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So much information !

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on January 28, 2011

Hello everyone I don’t know about you but I’m finding that there’s so much information available out there today in a variety of places such as the Internet and so on that I’m finding I’ve got information overload, and yet as I try and sort through the information that is on the Internet on blogs and in various places that I visit regularly.

There’s so much of it that I would like to keep for future reference or ideas for projects things like that, for the longest time I wondered how could I captured this information and keep it readily available and yet make it easy to update as more information or new information came along.

I’ve been using the system for a while now that I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you because I’m finding it quite effective as well as simple to start and simple to maintain. The best news is you probably already have everything you need because the solution that I’ve implemented is to simply use my word processor which in this case is Microsoft Word version 2010.

I create a document and then as I find articles and information that I want to store I simply copy that information with any headings and so on from the article into word and I make the article title a heading two item in word and then I have categories for information say on Windows, a section on Word, another one on Excel.

Several other categories that I use based on for example the programs I teach and so on but the categories are totally up to you based on your needs and I make those a heading one and I start each of the new heading one items on a separate page.

Then what I do to tie all of this together at the begin of the document is to create a table of contents and then using the table of contents you can select to have the table of contents show your heading one heading two and heading three items and that way when you create the table of contents it will then list all your heading one items and then any heading two items are below that so you end up with a very nice table of contents.

Using the table of contents you can simply click on any item and you will go right to that article and then as I put articles in to this document I then save it which updates everything and that I simply store this document on my desktop which makes it very easy for me to access so what I’m looking for any of the information I can quickly flip through the table of contents to see if what I’m looking for is there.

If it is I click on the item and I go directly to it and I can refer to it as often as I want and with this created I now have a way to store valuable information and this can be quickly and easily updated, I can also put it on a flash drive if I need to take this document with me anywhere so it’s very versatile and easy to maintain.

I hope this tip is helpful to you if you have any comments questions or concerns please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment add to the bottom of this post.

Thank you very much.

Note Each time you add something to the document you must update the table of contents before saving the document for the change to the table of contents to take effect.

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.

I like my ipad

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on August 1, 2010

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast, as many of you know Ipads are a very hot topic at the moment many people are purchasing them and as you know I purchased an ipad a little while ago and I thought it would talk about some of the things that I found in the amount of time that I’ve been working with it.

The first thing that I noticed is it’s very light and easy to carry around, I used to have a PDA and got use to putting all my appointments and everything into it and now it seems that as technology advances some things have not been able to keep up and so I ended up not using my PDA is much.  I’ve since found that the ipad has now become my PDA as well as my preferred mobile computer device, and I know that makes me sound like I’m a geek well I guess I am truly geek and ultimately that doesn’t bother me.

I find the ipad wonderful because it’s got a nice large screen I can magnify whatever I am looking at simply by dragging my fingers across the screen.  I love having Internet access anywhere there’s a wireless connection for me to use, it allows me to work on ideas and in so on it allows me to share my website content with anyone anywhere.

One of the other things that I think is very useful is the fact that there’s so many unique and useful applications available for the  ipad, I for example have a jumbo calculator with large size buttons that was free and as you may know I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to create transcripts for my podcasts as well as do a great deal of my work using Dragon which is a speech recognition software program and to my great surprise there’s a version of Dragon available for the ipad.

It does require that you be connected to an Internet connection for it to work however, with an Internet connection I am able to use the software to dictate notes and so on to myself which I can then e-mail to any one of my numerous e-mail accounts and transfer it to my computer and this application is free.

Because there’s so many different applications that are either free or inexpensive for example you can get the pages word processor for $9.99.  My wife the Left Thumb Blogger uses her ipad as a communication device and she uses a program called Proloquo2 go which was I believe around $200 which makes the ipad a very useful and very inexpensive communication aide when you consider that a lot of the adaptive technology and communication programs available are several thousand dollars.

So in comparison you could get an ipad with say Proloquo2go for approximately $1000 and you have much more functionality, you wouldn’t have the stigma of feeling different because you’re using different adaptive technology.  The ipad is now readily available and many many many people have it so an individual using it with a disability for whatever purpose whether it be communication writing whatever the individual needs to do they would fit in because the ipad the has now become standard and recognized almost anywhere you go.

My first impression after using the ipad for a month or so now is I love it, it has great functionality great potential I would recommend getting a case for one when you purchase it and I only see the applications list available for the ipad as growing.  Even though you may not find exactly what you are looking for right now you will certainly find something that you can get started with and as time goes by there will be many more applications available

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

Podcast editing tips & tricks

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on May 7, 2010

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast today I thought I would share with you some of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned about creating and editing my podcast.

When I first started to learn not only what podcasts were but how to create them, one of things that I thought was going to be the most challenging was learning to do the editing to create the best sounding podcast that I could.  This is always my goal no matter how long I’ve been podcasting or how many podcasts I create.

Over time I’ve learned a few secrets that I would like to share with all of you, the first thing that I learned which has been very helpful is to relax and be myself because over time we get more comfortable with who we are and the way we speak and the way we sound.

Originally I thought that my podcast were very awful and there was way too many sounds and noises like the mouth clicks the breathing sounds, the dreaded um’s and ah’s that all of us have when we speak.

As I go along I now tend to not worry about those quite as much because I know I can edit them out and one of nicest things that I’ve been able to do is the learn what works best for me, one of the items that I tend to do now is rather than amplifying the audio file at the very beginning before I start my editing and my removal of the unwanted noise as I use to do before I tend now not to do the amplification until the end.

I go through and do my noise reduction processes first I use a program called Audacity to record and edit the audio file itself, and using audacity and other programs such as Wavepad pact you can do many wonderful things including noise reduction.  I found if I do the noise reduction first it takes out a lot of the unwanted background noise first which eliminates having to try and remove it later when it’s more mixed in with my voice, and it tends to stop the drop-off factor of losing the high and low ends of my speech.

When the noise reduction is done later and once I’ve done the noise reduction then I go through and remove the obvious unwanted breath sounds and the other annoying sounds like the mouth clicks.

Once I’ve got the majority of those out then I go ahead and do the amplification and then if necessary I will redo the noise reduction for the final product which should if everything is done correctly be fairly clean.

The other issue that I had is the length of breaks between when I speak, initially when I first started I tended to take a lot of that empty space out of my recordings trying to match up every time I took it out to try and take out the exact same amount and even things out.  While over time I have  learned that this is not really my natural speech pattern that people have of come to know and understand for me.

I’ve learned to take out the major silences and leave some of the minor silences in to keep the natural flow of my speaking and I realize that every person has a different speech pattern and so on and we just have to think about what works best for you what is most comfortable and adapt your podcasts to that same pattern of your speaking. Hopefully these tips are helpful.

if you have any questions comments 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.

Do you need two computers

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on April 1, 2010

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast, as many of you know I purchased a new quad core computer recently with Windows 7.  I’m happy to report that the computer is working fine.

There is however a case to be made for having two computers in one’s office and keeping your old computer as the second machine in your office.  If you are a entrepreneur and solopeneur as I am in the computer field I have found since working with Windows 7 that some of the software that I had been using particularly the video production software, and some of my software for providing online training and doing webinars does not work at all or well on Windows 7.

This is in no way a reflection on either the software that I’m trying to use or on Windows 7 because Windows 7 is still relatively new some pieces of software have not completed their testing and software adjustments to work correctly with Windows 7.

Because I have gotten so used to using these particular pieces of software it becomes evident to me that there is a strong case for keeping one’s old computer hooked up to not only as a backup in the interim while year switching your files and your other software over to Windows 7.

But if there are cases where the software you use doesn’t work well in Windows 7 at the moment and your very partial to using that software your only option at this point is to keep your old computer running.   This then brings up the question of how I actually used to computers when I’ve only got one monitor for example and then does this mean that I have to have two keyboards and two mice set up on my desk at which point you screen because you don’t have room on your desk for two of everything.

Luckily there is a way to use your existing monitor your existing keyboard and your existing mouse with a device called a KVM switch which you can get at any computer retailer in your area, their approximately $50-$70 and then you can connect two computers to one monitor one keyboard and one mouse.

So that when you want to use computer A you connect using your KVM switch, when you want to use computer B you simply press a button on the KVM switch and you are now using the other machine this way you can switch back and forth you can get your files from your old machine, you can run whatever software you need either from your old machine or your new machine.

It makes it very nice for testing your programs while you’re in the midst of the changeover from the old computer to a new computer.  It also allows you less non productive downtime because you’ve always got the old machine to continue working from, and another benefit of doing this is should you have a failure on one of your computers you’ve got the other one to immediately go to to work or get the materials you need to do the repair on your system that is not working.

These are a few of the reasons why I am now going to go back to having two computers.

If you have any questions comments 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.

My Quandary

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on March 15, 2010

Hello and welcome to the Enabling Abilities to Appear podcast. Today I wanted to discuss an issue that is important to all of us as entrepreneurs and solopreneurs,

and some of us have more difficulty with this than others.

The topic I want to talk about is how do we provide good customer service without going too far, and by that how do we provide good customer service so that we give our customers value and yet don’t spend more time than is necessary and thereby lose our self money or cost our self money.

Recently I had a situation where a new client wanted me to do some work on his computer and I didn’t have a problem with the work that was requested however, when I looked into the machine itself and saw that there was quite a few significant issues with the machine I spent a great deal of time trying to find solutions for his particular issues and essentially provide the service that he had asked me to provide.

Ultimately for me after spending several hours and exhausting all possibilities to do the work that was needed I was unable to come up with a solution to his particular problems.  The next question for me became how much do I charge this individual knowing that the work that was needed was not able to be done and this was due to issues that were beyond my control as well as his.

So as I this left me with the quandary of how much do I charge, if I charge what I should for the number of hours I spent to the invoice would be a great deal of money which would make the client unhappy and ultimately would make me unhappy because I felt that there was a good likelihood I would lose this individual as a long-term client.  So I ended up picking the number that I was comfortable with for the invoice, knowing that I was losing money and that’s what I ended up going with.

Between myself and the client we ended up resolving issues and he is now a happy client who knows what his next step is going to be in terms of the next computer and so on.  I am sure that I will see this person again as a client but it still leaves me with that quandary of what happens the next time.

How do I resolve this issue of getting paid what I’m worth as well is getting paid for the hours of time that I do put in, no matter which way you look at this there’s many different answers and hopefully at some point I will come up with something that benefits both myself and the individuals I work with.

I look forward to hearing your responses to this difficult questions.  Please feel free to visit my website which is www.enablingabilities.com and feel free to comment on this particular podcast.  Thank you very much.

Useful Applications for All (Part 2)

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on February 15, 2010

Hello and welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. Earlier this month I did a podcast about some of my favorite tools that I use frequently and I didn’t have a chance in that podcast to talk about some of the tools that I use to create this podcast or any of the videos that I’ve done, some of which have been posted on YouTube.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to do a part two of the favorite tools that I use the first one I want to talk about is a program called Audacity it’s a free sound recording tool that allows you to record an audio file you can do some very interesting editing with it as well I use it because it works very well in conjunction with Dragon Naturally Speaking and the recognition of the text from the audacity wave file is very good.  You can get audacity from http://www.sourceForge.net.

Another program that use is called WavePad, this is the program that I used for editing my audio files for my podcast.  It allows me to clean up the audio remove unwanted noise and any extra words or phrases like the dreaded” um” Word.

I can remove that using WavePad and create a very clean audio file.  Another one           that I use for my podcast for the mixing of the audio file itself and the music that you hear at the beginning and end of my podcast, the program that I use to put all that together into one file is called MixPad.

Both MixPad and WavePad come from the same company and it’s called NCH software.com there is the free version of both wave pad and MixPad, but they will only work for a short period of time and then you will be asked to purchase a copy.

When it comes to working with video I have two programs that I’m going to talk about the first one is Adobe Premier elements eight, this is the latest version of the Adobe Premier elements series it handles all types of video files including high-definition video which I’ve just moved into recently and love it very much.

The Adobe Premier elements is a very useful program it has advanced features allows you to a great number of effects and yet is simple to use and the results are very good. The program itself can be downloaded in a trial format from www.adobe.com the price for Adobe Premier elements is approximately one hundred and fifty dollars.

The other program I use for video is one called Camtasia Studio. This program can be downloaded in a trial format as well from www.techsmith.com

I like Camtasia Studio because it is a screen recording program which allows me to capture what’s on my screen of my computer and save it as a video. This is very useful when creating training videos or wanting to produce a demonstration on how to do a particular computer task.

It allows me to show individuals exactly what to do as if I was in the room with them. Camtasia Studio also allows me to create captions for my videos which means that they are accessible to a wider audience, those people who are deaf hard of hearing for example can view with full functionality my videos and thereby allows me to reach a wider audience with the information that I have.

Camtasia Studio is approximately $300 US, and again it is a very worthwhile program for anyone that wants to get into videos particularly where you need to capture your screen.

I hope these tips on the programs that I use to create my products and services will be helpful to you in getting some ideas where to look if you were would like to try out any of these particular programs.

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 is www.enabling abilities.com Thank you very much.

Useful Applications for All

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on February 1, 2010

Hello and welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast. A few days ago I was talking with Glenda the left thumb blogger about how things had to changed in the world of computing and in particular how there were so many more tools available for individuals and small business to do things that weren’t possible in a short time ago.

So I thought I would look at some of my favorite application and pass along some of them to you and see if maybe they would be helpful for you. I would also be very interested in your comments about some of the software tools and so on that you find very useful for you or your company’s.

The first program that I find indispensable at this point now is Skype which is a communication program that you can use for communicating with individuals all around the world as long as they have Skype. And Skype is a very nice free application you can download it at www.skype.com I often use this to communicate with my clienta help them with their tech support questions.

Now another application that works very well in conjunction with Skype is called Mikogo and that can be found www.mikogo.com Mikogo is an application that will allow me to see the other person’s computer screen. This is very helpful when doing tech support or application training because being of those see their screen I can advise them what to do next in real time and I’m certain of what’s going on it’s not a case of them having to try and describe what they’re looking at I can actually see it at the same time that they are seeing it.

Another program that I use a great deal is called Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I’ve done several podcasts on the software earlier, because it allows me to speak into the computer and it types for me I’m able to be much more productive because I only type at five or 10 words a minute and yet I can dictate at probably 30 to 40 words a minute and once you train this particular software on the sound of your voice it works extremely well I get approximately 85 to 90% recognition of the text that I dictate.

It also has other features such as playback so that I can listen to the text that I’ve typed which works well for editing and spelling mistakes and just allowing me to make sure that I get the message across that I really want to.

Dragon Naturally Speaking also allows me to transcribe other audio files that I’ve done into a text format you can find out more about Dragon Naturally Speaking at www.nuance.com So those are a few of my favorite applications that I love to use that I use very frequently and I hope you find those particular programs useful to you.

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 is www.enablingabilities.com.  Thank you very much

Windows 7 Yes or No

Posted by Darrell Hyatt on November 16, 2009

Here is my latest post, it sounds different because I used a new recording method.  Enjoy!

Welcome to the enabling abilities to appear podcast Windows 7 has now been out for several weeks and I thought it would be a good time to discuss that important question whether or not to upgrade to the latest version of Windows?

The first things to consider when thinking of upgrading is does my existing computer handle my computing needs, both now and in the immediate future. If the answer to that question is yes then there may not be a need for you to upgrade, if however your existing machine does not meet your current needs and your future need or if your computer is not working at all than now may be a very good time to not only purchase a new computer but upgrade to Windows 7 is well.

When looking at whether to upgrade or not one of the first things to think about is what are the minimum requirements to run Windows 7 efficiently and effectively with the other software that you use.

When I looked at the minimum system requirements from the Microsoft website it included a minimum of a 1 GHz processor or faster 32-bit or 64-bit CPU, they recommended for the 32-bit version of Windows 7 you needed a minimum of 16 GB of hard drive space for the 32 bit version.  The 64-bit version required at 20 GB of hard drive space.

Another concern is the amount of RAM that you have on your computer for the 32-bit version of Windows Microsoft recommends 1 GB of RAM, for the 64-bit version they suggest 2 GB of RAM.  This number does not include having extra RAM to run other programs that you would normally run within the Windows operating system.

I would strongly suggest having a minimum of 4 GB of RAM no matter which version of Windows 7 you are going to be running, I also suggest a much faster processor than the 1 GHz which is suggested on the Microsoft website.

If you’re anything like me you tend to run multiple applications at once, for example most days I have my E-mail running I have Skype for communications and I usually have a least one web browser open at any given time.  I have 3 1/2 GB of RAM on my Windows XP system and everything runs quite smoothly if you’re going to be upgrading you definitely want the system to run smoothly and the more RAM you have along with the speed of your processor will make this an effective computer for you.  My best suggestion if you’re going to do an upgrade of both your hardware and your operating system purchase the best system that you can afford that will meet your current and future needs.

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