11 October, 2019

Nimble Numbers

Stenography is full of exciting discoveries.

No, really, it is.

Okay, well stenography is full of things that excite me, and when the community user Nimble mentioned he had a new way to write numbers, I was completely stoked. His system relied upon a custom keyboard, though, and therefore was not usable by me.

Enter determination.

The Nimble Number system is now available to any Plover user on any Plover-compatible keyboard of the classic Ireland 23- key layout.

The classic stenography numbering system uses: STPH- for 1, 2, 3, and 4; -FPLT for 6, 7, 8, and 9; and AO- for 5 and 0. You can create a number of arbitrary length, as long as that number is in steno order. At some point, someone introduced the idea of adding -EU to any pair of numbers to reverse them. So, using classic steno, you can write any 2-digit number and several longer numbers if you're lucky. It was always a fun game to see how few strokes you could use to type a long number. With some cleverness, you could often find a 3-digit or even 4-digit single stroke.

Nimble's system is superior. He uses STPH-in combinations to create every digit from 0-9. That's the best thing about his system. The counting numbers to 9 are all on the left hand. Beyond that, though, he then replicates the pattern on -FPLT to make a 2-digit number, on -RBGS to make a 3rd digit, and on SKWR- to make a fourth digit. That's sweet. And for one more great piece of goodness, he uses AOEU to add marks like the $ and %. I don't actually know what the combinations are he uses, but I didn't let a little thing like complete ignorance slow me down. I've created my own.

AOEU can create 16 combinations, so I've created the ability to add 16 decorations: $, ., :, -, (), and / in several different forms. You can now single-stroke $12.34, (1234), 18:00, and 12.34%. Granted, they're all finger-twisters, but you don't have to start to that way. I'm certainly not.

I'm getting used to the idea by working mostly with 1 and 2 digit numbers. They're pretty easy. I'm also getting up to speed pretty quickly on IP addresses, which use some 3-digit numbers. 3 is not too hard. I do have to say, the 4-digit numbers are very hard because I had to compromise the S- key. The original system relied on the S- being split into two keys. I could not do that. Instead, wherever you would hit the lower S-, you have to hit the *. It's a sad accommodation, but it still leaves those numbers available to me if I ever find one I need to use a lot.

So, the dictionary comes with 3 Help Strokes. Hit #-F, #-P, and #-L to see the following 3 bits of detailed help:

....Writing Nimble Numbers
....How to stroke the numbers 0-14
S..H 10 
.T.H 11 
S.P. 12 
S.PH 13 
ST.H 14

....Nimble Numbers Table of Possibility
....Single stroke 1, 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers with all modifiers
- Bare number
....  1 12 123 1234 
- Leading decimal
.O..  .1 .12 .123 .1234 
- Central decimal
.OE.  .1 1.2 1.23 12.34 
- $ alone
A...  $1 $12 $123 $1234 
- $ with central decimal
AOE.  $.10 $1.20 $1.23 $12.34 
- Trailing colon
..E.  1: 12: 123: 1234: 
- O'clock
AO.U  1:00 12:00 123:00 1234:00 
- Trailing hyphen
A..U  1- 12- 123- 1234- 
- Negative as -
AO..  -1 -12 -123 -1234 
- Leading (
A.E.  (1 (12 (123 (1234 
- Negative as()
A.EU  (1) (12) (123) (1234) 
- Trailing )
..EU  1) 12) 123) 1234) 
- Percent symbol
...U  1% 12% 123% 1234% 
- Percent with central decimal
.OEU  .1% 1.2% 1.23% 12.34% 
- Trailing /

AOEU  1/ 12/ 123/ 1234/

....Writing Several Nimble Numbers
....How to stroke 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers
The first digit of any number is typed on the STPH- keys
The second digit of any number is typed on the -FPLT keys
The third digit of any number is typed on the -RBGS keys
The fourth digit of any number is typed on the -*KWR keys
The fourth digit is a mess. Sorry. The S- could not be reused

so substitute the * for the S-, so it's out of sequence

To download and play with the dictionary, click here:
Nimble Numbers
To download and use the Nimble Numbers system with the single command dictionary, click here:
Nimble Single Stroke Commands