I’ve been using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software intensively for about five days now. Here’s a quick update of my experience so far:
Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a resource hog. There are frequent system slowdowns, where encountered, would necessitate a reboot of the software. Dragon provides a simple word processor named Dragon pad, resembling a stripped down version of the ubiquitous WordPad in Windows. I had assumed Dragon pad was designed to work seamlessly with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but I was wrong.
Twice now, Dragon pad had crashed on me in the middle of writing and I lost everything.
It was frustrating because I could see the brilliance of the system. With voice dictation, I could type many more words than I ever could on the keyboard. The average length of my blog posts is about 500 words or 3000 characters if I assume a conservative average character count of six per word (including spaces and punctuation marks). Imagine the amount of stress that comes from striking the keyboard thousands of times.
By comparison, voice dictation is extremely comfortable. I typically used a combination of both voice and keyboard, dictating the bulk of the passages before making corrections by hand. The average accuracy rate is well above 90%, translating into an acceptably low number of corrections. The correction feature works well, offering up to 9 alternative suggestions.
Of course, you would need to invest in a good-quality headphone and spend some time training the software to recognise your voice. After that, watch the magic happen.
I now work on WordPad, before transferring the words into WordPress on my Internet browser or Evernote. For some reason, the voice commands and corrections only work properly on WordPad and Dragon pad.
It’s a pity that Dragon naturally speaking does not offer free trials, possibly due to piracy concerns. It is a refreshingly new way to create content. Voice technology is now advanced enough to make a significant contribution in our lives. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much more productive your writing will become.
Forget Siri, that’s just a gimmick from Apple. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the real deal.