on 2 February 2013
I am using the Dragon software to write this review. In order to test it I will first type and then I will dictate some text from the Dragon Sidebar. I will do each for 60 seconds. I will make no corrections to either text.
Typing: "In some editions of dragon you can also use the advanced features of the my commands editor to create commands based on the VBA like scripting, mouse movements and keystrok" 30 words in 1 minute.
Dragon: "In some editions of Dragon you can also use the advanced features of the my commands editor to create commands based on VBA like scripting, mouse movements and keystrokes. Important: this tab is meant to display custom commands present in your user-defined group. If you have custom commands under other group names, these commands will not be displayed here. While creating a user profile, Dragon presents a list of dictation sources. If you are not using the default microphone plugged into the mike in Jack be sure to indicate your devices type: for instance, USB microphone or Bluetooth microph" 99 words in 1 minute.
I am not sure how useful fast typists would find this software but for someone like me who does not type quickly this is an absolutely brilliant piece of kit. My typing speed above-approximately 30 words per minute-is just about as good as I can do. If I am typing for any length of time, I soon develop stiff neck muscles and gradual loss of concentration. On the other hand, I find using Dragon to be a relatively effortless exercise.
I have never been a great typist, nor all that fast. Watching my fingers on the keyboard instead of the words on the screen can make for interesting errors. Recently the arthritis in my hands has got so bad that I've hardly been able to type at all, which has set my writing back a great deal. But with this lovely software all of that is behind me.
A friend bought this for me as a present from my Amazon wish list which was a lovely surprise. I installed the software and plugged in the little headset that is included in the box. The quality of the headset is good, not brilliant, but it is certainly sufficient to get you started with Dragon. The training texts took about an hour to get through. However you don't have to do all of them at once, although the software will work better the more training you give it. It has taken me a little while to get used to speaking to the computer rather than typing into it. But having got the hang of it it is far, far easier. I have background noise in the room that I usually work in, but even with my parrot whistling away happily from the top of his perch 3 feet from where I'm working, the software rarely throws an error.
The software also includes the ability to read back text that you've entered, or any other editable text on your computer. You simply highlight it and tell it to 'read that' and a pleasant female voice, who is slightly electronic and robotic, will read it all back to you. My only niggle with this is that you can't pause it. Don't tell it to read your whole 100,000 word novel in a single sitting because the phone will ring and you will miss half of it. I do like the ability to search the web on the fly, just by saying 'search the web for' to the computer. I would love to see the ability to look up words in a dictionary or thesaurus added in the same way.
It has taken me two days of casual use to get to the point where I'm confident typing this using Dragon and my voice. My normal reviews can take me upwards of an hour to type; I'm just not that fast a typist. This has so far taken me 10 minutes and I know my spelling is correct because Dragon automatically puts the right spelling in as you type. This is an amazing tool and I wish I had got it for myself years ago. As a writer my real voice comes through when I speak, and I'm not drowning in the technicalities of composing a piece. If you have difficulties with your hands such as arthritis or carpal tunnel, forget the wrist braces, forget the cushion mats, just get yourself Dragon, stop typing and start creating again.
PS: it's NaNoWriMo soon, I'm in, what's your excuse?
on 28 January 2013
I bought this software for home use, to help me compile quotes from a pile of various books I'm using as research material for a project. To my surprise and relief it surpassed all my expectations.
My most recent alternative experience with voice recognition software was with the application that came free with Windows 7, a pile of junk which in fairness got many 'unfamiliar' words right, but repeatedly failed to recognise simple words like 'and', 'a', and 'the'.
THIS software package, however, was a revelation. Dragon N.S. Home 12 was easy to install, easy to calibrate, easy to use, gets nearly all 'unfamiliar' words right first time and, more importantly for me, gets the 'simple' words right just about all the time, with no need for tedious correcting and re-correcting of the same damned word over and over. Usefully, it seems to detect 'context', so that it doesn't offer 'to' when you mean it to spell 'too', and nor does it offer 'of' when you mean it to write 'off'.
Once I got it going I wrapped up the quotes I needed from one book in less than a quarter of an hour; last night, harvesting material from another book, the software was such a joy to use that I grudged having to go to bed before I'd finished what I wanted to. I've felt this way about a great computer game before, but never about a great software package!
I noticed a niggling glitch that recurred when I used it in 'Word Open Office' in Win 7, but it vanished totally when I switched to WordPad, so I can't even complain about that.
I paid less than £50 for the package and it is going to save me money; I was intending to hire a typist to write up the material, but I'll be able to do it all myself now. The nice people at Dragon even included a good-quality headset combined mic/headphones as well, so that you can get going the minute it arrives.
This software is how modern technology SHOULD be, but so frequently isn't. It is efficient, effective, intuitive, flexible, and cost-effective. In times when such things often turn out to be disappointments, or rip-offs, this product is a God-send and I literally cannot recommend it enough.
*edit: it turns out the glitch I referred to DOES persist in Word Pad; it happens when you correct a word in mid-sentence, and the cursor thereafter decides that all your new text needs to appear in mid-sentence as well, no matter what you do, or where you command the cursor to go, or wherever you place the cursor manually. I have to save the document once I've got it looking how I want and then go back in every time this happens. If there's a simple solution to my problem then I'm all ears, but so far it's the only frustration that I have with this otherwise outstanding product).
on 30 November 2012
My son suffers from dyslexia. he has recently started at college doing 4 A levels, the college introduced him to the software and we were amazed at just how good this works. i have seen a massive increase in my sons confidence and content of reports and assignments, he is able to put things into the words he want to as he does not have to worry about the spelling.
It still amazes me when i sit and watch him dictate and manipulate the text with such simple commands.
i would whole heartily recommend this to parent or student suffering from weakness in the spelling and writing, this is such a fantastic tool.
on 6 December 2012
The latest version of Nuance's Naturally Speaking is a great improvement on the old IBM ViaVoice although it has some way to go before it becomes anywhere near perfect. One known problem which can be infuriating is its inability to deal smoothly with a new sentence after a full stop. To execute a new sentence effectively it's necessary before starting a new sentence, first to say 'dot', then 'space-mark' (quickly, otherwise you get the two words 'space' and 'mark') and finally 'cap'. And yet, after 'question mark' or 'exclamation mark', a space is left and a capital letter is applied in the next sentence automatically. So why not after a full stop?
on 26 March 2013
It is no exaggeration to say that this product has changed my life. I am an absolutely rubbish typist and it takes longer to spellcheck what I type than it does to type it. I have tried voice recognition a number of times over the years but always found the level of recognition too low to make it worthwhile. I was inspired to try this product after trying the built in voice recognition on my iPad, and finding it pretty good.
But this product is much better. I am getting levels of recognition of around 99% and most of the mistakes it makes are with proper names etc. It is fairly quick to learn these if you use the built in “correct that “ facility.
Since I have to generate a lot of reports and proposals in my line of work, having a product which enables me to generate accurate text at speed has massively improved my productivity. I have only had it a few weeks and no longer know how I would work without it.
My only criticism is that it does not dictate directly into PowerPoint. You have to dictate into a separate “Dictation Box” which opens when you start speaking and then transfer the text. However I have found it easier to dictate into Word and then cut and paste into PowerPoint.
The only other issue was that when I first loaded the software I got a message which said that it might run slowly on my machine (which only has 2GB of RAM). However I have found it fine provided I don’t have too many applications running at the same time.
Possibly the best 60 quid I have ever spent on a piece of software.
And yes I did dictate this review using the product, and only had to correct two mis-spellings.
on 5 October 2012
This product is a marvel. There's no two ways about it.
You may perhaps think that in my description I am 'over the top'; if you do, perhaps you might care to consider that this review was dictated using the software 'straight out of the box', except for the opening training session.
Additionally, what, for me, makes this software so brilliant is the fact that about five years ago I had a throat operation which left me very little in the way of vocal chords. I can't, of course, tell what my voice sounds like, but other people tell me I sound like a VERY old person who has got a VERY bad cold and that my voice is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to understand. Certainly, telephone conversations can be a minefield ('dirty' and 'perverted' are adjectives not far from contacts' minds, I'm sure) and Skype conversations with my slow Internet connection are virtually hopeless.
All the more (pleasantly) surprising, therefore, for me to find how cleverly the software has adapted to what's left of my voice - and, so far, has resulted in an accurate recognition of about 97%, I believe. Most definitely, it's pretty damn cute.
I'm only interested in getting my thoughts down 'on paper' as quickly as possible. Other capabilities of the software (corrections, navigating Windows, word training etc.) are things with which I've had a fiddle and which seem to work okay with voice commands, but I can't comment on how smoothly or accurately they work as part of general routine usage. I'd be happy to bet, though, they are just as good as the basic voice recognition function.
Those of you aware of Joe Bonamassa will appreciate that cream on the cake comes with being able use the supplied microphone/headphone combo to listen to his music whilst getting my gems(?) down in written words.
on 23 March 2013
I have now had Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 12 Home Edition for around 3 to 4 weeks. I thought that I would come back on Amazon and delete the rather rambling review that I had left in a hurry when I was first experimenting with the software. I was like a kid at Christmas and couldn't stop talking/typing as it was so much fun to watch my words appear on the screen as quickly as I could say them.
I have now discovered the video on YouTube which should show anybody who is interested exactly how good this software is. I think the video is much more powerful than any review I can write as it will allow you, the potential customer, to see exactly what you are going to be purchasing and exactly what it can do for you.
It's worth noting that although the guy in the video says he's had the software for about three weeks and has been training it, in my experience version 12 is just as accurate straight out of the box. Although clearly training helps.
I strongly recommend that you watch the whole of this video and watch it in full screen mode.
EDIT: I've just discovered that Amazon won't let me post a link to the YouTube video, so instead I will describe the video I am recommending that you watch.
It is called: "Dragon Naturally Speaking Review and Demo-Speech Recognition"
And the YouTube channel is called "TheAdiposeTV".
on 11 April 2013
Make sure you order the correct version The home version 12 does not come with audio playback, and for myself is useless with out it. The software is great if you have the correct version,and can be of great help to you. Dragon customer care/ careless useless. All they wish is to sell you more of there products.
on 20 November 2012
I could have bought the Macintosh version, but this was significantly cheaper - and by all accounts, is a more mature product than the current Macintosh version (3.0).
I am using it via BootCamp/Windows 7 on my 2009 Mac Mini Core2Duo with 4Gb RAM. Its intended use is for the regular reports and planning that my wife has to produce as a classroom teacher and Assistant Headteacher.
Setting-up was straightforward enough, and I was soon accurately dictating in Word 2010 via the included headset. The Mac OSX in-built voice recognition requires an internet connection, with a slight delay in the 30 second recording window. By comparison, the Dragon 12 dictation is instantaneous and works for as long as you need to before instructing the program to stop - and does not require an internet connection.
Overall, I am very impressed with the product.