The Ears of the Dragon

That dragon againEvidently, we made it through not only 2006, but those always-challenging holidays as well. I'm optimistic about 2007; I hope you are, too.

I've been putting the Dragon through its paces as much as possible during the holidays, and at this point I have to say it's working better than I anticipated. Everything I had read prior to actually using it led me to believe the weak link would be microphone quality. I had also read that the handheld voice-recorder setup I'm using would be among the worst possible situations. Expectations were low. However, I've been pleasantly surprised.

Yesterday, I spent some time driving around in the car dictating to the recorder. Road noise and the change in acoustics from the initial training environment should have resulted in sonic mayhem. But surprisingly, recognition was actually quite good; even under these far-from-ideal conditions, it really wasn't much worse than sitting in a quiet room. I'm still having to make some adjustments and corrections here and there, but the trade-off for the luxury of untethered dictation is well worth it. The Sony recorder I'm using has a mode that provides noise cancellation; this in combination with the low microphone-sensitivity setting may mean the system doesn't have to cope with a high level of background noise after all.

I'm also using the voice-operated-record setting, thereby further crippling the capabilities of the recognition system. It just doesn't get much worse than this. So at this point the larger problem has more to do with — as I mentioned before — my significant discomfort with dictation, compared to the far more familiar visual world of typing. This is going to take some time, but I'm making an effort to visualize every word, which will probably never get me to that 200 wpm level that represents the ultimate goal. Still, I'm intrigued with the promise of this new method of writing.


No comments:

Post a Comment