A laptop method based on EasyScript


Bfor I r/trd, I usd m l/tp f tkg nts t tem mtgs.

M mthd ws bsd n “EasyScript”:
easyscript dot com

I ddnt pa f thr crs. I smply d/lodd th fre PDFs c/taing th ruls. N th sam wy tht th gys n othr prts f ths sit modfy mnemonic techniqs t sut thslvs, I modfd Esyscr t mtch m on liks nd d/lks.

Th advantg f th mthd s tht th writr typs a lot lss charctrs t sy th sam thng. M ablty t abbrevt hs redcd snc I retd, s ths curr txt wd hv bn mch brfr whn I ws wrkg.

As son s poss aftr th mtg, I cd go bk nd insrt missg chars whr I thot t wd clar th meang. F my wn prpss, I insrtd s few chars s poss, bt f t ws my trn t writ th mins, thn f crs I hd t writ evrythg n ful, sch s th fllwg txt.


Before I retired, I used my laptop for taking notes at team meetings.

My method was based on “EasyScript”:
easyscript dot com

I didn’t pay for their course. I simply downloaded the free PDFs containing the rules. In the same way that the guys in other parts of this site modify mnemonic techniques to suit themselves, I modified Easyscript to match my own likes and dislikes.

Th advantage of the method is that the writer types a lot less characters to say the same thing. My ability to abbreviate has reduced since I retired, so this current text would have been much briefer when I was working.

As soon as possible after the meeting, I could go back and insert missing characters where I thought it would clarify the meaning. For my own purposes, I inserted as few characters as possible. But if it was my turn to write the minutes, then of course I had to write everything in full, such as the following text.


BTW: Unlike EasyScript, in my method, some characters might have more than one meaning. For example, “n” could be in, on, one, an, any, no, depending on context. If there were ambiguity, I added more letters. That’s one of the reasons why you need to transcribe your notes ASAP after writing. If you wait till tomorrow to fill in all the missing letters, it’s all gobbledygook. The memory guys might agree that this “instant reinforcement” would help students with lecture notes.

If you use this method, you might initially spend a lot of time trying to think of the best way to abbreviate something. In fact, you might have been quicker writing the whole thing in full.

But eventually, it’s just another parallel thread of subconscious thinking. I suppose the mnemonic guys have noticed the same thing.

(Josh Cohen) #2

Interesting idea. I was looking at another kind of shorthand script recently, but I think I’ve misplaced the tab. I will try to find it.

(Josh Cohen) #3

I wonder if Abbrev Mode in Emacs could be combined with that idea.


That looks like a good idea. I was aware that emacs is a great tool, but I never used it. Vi was the editor of choice in the only two completely Unix-based companies that I worked with - Olivetti and HP Boeblingen.

I’ve heard that emacs is vastly more powerful than vi. But either of these editors might frighten the lives out of most people. Pity about the “emacs pinky” :slight_smile:

An Indian guy I worked with in Saudi Arabia used a simple shorthand that simply omitted all the vowels. He had a razor-sharp memory, so he didn’t need to go back later and fill in the vowels. He could still read his own shorthand after a gap of 6 months. I can’t read mine after 6 days, unless I fill in all the missing letters.

He was the guy that first told me about this:

(Josh Cohen) #5

I’m a Vim enthusiast (currently using neovim), but have started using Emacs for notetaking with Org mode. It’s an amazing system for life organization.

Emacs was kind of tricky until I learned a few things:

  • Find functions: M-x <function name>
  • Help with variables: C-h v <variable name>
  • Install helm (screenshot below)
  • Install evil mode (vi keybindings)

Then you can use the scratch buffer to write lisp code to modify the editor while it’s running before copying working code into the config file.

I’m avoiding Emacs pinky by using the vi keybindings and a remapping of capslock to ctrl. :slight_smile:

This kind of function autocompletion makes it much easier to customize:


That’s an amazing combination. I read the Org PDF. It’s a completely customizable project management tool. Each of the common expensive tools seems to offer only a subset of all the necessary functionality. Only org seems to offer all the functionality.

I’m impressed with the emacs autocorrect feature. For the emacs ~/.abbrev_defs file, I’m wondering if it would be possible to create the file using a text search tool such as perl. The source could be one of the free open-source dictionaries - assuming that the actual dictionary can be exposed. BTW: many files, such as DIC, give garbage if opened in a text editor. But some of these files are simply zips. Try changing the extension to ZIP then use 7zip. You might need several unzips.

The abbreviation rule would need to be simple - not personalized as here:

A simple perl rule might be to omit every vowel, except possibly the first.

The perl would need to handle genuine acronyms (such as GMT), and duplicates in several passes. I think you can avoid multiple passes by using multiple arrays of pointers (as in C).

Anyway, the first pass should probably contain every consonant. Further iterations would be needed to incrementally trim the rightmost consonant until ambiguity occurs with a previous pass, or with the current pass up to (current value - 1) . The problem might arise with two words that are non-identical if vowels are included - but become identical if vowels are removed. (Can’t think of any examples - as usual.) Also, I don’t know what happens if the typist types a redundant consonant. For example, if “bcd” is enough to uniquely define a word, but the typist types “bcdf”. What happens to the final “f”. Discarded? [Actually, at this instant, I’ve just noticed that “bc” could also be in the .abbrev_defs file, but my brain is too tired to figure that out.]

Clever :slight_smile:

(Josh Cohen) #7

The customization ability is nearly unlimited.

I have it setup with custom capture templates in a variety of custom categories. So I can press C-c c and choose one of the above note types to open up a capture window that looks like this:

This code takes the journal captures and sends them to date-stamped filenames like ~/org/journal/2017-12-20-Wednesday.org that also keeps track of all the time I spend writing the journal entries.

This example capture template prints machine-readable time information directly in the notes:

(“j” “Journal” entry (file (expand-file-name (concat (format-time-string “%Y-%m-%d-%A”) “.org”) “~/org/journal/”)) “* %?” :clock-in t :clock-resume t)

Which looks like this in the journal file:

CLOCK: [2017-11-30 Thu 00:33]–[2017-11-30 Thu 00:35] => 0:02 (a journal entry that took 2 minutes to write)

Then after typing the note, I press C-c C-c to send the note to its correct filing place.

I’m finding that it eliminates analysis paralysis on how to organize whatever notes I’m writing at the time. I know that everything goes into Emacs and C-C c will capture and organize whatever I want to record.

I think that you can call Perl scripts from Emacs lisp, or write the script directly with Emacs lisp. You can install a dictionary tool called wordnut to look up detailed information about any word, so it must be possible to process dictionaries with it.