Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recognition for Speech Recognition

My friends came through again. If you've been following this blog you may remember reading about my attempts to get dictation software installed and running. I ended up creating a virtual Virtual PC. Unfortunately, the package with the IBM ViaVoice did not contain the CD. However, yesterday I received a disc in the mail from my friend; ViaVoice version 10 for Windows XP.

This is the first article that I am attempting to dictate. So far the recognition has been so-so. Correcting mistakes is not intuitive yet. I'm sure it will get better as I get used to the software. When it works the speed is amazing, so I am looking forward to getting this working better.

In order to make this somewhat more technical I am going to describe the set up that I am using in the order to get my dictated text onto the Mac.

ViaVoice's SpeakPad dictation application.

As I have it set up, ViaVoice allows dictation into its own application called SpeakPad. I am using this program to create a simple plain text file. In order for my Mac to access it, I set up Windows file sharing. Because I am using the Powerbook as a wireless gateway for the PC, it was somewhat harder to get the two computers to see each other. I was able to see the Windows share from my Mac but not vice versa.

The simple green screen interface of WriteRoom.

Aside from that issue setting up sharing was fairly straightforward. I followed the directions here. Then, to finally published the article I am using several Mac applications. First, I save the file from SpeakPad into the shared directory. I use the application, WriteRoom, to open that text file in order to proofread. I like the green and black full screen mode for this because it is easy on my eyes and typing with text expansion is responsive. Plus, once a file is open in WriteRoom, it will reopen it the next time the program is run. I simply save over the same text file in the virtual PC, and the Mac text editor reflects those changes. Next, I drag the text file into MacJournal in order to keep a nice, searchable copy. From there it's one click to publish. I open the blog in a browser where I add images and links and do the final check.

It seems that voice recognition will be a real time saver if I manage to tame it. Obviously the current setup is somewhat convoluted, but moving the information from app to app is actually fairly painless. And the much smaller amount of typing certainly causes me less pain. It's nice to have good friends, and it's especially good to have nice friends.

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