Talk your way out of it


You’ll have to excuse the lack of picture for today’s post. I spent a good 10 minutes looking for a picture that would fit today’s topic or be a play on words for today, but I was unable to find anything. So, you’re stuck with just this entry.

Right now, I want you to close your eyes, lean your head back and go ahead and imagine that this post is typing itself. Well, that’s exactly what is going on. This post is the first half of what I want to demonstrate for my new writing setup. Late last year, during my writing group, one of the members talked about how she uses a dictation program in order to get all of her writing done. The main motivation for this was that her wrists and hands were hurting so much that it hurts type after a while. She told me about the program Dragon naturally speaking and said how amazingly accurate it was.

Now, I really didn’t believe her because I had used a different dictation program back in college only about four or five years ago. But let me tell you that the program was atrocious! It would only get about 50% of the words correct, and then at a certain point, for whatever reason it felt like, it would just start typing gobbledygook. Only after using it for about two weeks that I decided it was garbage and I threw it out. I really should’ve went back to the store and got my money back, but I was just that upset. I was relegated to physically typing all of my papers for the rest of my college career. Anyhow, this person from my writing group was extremely correct in how accurate this software has become.

Right now my hands are behind my head and I’m very relaxed. My eyes are closed. I am dictating this entire blog post to all of you. Now, I do use a Macintosh so that means that I cannot use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. There is a new program now, called MacSpeech Dictate. This program uses the Dragon NaturallySpeaking engine but they implemented it for the Macintosh platform. This program has heavily impressed me even to the point were I went out and bought a $20 microphone. I tested it out for about two or three weeks, and decided that it really is amazing. It does get tripped upon words here and there, but it is only a program so I don’t expect it to be 100% accurate. I have a little headset microphone that doubles as speakers for my computer so I can listen to music and dictate at the same time if I feel like it.

The program is easy to set up, and I only have to do a little bit of training to get it to accurately recognize my voice. When you run it for the first time, you go through about a 10 minute reading process where it listens to everything you’re saying and tries to adjust itself to how you speak. After that it is very accurate. If you wish to fine-tune even further, there are two other selections you can read to train even further. An additional benefit, is that you can use the software to control your computer. I can dictate commands to have it control my computer and have it open and close programs. Overall, I am very very satisfied with this product.

So, I am really hoping that this program helps me generate my writing even faster. I think that once Spirit hackers is ready to go, I can use this program in order to dictate thousands of words much faster than I can ever typed them. And my wrists won’t hurt when I’m done!

So what do you guys think? Do any of you use dictation software? Have you tried it in the past? It’s definitely something to look into, especially if you do tons of writing. Also, most modern headset microphones don’t make you look like a total dork!

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  1. How crazy cool! I had no idea such a thing existed. You’re definitely going to be my go-to gadget guy. 🙂

    • Aaron
    • August 28th, 2008

    LOL! Join the crowd, and get in line. I seem to be the guy that everyone calls for computer questions! I wonder why? 🙂

    By the way, I dictated this response to you also!

    • ac
    • August 28th, 2008

    “Right now my hands are behind my head and I’m very relaxed. My eyes are closed.”

    There isn’t a better way to write. Admittedly though, there are times I do like to grab a pencil and paper. But after that, I can dictate what I’ve written.

  2. I’ve heard of these a few times and I have to admit, I’m pretty tempted. Especially when you think of the alternatives…carpal tunnel…arthritis…

    But I’m not sure I could dictate something. The moment I start speaking the words aloud, they get melodramatic. I do have to say, though, that your post has an interesting flow to it that you don’t always have. And yeah; what is it with you and knew toys? :p

  3. This is amazing! I talk really fast so I could knock out a book in about a month. 😉 I may have to look into this…

    • Aaron
    • August 31st, 2008

    Auria- Agreed!

    Creative- This software will definitely help save my wrist and fingers. I’m looking forward to it. I wouldn’t worry about being melodramatic because you can always edit later! Thanks for noticing a different flow to the post! I’m hoping to do more dictated posts and also get some more multimedia posts up as well. As for toys, well my wife gives in every now and then. 😉

    Melanie- I think you will like it. It does work best when you speak at a steady pace and make sure to dictate your words clearly, as if you were reading a news article to someone. I saw in a pic you posted on your blog that you have an iMac too. Just to let you know, this software is Intel Mac only, so I hope you have one of those.

    • ac
    • September 1st, 2008

    Aaron, with Dragon I’m able to surf the net without typing. Are you able to do the same with your software?

    • Aaron
    • September 1st, 2008

    Yup! I say “Open safari” and it opens. I say “Jump to bookmark one” and it goes to my first bookmark. Very cool indeed!

    • ac
    • September 1st, 2008

    Darn! I wanted to “one up” you. LOL

    • ac
    • September 1st, 2008

    Oh, oh. I know. I know.

    With Dragon, I can record my book on a tape recorder (I do this when driving) and Dragon types what I wrote when I sync the recorder to my computer.

    Can your software do that??

  4. Probably not. I have the first generation of this model of iMac (before the built-in webcam). Boo.

    • Aaron
    • September 3rd, 2008

    Auria you one-upped me on that one! 🙂

    Sorry to get your hopes up Melanie.

    • ac
    • September 4th, 2008

    Yes!

    It doesn’t take much for me to be petty.

    🙂

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