Our Training Makes The Difference! January 2010   

In this issue:

Zephyr-TEC logoAnnouncements
We Have an App for That

How Fast Can YOU Type?
MacSpeech Update
Success Story
Tech Tools & Tips
Contact Us




Upcoming Shows - Come by and see us!

UCSF ErgoFair 2010
March 3 and 4, San Francisco, CA
IMPAC PowerPath Users Conference
May 18-22, Amelia Island, Florida
CSIMS Midsummer Conference 2010
June 18 and 19, Paradise Point, California



We Have an App for That
Dragon Dictation for iPhone and iPod Touch

Last month, Nuance Communications released its Dragon Dictation app downloadable for iPhone and last week announced availability for the iPod Touch. The app allows users to speak e-mails and text messages instead of typing them as well as interfacing with other apps including Facebook and Twitter. The app is currently free for a limited time (Nuance also has a separate free voice search app, Dragon Search).

How Dragon Dictation works:

  • Launch the app
  • Hit the record button
  • Speak

Once you're done, your dictation is passed through the NaturallySpeaking recognizer engine on Nuance's servers and returned as transcribed text. You can then send the text to e-mail, to SMS text messaging or to your clipboard to paste into any application.


It's important to note that Dragon Dictation does require you dictate into the Dictation app instead of directly into an e-mail or text message window due to Apple's restrictions on letting third-party apps run in the background. And, you'll lose your work if you have to take a call or close the app before sending the text.

Currently, there is a recording limit of about 30 seconds each time you tap the Recording button, but you can tap the button again to continue. For now, this is to improve accuracy although Nuance says it may relax this limit in the future. The default setting is to click "Done" for dictation analysis to start, though you can change this in the program settings.

If you have a WiFi connection, the conversion to text is almost instantaneous. If using a cellular connection, it may take a few seconds. On the Touch, WiFi is required and, and you must supply a microphone.

To date, most reviewers are finding accuracy to be amazingly good and generally more accurate than Google's speech-to-text for the Nexus One. If there is a misrecognition, you can fix the mistake either by tapping on the word and tapping on one of the suggested alternatives or by making a keyboard appear to type in the correction.

Says David Pogue of the New York Times: "I'm finding Dragon to be a much faster, more efficient way to spit out e-mail messages, notes, text messages and Twitter updates. It's really, really cool."


When Dragon Dictation was first released, there was a widespread blogging, twittering panic with regards to the apps Welcome Screen indicating that the names from your address book would be uploaded to Nuance. While Nuance initially tried to reassure people only the names and no other demographic data would be uploaded and analyzed, not by people but by the Dragon recognizer engine for improved accuracy on contact names, the frenzy continued.

Now, for the paranoid among us, a checkbox has been added to the app to opt out of having contact names analyzed.


Dragon Dictation's initial release has room to grow but has lots of potential for doctors, lawyers, illegally texting drivers, and incessant social networkers and at the moment...you can't beat the price.

Download it FREE for a limited time from the App Store on iPhone or at itunes.apple.com/us/app/dragon-dictation/id341446764?mt=8




How Fast Can YOU Type?
Have you taken the Fingers of Fire Challenge?

Fingers of Fire is the ultimate Facebook typing test presented by Dragon NaturallySpeaking & Nuance Communications where you can challenge your friends or take on "The Scorcher."

To play, warm up those fingers and go to:


NOTE: this is a test of your keyboard typing speed. Some of the word choices and sentence construction are not typical of written text, so Dragon's speech recognition will be poorer than you might expect. Additionally, Select-and-Say is not enabled in the game window, so if you want to try the test hands-free using NaturallySpeaking you will have to dictate into Dragon's Dictation Box and transfer your dictation to the typing area (you'll see why when you meet "The Scorcher").




Update Released for MacSpeech Dictate
Attention iPeople

MacSpeech, Inc. announced the release of MacSpeech Dictate 1.5.8, an update to the premier speech recognition solution on the Macintosh.

MacSpeech Dictate is the only desktop speech recognition solution for the Macintosh. It provides unprecedented speech recognition accuracy (using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition engine) and works with existing Mac applications. Beyond dictation, MacSpeech Dictate lets users perform basic navigation and command and control of their Mac to launch applications, open new windows, execute menu commands, etc.

The update addresses an issue with audio input that only impacts the new iMacs with Core i5 and i7 quad-core processors. Existing customers of the MacSpeech Dictate family of products, including Medical, Legal and International, can update to version 1.5.8 by using their "Check for Updates" feature.

Detailed information on the change can be found at:

And if you don't have Dragon on your Mac yet - what are you waiting for? Order it here - only $199.99!


Success Story - Billy Gooch
Like Having a Teaching Assistant in my PC

Billy Gooch is an adult education teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District and a former television and radio personality. Billy started using Dragon NaturallySpeaking about seven years ago after an injury. Here, in his own words, Billy shares his experiences with Dragon.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking lets me control my notebook PC; whether dictating a lesson plan, documenting student progress, conducting research online for coursework, catching up on the headlines while surfing the web or checking and replying to emailóall by using my voice!

When I recovered from an industrial accident and my doctor was ready to release me, she said I had an opportunity - I was getting my life back. But I found I needed help adjusting to my new work restrictions. Fortunately my counselor with the California Department of Rehabilitation was there for me and suggested speech recognition software and training. With the training I received from Zephyr-TEC, I was successful in updating my computer skills.

I can remember and continue to use what I learned from Zephyr-TEC when using Dragon to this day. I still find Zephyr-TECís macros and the step-by-step commands they trained me to create myself continue to help me daily with repetitive tasks.

Currently I have two teaching assignments with the Division of Adult and Career Education with the Los Angeles Unified School District. While adult education isnít unique to LAUSD, more often adult learners elsewhere in the state and throughout the country find education opportunities at community colleges. What make my assignments more unique is our program is designed for Adults with Disabilities. Most often our students have intellectual disabilities like autism but may also be duel diagnosed with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

Many of our adult learners find itís not easy to return to school. Often they did not have a positive educational experience during childhood. Others with behavior challenges struggle with simply sitting still and paying attention. Our higher functioning students struggle with the demands on their time making it difficult to come to class prepared to learn. So not only do we teachers need to be knowledgeable about the subjects we teach but also prepared with lesson plans tuned to the interests and abilities of our students presented in a complementary manner for all learning styles.

The best part for me these days in the classroom is I can focus on working with students individually even while documenting their progress using Dragon with a wireless headset. In a lab setting I move from workstation to workstation helping students as the need arises. I am very fortunate to be able to pass along the can do optimism to my students which was the very thing Zephyr-TEC instilled in me when I needed it most!




Not sure what it means? Well stay tuned ...

With all the constant change in the field of dictation technology, we thought it would be useful to explain a few buzzwords from speech recognition and digital dictation and then give actual definitions. Here's a few more:

SMS: Short Message Service (SMS) is a standardized communications protocol that allows the exchange of short text messages between mobile phone devices. It's the most widely used data application in the world so the term SMS is often used as a general shorthand for all short text messaging.

VUI: The Voice User Interface (VUI) is the set of prompts and scripts for a voice-recognition phone service or web page to guide the interaction in the appropriate manner.

Still confused? Send us an e-mail at info@zephyr-tec.com and we'll clarify for you!



Tech Tools & Tips
NaturallySpeaking's Numbers - to be "two" or not to be ď2Ē

Dragon's default (and grammatically correct) setting for dictated numbers is to have single digit numbers written as words while multiple digit numbers are written as numeric values.

For example, Dragon will write "five" when you dictate "five" and "11" when you dictate "eleven". If you wish for the single digit number "five" to be written as "5" you would dictate it as "Numeral five."

If you work heavily in numbers based applications like Excel or you simply prefer for single-digit numbers to always be written as numeric values, you can set this option in NaturallySpeaking Version 10 formatting options.

On your Dragon bar, choose: Tools>Formatting and choose "0" from the droplist pictured below.

Then, you can dictate 1 e-mail, 2 documents and 3 spreadsheets without ever having to say "numeral."


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