Playing with MacSpeech Dictate

Some of you may be aware that in the last two weeks company called Dragon has released Dragon Dictation for the iPhone and Dragon Search. I was so impressed with the dragon dictation and in need of a good dictation software that I thought I would give their Mac version a try. MacSpeech Dictate is $154.99 and within 15 minutes I was up and running. It comes with a very nice Plantronics headset, to install disks, and a quick start guide that does what it says. There are quite a number of commands that you can use, including commands to control the keyboard.

The actual speech training only took about 10 minutes. What I think will take me a little bit longer is to learn all the commands and commit them to memory. What is impressive is that I am able to actually have music on, not loud, in the background and the software is still able to discern my voice from the background noise. (Not that the music I listen to is noise, mind you, but you get the idea.) In fact, I’m writing this post using MacSpeech dictation. After about 40 minutes, however, I realized that the headset is pinching my ears and I actually didn’t need an earpiece. So, I simply plugged in one of my podcasting mics and I’m all set! It sits on my desk just below my monitor and works a treat.

My reason for getting this software is that nowadays I tend to give quite a number of speeches and I find that while writing more academic work is not a real problem in terms of composition, speeches require a different style. I have taken to using the voice memo feature and my iPhone in order to dictate my speech and then sit down and transcribe it myself. Furthermore, I have to admit I’m beginning to get some tendinitis in my wrists and shoulders and the less I have to type and use the keyboard and mouse probably the better.

It really is amazing what the software can do. The last time I tried dictation software was probably seven or eight years ago. Back then I had the headset whose color matched to the iMac of choice costs over $400 (not that I paid for it of course) and took a tremendous amount of work to train the software. In the end it was more trouble than it was worth. By this, is different. Maybe David Pogue was right after all. (And look! David Pogue’s name is even in their dictionary. Somehow I am not surprised.)

Having dictated this whole post, I have to say there aren’t many corrections. Although I still find myself modulating my voice is if you can hear my tone, pitch, and oral italics.


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