Voice activation, it's time to convertMar 29 04:06
Before I was converted a couple of weeks ago, I looked at anything that was voice activated, whether it was voice activation software for my PC or cell phone, as a guaranteed waste of my time. I had too many bad memories of the voice activation software from the ‘90s that came with my Mac laptop. I’m sorry Steve Jobs, but it was a joke. The software was about as affective as a half-deaf 90 year old taking your notes.
The memories are not good. Errors nearly every other word, the software didn’t learn from it’s mistakes and before you knew it, it was taking you hours to write a paper that would usually take you half the time. I quickly gave it up and returned to my one-finger writing extraordinaire method, which I’ve been loyally sticking to for years. But all of that all changed the other day.
After landing a technical writing job earlier this month, I sat there overwhelmed by all the mundane work that lay ahead of me. It was going to require a lot of hunting-and-pecking, plus it was a rushed deadline. And on top of that my old positioning method for getting comfy in my chair, of hooking my left arm for balance, was becoming too painful to do (welcome to your ‘30s, when you finally feel aging). With no other option I could think of, I went into my Control Panel, found the “Speech Recognition” folder, and grudgingly fired up the voice activation operating system. And people, it’s been one of the best things I’ve done.
Within moments, I was sent on a walk-through of how to use the 2012 version of voice activation software, and I wasn’t hating it. I was surprised. Very very surprised. As I talked at a natural speed, it was picking up everything I said. Even if I talked in my ultra-fast Valley-girl esque speak (that I’m keen to do with my sister), it was picking up nearly everything. Dude! Sure, there were some hilarious typos, but not as many as there were in 1996.
I would actually consider using software like this on a regular basis, I thought to myself after a few hours into it. I couldn’t believe I even had that thought, but it was working so seamlessly I was overwhelmed, doubly-impressed. And so that’s what I’ve been doing since that day. Everyday after turning on my computer it’s 1) Open “Speech Recognition,” 2) Open Notepad 3) Throw on my headset and 4) Say “Start Listening,” and start writing.
I can now knock out 800-word articles in a ½ hour and do yoga in my wheelchair simultaneously. Hellooooo happiness! And I swear I hear my back whispering, “Thank you, Tiffiny. Than you,” with every keystroke.
Are you a fan of voice activation software? What's your preferred software title?
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1. AlphaChris | Apr 06 08:13
After three upgrades through the years I maxed out at what I think is now version 10.0 for DragonDictate (PC). By the way, I couldn't dictate full words in any of the fields by voice. I had to cut and paste this paragraph from Word since I didn't want to voice type each letter. It may be my system which, at times, can be finicky.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.