Dragon 12 PRO and Windows 8…a partnership…almost

To recommend a partnership–the partnership needs to be solid, okay…reliable. 

While Nuance has provided technical support for this partnership, the learning curve associated with Windows 8 coupled with the technical fluency required to blend these products successfully leaves me cautious, at best, when it comes to recommending this partnership.

For openers, the partnership seems the definition of the Odd Couple when you consider that Windows 8 is all about a tactile (touching, swishing, gliding, etc.) operating system where Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional is all about using your voice–LOOK AT ME, MOM…NO HANDS!

So for people who’ve successfully transitioned to using their voice to do the heavy lifting of controlling a computer…why would you go backward? 

Or, if you have a brand new car like the Ford Fusion…why would you want to drive around in a Model T? 

Sure, there are still buttons, knobs and dials in the Ford Fusion…even a steering wheel, accelerator and brakes like the Model T; but, when there is a more productive method for getting around on a computer (or in a car; a safer, faster and environmentally ideal method for getting back and forth to work) why insist on using an antiquated approach–even one that has brightly colored squares to shuffle around?

This is the same question I wonder when I watch people using two big thumbs to text message on a too-small smartphone keyboard…but I digress.

Since watching the movie Minority Report, I’ve wanted that nifty glass screen the size of my office wall suspended mid-air and curved around my favorite ergonomic desk chair (I’m not standing in a room with my computer all day) so I can glide my fingers through volumes of data while simultaneously giving voice commands or writing messages to colleagues (or updating my Facebook page).  But even then, I’d rather tell my computer what to do then have to try to glide, or sweep, my fingers to the right spot…or hold my finger “just long enough” to expose a menu…or tap just hard enough. 

Yes, it’s probably my jealousy coming through…I’m among the tablet-challenged who has yet to find a tablet–even the iPad laughs at me–with the responsiveness suited to my productivity needs and increasing disabilities.

This brings me back to Dragon 12 and Windows 8–I’m encouraged, but not yet partnering.


Smart Format Tools…

One of the new tools in Dragon Professional 12–Smart Format Tools–gives you greater vocabulary customization while reducing the time spent correcting Dragon.  For instance, if a physician wants to have the word milligrams spelled out rather than abbreviated, this “rule” can be modified to suit the physician. 

While Dragon customers can add and refine vocabulary phrases frequently used in earlier editions of Dragon, not all of us remember to add every specific specialty word, acronym or phrase proactively.  So as we’re dictating, we still make refinements, or outright corrections, which take time…time we usually do not have at the moment we are dictating that word/phrase.  So having Dragon peeking over our shoulder and prompting us to add a specialty vocabulary phrase keeps us focused on our work.   Great new feature!

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional 12 flying into Ohio!

Dragon’s most recent release, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, offers support for more input tools while streamlining, and getting “smarter,” with regard to selection and editing tools.  We’re looking forward to hearing from our customers who have been using the earlier editions.  It’s good to get comparisons from a wide range of Dragon experts–and we’ll post the comments as they come in.  Workshops for October and November will be posted by Monday–be sure to call or email us if you’re interested in a refresher.

Share your Dragon Story…

Nuance has a new contest for sharing your Dragon Story.

From May 14th through June 15th 2012, describe how you rely on the Dragon software whether you’re using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Dragon Dictate for MacSpeech Scribe–tell Nuance how and you might win one of the prizes.

The “I Speak Dragon!” 2012 contest is open to US users of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Dragon Dictate, or MacSpeech Scribe. Entries can be submitted either in written form or as a video. Winners will be announced in early July 2012.

For more details, check out: http://ispeakdragon.nuance.com/

Wireless Microphones for Dragon

There are currently 2 types of wireless microphone technology, Bluetooth and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication).

Bluetooth does not provide the range or bandwidth to provide the signal quality needed for voice recognition. It comes with a small USB transceiver for sending and receiving transmissions which is easily plugged into and removed from a computer. Bluetooth has a range of up to 10 feet depending on the environment. The headset generally has an a/c charging adapter that attached separately. They have typical battery life of 4-6 hours depending on use. While they are Bluetooth microphones that are compatible with Dragon the signal quality, lack of distance and battery life insufficient for 6 to 8 hours make this technology make it a mediocre choice for wireless microphone voice recognition.

DECT does provide a high quality signal for voice recognition but it requires a large base station for both charging and send/receiving transmissions with the wireless microphone. DECT have a range of up to 300 feet depending on the environment. The base station will have both a USB cable and an a/c adapter that need to be attached. The typical battery life is between 6-10 hours depending on use. The superior range, quality and battery life of this technology make it the BEST choice for wireless microphone voice recognition. 

CHESS recommends the VXI V-100 wireless microphone


Job Seeking WITH Dragon…

During a discussion with a recent Dragon graduate, our student provided an update on the “job search” front.  Our student has been reworking his resume—likely to become several resumes—and the Job Developer assigned to our student asked him to remove the phrase “Dragon NaturallySpeaking” from his list of software skills—where he also has Microsoft Word, etc. 

Some people serving individuals with disabilities have been introduced to Dragon as an accessibility tool; when that is not all it is.  It is especially true of those service providers here in Ohio.  In the state of Ohio, Dragon was adopted by people with disabilities (a.k.a. the accessibility market) way back in 1990 when the primary funding source was the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission and insurance companies because the cost of just the Dragon software was north of $9000. 

Job developers may be concerned that the name “Dragon” is viewed as a tool used exclusively by people with disabilities—and in effect could disqualify people before even having the opportunity for an interview.  Of course, it is impossible to know what a potential employer’s bias may or may not be toward people with disabilities.  Software used to filter resumes search for keywords in resumes; there is little doubt that including the phrase “Dragon” could be construed as negative. 

So, as usual, it is only the “human” reviewers our student needs to be concerned about—for all the impressive, positive and open-minded attitudes people in the United States believe they possess—it is hard to explain to a job seeker that many biases, human biases, yet remain.

As far as Dragon goes, it has been, and for the foreseeable future, will continue to be a productivity tool FIRST.  The manufacturer’s goal has never been to focus on accessibility as its only purpose.  It has absolutely been a tremendous byproduct and benefit for people who cannot physically type—sure, but for people who “get it” and have other things to do during their workday—Dragon offers 150+ words per minute with 98% accuracy.  No typist offers that—anywhere.

The truth is that voice recognition technology has been developed to give people a choice—whether in their cars, homes or offices—or even on their phones—to use a tool that can easily be at least 3 times faster than using a keyboard for typewritten communication.  For Dragon users, like our job seeking student, who have completed the Dragon Foundation and Intermediate courses, they can double their productivity to 300+ words per minute!  So getting a job no longer needs to be about “can you type” but rather, what you “say” when you type.  Oh, you mean that people should be hired because they possess the education, skills and experience needed and the keyboard is no longer a barrier?  RIGHT!

Dragon is a tool among many software tools that people in computerized offices can CHOOSE to use each workday.

I’m reminded of that Army commercial…”be all that you can be” and wondering why, even after 21 years showing people the benefits voice recognition offers—why anyone wouldn’t want to use it.  And I certainly have no idea why anyone who has mastered Dragon would be discouraged from adding it to their list of “highly” marketable skills.  Okay—I’ll stop wondering negative things—back to positive!

While more and more people “get it” and adopt Dragon for use every day, one person’s resume does not need to serve as a “billboard” for Dragon. 

So whether our student lists Dragon on his resume or not—his choice; likewise, people can choose to use a keyboard at a “snail’s pace” or use Dragon to focus on content allowing for more time to edit and format what is written.  Oh, you mean that Dragon increases the possibility that a person can produce a higher quality document in less time?  RIGHT AGAIN!

Our firm, CHESS, continues to provide seminars, workshops, “webinars” and participates in conferences throughout Ohio—we are happy to continue providing the education needed so that eventually people will recognize that mastering Dragon is a skill just as important to a computer worker as mastering Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel.