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Dragon 12 my thoughts

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on August 13, 2012

Hello welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. I have recently upgraded to Dragon naturally speaking premium version 12, as I’m sure many of you existing Dragon NaturallySpeaking users have also done.

I have been Dragon user since about version 4 of the software and absolutely love the software, the more I use it the more I find it incredible and this latest version is no exception.

There are a great deal of enhancements in it not only in terms of the options that you have as an end-user but also in the performance of the software itself. One of the biggest things that I’ve found useful is the fact that they enhanced the web-based use of the product, for example you have much better control over using your web browser both Internet Explorer version 9 and above as well as Firefox I believe it’s version 12 and above and then Google Chrome as well.

They’ve enhanced the ability to search, they’ve also enhanced the use of Dragon when it comes to programs such as Gmail and Hotmail and since I use Gmail exclusively for my email, for both personal and business use I found this a very useful enhancement for me.

The dictation works much better, much cleaner much fewer mistakes in Gmail then in previous versions. Another feature that I particularly like is the dictation box where if you’re on a form or something that does not give Dragon total control over the text box Dragon will now bring up what it calls dictation box and you can dictate your text or your response to the text box into their dictation box and then there’s a button at the bottom of the box which says transfer and then it transfers whatever you dictated into the dictation box into that text field.

Now this makes much greater control and much more flexibility in terms of being able to enter text in fields on websites and so on, I found it very useful and a feature that I’m glad they’ve added.

I also found that I like their new interactive training format, it’s much more intuitive much more informative for the end-user. However I did find some of the examples in their interactive training did not work for me, and I don’t know whether it was just my particular voice that day or what the scenario was.

But overall I love the program and since I’ve also recently upgraded my computer to a much higher end machine I’ve found that some of the commands in previous versions of Dragon that did not work i.e. some the office Natural Language Commands had been disabled.

When I installed Dragon due to the system that I had, have now all been enabled and that as well has enhanced the performance of Dragon. I noticed over all the response time of Dragon as you dictating is much better, the error rate is much lower as your dictating I’m not correcting nearly as many mistakes as I dictate and therefore my productivity has gone up significantly.

I do recommend that you spend the time and do an initial training and setup, it will enhance your overall usability of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I would be interested in hearing from other users of Dragon how they find this new version in comparison to earlier versions that they have tried.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at darrellh @enablingabilities.com you may also visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com Thank you very much.

Have I outgrown my software

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on June 12, 2011

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. How do you know when you’ve outgrown your adaptive technology hardware and software, this is a question that many people face at different times.

This is an important question and there are many factors which may lead you to feel like you’ve outgrown your adaptive technology and need a more advanced or different solution. Some of the keys that I found to answering this question, does your existing equipment do what you need to do in the most efficient and effective way for you.

If the solution works well in the beginning and now you’re having to fight with it, or your having to do things differently than you did six months ago, three months ago, or even a month ago it may be time to look for an update to what you have now, a fix or workaround which may be out there already that would be my first suggestion is check for an update to see if it will fix the problem which are currently having.

If you are faced with I have reached the limit of what the program will do for example, if you have word abbreviations and expansions and you’re only allowed to store say 10,000 of them within your existing program and you have need of more than that 10,000 then this may be an indication that you’re ready for a different piece of adaptive technology or a different solution than one you’re currently using.

It may also be that the features that you need and functions that you need now are not available in the current software you’re using due to for example, you are now going to school and you need speech capability and your existing software does not provide that, or does not provide that to the degree which you need then again it may be time to look for another solution.

Now the question is do I look for a separate solution to meet this one particular need that I have and use my existing software for everything else, or do I look for one complete solution that does the speech as well as everything that I have in the equipment that I’m currently using.

This is a question that you yourself as the user are the only one who can answer that question. Having multiple solutions for each of you needs may be cumbersome and hard to work with, instead of one single solution that does everything. however it may be difficult to find one solution or piece of equipment that does everything. Some experimentation and exploration on your part will be the key to finding the solution or solutions that works best for you.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com you may also want to check out my website which is www.enablingabilities.com. Thank you very much.

Gmail & Dragon Naturally Speaking do not talk to each other

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on May 12, 2011

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. As many of you know I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to do the majority of my dictation work as well as create the transcripts for all of my podcast.

One of the other things that I used Dragon for exclusively is doing my text entry for my e-mails, and recently I switched to using Gmail as my main program for email because of the fact that it allows me mobile access to all of my e-mail accounts when I’m away from my office teaching and so on.

The other day I had received an e-mail and I wanted to the reply to it, when I tried to use Dragon for writing the reply I found it didn’t work at all, in fact I got very unusual results I went into a variety of different programs based on saying very common things that had nothing to do with the other applications that got started.

This got me thinking and I went in to Google Docs started a text document tried using Dragon and it worked very very well. I also went into the Google spreadsheet and tried entering numbers and so on, and once again it worked reasonably well.

There were some mistakes were made in the spreadsheet but over time I’m sure that with some training I couldn’t correct those types of errors which again told me that it’s not Dragon potentially that may be the problem.

But for the most part I’m very surprised that this did not work given the popularity of remote mobile applications such as e-mail, document creation, presentation creation and so on.

I’m not sure what the answer is in the case of Gmail, I do know however that I have tried Dragon with Microsoft Outlook and with Mozilla Thunderbird and in both those applications Dragon worked well.

Hopefully this situation can be resolved so that I don’t have to switch to another e-mail program yet again. I will keep you posted and I would certainly like to hear from anyone else who’s encountered this problem or something similar.

If you have please leave me a comment, feel free to visit my website is http://www.enablingabilities.com Thank you very much.

Wordq first look

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on March 31, 2011

Hello welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. I’ve been evaluating a program called wordQ the program is for word expansion, abbreviation and completion.

The software is very good has several interesting features that I’m very impressed with, the program works well in the environment that I was testing it in. I are used it for about a week and a half just experimenting looking at the various things the program does.

One of the things that I really liked was the fact that you could create your own abbreviation expansions so if you got words and phrases that you use a lot for example your name, your address, your e-mail address all those kind of things you can create your own abbreviations and over time you would learn those and that would just become second nature.

The other thing that I liked the in the word list as your typing and it comes up with the five or six words that it thinks you may be thinking of, you can customize that in ways such as the font you want to use for the words. you can also customize the number of words that appear on the list you have complete flexibility on items such as how many spaces to leave after a period, one or two. You can also have it set to auto capitalize the first word in the next sentence.

This program is also designed with speech capability and reading capability in other words as your typing you can have it speak the words that you are typing, you can also set it if you don’t want to speak every word it will speak complete sentences and then it’s got the reading feature where if you select text and click the read button using a variety of computer voices it will read the sentence or the text that you selected.

Which is great for those of us who are not writers and who have difficulty with English and does what I’m writing sound correct and sound the way I want. Using the read feature you can have the software read it for you, so for someone like me who is not a writer it gives me the opportunity to listen to what I’ve actually written and so I’m able to pick up quite a lot of my errors in terms of I have used the wrong word, I typed a word twice all those kind of things and so it makes the overall product of my writing much better.

Over all I love this program and the one downside that I would say is there’s an add-on-for this program called speakq which is a voice recognition add on which allows you to speak and the software will convert your speech to text.

The problem I have with this is that it has to be a separate add-on for the program. I use a program called Dragon NaturallySpeaking for my voice recognition and I’m not able to use the Dragon software in conjunction with the wordq software.

If I want the voice recognition part I have to go with the speak q which means that I would have to learn an entirely new piece of software. But as I say overall I’m very impressed with the program and like its overall function.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com you may also want to visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com. Thank you very much.

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Tips on using a voice recorder with Dragon Naturally Speaking 11

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on November 7, 2010

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. I wanted to talk about using a voice recorder with Dragon Naturally Speaking version 11, in earlier versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking using a voice recorder was not all that good for recognition.

However after some experimentation with the new version of Dragon I am pleasantly surprised at the results. There are a few things that would be helpful to know for those people just starting out with Dragon and attempting to use a voice recorder.

First of all I found that I had to create a new user profile for my voice recorder because the one that was transferred over from an earlier version of Dragon Naturally Speaking did not seem to work properly, I couldn’t get it to allow me to transcribe a recording that had been previously saved on my computer.

So after taking the time to create a new user profile I was able to transcribe a recording, one of things I also found was holding the voice recorder close to your mouth does definitely enhance the recognition, as opposed to having the voice recorder some what further away or even using a clip on microphone attached to your voice recorder didn’t work well either.

You will want to have the voice recorder set at its highest and best recording level to get the best output possible. I also noticed that you will still have to do some editing of the transcription file it’s not 100% and it’s certainly not as good as using a regular microphone with Dragon Naturally Speaking.

But if you’re a person that uses a voice recorder extensively having this feature will definitely allow you greater flexibility in the work that you do and the amount of dictation you get transcribed using Dragon, overall I think it’s a useful feature and many people will benefit from it.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com you may also visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com Thank you very much.

Dragon 11 First Look

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on September 29, 2010

Hello welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. I have started using Dragon Naturally Speaking version 11 which came out recently, in the time that I’ve been using it which I must admit is fairly brief at this point there are a few things that I thought would be of value to those of you who are Dragon users.

The first thing I found is that the recognition is greatly increased from version 10 which was very much better than previous versions. I also found if you are a previous user of version 9 or version 10 your user files can be directly imported over and used in Dragon 11 so you don’t have to re-train the software to be able to use it.

Previous versions that I’ve used have been the preferred version of the software with version 11 however, I’m using the professional version which has many more functions than the preferred version. One of which is I can save the audio file of my dictation to have someone else actually correct the dictation by listening to my audio as I dictated it.

This would be useful if you’re having someone else do your correction of your dictation, I would however like the ability to be able to separate the audio from the dictation and go ahead and then edit the audio file as a separate file it would make doing podcast much simpler because I could end up with the text as well as the audio file for the podcast itself all-in-one step.

But at this point that is not available Dragon 11 apparently works much better with portable recorders. I’m in the process of testing this particular feature at the moment and I will talk about that in a follow-up podcast which will be out shortly.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com you may also want to visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com. Thank you very much.

Ibooks (reading with Ipad)

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on August 29, 2010

Hello and welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast I. found a rather interesting application for my ipad  recently, it’s one that I have looked at before and had not bothered to actually install and use because I thought I would have to pay for a lot of the items.

The application that I’m referring to is the iBooks application, this is a book reading application and when I first looked at it I thought there not that I have any free books so I won’t bother tying up space on my ipad.

Well I looked at it recently and found that there was a wealth of free books available on almost any topic you want and even if you’re looking at a paid book they are the same cost as if you had gone out and purchased them from a bookstore.

However I find having books on my ipad much more convenient, much easier to read because I can adjust the size of the text on the page which makes it easier for me to read.  There’s also the convenience of having the books available to me any time anywhere as long as I have my ipad with me which has now become an indispensable item.

When I looked through the list of free books I found that a lot of be classics such as Moby Dick, Three Musketeers, Grimms Fairy Tales, The Art of War, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes were all available.

This leads me to the thought that having an ipad with iBooks may be particularly useful for children and teens with disabilities who have difficulty manipulating a book, and have difficulty say turning the pages or even holding onto an actual physical book.

Having an ipad with these books loaded on it may make it significantly easier and more enjoyable for these individuals to actually sit down and read the books which in turn will open up new worlds and new possibilities for them.

Overall I think the iBooks application is a very good one it’s very well-thought-out and is a good tool for anyone who likes to read and likes to have that material readily available to them any time they need it.

if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com.   you can also visit my website which www.enablingabilities.com.  Thank you very much.

Magnification made Easy

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on July 1, 2010

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast I’m going to continue my series on the Ease of Access Center which is part of Windows 7.  It used to be cold accessibility options in earlier versions of Windows, in my last podcast I talk to will be on screen keyboard.

In the this episode I’m going to talk about the magnifier in earlier versions of this particular application you could magnify the screen anywhere from 1 to 9 times, which was a significant amount if you were an individual who had minor difficulty seeing items that were particularly small such as icons this was quite sufficient.

You had significant options as well in terms of whether you want to follow cursor all those sorts of things you could do, the magnification area itself could be adjusted in size  to cover approximately half of the screen it did take some getting used to.

In the new version of this particular program you have the option of having the magnification area docked at the top and you can drag it to any size you want including the entire screen. Docked is the way the magnifier worked in earlier versions.

You also have here the option of what’s called a lens and that is simply the same as if you are carrying around a magnifying glass and looking at various options, it will follow the mouse etc you can make the lens any size you want tall or thin and long. whatever basically suits your needs the best.

The new version also allows you to go to full screen magnification which by far is my favourite of the options and this allows you to have the whole screen magnified and so there’s no separate area where the magnification shows up and another area where you are moving your mouse that’s the standard regular size of everything which some users had found disconcerting and hard to get used to.

One of the other things that I noticed in your version of the software is that the magnification is simply done in percentages rather than times magnified from 2 to 9, now it’s 100% 200% etc. you can go all way up to 1600 times which is very very significant and makes things extremely large but then the graphics themselves are very jagged and somewhat unclear.

I would find it very hard to use the software with the magnification that high, over all I find the new version of the magnifier very well done has some nice enhancements gives you a lot more flexibility in not only what you can do with the magnifier, but how you use it and where you have it on your screen.  You can also invert the colors with this version and it’s very neat very crisp and again a nice enhancement.

If have any comments, questions, or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com or visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com Thank you very much.

Ease of Access Review Part 1 On-Screen Keyboard

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on June 1, 2010

Welcome to the Enabling Abilities to Appear podcast, being able to use the computer and a variety of ways has always been very important as well as difficult for those people with disabilities or hand control issues, vision issues etc. and Microsoft has tried to make some of those things easier with the accessibility options in earlier versions of Windows and I thought I would look at some of those options which are available in the newest operating system from Microsoft that being Windows 7.

The first thing I noticed was they changed the name from “accessibility options” to “ease of access” once you enter the ease of access center you have very similar options to what you had in earlier versions of Windows and one of the first topics that I wanted to talk about in this multipart series was how do we enter information into the computer itself?

How do we use some of the other application are available eg how do we type in to the various programs if we cannot use a standard keyboard. now Windows 7 still has the on screen keyboard but they have made a few very significant changes in the application.

The first one is that you can now actually re-size the keyboard and make the keys significantly larger, in earlier versions of the on screen keyboard yes you could physically make keyboard larger by clicking on the corners and dragging it to whatever size you wanted but the actual size of the physical keys on the keyboard did not change in size.  It was only the space around the keys to her on the edge of the keyboard itself that grew larger.

In the new version that’s part of Windows 7 however, as you drag a corner to make the keyboard larger the keys themselves all only come larger which means they are a much easier target for individuals to hit there’s less chance that you’re going to accidentally hit the wrong key.

One of the other things that I notice which is also very beneficial is they have now got word prediction built into this onscreen keyboard which means as you type several letters in the word it’s going to make some guesses as to what words you want and will put five of them up across the top of the keyboard.  If one of the words shown there is a word that you want you simply go up and click on it and it will complete that word for you.

This keyboard also has the various input methods available to you that we’re in earlier versions you can use the mouse and click on the key’s, this does require good manual dexterity and good use of the mouse.  We have the hover or dwell click is there so if you simply leave your mouse still over a key for a given period of time which is adjustable you will type the letters. There is a scanning method as well and you can use a variety of keys such as the spacebar to activate the scanning.

So there are quite a few options available for anyone that needs this particular piece of technology and I’m glad to see that they made the enhancements because in earlier versions that usually meant having to go to a third party on-screen keyboard which had the word prediction and completion in it.  This feature along with the ability to resize the actual keys is going to make it useful for a significant number of people.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at darrellh@enablingabilities.com please feel free to stop by my website which www.enablingabilities.com. Thank you very much.

Using Digital Recorders with Dragon to Create Transcripts

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on February 16, 2009

Hello welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. My name is Darrell Hyatt, in this episode I wanted to talk about digital voice recorders having a digital voice recorder was one of the things I wanted for quite a while and this year at Christmas my wife bought me one.

It turned out to be a very useful item not only is it useful for business individuals to remember items or jot down ideas when you’re away from the office say on the skytrain or on a bus, but it’s also useful for those of us with disabilities who use speech recognition software because I can dictate notes or whatever into the voice recorder and then when I get home using Dragon NaturallySpeaking I can transcribe the notes using the transcription feature in Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Which means I don’t have to retype the material I simply make any corrections and edits based on the recognition factor that I get through Dragon, there are however a few interesting things that I would like to point out for those of you who are considering purchasing a voice recorder especially if you are going to be using it for voice recognition.

I have: an Olympus vn 4100 PC recorder it works very well with Dragon the recognition with minimal training is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 70%. This particular recorder has many different recording modes and each particular mode gives you a certain amount of dictation time so depending on what you do, how many notations you take on a daily basis you may want to look for a recorder that has a long recording time.

With this particular recorder for example in its long play mode you get approximately 144 hours of notation however if you are using it in conjunction with voice recognition I highly recommend he high quality mode which most voice recorders now have and that time is significantly shorter with this particular model I get approximately 2 hours of dictation time at high quality which works best for transcription purposes.

The other thing that you may want to look at is how easy are the buttons to operate, are they mostly on the front of the recorder or or or some of them on the side which may make it more difficult to use those buttons. You also want to make sure that the recorder fits comfortably in your hand.

One of the features that I like of this particular voice recorder is the fact that I can leave it sitting on my desk near me and take my notes, this is particularly helpful when I’m working on a project and I’m using the computer at the same time I still have both hands free to use the mouse and the computer and I can be taking the notes as I’m working and then from the voice recording I can make any notes that I want to use for later on for example as students handouts etc.

One of the other points I would suggest is to pick a recorder and check with where ever you purchase it make sure that you can return it if you find that it doesn’t work for you for what ever reason. This one also has a USB connection to allow me to connect it to the computer and so I can move my note files over on the computer for storage purposes so that maybe something that may be useful for you as well.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns or show ideas you’d like to hear about on this podcast please send me an e-mail at darrellh@enablingabilities.com. Feel free to visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com for further information. Thank you very much.