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Finger-Pecker's Scribe Guide

For training scribes.
  [vote for,

I'm a multitasker, and when typing I use my peripheral vision to keep track of where my fingers are while focusing my main attention on the screen. I've found that I type just as quickly (ok, close, anyway) and accurately with my eyes-more-on-keyboard finger-pecking style, honed by hundreds of hours spent playing ping-pong, as some of the 'better educated' ten-finger typists in the office. I know I'm not the only one here who types that way. It's not a weaker method, just different, like different styles of martial arts.

Anyway, I got thinking today about ways to use speech-to-text technology to train scribes, like those employed in courtrooms. Speech-to-text is not used in courtrooms yet because people don't want to trust such vital tasks as legal transcription to something that's relatively untested for something that absolutely must be accurate.

My idea, however, is to use speech-to-text to take advantage of the finger-pecker's tendency to look more at the keyboard than the screen by synching with a special keyboard that lights up the keys in the proper sequence to spell out the words being spoken by the person for whom the scribe is transcribing. This would be an especially useful tool for transitioning from keyboards with different layouts, such as later- model IBM devices.

21 Quest, Oct 24 2009

Stenotype machine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotype
Hmmm... blinkenlights v. 375 wpm? [lurch, Oct 24 2009]


       I'm not sure I get it. If your text-to-speech is that good, why bother typing at all? If you're going to learn to type, why learn to be a better hunt-and-peck typist?
phoenix, Oct 24 2009

       Because they're not legal to replace scribes in court yet. That's why, rather than propose a let's-all law change, I'm suggesting a method of training scribes differently. There are different ways to do all sorts of things that are accepted in their industry... why can there only be one way to type?
21 Quest, Oct 24 2009

       Ah, when you said "scribes" I thought you were being poetic. I didn't realize you were referring to court reporters/recorders.
phoenix, Oct 24 2009

       I thought court reporters used some sort of chording shorthand thing.
FlyingToaster, Oct 24 2009

       Possibly. But why must there be only one way to type it out? As long as the final result is the same, why mandate the method? People type in different ways. Even some professional typists don't keep their eyes entirely on the screen, as it's only natural to take an occasional peek at what you're doing. Why not provide a visual aid that takes advantage of this very human tendency to produce a better result, rather than dogmatically demanding that everyone do it the same? That doesn't make people better typists. It makes them robots, and need I point out the very many drawbacks of robots?

       I run into this problem at work. I'm a tech support guy for a large wireless phone provider, and the majority of my work consists of troubleshooting problems with customers' services and devices. A lot of problems can be identified immediately when the customer tells me what problems they're having. For instance, if you tell me your phone can't send text messages, but it receives incoming SMS ok, then 9 times out of 10 the problem is that *somebody* has gone into the phone's settings and altered the Message Center number that's programmed into the phone. So that's the first thing I check when a customer has that issue. Yet I got in trouble a few days ago for doing that because we are expected to rigidly adhere to a troubleshooting technical guide in the computer, that lays out the steps in the order we're supposed to check things in, meaning they want us to check the account to make sure you have the right messaging plan, then they want us to check and see if there's anything wrong with the towers in your area. Then they want us to see if there are any network-wide outages affecting you. Then they want us to have you turn off your phone, cancel its registration with the network, then turn it back on and try to send out a text message, and if it still doesn't work, *then* check the phone's settings. And if we do anything out of order, we get in trouble for it. Even if the issue is resolved on the very first step. And all the while, they badger us to get each customer off the phone as fast as possible to keep our average handle time down.

       Despite the fact that it's a tech support job, we aren't rated on how many problems we fix and how fast we fix them. We're rated on how strictly we follow the Guide and how fast we get the customer off the line. And that is the kind of dogmatic bullshit that this solution is intended to do away with.

       (Note: that's not to say, of course, that there's anything wrong with cyborgs! They're cool in my book.)
21 Quest, Oct 24 2009

       "I thought court reporters used some sort of chording shorthand thing."
That's my understanding too, and I believe the chording is just like shorthand. That is, every person can create their own "lingo" as long as they're consistent with it and can interpret it.
phoenix, Oct 24 2009

       Well yes, but when you take a compentency test for a typist position, they see you not using the 'proper' 10 finger method and dismiss you right away. I'm seeking to legitimize a perfectly viable method of typing with a training product designed specifically for it.
21 Quest, Oct 24 2009

       some two-finger typists can get up to 60wpm, but that's basically where touch-typists start.
FlyingToaster, Oct 24 2009


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