March 1, 2010

Talk > Type: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10.1

Talk's cheap but typing's a hassle.

I'm starting to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred version 10.1 running under Windows 7 (64-bit). The installation went smoothly and the upgrade was free since I already have version 10.0. I didn't bother to check what's new in this release but it's probably designed to work with Windows 7 and 64-bit operating systems. Regardless, each new release of Dragon gets better.

This time, I'm very impressed. I'm dictating this post and so far I haven't seen a single mistake. That's amazing. Normally there would be a couple of errors by this point.

If you're skeptical about the value of speech recognition, read this earlier post.

Microphone Magic
What's even more impressive is the microphone. Normally I use a quality external microphone. That means another piece of equipment to carry around and setup.

This time, I'm using the microphone array built into my ThinkPad X200 tablet and dictating from an arm's length away. Really.

A microphone array means two (or more) microphones connected. This helps with error correction. Years ago, I used the Andrea SuperBeam array which I placed on top of my monitor. Later I switched to a Bluetooth wireless headset from BlueParrott. Most recently, I used the Samson C03U microphone which I use to record the Riscario Radio podcasts. (56 and counting).

Using internal microphones is best and that's now possible.

The Free Alternative
Windows 7 has speech recognition built in. While it's improved over the version in Vista, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is much better.

PS If you try speech recognition and aren't satisfied with the results, consider a better microphone or headset.

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