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on 12 February 2006
For the last year and a bit I have been having a nightmare of a struggle with RSI (mainly tendonitis), and my challenge has been to make my computing comfortable and easy. Typing recently started to really hurt my wrists and arms, I can literally feel the tendons every time I moved my fingers. Not good... not good at all to a 2-years young bloke who loves martial arts and so needs full use of his arms.
I've ordered a goldtouch split keyboard from America, and got it very cheap so i'm looking forward to that arriving as I work as e-mail tech support for an antivirus company.
However, after doing some research I decided I would give voice recognition software a try. Having never used it before I was somewhat dubious as to how well it would work, after all voice recognition software doesn't have a track record as being particularly accurate or user-friendly, does it?
I went out and got myself a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 after reading lots of positive user reviews on Amazon and another website, and I can safely say the results have been nothing short of amazing.
The program is very easy to use and integrate with just about every application you can think of, whether it be e-mail, instant messenger, forums, or of course good old Microsoft Word. The product claims an accuracy rate of 95% straight out of the box, however, if like me you don't speak the Queen's English and happen to have a slight northern accent then you can expect around 80% to start with.
However, the true magic of this program is in the way it learns. If the program makes a mistake, you simply say aloud: “spell that” and the program analyses the last sentence or word spoken. You can then correct the spelling or tailor the sentence to what you intended, and also click the “train” button to repeat the sentence aloud and thus tell the program to recognise that word or sentence the next time you say it. Although it can be a little bit stop and start at first, gradually as you use the program and training more often, the less you need to correct it.
Another feature of the software is the ability to control computer functions using your voice, from opening folders to copying and pasting or simply accessing the start menu or opening and closing your programs, it allows a great deal of flexibility. Not the be all and end all, but certainly useful.
All in all, I am terribly happy with this product, and it is doing exactly what it says on the tin. I now no longer need to type away at the keyboard at home and my wrists are going to thank me for it!
I recommend it to anyone suffering from RSI or any computer-related injury, who finds typing painful or uncomfortable. It is now a permanent fixture on my hard drive... until the next version that is.
Oh, and did I mention that I used it to make this review?
4.5/5
20 people found this helpful
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on 24 February 2017
I’ve bought, at a cost of over £70, Dragon 8, 10, & 11, one of which came with an Olympus Dictaphone.

None of the above “Dragons” will install on my MS XP, Vista, or Win 7.

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 and 11 warn me after installation:
"One or more registry settings are corrupt and your registry permissions prevent Dragon NaturallySpeaking from correcting them. Please run Dragon NaturallySpeaking Setup and select the Repair option."

Re-installing did not help, neither did rebooting.

Moreover, either Dragon 10 or 11 corrupted my Win 7 64 Bit registry so that the link in the Control panel does not open the window for uninstalling programs! One has to then search for, and then find with great difficulty the Microsoft file called MicrosoftProgram_Install_and_Uninstall.meta.diagcab, which allows one to uninstall programs.

The registry cannot be repaired when the Control panel link gets lost, and one can only do the repair by using a restore point that one (I) should have created before installing the damn Dragon. Dragon’s installation process does not do it for you.

Also, Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 warns after installation:
"Cannot find the file 'DOCOBJ.DLL'"

- yet DOCOBJ.DLL is in the Windows\System32 directory and the Windows\sysWOW64 – Dragon 8 just does not link it in the Windows registry!

I spent numerous hours searching the internet for solutions, and in the process found that these problems are not uncommon with Dragon. I was eventually told by someone I should have bought IBM ViaVoice instead, which works on my operating systems.

I am also astounded by the fact that the producers of Dragon were not concerned by my dilemma, stating that the problem lay with my system, not their product.

I had used IBM ViaVoice before, and it worked well. I am such a dummy for wasting my time and so much money on a basically faulty, useless product.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 July 2006
I was wary of buying this software, after previous experience with Via Voice some years ago. Busy work schedules and pages of meeting minutes to write, persuaded me to try Naturally Speaking Preferred, and it has been excellent. Scansoft have just launched version 9 (July 2006) but version 8.10 works very well. Amazon suggested using the Plantronics DSP-100 headset with Naturally Speaking, but the speech quality was poor. Save your money and use the headset that comes with the software; although not that comfortable, it works.
14 people found this helpful
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on 12 January 2006
I bought this software as I am abysmal at touch typing. There were no problems setting up and the instruction manual provided he is very detailed and helpful. I work across three separate sites and have found that the biggest difficulty I have faced with this software is that it requires a very powerful computer to get it to work smoothly. The one it works best on is say Dell Precision 380 with a 3.2Mhz Pentium 4 processor and 1 GB of memory. Anything less, and you will find that the text appears very slowly and the programme will often hang.
As far as accuracy goes, it works well for general staff, but less well for anything vaguely technical. This is despite having trained the software on more advanced technical language. I have also found that it works best with things like Microsoft’s Word, and that trying to use it with other applications is less successful (e.g. dictating text for an e-mail). However, as each week passes and I train it more and more, and in particular try not to delete but instead correct each error, the accuracy seems to improve.
A couple of other points of worth noting. I haven't run across any problems with the quality of my microphone. It's a pretty standard and cheap microphone attached to a headset and it seems to work perfectly well. Finally, if you're someone who needs to transfer their sound file around (you can export your trained DNS voice file), you will need a very substantial flash drive or have to do it by CD-ROM. For example might DNS voice file is 320 MB.
41 people found this helpful
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on 17 August 2005
I've been impressed with the accuracy of this product, having used Via Voice previously. When reading out text from a book, it has been almost flawless, and even dictating material is pretty good. I have run into a major problem, however, which their technical support department have been unable to fix. Dragon cannot cope with very long documents, and grinds to a halt. I have 512MB RAM, which is said to be enough on the spec, but a Word document of 390 pages has been too much for Dragon, and it goes so slowly it is not usable. Long documents are often a feature of postgraduate writing, and it is not always convenient to split a document up. But for shorter documents, Dragon is very useful.
42 people found this helpful
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on 28 November 2005
I bought this product after reading many great reviews, both on Amazon, and elsewhere. It seemed to do everything that I needed - in particular, transcribing voice recordings from my digital dictaphone.
I was fully aware that it needed time to become accustomed (trained) to my voice, so I used it extensively for several weeks. Only after I was happy that it was accurately transcribing my sentences did I attempt to use it with the dictaphone. The results were ridiculously poor! I have since found out that it only works with *certain* dictaphones!!!
In all, I find that I can type quicker than I can use this device to transcribe my speech - despite having a fast PC! I've effectively wasted over £100 on a product that is useless to me.
Look out for my copy on an auction site near you soon....!
28 people found this helpful
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on 12 February 2006
For the last year and a bit I have been having a nightmare of a struggle with RSI (mainly tendonitis), and my challenge has been to make my computing comfortable and easy. Typing recently started to really hurt my wrists and arms, I can literally feel the tendons every time I moved my fingers. Not good... not good at all to a 2-years young bloke who loves martial arts and so needs full use of his arms.
I've ordered a goldtouch split keyboard from America, and got it very cheap so i'm looking forward to that arriving as I work as e-mail tech support for an antivirus company.
However, after doing some research I decided I would give voice recognition software a try. Having never used it before I was somewhat dubious as to how well it would work, after all voice recognition software doesn't have a track record as being particularly accurate or user-friendly, does it?
I went out and got myself a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 after reading lots of positive user reviews on Amazon and another website, and I can safely say the results have been nothing short of amazing.
The program is very easy to use and integrate with just about every application you can think of, whether it be e-mail, instant messenger, forums, or of course good old Microsoft Word. The product claims an accuracy rate of 95% straight out of the box, however, if like me you don't speak the Queen's English and happen to have a slight northern accent then you can expect around 80% to start with.
However, the true magic of this program is in the way it learns. If the program makes a mistake, you simply say aloud: “spell that” and the program analyses the last sentence or word spoken. You can then correct the spelling or tailor the sentence to what you intended, and also click the “train” button to repeat the sentence aloud and thus tell the program to recognise that word or sentence the next time you say it. Although it can be a little bit stop and start at first, gradually as you use the program and training more often, the less you need to correct it.
Another feature of the software is the ability to control computer functions using your voice, from opening folders to copying and pasting or simply accessing the start menu or opening and closing your programs, it allows a great deal of flexibility. Not the be all and end all, but certainly useful.
All in all, I am terribly happy with this product, and it is doing exactly what it says on the tin. I now no longer need to type away at the keyboard at home and my wrists are going to thank me for it!
I recommend it to anyone suffering from RSI or any computer-related injury, who finds typing painful or uncomfortable. It is now a permanent fixture on my hard drive... until the next version that is.
Oh, and did I mention that I used it to make this review?
4.5/5.
59 people found this helpful
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on 25 January 2005
I have used a voice recognition software for many years and I have tried them all in various versions: IBM ViaVoice, Philips FreeSpeech and of course NaturallySpeaking. For anyone who has not tried this type of software recently, it has improved leaps and bounds over the years, especially in the critical ability to correct by voice on screen. It is only if you do this that any of the software packages learn and improve their accuracy. While the other packages have more whistles and bells, allowing you to open and operate programs by voice, it is NaturallySpeaking that is by far the best at the core job of producing text from voice. It is very quick to get going out of the box and reasonably robust in the face of background noise. I thoroughly recommend it. Version 7 was also very good. By the way whatever the package you go for the quality of the microphone is critical and the one in the box is always poor. I have used the Philips Speechmike Pro for several years now and I think it is brilliant (Model LH6274). It is expensive and difficult to find, but worth it. This review has of course been dictated using NaturallySpeaking.
133 people found this helpful
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on 24 October 2005
I have been using the Dragon speech to text programs for several years now with each edition giving improvements in accuracy and speed of operation, but edition 8 is by far the best program of its kind that I have ever used.
There are was a short training period that took a minimum of time and then I was able to start straight to away to dictate correspondence, e-mails and composing the text for a website. In Excel, entering data and moving about the sheet is a real breeze. The program appears to have a vaste and up to date vocabulary so that it is only occasionally that I have to train it with any new words that are particular to my way of speech. Using a mouse or keyboard is hardly ever necessary with this program that now has such a comprehensive list of voice commands.
A tip that I saw in a review in America, was the importance of having sufficient RAM memory. This person recommended having 1 GB of RAM memory. I have now installed additional memory to bring it up to 1 GB (it is so cheap these days). It does appear to greatly assist with the speedy operation of the program in getting the text onto the screen and of course it does have other benefits by way of speeding up your computer generally.
Another tip I have found to be most useful in helping the program to learn words and familiar phrases that you use, is to run the acoustic optimiser every week - it only takes a few minutes to perform and in any case a tea or coffee break can be good for the throat after all that dictation.
The only quibble I have with this new program is that they have been unable to overcome the problem of it not reading back to you e- mailmessages or web pages but perhaps we will have to wait for edition 9 for that
47 people found this helpful
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on 2 December 2004
Before I start, I must say that this is the first review of any product I have ever written-let alone using dictation software. I was dubious when I found out about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 as I've often tried (and failed) to get any dictation software to work before. Saying that, I have never tried the Dragon NaturallySpeaking product before, having limited myself to the cheaper ViaVoice. I suspiciously read the reviews of this product all around the Internet(presuming they were written by company spokespersons), but, after watching Mr Udell' s video review of this product, I decided to bite the bullet and see what it was now like. I am very glad to say that I am highly impressed with this product's ability to understand dictation, although I have yet to grasp the details and nuance of using the software to surf the Web and control my computer at advertised. I must admit that this may be due to my relatively limited knowledge of the software to date as I only received it today.
In all I can say the software more than adequately does the job, hence I gave it five stars, but (and I can't stress this enough), make sure you have sufficient RAM in order to deal with the program. My computer (1.8 GHz, 256 MB of RAM) runs a little too slowly at present, although I am buying 256 MB of RAM tomorrow to try to remedy the situation. A second issue, which comes to mind is that you do, and will, needed quite a bit of patience in order to train the software. It works fairly well out of the box (well above 90% accurate), but in order to perfect it, it will take a while (five hours or so). My only gripe is that it is fiddly to use it to edit and correct text, but to be honest, that may, again, be my lack of familiarity rather than the software itself.

That aside, the program does an outstanding job in regards to all its claims. In my situation, part-time legal adviser, part-time Master's student, it is doubtlessly going to prove invaluable.
To all and anybody with enough RAM in your computer, I highly recommend this program.
Just for the record, I own a preferred version, as I hope to use the mobile dictation option in the near future. I will write up another review when I've tried it as I can't find anything on the Internet to help me decide whether it works or not. I will probably be using the Sony M.S525, although I might use one of the SX models-if you know which are good please send me an e-mail. Many thanks in advance.
....and yes I only used the software to write this review (and I even posted this article using it, so maybe I'm getting the hang of it!)
PostScript: I have left is the errors where they happened so they you may have an idea about the accuracy of the software, pretty much straight out of the box (I've been playing with it for an hour or so).
204 people found this helpful
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