Tech Corner

Dragon Naturally Speaking: So Much More

I use the keyboard daily, it’s a part of me actually. I am thinking of having it welded to my hip. Only one problem, my elbows and wrists are starting to show some wear and tear. My wrists ate burning and my elbows feel like someone has jabbed a pin into the bone. I realize some of this is probably getting older (more experienced) but also my lousy typing habit(s). Mavis Beacon…help!

My life depends on the keyboard. I am the Senior Technical Engineer at TSS, I need to communicate, integrate and alleviate my client’s issues. Right now, the word of the day is ‘aggravate’ the joints.

Now here is the kicker… I work with all versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking installing, setup and training new (and old) clients. So why don’t I use Dragon instead of the computer, great question. I actually already do. I use it mainly for documenting tickets, writing emails through Microsoft Outlook and since I write a lot, Microsoft Word but

It can do so much more…

I develop software using Microsoft Visual Studio, Notebook++, Sublime Text, MySQL Workbench the list goes on and on. Dragon Naturally Speaking can be used in these and many more types of apps. Basically, if you can type and use your mouse in the software, you can use Dragon.

If your serious, really serious about productivity in writing Dragon Naturally Speaking is really the only option out there. There are quite a few voice dictation products available but they are very limited in their abilities, limited in their functions and usually require you to speak slower to understand what your dictating. Most of us can type faster than they can.

For example: Dragon can understand 160 words a minute…160!!! You may7 be able to talk that fast but there is no way we are going to hear every word you speak…just no way. Dragon also has the ability to learn new words unlike a few of the other speech programs. When Dragon learns it actually is adapting to your voice and voice patterns/utterances.

Okay, so here is a couple hints if you decide to try out Dragon Naturally Speaking:

1. Get a great Microphone. Internal Mic’s work but the quality isn’t the best. It’s a case of Best works best. You will seriously diminish the functionality and accuracy of Dragon by using a inexpensive microphone.;

2. Dragon will dictate into an editor you can type in. Microsoft Office products work really well because they are designed to. Even the Open source OpenOffice works really well as will notepad and word pad. Understand though, for best performance, use the best. I love Microsoft Word because they work very well together.

3. If you can afford it, buy the Premium versions of Dragon. This is another case of you get what you pay for. The individual version work well but the Group version of Dragon permit so much more functionality.

4. Relax when you use it. Don’t wait for Dragon to catch up… it will.

5. Talk normal and consistent…consistency is the key here. I normally tell people to dictate in a commanding voice. Like you telling your kids to firmly “clean their room!” or telling the dog to “sit!”. Dragon won’t be offended. Take charge of your Dragon! You paid for it…you’re the Boss!

6. Punctuation, Punctuation, Punctuation. Use it, don’t abuse it. Change the way you talk. Example: “Dear SoandSo Comma New Line Thank you for visiting me today period. I hope to see you soon exclamation point Period New Paragraph Yours Truly Comma New Line Paul”

7. Last off remember, Dragon is designed to print text wherever the cursor is flashing. Let It! That’s it’s job and what it does best. Users slow Dragon down and normally it’s not the other way around.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is awesome. It will take someone that’s a “good” writer and turn them into a “Great” writer.

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