So far, Dragon has passed every test I’ve set for it. It’s still going to take some getting used to, but it works much better than I expected. I’m especially impressed with its performance on difficult words. I expected to have to train it for days before would be able to recognize science terms, but so far it’s done very well. Once I get used to speaking punctuation aloud, I should be able to run around the house dictating while doing other things. This will be a remarkable boost to productivity, and my wrists won’t feel a thing. Huzzah!
Whoever came up with this is a genius. Or several geniuses. I’m sure it was more than one person.
I’m constantly amazed by this program’s capabilities. I trained it for about five minutes before it started working almost perfectly. It even recognizes words like subduction, which even WordPress doesn’t know. But the most impressive moment came when I tried to test it to destruction. I gave it one of the hardest words to understand that I could think of: blueschist. I doubt one in fifty people would know how to spell that word, but the only thing that I had to correct was the space between blue and schist. That’s remarkable for a computer program. The fact that it works this well out of the box, without having loaded any word lists or trained it with my own writing, is amazing.
Pretty soon, I’ll be using it to write our next Mount St. Helens post. Teaching it my preferred formats is very simple: all I had to do just then was tell it that I prefer St. rather than saint. Of course, we just got stuck in the weeds trying to write St. versus saint, but that was more my unfamiliarity with how Dragon works than anything else. It did at least know the difference between write and right. It’s early days yet, and I’ll get used to the way it does things.
In the interests of not having to stop to correct the dictation during geology posts, I’m going to try to confuse it right now. Let’s throw a list of geology words at it and see what it does.
Apparently, I need to teach it how I pronounce volcano. It got it just then, though. It’s amazing how quickly voice recognition software catches on. So let’s try this again:
Simple. Now let’s move on to difficult words.
It knew that one right off the bat. It’s far better at spelling than most of my friends. And it knows how to use apostrophes. I think I’m beginning to fall in love.
Well, this is almost boring. I expected this to be a challenge, but it’s having no trouble at all so far. However, I think I have a word that might stump it.
Ha! Finally, a word it doesn’t get. Let me try one more time before teaching it.
That’s closer. Let’s see if it pronounces this the way that I pronounce it in my head.
Apparently not. So now let’s teach it the word:
Perfect. All I have to do is spell the word, and then tell it to train. I speak it one time, and it knows what I’m talking about forever after. It’ll be interesting to see if giving it a geology vocabulary list will help it learn faster when I get into more complicated words later on. In the meantime, let’s see if we can stump it again, because that’s fun.
Oh, so close. Let’s explain to it that this is a compound word.
Excellent. Oh, and did I mention I’ve got Azam Ali playing in the background, I’m using the mic that came in the box, and I’m not speaking in a monotone? I’m not even speaking particularly slowly. Eventually, I imagine this is going to be like talking to an old friend. An old friend who likes taking dictation for me. I think I’m going to have to name it. I’m open to suggestions.
Meanwhile, let’s try some more of our words.
Holy crap in a hat, I didn’t even have to tell it to capitalize all that. Apparently, it knows who the USGS is. I wish this program had a body so I could hug it. I probably won’t spend all summer sitting in the house talking to it with the cat in my lap, but it’s tempting. There’s just something about watching technology figure things out that’s fascinating. Also, the cat enjoys the fact I don’t have to have my computer in my lap anymore. Bonus!
Right, let’s try another.
Well, this is no challenge at all. I think it’s going to do geology just fine. We’ll see what it does if I decide to read a technical paper to it, but I suspect it’ll have no trouble at all. In order to stump it, I’m going to have to try to teach it lolcat-speak next. That should be fascinating.
If any of you are wanting to get voice-recognition software of your own, I do recommend getting the premium edition. It’s smarter and it stores your voice profile, so you don’t have to start all over with subsequent upgrades.
So far, I’m extremely pleased with Dragon. I’m not even worried about whether the doc can fix my wrists or not. I mean, I’m sure they can, but it’s of absolutely no concern considering these wretched joints work well enough for everyday tasks, and Dragon is more than capable of handling all the writing for me. The only thing that could possibly be better is if it could pluck the words straight out of my head, punctuation and emphasis included. But I’m sure that’s not too far in our future.
Dang, I love the modern era!