Our 7-Mile Dive to Bottom – Part 2

Here is the second and last part of the Trieste’s historic dive into the Challenger Deep by Walsh and Piccard, told by the former, and transcribed by yours truly in Anniversary Gregg.

Attachment: our-7-mile-dive-to-bottom-part-2.pdf

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  1. Hi everyone, I’ve been looking for a Windows program that would enable me to type shorthand so the result would be attractive and elegant, without finding any. I have heard that AI programs like ChatGPT can compose Windows programs. Maybe someone with more experience in such could get an AI to compose such a typing program where one inputs English and Gregg is typed out. Any ideas?

    1. I don’t think there’s any such program. Over the years, various people have said they’re working on programs for this kind of thing, but nothing has ever been successful as far as I know.

      The whole idea of “shorthand” is rapid writing by hand. If you remove that element, what would the goal be? If you’re typing the input anyway, it might as well produce standard text for a screen or a printer.

      The “Centennial” series of Gregg shorthand was a miserable commercial failure, precisely because the shorthand in the texts wasn’t written by expert writers, but was put together by a process of cutting and pasting from earlier publications. The result was inelegant, and it of course raises the question of “why bother?” if even the publisher can’t find an expert writer to do the plates.

      There’s also the complication that if someone were to pull a program like this off, they’d have to pick a version. Should it be Pre-Anniversary? Anniversary? Simplified? Diamond Jubilee? Series 90? Should it incorporate the specialized reporting brief forms and abbreviating principles?

      I think once programmers realize the complexities and variations involved in written Gregg, they just throw up their hands. It’s not a matter of simply connecting letter symbols together in sequence.

      1. Do you know whether all the Centennial books contain shorthand outlines cut and pasted in this way? I ask because I have the College Edition and I don’t have a problem with the plates.

        1. Marc Semler, who worked for McGraw-Hill during the Centennial period and has a Gregg shorthand web site, has indicated that’s how the Centennial books were put together.

          If you look in any Gregg text through Series 90, there’s a note “Shorthand plates written by ____.” (For example, for Series 90 it was Charles Rader). There’s no such notation in any of the Centennial books.

          I have the Centennial college books as well. The plates are legible, but if you compare them to the plates in the Simplified, DJS, or Series 90 manuals, the lines are much thicker and variable, and there are some issues with proportion.

          Given the work method, McGraw-Hill actually did an amazing job putting the Centennial texts together. But the result is shorthand material that doesn’t look as good as that in all the previous editions, and that to me at least doesn’t look “natural”.

          The cut and paste method certainly wasn’t the primary reason for the failure of Centennial. It was simply produced as a “last effort” at a time when shorthand instruction was already disappearing in the US. But the fact that even the publisher didn’t have an expert plate writer on staff is significant information about the state of things at the time.

  2. I use Diamond Jubilee because it has a large vocabulary. My goal is to publish fiction books in Gregg mainly because it’s a weird thing to do, and I love to do weird things. I like the elegance and attractiveness of Gregg.

    I don’t know much about programming but it seems to me that if Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu can be rendered into Windows keyboards with their many intricate variations, it should be feasible for someone to create a Windows keyboard for Gregg. If humans can write it, then a program can mimic that.

    I have heard that ChapGPT can create Windows programs but I don’t know how. Someone out there does.

    1. Well, best of luck to you.

      As far as I know, ChatGPT can’t create Windows programs.

      Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu all have large speaker populations, and commercial, educational, and technical support for program development and computer applications. Gregg Shorthand by and large today simply has interested hobbyists, with a few exceptions.

      Those three languages are also all alphabetic, with letters written in sequence. Written Hebrew doesn’t really have intricate variations. Arabic and Urdu have alternate letter forms that follow very clear rules about usage and placement.

      Shorthand is not alphabetic in the same sense. It’s fluid, and the Gregg letters are all modified to some degree depending on what comes before and after. In addition, writing Gregg requires the active application of principles, not rules. For example, why is “pearly” written p-e-r-l-e, while “poorly” is written p-oo-r-e? There’s a principle involved, but not a rule that a computer program can apply. There’s also constant adjustment by the writer of scale, proportion, and placement, such as for example avoiding tangled outlines between two lines of writing.

      It would be possible to scan in the Diamond Jubilee Dictionary, and create a program that would put the outlines together in a sentence. But even in the dictionary the size and scale vary, and you’d be limited to only using that set of words.

      A much easier approach would be writing out your texts by hand, and reproducing them. This is how all the Gregg materials were produced (until Centennial, which tried the cut and paste method and miserably failed). Look at some of the literature that was published in pre-Anniversary and Anniversary. They’re good models.

      1. I’ve thought of writing it out but my penmanship is not great. I saw somewhere that ChatGPT can compose Windows executable files. I may try it but if it doesn’t work I wouldn’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll ask my domestic robot to do it after it does my dishes.

  3. I was about to post some questions on this article when I saw lots of interesting other posts. I am with Lee on this. I do not think that any two writers would write the same passage in the same way. Carlos uses many more phrases than I do. And I disagree with the dictionary in a few instances. (The ironic thought crossed my mind the we had plumbed the depths. But I don’t mean it because it is always good to get a wide variety of viewpoints.)

    Anyway, back to my questions.

    p4c2l23 first outline
    p8c1l11 first outline “in the middle of a ?”
    p8c1l11 fifth outline “jet ? planes”

    And talking of your phrases Carlos, on p6c2 lines 5&6 you write “be able” as two words rather than “b-a” in one outline. Was there any particular reason, or did it just ‘come out’ like that and, like in dictation, you do not ‘correct’ things?

    And I liked the blue water line shown on page 8 appearing when they were safe on the surface of the ocean.

    1. The outline on page 4 was supposed to be “no more”, but I reversed the horizontal strokes! It’s now corrected.

      On page 8, line 11 (column 1) reads “carnival. Two navy jet photo planes…”.

      About “be able”, I just didn’t phrase it, no reason. (I could have written b – a, but I just didn’t.)

      Glad you liked the divider!

      About the Trieste, it’s on permanent display in the National Museum of the US Navy, at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. It’s worth a visit just to see it, as it puts this whole story in perspective.

      1. As a follow up to this article:

        On BBC radio at 16:00 GMT on Fridays is a program called “last words” which contains short obituaries of recently deceased people. On 24th was mentioned the death of Don Walsh. I might not have listened had I not read this article. So the transcriptions that Carlos provides are not just useful for improving ones shorthand, but are educationally informative on many subjects.

        Here is a link the the program (it has Don Walsh’s voice at times_ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001smvf (also! https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001smvf). But possibly it may not be accessible outside the UK.

        1. Thanks for letting us know about his recent passing: he had just turned 92 on November 2 and passed away 10 days later. Thanks also for the links to the BBC broadcast: the links work so I’ll give them a listen.

          He used to pen a column regularly for Proceedings, the magazine of the US Naval Institute. His latest article was this month about the Taiwan Strait. He was still active traveling and writing. The institute, on the occasion of his passing, had a very nice article about his life.

  4. Thanks Carlos,

    Very interesting article about him. I hope I’ll be as agile in mind and body at his age.

    And a rather topical article about the Taiwan straight too — the recent news of which is a worry. (As a youngster my stamp collection had stamps from Formosa – a more romantic name than Taiwan which is presumably correct.)

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