Interest for Comprehensive Site?

By way of brief introduction, I am a former software engineer and present law student. I kick myself that I did not learn Gregg in school. While it would have been Series 90, it would be better than I am now–on Lesson 3 of the Simplified.

While I type up to 150 WPM, I’m stuck “walking” with longhand. This makes it difficult as a law clerk when I am given a list of tasks by a guy who has been in the business long enough to have gotten used to rattling off instructions expecting them to be taken verbatim. Also, using a laptop in class is too tempting–when I get bored I code or surf. So, I am hoping to use Gregg to help me take notes and keep up at work.

The Offer:

I have seen the Angelfishy site and am very impressed. I also have joined this forum as well. I am learning quite a bit in the process. I would like to contribute using what skills and resources I have. However, I do not want to offend anyone in the process.

The goal would be to give Gregg enthusiasts a home that encourages others to come in and stay a while. Computer/mechanical means of dictation don’t work in a power outage, and they are too bulky to put in your pocket.

Logistics:

I lease web server space from openhosting.com. This gives me 3GB of storage. When I finish migrating my 3 sites to that server, I will probably use less than 100 MB. I would like to offer some of the space as a comprehensive home for Gregg enthusiasts.

This would include a web site and discussion–either email or web-based forum. There is an MSN group, and a Yahoo! group. Why not try to bring them together?

The web site is managed using wiki-based software, but will have authentication to mitigate wiki-spam. In a nutshell, if you can write an email, you have the skills requisite to post and maintain content on this site. I was hoping to extend the authority to manage content to those who are interested in so doing.

As the Angelfishy site is already very good, if there is acceptance of my offer, I would like to port that content and use the theme–I don’t think I could have done a better job.

If there are people who are skilled and want to teach others, I have installed software designed for teaching online. (My wife was considering teaching web design.) I may be useful.

Philosophy:

I tend to volunteer to support causes I believe in. I presently administer four sites for four different groups (and a couple for myself). Administration to me is a quasi-passive management of the site. I build online homes for different interest groups to call home. I leave it to others to manage the actual content. I handle the technical issues. That way, I can support more groups without overextending myself.

I would like to do the same for Gregg.

Regards,
Ben

(by dausha7734 for everyone)

44 comments Add yours
  1. Just to play devil's advocate, here…   I'm wondering what it will give us that we don't have at the moment. Storage, yes, but beyond that? Also, even if we managed the content ourselves, I still think we'd need a designated content manager just to make sure everthing goes smoothly. Is somebody willing to take that on? Or is that what you're proposing to do, Ben?   Between this forum and Andrew's excellent site, I wonder if we have all we need.   Thoughts, anybody?

  2. Gregg Shorthand wrote:

    ><>
    >
    >Dauscha, this is very hard to believe unless you're typing in Dvorak.
    >
    >

    Championship typists type up to 250 words per minute on a regular
    typewriter.

    I pass typing tests on my own computer and keyboard at 115-130 wpm with
    no artificial augmentation.

  3. Hee hee. I type about 3 words a minute with Dvorak. 🙂

    I feel, as the creator of the Gregg Shorthand site on the angelfishy.net domain, that my site is the result of a rather large amount of work. I believe that it is pretty comprehensive, having manuals for the Anniversary, 1916, and German editions of the system, and supplements for the Gregg reader, as well as many tips, images, and articles to aid and educate the Gregg self-learner.

    I feel that this group also serves the Internet best in its purpose of Gregg Shorthand discussion, and that the Yahoo! Group is of extremely little activity. In my opinion, the way in which your efforts could be best spent is toward a site dedicated solely to dictation at various speeds.

    I always feel that a site should fill a niche. While stenospeed.com's dictation files are very nice, they are somewhat short in supply. Gregg shorthand literature needs very little space to be presented. It is the dictation that does take space (using mp3, not too much).

    Gregg Shorthand has been well-covered online thanks to the efforts of many recent enthusiasts. There are just three different sorts of resources that I think are particularly useful: Gregg Literature (my site and Marc's site, for instance), Gregg Discussion (this group), and Gregg Dictation. The latter is the least covered on the Internet, and your efforts to produce a site with a large library of dictation files would be the most appreciated. It would increase all of our skills as writers to have somewhere to start and to steadily increase our speeds. There is no harm in working as separate entities, since we are in full communication with each other in this group.

    This is my opinion.

    —Andw. Owen

  4. I have to agree with Andrew (and not just because he mentioned my site).

    When I last looked into putting dictation on my own site, it mean purcahsing expensive software so that people could use RealPlayer to hear the dictation. (The player part was free; the recorder part was definitely not.) At the time, I checked how much disk space recordings would require and realized even short recordings would chew through lots of space. The thought of recording fresh dictation monthly (even at just 60, 80, 100, 120, 140, and 160) seemed daunting. (No, copyright laws prohibit just using something off a record or a tape!)

    The number of people who have contacted me about purchasing dictation tapes or disks is so small, I temporarily abandoned recording material. About 10 people in five years isn't exactly going to make it a worthwhile endeavor!

    All that said, I would like to see dictation material available. I think it would be a great promotional tool and allow people who no longer have functional record players or cassette machines or reel-to-reel players to get some excellent practice time.

    If the technology has changed to make it easier to record and play back passages of 3 or more minutes, I say GO FOR IT!

    Marc

  5. I found it hard to believe, too. When I took an on-line assessment it rated me at 79 WPM.

    However, I am in law school and type my exams. This past Summer I took two exams and both of them came out with a number of words written and page total. With the time allotted, I calculated the pace at about 150 WPM. I have to assume the unit of measure is the typical 5 characters-per-word. A lot of the words typed in a law exam are fairly lengthy, so if they were going with actual words the count might be higher. Naturally, there is a lot of caffiene and adrenaline going on when writing a law exam, and a lot of verbage that just rolls off the fingers.

    And, I do not type Dvorak, although I have been tempted to learn it. Before I went to law school, I programmed. Before that, my last role in the Army was to write information reports and country studies measuring from 50-100 pages of narration. So, I do a lot of typing.

    Ben

  6. I should say that my offer is not to replace the content of the Angelfishy site as it relates to Gregg–but to offer it a larger home and an new CMS engine.

    Am I correct in my assumption that the gregg.angelfishy website is hosted on a free service? I am essentially offering to move from one free site to another with sufficient space to host sound files. As for Real–you might alternatively offer MP3s. This may limit access to those with broadband or those who are very patient. However, MP3s are not expensive to manufacture.

    I agree that there are already fine instances of Gregg support in terms of discussion, web presentation, etc. However, being in seperate places there is a fair amount of disjoint. My fundamental goal would be to bring those fora together. Sort of the sum is greater than its parts.

    Regarding CMS

    The content would be the same as would the style–I would hope as you have done a wonderful job with presentation. I use wiki-based software so it is easer to manage the content (IMO). What that does is enable others to help. Couple that with a section configured to help teach those interested, we might just raise awareness to Gregg higher than it is.

    I know I am more of an outsider at this point. The other option is for you to set up the site and manage it and set up a donation service to defray the costs.

    Ben

  7. It is true that my site is hosted on a free server. However, the bandwidth is unlimited on the server. People can download and download that 8 MB manual scan and it will not disable. All that I need for my resources are only a few dozen MB. By limiting each Gregg GIF to a adapted 16-color palette, the images are remarkably small in size. It seems like a perfect service, only having a small text advertisement for the server, which only occurs on non-index.shtml pages. Only when the server happens to decide to add large banner ads and limit my bandwidth would I consider moving to your server and opening it to wiki-wiki editing. 😉

    The fact that the sites are not the same does not cause any sort of problem; they are all linked clearly to each other!

    Like I said, having a dictation site would be splendid! Not only would Gregg writers appreciate it, but stenotypists, speed typists, and other stenographers would enjoy it. It is remarkably difficult to just sit down and get an accurate WPM-measured dictation without employing the aid of a person who knows how many words he or she is reading.

    Dictation is one of the fundamental parts of building speed, if not _the_ fundamental part. Such a site would be greatly appreciated by a large number of people. 🙂 A 30 GB server would be most appropriate to serve the voice recordings. In 30 GB, you can contain days of mp3s, and at 96 kbps, the text is still clear to understand so long as it is well-recorded. 🙂

  8. "Like I said, having a dictation site would be splendid! Not only would Gregg writers appreciate it, but stenotypists, speed typists, and other stenographers would enjoy it. It is remarkably difficult to just sit down and get an accurate WPM-measured dictation without employing the aid of a person who knows how many words he or she is reading."…DangerArranger

    Boy, ain't that the truth!!

    I know of a source that offers dictation tapes for sale, all the way to 200wpm. If you'll allow me a few days to dig it out of my memory, I'll find it and pass it on to everybody….

  9. jorjambrsnun, here is it:  www.speedbuilders.com   This site is aimed at stenotypists. You get 12 five minute takes at any speed level ordered for $10.95 — and you can pay by paypal. Sound quality is excellent, and each take is about 1.5MB in MP3 format. However, they can only email 3 a week, so it takes 4 weeks to get all 12 sound files. Excellent but highly court reporter stenotypist specific, with many jury charges, final submissions from counsel, and the two voice all trial testimony.   I'd certainly be more than willing to dictate Gregg specific material on a regular basis. What i've been doing is dictating into Windows Sound Recorder and then converting the files to MP3 with a free download software from   http://nch.com.au/switch/index.html   It costs me $0.00 USD. Only my time.   I agree with the gang that the current 3-ish sites is fine, because of links, and I would love to have access to many Gregg specific sound files — I mean dictated from the learning material in the books — so as to reinforce what I've been learning.   Although I've been learning DJS, to have a complete set of Anny learning resources including text specific sound files at many speeds would be a priceless resource and help keep our Gregg alive!   I'm really glad you've brought this up, Ben. Thanks.

  10. Alright then, since I have the space for storing dictation, is anyone interested in storing them with me? Naturally I cannot archive and distribute products bearing 3d party copyright without their permission or commercial products.

    Regards,
    Ben

  11.  How hard would it be to create new dictation recordings that are of good quality?    I mean, in the past, what type of metering was used so that the reader knew he was speaking at X words per minute?   In other words, why bother using OLD recordings.  It's just somebody speaking.   The people who would contribute their files should specify that the recordings are not copywrited and are, in effect, donated to the site.     Types of recordings that would fill a need: Dictation  – At various speeds – Using vocabularies from various professions, hobbies and literature – Various accents

  12. I would assume that to get the right speed for dictation you write out an article of sufficent length. Am I right that Gregg uses 1.8 syllables as the measure of word length? So, a 100 WPM passage would have 180 syllables.

    Then, just subdivide the 180 syllables into 6 second portions–a tenth of a minute and mark when each tenth of a minute passes. Call each tenth a "tick."

    From this, I would think a clock with a second hand, or a stopwatch, would be enough to help keep the pace going. The narrator could speed up or slow down as he gets to each tick.

    The same passage should be at differing rates of speed. Maybe 10 WPM, 20 WPM, 40 WPM, 60 WPM, etc.

    When I was in the Army learning a foreign language, one common tool used for transcription was the newspaper. Native speakers would read a news paper article from their native country. This ensured the vocabulary was current and in the more frequently used words. The WSJ would be a good resource for business related articles. Of course, the native speakers read into a tape recorder that was later played back.

    I suppose the next goal would be, for Americans at least, to have a mid-Westerner speak since that is deemed the neutral accent in the US.

    I have an MP3 player/recorder, so for me it would be a one-step process.

    If this approach sounds reasonable, I will document it.

    Regards,
    Ben Wilson

  13. "I suppose the next goal would be, for Americans at least, to have a mid-Westerner speak since that is deemed the neutral accent in the US."

    Actually, Midwesterners, especially from the Upper Midwest, have a twang of Death.

    It is believed by linguists that Californians speak the closest to what's called "Standard American".

    Another point: isn't a word an actual word? Or does Gregg define it differently? (I'm asking cuz I don't know).

  14. You might find the Drill Machine useful:   http://www.courtreportinghelp.com/Drill_Machine/DRILL_MACHINE.htm   Basically, it's an editor which highlights a text file progressively at a given speed – from 10wpm to 300wpm.  It's primarily designed for machine steno students, who can look at the screen while writing.  However, provided you use the word=word (rather than 1.4 syllables) method, it's useful for ensuring you dictate precisely at a given speed.  Oh, and it's free!

  15. There is concept of Network Standard, roughly analogous to Britain's BBC standard. This arose out of Chicago because that was the center for radio broadcasts. About 10 years ago, a dictionary was published by Edwin Newman listing NBC's preferred pronunciations.   Britains speak of a Received [British] Pronunciation, and I have recently seen reference to a Received American Pronunciation.   Simplified changed the rule for r's after vowels, and I think that this was probably a move toward Network Standard pronunciation.   Brian

  16. BJB:

    What complicates things even further is that Received Pronunciation in England has become different from Network Standard. Network Standard was revised in the 1990s to try to project a more egalitarian image. It sounds noticably more "down-town" than Received.

    If you have a chance to see some pre-War movies made in England, you'll notice that the English is noticably different from today's. Attention is drawn to Basil Rathbone and his Received Pronunciation as used in the Sherlock Holmes movies.

    Moreover, Standard American Pronunciation and Network Standard here in the States aren't exactly the same thing.

    I've had the pleasure of conversing with Dr. Suzette Elgin, who's a Professor Emeritus at the California State University in San Diego, which is the premier linguistics center of America. She is a very friendly lady who's happy, even eager, to answer
    questions such as these.

  17. Chuck:

    Thanks for the info about the words.

    This explains something that's been bothering me a long time.

    I've read that some can take dictation with DJ Gregg at 175 wpm, but I've looked at DJ several times; the system seems unbelievably long-winded. For example, in Pitman, the word "acknowledge" is just 3 strokes, while in DJ it looks like about 6.

    It was hard for me to believe that anybody could ever reach 175 wpm with DJ, but now I understand. Thanks.

  18. George,   Quote "…the word "acknowledge" is just 3 strokes, while in DJ it looks like about 6."
    This is my first time in responding in a forum so I hope that I have done this right. lol   In DJS "acknowledge" is a brief form and 2 strokes. ak   I took DJS almost 30 years ago and am trying to relearn it from my old school books. I was never was fast but now I have a need for it. Confidentiality and note taking. I have really enjoyed this site. I didn't realize that there were so many different versions.   Frankie

  19. OMG George, you actually spoke with one of my heroes, Suzette Haden Elgin? She wrote some novels which I read over and over again, and she has a fascinating take on language and perception. I can't believe I missed that post.   Nita (BeanTea?): this is the answer to your query about what happened to the dictation website: so far, nothing has materialized. The original offerer of volunteer time and memory hasn't posted since August.   I'd love to get involved — time, money, but haven't a clue about websites, etc, and we'd need to figure out where to start.  

  20. Sidhe:

    I sure did. 🙂 Her genius is in the area of linguistics. A Professor Emeritus from the San Diego University, she, along with her collegue Leonard Newmark, pioneered some highly advanced techniques of accent reduction and language learning.

    She has written several non-fiction books; most deal with Verbal Self Defense techniques, but several "modeling" techniques are detailed in her books.

    In one of the books, the subject of experts was brought up. Most of us are afraid to ask experts questions; we fear being dismissed as a "waste of time", or, worse, being made to look stupid. But in fact, experts love to talk about their craft. Having developed a passion for their chosen field, they've bored everybody to death with it. So they'll talk about the love of their lives to anybody who'll listen.

    Dr. Elgin is no different. I had a question about accent reduction–a complex idea about it that's too involved to mention here–but not only was she happy to converse with me on the subject, but she answered my email the very next day. She's really a nice lady.

    As an aside, did you know she invented her own language?

    If you have any questions for her, I'm sure you'd get the same, eager assistance. 🙂

  21. Hello there, I am still allowing anyone who wishes to post their dictations as a free public help for themselves and others to my website for storage.  Just send me your wav files and I will get them posted when I can.   Currently, the site is not visible because my webpages are moving to an Emsin panel due to the previous panel being shut down.  I'm not sure exactly what that  means since I'm not a real computer wiz, but I am not trying to quickly learn how to be a site administrator and am not doing very well with it.  I will be emailing for some online webhost support.   I apologize that I have not signed in to MSN in awhile.  I have had so much course-manual-studies and little time to do anything seems.  My website is very important and I will do my best this week to get it visible for everyone again.   Please keep your hopes up.  Bye now,  Ms. Letha – http://www.shorthandclasses.com.  

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