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Saturday, January 14, 2012

New v@!ce re(0gn+ion $oƒtware

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screenshot of the PDF manual for Dragon dictate
and at the right, the Available Commands window,
which goes on and on into eternity

If you can't read the title of this blog post, or if you understand it after studying it for a minute, then you get an idea of what it's like to learn the commands of voice recognition software. Typing is pretty easy. But figuring out how to use the mouse, how to type diacritical's (letters with accents, etc.), how to open and close applications, how to send e-mail, and all the myriad of commands to do what I need to do on my laptop with minimal use of my hands, has presented a whole new set of challenges. I was relieved to get the Dragon dictate software in the mail at work. But in the hours since then, the reality of learning this and how far I have to go is overwhelming.

The time spent this weekend studying and practicing will hopefully pay off over the days and weeks ahead.

I “typed” everything in this post by dictating it. See that apostrophe in the word diacritical's above? It is driving me crazy! It doesn't need one. But it is too much work to get back there with voice commands and fix it (and I want to resist the urge to do it manually, which really messes everything up). Just when I was learning to relax my shoulders . . . Ha!

These changes mean that I will be back to visiting you at your place more regularly. I look forward to it.
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46 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Well good you've finally gotten the software into your hands(so to speak) but yeesh! on the learning curve--looks pretty steep. Typos are bad enough, but voice typos sound really hairy (no pun intended.) Best of luck with it, and I'm glad you've found a way to give your hands a break, even if it comes at the expense of your brain cells. ;_)

steven said...

i have students in my class who use this software as their manual dexterity is such that word-to-voice is that much more straightforward. go for it ruth - you'll get there. patience!!! steven

rosaria said...

Oh my!
It's exciting that such tools exist; but, it takes patience and perseverance to master any new tool.
I tip my hat to you.

Leena said...

This sounds unbelievable!
After reading your text twice trying to understand, I got some opinion, what you are learning!
And I hope you will learn it soon and perfectly!

And after all you will need your hands and shoulders to something else too than only typing !

I am thinking you and Lesley!

Marcie said...

The learning curve is so steep..isn't it?? Good for you for mastering this new 'art'!

Babs-beetle said...

We got one of these programmes, years ago, because of Mo's dyslexia. We thought it would help her, but the learning curve was far too steep.

I know you will master it, and what a joy your blogging will be for you :)

deb colarossi said...

Good luck with all of this Ruth.
Wow.

The Bug said...

Ooh - I kind of like the word-game nature of the title - but I can see that you might not want all of your text to look like that.

I'm sure you'll be flying through "writing" things in no time at all. Even though you might have to ignore some random apostrophes. :)

Barb said...

I'm stressed just thinking about it! A whole new language. Best of Luck, Ruth!

George said...

Bonne chance, mon ami. Il semble tres difficile!

ds said...

I'd be completely overwhelmed. So glad you have this, however, to save your hands, shoulders, and sanity (ultimately). Good luck, my friend, I know you'll master this.

Ruth said...

hedge , actually the recognition is pretty good. But typing is so fast! 3 times faster than what I can do, and I type around 90 wpm with my hands. And since this is most of what I need it for, I'm thrilled. I will create cheat sheets for myself for what I use the most, and I'll be fine. It's just a matter of building on what I know now, just like any language. Maybe I should take flashcards around with me, to memorize vocabulary! :-)

Ruth said...

steven, that is so cool! Don says he has students in his school who use it as well. And you know how kids are, they learn languages faster than us adults. ;-)

(I just made that ;-) by dictating!)

Ruth said...

rosaria, right? Thank you for your acknowledgment of the difficulties. Just answering these comments this morning feels good. My only worry is that my speaking might wake Don up. ;-)

Ruth said...

Leena, my mother had problems with her hands when my nephew David was born; we needed to hand him to her for her to hold them; she could not pick him up.:-(

But I will be fine! Lesley is trying to patiently wait. (And me too. :-)

Thank you, my friend.

Ruth said...

Marcie, yes, the learning curve is steep. And it probably feels that way because I want to use it NOW. Thanks for the encouragement; maybe if I think of it as ‘art’ then I will find it more beautiful. :-)

Ruth said...

Babs, too bad the dictation program was not helpful for Mo. I can see why a person would be discouraged. (Tears yesterday.)

But already, I can see progress on this the 2nd day. One thing I am going to learn today: how to create a keystroke for HTML code for ‘bold’. :-)

Ruth said...

deb, thanks so much, my friend. It is wonderful to see you.

Ruth said...

Dana, right you are! I had fun with title, and it was good practice to do all those symbols. ;-)

I appreciate your vote of confidence. One of the funny things to observe, is when I sniff with my nose or clear my throat, to see what word it thinks I said. ;-)

(I think I'm using the :-) a lot more.)

Ruth said...

Barb, it's really helpful to think of it as a new language, you are right. Thank you so much.

Claudia said...

You'll master it in no time, I'm sure, Ruth!

Ruth said...

George, merci beaucoup, cher ami, c'est en forgeant qu'on devient forgeron . . . as they say. ;-)

Ruth said...

ds, this is really a fascinating process; one of the things I'm observing is how my writing process is different. For instance, I find myself editing myself as I write. This is fine for blog comments, but I don't want to do that in creative writing. So I'm learning what works best in what is really a different medium. Thank you for your encouragement!

Ruth said...

Claudia, thanks!

Now my voice is a little hoarse. :-)

It is so great to see you blogging again.

Leena said...

I am sure, that you will be fine, Ruth.
Now I have tell you, what did happen, when I told my husband about your software`s "behavior" and that you have Bishop cat. When Kiki heart the word "kissa" = the cat, she jumped to a window and wanted to go outside and give to the cat very big lesson! Kiki is behaving in the gentlest way with everybody and everything -except cats. Fortunately Bishop is faraway enough, no need to run or stay and scratch Kiki :)

Our older daughter`s birthday is January 22., next Sunday.

My thoughts are there with you!

Pauline said...

Makes my hands twitch to read this... funny how some things try our patience and others teach us patience. Looking forward to the post that says you've mastered this new "language" and can command the "fingers" of the program to type exactly what you want them to!

Pat said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this software the other day. I have pain in both hands. If it continues, or if my meds don't kick in soon, I'll have to consider this software. Maybe by then you'll be an expert at it and can teach ME! So good luck with it and study hard! Ha ha!

Miss Jane said...

Best of luck with this, Ruth. It is cool that this software exists. We'll just have to go easy on you for possible typos in the future?

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

You are an inspiration, Ruth. At times my hands and arms ache. I have wondered if the day may come...

One thing for certain. I cannot NOT write.

Margaret said...

How wonderful! I know you can do it. You are ahead of the game as someday we will all be doing voice recognition, but it will be old hat to you!

Ruth said...

Leena, Kiki is very smart! Please reassure her that Bishop has plans to stay in Michigan.

Let's see if baby boy will have the same birthday as your daughter. I am hoping for his birth this week, but he will decide.

Thank you!

Ruth said...

Pauline, I have a feeling that I will never be truly fluent in Dragon–ese. I will find shortcuts to accomplish what I need to; it will probably be Tarzan–ese. And I'm okay with that.

Ruth said...

Pat, I am sorry to hear that you have pain in your hands. When the time comes that you purchase the software, do e-mail me, and I will give you some pointers. You can purchase a tutorial CD as well. I found a PDF of the 200 page manual online, and that has been a tremendous help.

Ruth said...

Miss Jane, thanks for your wishes. Yes please, when you read a typo just imagine what I might have said that created it. One cool thing about this software is that it contains artificial intelligence, and so it improves over time to more accurately type what it is you really want.

Ruth said...

Amy, I am sorry to hear that your hands and arms sometimes ache. We who have these issues will be ahead of the curve, I guess. I wonder if my almost–born grandson will dictate into his 1st computer?

Ruth said...

Margaret, thanks for your encouragement!

Your new profile pic is so pretty! It's good to see you.

Ginnie said...

This just blows my mind, Ruth! I have a feeling it's a thing of the future that your grandson will think as old hat. Can you believe that! I love this for you. Thanks for all those who created it and thanks to you for daring to learn it. Soon it'll be old hat for you, too. :)

Dutchbaby said...

Congratulations, Ruth! You've conquered the steepest part of the learning curve. I admire your stick-to-itiveness (wonder what happens when you feed that phrase to the software?) This is a perfect example of technology used to its best advantage.

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Ruth, I didn't realize your hands were so bad. I'm so sorry. As far as Dragon goes, i use some augmentative technology with my students, there is great assistance out there from intermediate school districts. I know you are at the university but maybe a techy from the ISD could have some helpful hints.
Soon this techonoly will be second nature to you ... peace and love my friend. xoxcb

Vagabonde said...

If I understand correctly your dictate to your computer? The software sounds complicated to me but since you called it “voice activated” then it must be dictation? That would be so hard for me because I have an accent – when I make a phone call like to my credit card company and the automated voice asks me to say something – they never understand my answer and tell me to repeat, and repeat and repeat until I almost throw the phone away. But if this helps you then I am pleased that you have this new software.

Susan Drummond said...

If anyone can master such a daunting task, it will be you, my friend. I can imagine how frustrating it must be, especially if you need to go back and edit. Oy vey!

erin said...

on first look it seems you are learning reverse braille, not to read with your fingers, but to speak with your voice. ha! i write that and laugh. what a novel idea, speaking with your voice!

but truly, this will impress upon you a different way of thinking, won't it? it will lay an idelible impression onto how and what you write. strange. but it allows me to understand the extent of your injury and marvel at technology.

you've been missed))

xo
erin

Brendan said...

Funny how some doors open only because they have to, but open on such new wonders ... I think I'll need to make the change to Dragon eventually as these fingers tire out, lose their precision, eventually become useless -- so you're way ahead of the rest of us, getting the learning curve out of the way so you can start speaking poems rather than write them ... which is what it's all about anyway, isn't it? ... Still, look forward to "hearing" you around soon. - Brendan

Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth, I'm glad on every level -- that you'll visit more is a bonus -- mostly I'm glad for your hands!

shoreacres said...

I've only begun to get around more regularly now that I've moved beyond all that was required after Mom's death and all the events of the summer - so I didn't know about your difficulties with your hands.

Such a blessing to have software that can help you. When my hands begin to give out, I wonder if I can find a computer program to help them varnish? :-)

I've no doubt you'll do well learning these new processes. And of course you know that the learning "curve" really is a series of peaks and valleys - each day a new adventure!

Montag said...

I hope it all works out, but I myself find it annoying in the extreme to constantly make small edits.