Friday, March 31, 2017

Running Plover on a Raspberry Pi

Disclaimer! I can't show you how to run Plover on raspbian, or on a pi zero. But I did get it going on a Raspberry Pi 3, model B, using Ubuntu Mate. It was actually quite easy as it turns out. I just followed directions.

I did try with raspbian, but ran into trouble with dependencies which I didn't know how to deal with. Then I saw that Ubuntu Mate was available for the Raspberry Pi 3. I knew that I could install Plover on Ubuntu. I'd already done it on my laptop. The only question was whether or not it would work on the ARM processor of a Raspberry Pi.

I'm not going into how to install Ubuntu Mate. You can find that on the internet. I'll assume you've done that, and that you're working from the Pi. Start Firefox. Now, go to the Open Steno Project website:

Then click on the Download button, which puts you here:

You might as well download the .deb file now:


Leave it in the Download folder, and click on the "installation guide" link. Scroll down to the Linux directions and click on the  "ppa:benoit.pierre/plover"  link. There are two lines there to be executed on the command-line in order to make Benoit Pierre's ppa visible to your computer.

        sudo add-apt-repository ppa:benoit.pierre/plover

        sudo apt-get update

Once you've done that you're ready to actually install Plover. Type on the command-line:

        sudo apt-get install plover

Be patient. It might take awhile to respond and finish. When it does you can find an icon for Plover in the Applications/Universal Access menu.

Wait though, there's one last thing you need to do. You don't have permission to use the serial ports yet. This won't matter if you're using an NKRO keyboard, but let's assume you have a stenomod and need TX Bolt over serial. Write this on the command-line:

        sudo usermod -a -G dialout "$USER"

This adds you, the USER, to the dialout group, which allows you to have access to serial ports.

Now you should be be able to run Plover from that   "Applications/Universal Access" menu. Again, be patient! It takes awhile for Plover to start, but once it does, you can configure it for your machine and get to work!

The downside is that this has to be done in a GUI and it starts after you've logged in. It's not the ideal situation for a Plover-in-the-middle, where it acts as a USB keyboard for another computer without installing Plover or any other drivers. Still, running Plover on a Raspberry Pi is pretty fun!

Many thanks to Benoit Pierre for setting up and hosting the ppa!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Standard Model

I've decided that it doesn't make sense for me to try to maintain two types of plastic case. From now on I plan to make this the standard stenomod, plastic cases mounted to a wood deck. You can easily remove the wood deck if you like to experiment with other ergonomic positions. You can also put the deck back on if you prefer it that way.

If you would really rather have just the plastic cases without any screw holes, I can still print them that way, but you'll have to wait a day or two while I make them. And it limits your options.

I'm recommending that you try it this way.

Still $200 USD for the keyboard plus $13.60 shipping in the US. Outside the US I'll have to look up the shipping costs.

My email address is  for inquiries.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stenomod, now with a 3d printed case!

3D printing seems to be under control, so that's how I'd like to package the stenomod from now on.

There is a choice though, between having just the plastic cases or having them mounted on a wooden deck.

If you get just the plastic cases, the top has no screw holes. Looks nicer that way and the two halves of the box sort of snap together. The version that's mounted to the deck has two holes on each side for screws. You can't see them under the cable in this picture, but they're there.

Same price either way, $200 USD. In the US, shipping is $13.60 with the wood deck, $7.15 without.

Outside the US it's more. I'll look it up for each individual case.

Email me at if you have questions or would like to order one.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

3D Printer Progress

There is definitely some magic to 3D printing, at least for me there is. I've been printing and experimenting for the past few weeks. I'm not an expert by any means, but I seem to have a working system going.

At first the problem was that the blue tape was lifting in at least one corner, ruining the box. Google search suggested I should use my fingernails to get the tape to adhere better, and that seemed to work for awhile. Then I noticed that the box I was making was lifting off the tape, in the same corner. I tried cleaning with alcohol and acetone, but no luck. Then I saw, Google again, where one person suggested using a glue stick over the blue tape. That seems to have done the trick, though I'm trying not to be over confident.

I've managed to print one keyboard case that I'm satisfied with. I think that I'll be able to make them fast enough now to start taking orders. I won't actually take your money unless I have a keyboard with case ready to be shipped, but I'm happy to hear from you, if you're interested, and I do have about 6 keyboards without cases finished and otherwise ready.

The plan is to keep the same price, $200 USD (I know the D is redundant) plus shipping.

I still have at least one wood deck and I can make more, so if you like them better I'd be happy to sell them that way as well!

I hope to follow up with some pictures before too long.

Friday, December 23, 2016

3D Printed Case

Ted Morin, lead developer of Plover, designed some cases to be 3D printed for a stenomod, and I have succeeded in doing that! Here's what it looks like. Find the design at  if you'd like to try making your own.

Stenomod with 3D printed case
It took about 5 hours, and this is the first time the print wasn't ruined by having the tape lift around the edges. I'm not sure what the difference was, maybe temperature of the room? Anyway, I'm not sure I can rely on the process yet, so I'm not offering them for sale, not yet. Maybe when I feel more confident that I can repeat the process.

As I hope you can see I've put an extra rubber foot on the inside edge so they tent just a little bit. That's part of the point of the getting them off the wood deck, being be able to adjust their position more flexibly.

If you'd rather have 3D printed cases like this than the wooden deck I've been offering, let me know in the comments. I'll keep working on it.

Monday, December 19, 2016


I know I said that I'd post some pictures of the process of making the wood decks, but I just haven't gotten around to it and I think it's time to admit that I'm not going to any time soon. So don't hold your breath waiting, please. Note to self to stop promising future postings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Holiday

This is just to say that for the next few days service will be a little slower than usual. Feel free to inquire but don't be surprised if it takes awhile for me to get back to you. Thanks!