On one-handed typing and speech recognition
May 29, 2011 | 6:14 pm
As Paul posted, I broke my arm yesterday. (And thank you to all those who have already left well wishes there for me.) It was not a pleasant experience—all the more so because it was the elbow of my dominant left hand. However, I have used it as an excuse to figure out how to get Windows speech recognition up and running, and I am using that to write this post now.
I know that some authors, such as David Weber, use speech recognition for most of their writing. Up to this point, I had been dubious of how well such a thing could actually work, given that my previous experiences with speech recognition had not been useful. But after just a little bit of fiddling, and a few minutes of reading training dialogs, I seem to have gotten to the point where I can write a post like this one reasonably quickly.
Furthermore, I can even use the speech recognition to enter commands like marking text, right clicking, copying and pasting, switching between applications, and so forth. It is actually rather impressive—if only I didn’t have this blasted broken arm, I would actually be having a lot of fun.
One of the downsides of Windows 7′s speech recognition is that it does not seem to work with all applications. I can use it with Microsoft Live Writer and my Live Journal client, but not with Google Chrome or my Cygnus X window application. In those applications, whenever I say anything it either interprets it as an invalid command, or the icon blinks orange and it says it couldn’t understand what I was saying. It is very frustrating, and if anybody knows of some better alternative that will let me work with all programs I want to use, let me know.
I also tried out Dragon Naturally Speaking on my iPad, using it to dictate an entire journal entry last night. It also works well for what it does, but it does require an Internet connection because it actually has to send off the voice recording to Dragon’s servers for processing. In both cases, I ended up being surprised by how well these programs actually are able to interpret my speech.
Recovering from a broken bone is very draining, as I learned a couple of years ago. But hopefully, with the benefit of speech recognition, I will still be able to keep up some postings on TeleRead.