Voice recognition means less typing

I’ve been using Dragon Naturally Speaking since I first started using a product called IBM ViaVoice. If you haven’t tried it lately now is the time because…

the accuracy is amazing. I started using Dragon again several weeks ago as I was preparing for a presentation that revolved around gadgets. After demonstrating how good Dragon works, I started using it extensively. In fact, I’m writing this blog using Dragon Naturally Speaking. In case you’re wondering, I do not get a commission for talking about this!

One benefit that I love is that my wrist and my tendons do not hurt the way they used to hurt all the time. I even carry an extra microphone on the road with me while I travel, which is about five days a week.

While on the road, I used to spend anywhere from two hours to four hours every day responding to e-mail messages. Now, thanks to voice recognition, I find that I’m able to respond to all the messages in less than an hour. This is great!

In the early days it would take a long time to train Dragon Naturally Speaking. While I have had to correct some of the recognition, it is amazing to me how quickly Dragon has learned my speaking pattern. Nor do I have to talk in a slow voice. In fact, I’m rattling along right now just as fast as I want to.

It seems that having a fast computer, and lots of chip memory known as RAM will help the computer recognize voices even better. I carry a very fast laptop with 8 GB of RAM memory and I run 64-bit Windows 7. The voice recognition is fabulous. I’ve also talked to other Dragon users who have much smaller machines and they have very good luck as well. In fact, I even have a Dragon app on my phone.

The tip I learned from a doctor friend who uses Dragon to record all his patient notes was to buy a small microphone that has an on and off switch on it. That way I can avoid having to give the commands “wake up” and “go to sleep” when I want dragon to pay attention to me or not.

I could go on and on about the benefits of voice recognition, but I would rather you go out and try it for yourself. In closing, here are the two most important things I’ve learned to make Dragon the most effective:

  • I think about what I’m going to say before I say it so that I can talk in complete sentences.
  • I look away from the screen while I’m talking to avoid being distracted.

Please post your comments on this blog.


2 Comments

  • Bernie Perry December 14, 2010 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a big DNS fan also! (And yes I’m using it to “write” this reply.)

    Here’s a tip you may not be aware of: If you are using a computer with a numeric keypad the “+” key turns the microphone on and off. You can even change this hotkey to whatever you want through the “Options” menu.

    As you implied this is a more reliable method compared to the “go to sleep” and “wake up” voice commands.

    Bernie

  • Mike Foster December 30, 2010 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Thank you Bernie – am happy the tool works for you and thank you for sharing the practical tip!

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