Re: speech recognition software

Amara Graps (
Mon, 8 Nov 1999 20:23:24 +0100

Spike Jones ( Sun, 07 Nov 1999 writes:

>I just got one of these new speech recognition products.
>This message is being generated on it area. I don't know
>how useful it is, that it is the coolest toy I
>have received in a long time.

It seems that the voice recognition software has come a _long_ way in the last 5 years. And so cheap too!

You might consider your new software/hardware as an alternative computer input device to help prevent repetitive strain injuries.

Five years ago I became injured with a repetitive strain injury and quit my NASA job and went home to heal and try my hand at the astronomy consultant business. It took me about one to two years before I could work fulltime at the computer again (and I have some permanent loss of strength, so I have to forever be careful using the computer), but one of the things that I convinced my worker's comp insurance company to buy me was a voice recognition system.

So I have a 4 year old system: "DragonDictate" running on a 486 DOS machine and another piece of hardware that translates the voice commands into Mac ADB characters for my Macintosh. In 1995, the system cost about $1000, not including the price of the computer that I bought to dedicate to it.

I really don't use the voice system now (My RSI flareups don't happen often enough for me now to need it, so I keep the system as a "backup" in case worse things happen), but those years ago when I trained DragonDicate on my voice for an afternoon, I could get 40 words per minute input. The insurance people were impressed, and I think I helped them be aware of technology that could get injured people back working at their jobs. I remember that the science words ("Fourier" etc.) usually tripped up DragonDicate, though, but that's understandable.

One thing to be careful of is that one can just as easily injure one's vocal cords using these devices, so if you think that you will use it alot, you may want to find a voice trainer, like the kind that actors use, in order to help you use your voice more safely.

Have fun with your new toy,


Amara Graps                  email:
Computational Physics        vita:  finger
Multiplex Answers            URL:
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