In this issue:
But is it? As a one-handed computer user, I've used various incarnations of speech recognition to do my typing for me since 1995. Every 1 ½ - 2 years or so, Nuance Communications releases a new version of NaturallySpeaking. Earlier this month, they released Version 11.
Prior to Version 11's release, Nuance collected data, beta tested and actually listened to and implemented suggestions of current Dragon users. NaturallySpeaking 11 has lots of new and/or improved features that first-timers will appreciate and that make an experienced (old) Dragon user like me very happy. So without further ado ...
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS …
When you select, correct, edit or format a word or phrase and there are multiple matches smattered throughout your document, Dragon 11 will display a number next to each match.
In the past, if a word or phrase was in the document multiple times, it could be difficult to select or correct the right instance. You may have to say, "select again" repeatedly, or move your cursor closer to the desired word or phrase.
Now, if your document has multiple instances of, for example, the word: you, simply say, "select you" and Dragon 11 will number each match, allowing you to quickly choose the one you want.
The multiple match feature also works with commands to capitalize, insert the cursor, cut, copy, delete, and format text. For many of the multiple match commands, one or all instances of the word or phrase can be chosen.
In the example below, say, "underline you" to number the matches and then say, "Choose All" to underline each and every you.
Switching between Application and Document Windows -
In the busy, multitasking workplace, it's not unusual to have numerous application windows and a multitude of documents and e-mails open at any given time. Switching between these windows can be a painstaking, often frustrating exercise by voice. Version 11 contains new Windows commands to streamline this task.
To display a list of all open windows, say, "list all windows." Dragon displays a numbered list of all those that are open, so you can indicate your choice of window without needing to know the exact name of the program or document.
To select a window to activate, say, "choose <number>."
To show a list of open windows for just a particular application-for example- Notepad, say, "list windows for Notepad"
Web Search Verification –
Version 10 introduced us to Voice Shortcuts for web searching, allowing Internet searches using commands patterned on natural speech.
That's wonderful as long as Dragon understands what you naturally said. If you ask NaturallySpeaking to "search the web for brass" but it thinks you've said "breast" your search results could return with surprising and potentially embarrassing outcomes.
Version 11 has Web search verification. Before completing the search, the Dragon Keyword Edit dialog box will open providing the option to revise or replace the search keyword.
NOTE: You can now ask Dragon to search more sites. Among those added are Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and … IRS.gov (everything okay, Nuance?).
The Dragon Sidebar –
By default, when opening your Version 11 profile, the new Dragon Sidebar will display. The Sidebar is a tool to see sample commands and tips that update dynamically as you switch between programs and windows.
The Sidebar is divided into upper and lower sections, called panes. The top pane of the Sidebar has voice-enabled or clickable links to online Help topics, shows examples of commands available in the current application, and organizes the information by tabs. The MyCommands tab in the upper pane lists user-added commands that can be printed out. The lower pane contains tips.
The Sidebar will help new users remember what commands to say and may teach old users new tricks.
Note: You can turn off the default display of the Sidebar from the Miscellaneous tab of the Dragon's Options dialog box. If the Sidebar is closed, you can open it by saying, "Show Dragon Sidebar".
And of course there's much more -
The list goes on and on.
So, in summary Nuance did a good job of querying and implementing suggestions from real life Dragon users to enhance its product.
NaturallySpeaking … ActuallyListening!
-- Written by Page Filson, Senior Instructor
The savings on these version 11 upgrades are substantial (typically more than 30%), but this is a limited time sale that ends September 30, 2010. As a service oriented company, nothing is more frustrating that talking to someone that wants to upgrade but has missed their chance to save money ... don't let that be you!
Keep in mind that the new version 11 is the ONLY version of Dragon that will work with Office 2010, which is what you will find on any new computer you buy. If you plan to upgrade your computer in the next year, you will need to upgrade Dragon as well - it might make sense to buy the Dragon upgrade now, while it's on sale, even if you don't plan to install it until the computer upgrade happens.
And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send us a message or give us a call!
If you don't have Dragon yet, this release of version 11 an excellent time to take advantage of the productivity gains it can give you. If you're not typing a hundred words per minute, you should be ... and Dragon is how.
You can check out the full list of new version 11 products here, but we've got a Zephyr-TEC Voice special:
Save 10% if you order now!
Of course, if you have any questions, give us a call, and we'll be happy to help you; mention that you saw this ad, and we'll honor this price!
So there is still no official timeline on Version 11 for Dragon Medical. Watch this space for future news ... but we've gotten wind of a price increase coming October 1st for certain Dragon Medical Upgrades.
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Of course, if you have any questions, give us a call, and we'll be happy to help you!
So we did it - went and created a Facebook page. The idea is that we will use it to give some quick updates on products and stories that interest us. If you're interested, you can check it out here!
And just to tide you over, here's a cute commercial from the European branch of Nuance showing all that speech recognition can be used for:
One of the realities of life is that injuries can affect anyone, anywhere. Here's the story of an employee, A. T., who works for a large global manufacturing corporation, who feared his career might be ended by an RSI injury:
I was a systems engineer, enjoying a successful career, living abroad, and traveling around the world. A work-related injury to my hands went untreated; it became aggravated from overuse, and eventually turned chronic. At this point in time I was being promoted to management, and asked to relocate back to the United States. The whole process of moving back was incredibly difficult because the pain was so bad that it was too painful to perform even the most mundane daily tasks like brushing my teeth, driving to work or feeding myself, let alone picking up boxes or using a computer. People back at Corporate couldn't believe what I was going through, not on an empathetic way but rather in a "what did you do to yourself" way.
Faced with the distinct possibility of joining the ranks of the disabled, the orthopedic surgeon I went to see at this time suggested I look into Dragon NaturallySpeaking. He was not familiar with it himself, but he had read someplace that it could be used for interfacing with the computer.
I wasted no time in finding an authorized reseller and providing all the information to the appropriate departments at my place of employment. As a medium-size company, owned by a large corporation, we are subject to processes and procedures for everything. DNS was not a "corporate authorized application", therefore, IT did not want to support it, HR was worried they would have to build me an especially insulated office, and so on went the obstacles. Finally, I was able to talk my manager into letting me buy the program as long as I was solely responsible for the installation, configuration, and use. Approval from executive management was needed to authorize the purchase of software not supported by IT. Needless to say, I quickly went from "star performer" to problem employee in no time.
I started with Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 5. Even though I am quite computer literate, the learning curve was steep when added to the pressure of performing my job at work. A big part of it was my own frustration and disbelief that I found myself in this situation. Slowly, I came to the realization that although some things were slower with NaturallySpeaking, other things were faster, so all in all I was performing like everyone else. Focusing on feeling useful and productive was very encouraging.
As I became more familiar with the power of NaturallySpeaking Professional I started automating some tasks. My big breakthrough came when I discovered the users' forums, and places like the Zephyr-TEC, who offers a suite of macros for different applications, as well as specialized personal assistance. I found that there are many able-bodied people using NaturallySpeaking simply to improve performance. I also found that there are many savvy users in the forums, and they are quite generous with their knowledge and their time. I have received free help to solve a problem with a particular macro, or to create a new one many times. I felt real good when I became good enough to help others with questions in the forums from time to time.
I always remained self-conscious about my disability, so I dictate in a very low tone of voice so no one around me could hear me. Nine years later, aside from a few people, most don't know I have a physical limitation. Everyone uses a wireless headset to talk on the phone, and my Plantronics is no different from theirs. I am able to perform the same work as my peers, whether it be creating PowerPoint presentations, Excel charts, or using a variety of web-based enterprise applications. Don't get me wrong, NaturallySpeaking is not compatible with everything "out-of-the-box"; but the professional version offers powerful macro capabilities to voice-enable many tasks.
God continues to be faithful and to open doors for me, I have continued to do well and get promoted within the company. After all, it is my hands that became injured, not my brain. Sometimes I have to get a little creative because not everything works with NaturallySpeaking, but with patience and some extra effort, most of the time there is a way.
It is also important to recognize that, the American Act for People with Disabilities (ADA) aside, the reality is that there is still underlying discrimination, and some companies may be more accommodating than others when workers become injured. People who develop chronic myofascial injuries are not well understood, because in the exterior we look normal. In my personal experience I have been much better off looking for ways to adapt, rather than seeking to be understood and expecting to be given the rightful treatment and facilities. Helping yourself to remain productive and to continue to build your career will be more rewarding, personally and financially, than becoming obsessed with "justice." We can't explain why some things happen, but we can maintain a positive attitude and find the resources to help ourselves overcome those limiting obstacles while showcasing our strengths. And don't forget, you are not alone.
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 couple terms that have been renamed with Dragon 11:
Premium: Nuance renamed the old Preferred version to be Premium. This is the version targeted at students and home users, but is still missing some of the great features in the Professional version.
Full Text Control: Previously called "Select-and-say", this is the ability for Dragon to "see" the text, allowing you to select, bold, etc. the words with a single command ("Select blah", "Bold blah"). Now indicated with a green check mark on the DragonBar.
Microphone Check: Previously called "Check your Audio Settings" or the Audio Setup Wizard, this is where you check your audio system and set some basic parameters for Dragon. Typically takes a minute or so while you read two paragraphs to Dragon, but can fix many audio issues.
Still confused? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we'll clarify for you!
REQUIRE "CLICK" TO SELECT HYPERLINKS IN HTML WINDOWS –
The new default setting on the Commands tab in Dragon's Options requires that you say the command "Click" plus either an entire link name or any word or words in the link name to select hyperlinks in HTML windows, such as Web browsers or Help files.
For example, if a link name is: "Zephyr" you would need to say, "Click Zephyr" for Dragon to click on the link.
Using the "Click" option prevents Dragon from unintentionally clicking links on Web pages when you speak.
De-select this check box if you want to have Dragon select a link when you say just the link name. For example, you could then say "Zephyr" for Dragon to choose a link named "Zephyr."