Our Training Makes The Difference!
November 2005   



  • Zephyr-TEC introduces Blog - Get more info here

Writing by voice is a learned skill. In time not only will you be more productive; you may find that something you once dreaded has become something fun.

Creative tasks such as writing are deeply tied to the brain’s kinesthetic sense. To an extent, the longer you perform a creative activity the stronger the tie between the creative process and the physical motions involved. This is why some writers say that they work better writing long-hand than they do at a typewriter or keyboard. For them the creative process of writing is deeply tied to the physical motions of moving a pen across paper.

Even those of us who use speech recognition due to a disability have an initial period when writing by voice is more difficult. The words don’t “flow.” It isn’t all that uncommon at first to get part way through a sentence and come to a screeching halt. This can be a very frustrating experience indeed. I believe it is one of the causes of people giving up speech recognition--even if they are achieving good accuracy. (TIP: do not look at the screen while dictating. This will keep you from getting distracted waiting for words to appear. This also helps you keep an even rhythm when dictating--which improves accuracy.)

If my own personal experience over the years is any guide, you will go through an initial phase where the words do not flow well at all, followed by a phase where the words come in a flood, making editing to remove the excess a necessity. Eventually you will gain back your original writing style. In fact, you may find that your writing improves somewhat. I say this because any sort of physical injury or disability that affects the hands also subtly affects the words chosen by the writer.

I know that my writing is far better now that I use speech recognition. Yes, I have had more practice over the years; but I am also no longer distracted by fatigue or pain. Now I can concentrate on saying exactly what I want to say with all of the nuances still present. Rather than writing being a physical chore to complete as quickly as possible, it has become a truly creative endeavor. I think once you get used to using speech recognition you will rediscover the pleasure in selecting just the right words, and in just the right order, to convey the meaning you intend.

Lazarus Long                       
Long-Time NaturallySpeaking User

In October, Zephyr-TEC was re-approved by California's Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE.) The BPPVE regulates postsecondary and vocational schools and establishes educational standards. As a result of this re-approval, Zephyr-TEC will start accepting vouchers for training. Students using vouchers must have a physical requirements document signed by their doctor (this form can be obtained from Zephyr-TEC,) and a signed rehab plan with a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Zephyr-TEC offers approved courses in
   • Speech Recognition-Introduction
   • Speech Recognition-Macro Creation
   • Microsoft Word with Speech Recognition-Introduction
   • Microsoft Word with Speech Recognition-Advanced
   • Microsoft Excel with Speech Recognition-Introduction
   • Microsoft Excel with Speech Recognition-Advanced
   • Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer with Speech Recognition
   • Microsoft PowerPoint with Speech Recognition

For more information, visit http://www.zephyr-tec.com/services/voc_rehab.html or contact a Zephyr-TEC office.

Before Deke Lightholder was introduced to Zephyr-TEC, he had not been impressed by speech recognition software. As a rehabilitation counselor at Southern California Edison (SCE,) he had attempted to introduce speech recognition without success. But then he saw Renee Griffith of Zephyr-TEC do a presentation at a conference of rehabilitation reemployment professionals. For the first time he saw that Dragon NaturallySpeaking was powerful enough to meet the needs of disabled workers in a business environment.

One of Deke's challenges at SCE is to help injured workers return to work. “We were looking for ways to reduce keystrokes,” he says, “It was relatively easy to demonstrate such a need, especially when we calculated the costs of lost workdays, worker’s compensation, other company benefits, plus the effects of disabilities on morale.”

SCE started sending employees to Zephyr-TEC to learn how to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. But returning them to work required the support of the IT Department, which would in turn require support from other departments and upper management. After demonstrations of Dragon's capabilities, Deke secured their cooperation. He set up a pilot program which was a success. "In fact," Deke says, “within a relatively short training time, training has enabled SCE employees using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate faster than required by the company’s typing speed tests, a prerequisite for most clerical job categories.”

Initially the project targeted employees off work due to upper extremity disabilities. However, Dragon has generated interest from others, and the most common question Deke now hears is “When can we have it?”

Deke summarizes his experience this way: “Dragon NaturallySpeaking will allow us to return disabled employees to work much sooner, thereby reducing costs to the company and lost time to the employee. Our Safety Department at Southern California Edison is a supporter of the voice project and believes the software has the potential to reduce injuries associated with keying. We see Dragon NaturallySpeaking as a win/win solution for our disabled population. And ultimately, we’d like to make it available to all employees.”

For the complete story, visit http://www.zephyr-tec.com/scereg.html

Burlington, Mass., October 18, 2005
– ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), maker of Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software, announced that it has changed its name to Nuance Communications, Inc. The new name marks the merger of Scansoft with Nuance Communications. The company will continue to be listed as "SSFT" on the Nasdaq National Market until November 21, 2005 when it will begin trading as "NUAN" (Nasdaq: NUAN).

"Our new name symbolizes an important point in the company’s evolution and better represents our mission to provide solutions that improve the customer experience," said Paul Ricci, chairman and CEO of Nuance.

Speech software is transforming the way people use digital devices and access information systems. Nuance is committed to making speech-enabled systems, devices and interactions effective and ubiquitous. For additional information, please visit www.nuance.com.

Welcome to “Practical Dragon Keeping," Zephyr-TEC's blog for speech-recognition users. Blogs are one of the most popular Internet trends of the past few years. The word blog is short for web log, and it is a kind of online diary. You can read postings by other Dragon users, and contribute your own as well. Share your experiences and frustrations, and connect with other speech-recognition users online. http://www.zephyr-tec.com/blog/ZephyrBlog.html



Format Painter in Word & Excel
Format Painter is one of the most useful tools in Microsoft Office. Both Word and Excel offer the capability to copy formatting and transfer it to another selection. In Word, to copy characteristics such as font type, size, or color, select the text as usual and say "Copy Formatting*." Then select the text where you would like to transfer the formatting and say "Paste Formatting*." In Excel, select the cell or cells with the desired formatting and say "Copy That." Then select the cells where you would like to transfer the formatting and say "Paste Format*."

*These commands are in Zephyr-TEC's Word and Excel command sets, available with the purchase of Zephyr's Spoken Word and Excelerate manuals. For more information, visit our website or contact a Zephyr-TEC office.


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

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

You are receiving this email newsletter because you have purchased product/services or requested
information from Zephyr-TEC. If you no longer wish to receive our newsletters or emails, please call us at
877-493-7497, email us at remove@zephyr-tec.com or reply to this email with REMOVE in the subject line.
We apologize for any inconvenience. ©2005 Zephyr-TEC Corp. All Rights Reserved.