When I first tried to lace the wheel last night, I thought the spokes were too short. The first cross spoke wouldn't reach the nipple in it's whole. I took the wheel apart this morning and did it again today. Turns out the spokes are just right. Maybe that's why master wheel builders don't drink on the job.
"Truing" means making a wheel in-line laterally. An out-of-true wheel will wobble and rub against brake pads. All my bikes have very true wheels. It makes bike riding more fun. And true wheels stay true while out-of-true wheels just get worse.
The truing stand is the only expensive bike tool I own. I'm happy I have it.
The spoke pattern is standard 3-cross. That means each spoke crosses under and over three other spokes before reaching its nipple. It's a simple, strong design.