The blogger, the baby and the Dragon – part 1

Dragon NaturallySpeakingSo, one of the hardest things I’ve run across with having a baby and being a writer is that I barely have one hand free. If Maggie is a foul mood, I am dealing with having to rock her back and forth in one arm and I might have my right hand free to hunt and peck on a keyboard.

So the question quickly became “is there anything that can be done when your hands are completely full to allow to write and produce content without looking like a total idiot?”

Enter Dragon Naturally Speaking. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a voice recognition software from Nuance, and he claims that it’s the best at what it does. So, I decided to sit down and try typing a new article without touching the keyboard.

One of the first things are going to realize is that if you’re a typer, you’re not a speaker. Trying to speak to something that is slowly dictating what you’re saying is maddening. It’s not that it’s going slowly, it’s that it’s displaying it slowly. You can speak about normal pace and not have any issues, but if you’re waiting for it to type your text out it’s like when you’re listening to yourself on a phone and it’s delayed by a quarter second. You starts slowing down and talking like a moron.

What I quickly found out, was that there was no way for me to watch what was being typed as I spoke. I just slowed down and start stumbling over my own words. The problem there is that Dragon does not recognize me quite correctly yet so there are a lot of missed words. I found that initially on using Dragon I still had to go and do a significant amount of edits although not as many as I would’ve expected.

Trial one of Dragon Naturallyspeaking started. I spoke a very long sentence and it correctly interpreted what I was saying, I clicked transfer and it lost everything when it moved over to WordPress. That seemed to have been a fluke because I’ve never seen it do it again. I’m also aware when I’m talking to the computer THAT I SOUND LIKE A TOTAL DICK. Dragon also doesn’t let me curse like I want to.

Microphone I’m currently using as a Labtec microphone from about eight years ago, and it’s a little bit too far away for Dragon properly pick up what I’m saying. It’s doing a pretty good job however just the occasional issue blew a few more dollars on a microphone there wouldn’t be any recognition issues. Going to try hooking this up to Bluetooth somehow and see if I can’t wander around with a blinking blue earbud while holding a baby and getting it to work.

Trial one of Dragon NaturallySpeaking me aware that I could type out a 500 word article and under four minutes without using my hands. There was a little bit of editing left to do that I could not do immediately because I cannot watch the text being written as I spoke it, so there is a little bit more editing required then I normally would have to put into it, but proofreading is significantly easier than typing. Especially when you’ve got both arms held down by a baby.

This is the end of test one of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. This entire article was created after about 10 minutes worth training on the thing. The article itself started at 4:58 PM, and dictation ended at 5:05 PM. With editing and adding hyperlinks the piece was finished at 5:11pm. It would have taken an hour with baby and one-handing it.

I don’t think I’ve actually used the thing to its entire potential as there’s been very little training and learning on my side, but I’m pretty sure right now that I should be able to write with a baby as long as baby isn’t crying. It’s a wonderful little application and I’ll be reviewing it as time goes on.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home is available from Amazon for $50.91, and the premium version is available for $100.91

Part 2. in which Paul admits defeat but blames it on the headset here