cause of my having to print out and turn in an improperly formatted document for which I hope they give me some leeway. I panicked, outputted to ascii, just threw my envelope number at the top, and hit print.

    You would think from all the thousands of dollars they make from every copy of the damn thing plus all the people who are paying several hundred every year to maintain support AND all the students purchasing the $500 student version, they would have enough left over to maybe hire a couple of GOOD programmers.

    So frustrating.

    Eclipse is definitely a step up (in my opinion) from CaseCAT but it'll be great to have like a steno-to-computer direct interface so that I can precisely control how the text is outputted -- instead of this somewhat unpredictable thing that some people actually pay to learn how to use.

    Btw, if I were to start donating money to the project, where would it go? Like does it pay programmers? For more Majestouches and Sidewinders? Epoxy? Lol.


  6. As of right now, Plover's raised $4,762. I've contributed $4,000, and 15 generous donors have contributed the $762. All of that money except $100 (which we received yesterday) has so far gone to Josh Lifton, Plover's first programmer, to try to reimburse him in some small degree for the enormous number of programming hours he's donated over the past two years. Hesky made the most recent code contribution, so I offered him yesterday's $100 donation, but he said he was happy to keep contributing code for free, and told me to keep the $100. I'll be using it to buy epoxy and foam mounting squares to stenoize the Sidewinders I'll be buying (most likely out of pocket) for the PyGotham steno class. I'll probably offer the Sidewinders for sale after the class to any students who feel like pursuing steno further, and any money I make from that will go back into the general fund, either to pay for programming or to build up a starter inventory of epoxy key kits to sell, which might go some way toward making Plover somewhat self-sustaining.


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. This also gives the students some time to review them and ask for revisions, if needed. You can trust our academic ghostwriters completely to get best quality write-ups including case studies, research proposals, dissertations and Cheap Assignment Help Australia, and more.

  10. This post is a pool of information. The readers are quite impressed after reading this impressive post. This impressive post certainly encourages to choose Assignment Help Australia Services. You can email us at cs@Myassignmenthelpau.Com or Phone Number: +61-2-8005-8227

  11. Outstanding article! I want people to know just how good this information is in your article. Your views are much like my own concerning this subject. I will visit daily your blog because I know. It may be very beneficial for me. My Assignment help

  12. Get online assignment help by our trusted assignment writers in ireland.They give you complete satisfaction by their services.They never make you late in submitting assignment .Hire them today

  13. Hurry up! is offering excellent assignment support in Assignment help online and get high marks inyour academics. avail affordable assignment and complete your assignment on time.

  14. If you want assignment support. then provides you that service. we have many expets. those give you high quality work . if anyone student interested so purchase our assignment affordable price.

  15. This is really very nice post you shared, i like the post, thanks for sharing..
    Java Assignment Help

  16. Allassignmenthelp is a web portal where students get assignment help for all the subjects, with the help of our experts. You will get 100% plagiarism free assignment. Expert’s consultation is also available for students. If they have any query they can contact with our experts anytime.
    assignment help

  17. Are you demanding for Assignment Help? Turn towards LiveWebTutors and stay tension free. We have professional and experienced subject experts offering you the most favourable assignment help services and ensure quality solutions and delivery in time.
    Visit us@ Assignment Help

  18. Engineers who wish to migrate to Australia must submit a Competency Demonstration Report and the Engineers Australia must approve it. Thus, engineering students look forward to getting Cdr Australia which assists them to get a flawless CDR. This reduces the chances of rejection by the EA. Choose
    Most students and experienced civil engineers are today looking forward to migrating to Australia as the job scope is better and bigger with a high pay scale. Therefore, getting CDR help is the only scope to gain entry into the country.
    The CDR for Engineers Australia must be impressive and abide by the ANZSCO code and guidelines. It should also showcase the skills of the applicants as a suitable civil engineer to work according to the Australian rules and regulations.
    The service providers who assist the students with CDR have experienced CDR report writers. These writers know the requirements of a CDR and do it accordingly.

  19. If you want assignment writing service so we provide many UAE cities. Our writer provides the best service for students. Just proceed accordingly and don’t waste your time because time is important. Just you can send an email

  20. Ireland assignment help experts are of the of the leading providers of academic writing services to the students. Our Online assignment help services are quite vast and also cover all assignment help needed by all students.

  21. nice blog it is very useful for us and its information so reliable keep it up

  22. At Essayassignmenthelp, we always give priority to our customers’ privacy. We take required measures, so that any third party does not handle personal information of customers. Therefore, your personal information remains safe with us. Just hire our professional assignment experts and get started now.

  23. We bring to you the most reasonably priced and trustworthy online writing services provided by the most practiced writers and researchers who are ready to take the burden off your shoulder.

    assignment help

  24. ABC Assignment Help is an incomparable online Accounting assignment help company delivering excellent academic assignments, essays, coursework and reports. Through a team of over 3000 subject experts we ensure individual attention to every student making the assignment help experience completely personalized in nature. With our round the clock services, you can be assured of high grades every time.

  25. Students need cheap assignment help services. We provide you cheap assignment help. We have many assignment creators with top reputed universities educated. Our writing services highly demand in Australia.

  26. Thanks for sharing information.
    Financial Accounting Assignment Help ensure that all of your academic dreams come true and that you achieve the highest success

  27. Being, obviously, closely related to generic reflective essays, personal reflective essay focuses more on experience of an individual. The main purpose is to help your reader to get to know you or help them learn more about your personality. Good example of a reflective essay will help you to write your reflective essay better if you will follow it.

  28. Livewebtutors aims at providing the students with a one stop solution for all the academic related issues. The company has Livewebtutors is an online Assignment Help and assignment writing service offering expert assignment help. Hire Australian assignment writing experts.
    visit now:- CDR Report Help

  29. Study the managemant and need to write a good essay about the management? Let us present you aproximately a 200 of management essay topics which you amy applywhen you will have to write an essay. Also, you may use it to prepare your speeches.

  30. Interesting ideas to investigate and explore. IdealAssignmentHelp provides My Assignment Help services by the expert assignment writer at an affordable price. By taking our services, you can deliver your assignments to your professors on time. We also offer research paper, Essay Writing Help, research writing services.

  31. This article is quite informative, you have discussed it very well. Thanks for sharing it.
    Assignment Help Sydney

  32. Many Engineering students need CDR report writing. Needcdrreport providing high-quality report writing help. You have simply contact our expert. Our expert writers are competent in crafting documents in a simple manner that makes it easy to craft a quality report.

  33. For students who experience difficulties with essay writing, the problem connected with deadlines is one of the most painful. All students, without any exception, need quality papers. You should know you can buy response papers from this reliable writing service.