Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dicing with dragons....

...not only do I have a lovely new laptop and it is very lovely. I now have a new version of DragonDictate. DragonDictate if you haven't come across it before, is a means of talking to the computer whereby the text pops up on the screen. I don't use it for everything just for dictating large portions of text or if I'm somewhere I can't use my laptop easily, because my arms get tired. My old laptop wasn't efficient enough to run Dragon and other programs. Hence the new one, and now have DragonDictate 8. It's very sexy.

I think it will be most useful when I am working on my Masters. While it's all good fun, just talking to the computer, particularly if it chooses to do my bidding, dictation is a learned skill. Other disabled people I know do their exams by dictating to human or a computer, and I feel vaguely envious of them. I'm not a big fan of exams, but actually, dictation is not as straightforward as it sounds. For a start, were I to put any any emotion into what I was saying, it might make a mistake and I do tend to exaggerate and whisper and all the other things you do is make conversation interesting so to dictate I have to resist all my natural urges. I haven't done in this paragraph, and now I need to edit it.

The other problem with dictation is that it does make a few mistakes in the early stages. These are easily surmountable and the benefit is great. However, if you only have a tiny birdlike brain, as I do, it can be hard to remember what you actually intended to say, in which case you get the program to play it back to you, which brings up the other frustration - having to listen to the sound of your own voice. Unfortunately - have also discovered it doesn't work too well with firefox.... ah well - a literal cut and paste job!

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