Our Training Makes The Difference!         March 2005



  • April 6 - Open House in San Mateo from 4:00-6:30pm
  • April 29th and 30th - CSPM&R Conference in Disney's Grand California Hotel in Anaheim, CA (www.cspmr.net)
  • June 1st thru 3rd - WSIA Annual Conference in Yakima, WA (www.wsiassn.org)
  • June 6th thru 8th - PRIMA (Public Risk Managers Assoc.) in Milwaukee.
    Renee Griffith, CEO of Zephyr-TEC, will be speaking at the conference about speech recognition (www.primacentral.org)
  • June 10th and 11th - CSIMS Conference in Anaheim. A representative from ScanSoft will be joining our booth on Friday, June 10th! (www.csims.net)
  • October 5th thru 7th - PASMA 2005 Annual Conference in San Diego (www.pasmaonline.org)

In an effort to get some feedback from users on their experiences with using or upgrading to NaturallySpeaking 8.0, we've been calling around asking, “So, what do you think of Version 8?”

The Good
We are told by users they are impressed with the improved recognition in Version 8.0. Everyone reports the accuracy is better than Version 7.0-- which was very good. ScanSoft boasts “25% better accuracy” which seems like a lot; however, it’s how you crunch the numbers. ScanSoft is citing the error rate, meaning there are 25% less errors. So if you were getting 97% accuracy in 7.0, you should be seeing about 97.75% with 8.0. This is a subtle change, but it‘s enough of an improvement for everyone we spoke with to take notice. And many users find that the recognition accuracy of commands has also improved significantly.

Our Technical Support team reported that the upgrade installation is much smoother than any previous release of NaturallySpeaking. In the past, we have recommended users fully uninstall the former version, install the new version and create a new profile (importing vocabulary and macros from the former profile). With version 8 we have found the upgrade process to be effective and “safe.”

Upgrading may take some time (we've seen up to 25 minutes) but if you have multiple profiles the second and third profile will upgrade faster. In our testing, we have both upgraded and created new profiles and had good results either way. So, users now have a choice whether to create a new profile to take advantage of the improvements of the speech engine or just upgrade the old profile. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you may be happier just running the upgrade rather than creating a new profile in 8.0.

Many of the new features, like the Roaming User and Variable Text Commands, are proving to be useful. For users who, for example have both a laptop and desktop but don’t want to have two separate profiles, the Roaming User is great addition to Dragon. Another example where the Roaming User is applicable pertains to medical professionals. The Roaming User allows doctors to dictate in exam rooms (or any computer on the network) and have their updated profile available on any PC.

Variable Text Commands allow “normal” or boilerplate text commands to contain variable fields that can be spoken and automatically filled in. For example, a doctor might say “normal knee” and Dragon will type all the text about a normal knee. However, there are measurements, like extension, that need to be inserted in the body of the Normal Knee text. Now, a user can define where and what those variables are they say “Normal Knee, 15, 12” and those measurements will be inserted in the correct place in the text.

NaturallySpeaking Medical Version 8 has seen the most and best improvements. With 14 specialty vocabularies, there’s no need to buy 3rd party vocabularies – they’re already in Medical 8! Improved language models help eliminate errors and now Medical 8 contains “accented” profiles for non-native English speaking professionals. Accented profiles include UK English, Australian English, Southeast Asian and Indian (India). This dramatically improves recognition for these individuals.

New ways to format dates and add special characteristics to words are useful for a user with a technical or complex vocabulary or even to dictate your recipes for cooking.

We’ve heard several people say that 8.0 appears to be faster in terms of the response time from the moment you say something to when the words appear on your screen. We also hear that Version 8 is very stable and rarely “locks up” or crashes.

In general, our clients report the experience of upgrading and using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 8.0 has been well worth the effort and cost.

The Not So Good

Some of the built-in commands for Outlook don’t work, especially in the message window. If you are experiencing this bug we have fixes, so let us know (info@zephyr-tec.com). In Outlook and Word (both 2002/XP and 2003) there can be inconsistent capitalization. NaturallySpeaking doesn’t always capitalize after a period or after the command “New Paragraph”. This bug occurs in Outlook regardless of whether you use a Rich Text editor or HTML editor. This capitalization problem also occurs intermittently in Word, though closing Word and re-launching it appears to improve performance for awhile.

We have seen inconsistent spacing both in Outlook and Word. These spacing problems can occur in conjunction with the capitalization error, as spacing rules are based on assumptions about capitalization. The other spacing bug is left over from 7.0: intermittently when you select and restate text, Dragon may add a space.

One other problem we have seen occurs in both Word 2002/XP and 2003. You may get a Windows error when you close Word. The Windows error report dialog box appears and unless you click “Send Report” you can’t get out of the loop of the error report. Once you send the report the error message goes away.

All and all, these issues seem “not so bad” in terms of the bugs we’ve seen in prior releases of NaturallySpeaking. We’ve been pleased with this release and find our clients have been too. We are in constant contact with ScanSoft regarding all of the bugs we report (or those of our clients), so stay tuned as we hope to see a patch for these “nuisance” issues in the future.


Zephyr-TEC will be holding its annual Open House this year on Wednesday, April 6th, 2005 from 4:00pm to 6:30pm at our San Mateo office. The Open House last year was well attended and a lot of fun for all who came by. We had great giveaways (including SF Giants tickets and a NaturallySpeaking Pro), nibbles and beverages. Our guest speakers were Dr. Robert Markison, M.D. (hand surgeon) and Ilana Parker, PT. Dr. Markison’s presentation was a multimedia feast, including a live clarinet! And Ilana Parker, PT and Feldenkrais teacher, had us all working on elbows and shoulders. Everyone had a chance to see our new state of the art training facility too!

We are looking forward to another great event this year so mark the date. Our Keynote speaker will be Gilda Haskell-Rottman who will talk about the speech recognition training and implementation programs at ChevronTexaco. Gilda, an RSI sufferer, actually started the “grass roots” movement back in 1997 at ChevronTexaco to get speech recognition to employees who could no longer type due to RSI related injuries or who wanted to reduce their hours on the keyboard to alleviate RSI symptoms. ChevronTexaco has become a leader in the implementation of speech recognition to help injured workers return to work and prevent lost time from work. With approximately 600 users globally and growing by the day, ChevronTexaco has now started offering speech recognition software to all ChevronTexaco employees. They have found that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to upper extremity repetitive injuries. More companies are sure to follow in ChevronTexaco’s footsteps as people like you, learn how a very large company puts together a program like this. This is your opportunity to hear how to get a program like this going at your organization or company.

Our Guest speaker will be Deidre Rogers, Nurses Ergonomist, who will present the key findings of research on how to best use shortcut keys to avoid additional mousing. She will discuss how keyboard shortcuts and voice recognition macros in MS Outlook in particular can save time and hand use. Deidre Rogers, RN, CAE, MS founded Ergovera in 1996 and helps companies protect their most valuable assets – their employees, by providing ergonomic expertise. She has over 10 years experience in innovative educational training and injury prevention.

Deidre has produced educational films and videos and has conducted over 1,000 ergonomic evaluations, including in-depth analysis of libraries, coding machines, laboratories, dispatching departments, and water treatment plants. Her clients include the Santa Clara Water District, City of Palo Alto, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Alien Technologies, and Packeteer, Inc.

Safe Computing will have ergonomic equipment on display. We will present demonstrations of our online web based training, lots of prizes (including more SF Giants tickets!) and much more. We will again be serving nibbles, snacks and beverages throughout the event.

Please give us a call at 650-655-2405 to reserve your seat. We expect this event to be standing room only because of our keynote speaker. Call early!!

Don’t miss it! April 6th from 4pm to 6:30pm in our San Mateo office located at 1660 S. Amphlett Blvd. Suite 116, San Mateo, CA 94402 (at the crossroads of 101 and 92 in San Mateo! Email Robin Ung: Rung@Zephyr-TEC.com.

Success story: John A. Karachewski, Ph.D., Weiss Associates at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)-- Environmental Restoration Division

In December 2000, John was working on a Macintosh computer and a Sun workstation and began having wrist pain. Even though he underwent several ergonomic evaluations and workstation adjustments, his repetitive stress injury continued to worsen until he couldn't type a paragraph and his doctor suggested that he consider a different career.

John attended a demonstration of Dragon NaturallySpeaking by Shelley Gage of Zephyr-TEC. Her presentation demonstrated that an injured worker could continue to be successful and productive with speech recognition. John enjoys his work and did not want to change careers. After doing some research on his own, he asked his supervisors Mike Dresen and Fred Hoffman to purchase speech recognition software to accommodate his injury. He switched to a PC in order to use NaturallySpeaking.

John attended a Zephyr-TEC training class at LLNL and had eight additional hours of one-on-one training, so that he could work more efficiently. John describes himself as a quiet person and even though he works in a cubicle near a busy hallway, background noise has not been a problem and his coworkers have not been disturbed by his dictation.

Want to see a free live demonstration of NaturallySpeaking 8.0 (including Professional, Medical and Legal)? Did you know that Zephyr-TEC can demonstrate NaturallySpeaking and its tremendous capabilities, live online or onsite? That’s right! Go to www.zephyr-tec.com/webinarreg.html and sign up for a FREE demonstration of the latest version of NaturallySpeaking, Version 8.

As you may know, you cannot upgrade Pro or Medical Version 5 to 8. Only versions 6 and 7 are upgradeable to 8. If you own Version 5, ScanSoft, the makers of Dragon, now requires you to purchase a new full version of the software. We have a very limited quantity of full Version 7 (Pro and Medical) software available at steeply discounted prices. Just $399 for Pro 7 and $599 for Medical 7 . You can upgrade your version 5 to 7 then purchase the upgrade to Version 8 for just $165 for Pro and $199 for Medical. This saves you nearly $230 off the retail price of Pro ($795) and $295 off the retail price of Medical ($1095)!

We do mean LIMITED and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. If you’d like more information about this special opportunity, please give us a call at (toll-free) 877-493-7497 (our So. CA office). A credit card will be required for purchase.

Here are some useful tips for forcing NaturallySpeaking to use alternate written forms (before or after numbers) or to force numbers to be spelled out as a numeral when used. You can access these features from the Vocabulary Editor in Dragon NaturallySpeaking (NaturallySpeaking>Words>View/Edit). Find the word you want to modify and click Properties.

Only use alternate written form (Before/After numbers)
Select this box to specify that Dragon NaturallySpeaking will only type the alternate form when it appears next to a number. You can choose to have the alternate form appear either before the number ("pg. 6") or after the word ("6 kg"). Dragon NaturallySpeaking will not type the alternate written form if you do not say it next to a number. Note that the "Units of measure" check box must be selected on the Formatting tab of the Options dialog box for this option to work.

Only when the word appears next to a number will Dragon NaturallySpeaking type the alternate written form. In other situations, Dragon NaturallySpeaking will type the written form (e.g. "page" instead of "pg").

Force numbers to be spelled as numerals when used
Select this check box to specify that Dragon NaturallySpeaking always types numeral instead of the word for that numeral when it appears next to the word. You can choose to have the numeral appear either before the word ("6 kilograms") or after the word ("page 5").

Don’t forget that Zephyr-TEC offers two technical support options. Our $3/minute tech support is great for less complex issues. But, problem solving can and does take time. Our Annual Tech Support offers 1 year of telephone, email or web support (total of 3 hours) and is just $300, and is our best value for Tech Support. This represents a savings of $240 based on the $3/minute option (180 min x $3/min). Don’t be frustrated by a problem or perceived “bug” – call us and see if we can help you get back on track! Call any Zephyr-TEC office and we’ll get you help!

Zephyr-TEC has personnel located in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles/Southern California, Phoenix area, Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska

Northern California: 800-822-1816
Southern California: 877-493-7497
Washington: 888-540-5999
Alaska: 888-540-5999
Arizona: 877-493-7497
General Email: info@zephyr-tec.com
Web: www.zephyr-tec.com

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