Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fighting dragons

Oh dear - other than writing my page quota in the morning and going to a swim clinic in the afternoon, the only thing I did all day and night was wrestle with Dragon Naturally Speaking!

I have been indulging in some wishful thinking - I had persuaded myself that last time, when I put this program aside out of a sense that it did not meet my needs, did not count and it might suit me better this time - I thought it was going to semi-magically and with only mild inaccuracy let me translate my handwritten pages into typed manuscript pages!

Alas, it was not to be....

1:00-2:00pm. Wrestle with the Dragon. Conclusion: ARGHHHHH, cannot get this microphone to work, will have to deal with it when I get back from swimming...

5:30pm. Purchase new headset microphone at Columbia University Bookstore in vain hope that it might be hardware error.

5:45-6:30pm. Finally realize that I cannot get the audio levels in a suitable range. Decide to use digital recorder to transfer data to the program. Read page into recording device.

7:30pm. Contemplate the program's stab at a transcription of the trial page of read-out-loud manuscript with utter despair! (Text below.)

8:00pm. Decide it is worth going over to see if I can get better sound functionality on the office computer. Foray to office with Dragon disks (minor miracle that I was able to find 'em!) and the first book of manuscript. Install software, 'train' program by reading several pages of Alice in Wonderland (apt choice!), start reading it some opening sentences - and realize that it is just as bad as the digital recorder's version!

10:30pm. Sushi dinner with 'light reading' - fit for nothing else by this point....

Anyway, for your garbled amusement, a scene that falls about a third of the way through The Snow Queen, in the Dragon's version (NB the novel is not written in the first person!):
Into leave it until. When Michael mentions the notion of adding a-carrying module facilities bicycle, though, I jumped up and let them through the shed, and amazing treasure-and listens to her but Sophie felt sheepishly unable to appreciate in all glories. She let herself as we wander in the other to pick food he showed been cleaned with excitement at various lines. At first she so on-bound to stay and watch, but after making several observations that fell on deaf ears, she wanted to the size of lingo.


It was an altogether pleasant sensation we got to feeling a little tight in her hair seemed to have grown the wound or something one for her and she suspect and prove Peterson, who occasion to express regret never having had a daughter, a plot in the Sophie too quickly wrong and began wearing an elaborate Scandinavian-style claps like the one she sported herself -- she was not the first idea but it seemed to her unlikely to result in the same smooth shiny a way to prove Peterson was able to achieve in a matter of less than a minute).

They had a terrific source of the contest, and go at first it made her feel fairly off-balance as she worried about whether she had enough side clearance to get through the wire baskets that have been edited out for either side of the rear wheel, she agreed with the machines in refers but is admirably lightweight and convenient solution the contraption they have fixed to the front of the basket for person justice purposes or quote that fact half of yours," as Michael insisted on calling him). It had a wood frame and will matter to the sheepskin at the bottom so that the Progress constantly

You have to shut him in, I think, or observed as he showed Sophie have a watch work on-well, you trace were not going to be asked to get in it, so that he might have want to call it a trap, it was so much like what they used to catch lobsters the north Atlantic fisheries, but that man is so tactless Sophie resolved to banish it utterly from her thoughts -- the receptacle, that was a good inside merge.

She wrote several times around the yard with and without cargo, and Michael told her that the best test of whether the arrangement with suitor would be packing panniers with her own your luggage when they run home in a day. It seems sad to think of what Sophie could not help thinking of as a rustic all right all with only a slight tension of community would be so brief. They had time for the instruction swimming in the sea so it was time to be back at the house for tea, and she and Michael made a pact with each other but they would get up at the crack of going to come back down to the beach and so the minute morning before breakfast. In the event, of course, neither of them will in time to do anything but go on their clothes and have a quick breakfast of pancakes and food and ham and cheese and café au lait before getting back on their bikes. From Peterson was skeptical about whether Sophie really wanted to carry such a slow road back to town, but Michael and Sophie both earnestly assured her it was a crucial test of the bicycle evacuation system and an opportunity not to be messed.

In a way the whole season could be thought of as one of festivities, with the poorest hospitality component is right, for that in September and first week of October feature series of parties and celebrations of news's birthday, which fell in October 7 and had been declared a national holiday by the government close parenthesis is slightly mournful face and heavy brows also adored a postage stamp.

It would be a party at the parliament building on the day itself but the birth like to invite a larger and less select group to join them at their Carlsberg mention that it would be on Friday the week after tax, but in fact in the meantime so think a risk that one evening that week in a small escapade that set her thinking again about some of the things you put aside without regret from leaving Scotland's.
It is not sensible, I will just have to type it myself - I am a fast but inaccurate typist, it will be doable....

(NB to give the Dragon credit where credit is due, I am impressed that it got the phrase "café au lait," and the phrase "bicycle evacuation system" is authentically Davidsonian!)


  1. You should try GLOTTIS™ — it works much better!

  2. How trying! (However, I did find the transcript incredibly amusing. My chuckles caused The Boarder to look up from his post-breakfast nap!)

  3. I wonder what James Joyce would have done with it had such technology existed in his time...

  4. I have to use Dragon because of my carpal tunnel, and I have had great luck with it, even for the complicated academic sentences I compose. You might have to fiddle with the settings to get the recognition software to work better. Or you might have to upgrade: I have the most recent version, and it is terrific. I hand-write all of my criticism/scholarship and then transcribe it using Dragon. I do have to speak in a special, slow way and correct as I go along, but it is still better than typing. Also, I have used it for a few months now and have added lots of the words I use often, so it gets faster and faster. I would try upgrading to the latest version, speaking slowly and correcting as you go along for the first few days, and being persistent. Also, I don't know if your version has the "analyze your computer" option: when you install, you can ask it to read all of the text currently in your computer, which helps a lot with recognition and accuracy. I was desperate, because I physically could not type, and I've been very happy with Dragon. But it is an ongoing, developing relationship rather than a one-sided service--both user and software get better with each other as time goes on. It might not work with the time pressure you have now, but if you start using it for something simple like email and patiently correcting, you will find that it does not take too long to get up to speed.

    Of course, this is all predicated on you having a PC--I don't know how it works with Mac.

    Good luck!