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May 18 2011

Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11


xab0olsz thumb Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11Somehow in the process, I was not included with the beta testing process, so I wasn’t able to get an advance copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, but seeing as how much I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking it’s really a given that I would be upgrading to a newer version; especially since Nuance has decided to update the GUI a bit.

The latest version has some very nice amenities that all previous versions lacked; help. If you’re a novice to voice recognition you’ll immediately be skittish about using it and the results you’re going to get, but with this latest version I believe you’ll find a pleasant surprise.

Nuance seems to have listened to their customer base and stepped outside the box and refined the GUI to be much more friendly, useful and all around smarter.

From here, I start my techie review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 [Home]. My version of a techie review is an overall evaluation of the application, how it works and if the application is something you’d be willing to buy for your home or office.

Installation…

The installation disc from Nuance is a DVD. The installation of  The installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is nice. There are no overall surprises with the installation; matter of fact it went very well for me. With previous versions not being compatible with 64-bit, those have been addressed and Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been able to be installed on 64-bit operating system’s since v10.1. My installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking took about 20+ minutes to install…
 

My installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking was really an upgrade from v10.1, so I was able to walk in to a pre-establish Dragon NaturallySpeaking profile, but it shouldn’t be that much different for a new user.

 

The Dragon Bar…

Once the installation is complete things are slightly different; there’s a new voice recognition bar…

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We have some standard options for the voice recognition bar menu…

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Here’s the View Options; if you have used Dragon NaturallySpeaking before, you’ll recognize this menu from previous versions.

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One of the things that I believe Nuance should work on is the hotkeys area; it’s something I have mentioned to Peter Mahoney already— it’s a way to get custom words in to Dragon NaturallySpeaking really fast and getting them in to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking library for use and voice recognition later. This is something I’ll reference later with the menu options on the top-right of the voice recognition bar.

But what’s the most exciting about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 is the Dragon NaturallySpeaking sidebar option. This is where new users are really going to see the benefit with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. The sidebar is a dynamic knowledge base for each application that Dragon NaturallySpeaking has special commands with.

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For instance, I use Mozilla Thunderbird so it was fascinating to see that Nuance had taken the time to make something nice where users can use Thunderbird and Dragon NaturallySpeaking together, and because Dragon NaturallySpeaking has this very nice sidebar; you can see exactly what you can do with Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Thunderbird.

This is exactly what users need to see when they start using a powerful program like Dragon NaturallySpeaking; show the options, show what you can do with your voice. This was a very smart move by Nuance to integrate this level of information and presentation together. it’s very encouraging to see that nuance is making this change to help users get acclimated to the program and to take the most advantage from it.

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Profile Menu…

Moving to the top-right of the voice recognition bar, I start with the Profile Manager.  rwtsc14v thumb Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11

Everything seems to be in place for what you would consider the standard menu for the profiles. Dragon NaturallySpeaking allows for multiple profiles, and if your previous user to Dragon NaturallySpeaking you know that this is the standard layout that Nuance is had profiles for the past couple of years.

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During the beta testing of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, I submitted a feature request that I think Dragon NaturallySpeaking is missing. In the profiles menu, it lists all the user profiles [obviously] but one of the features/functions that I think is missing is the ability to define that user as the default profile; to automatically load this profile as soon as Dragon NaturallySpeaking opens.

I went through all the options are listed under the user profiles window; there’s nothing here that allows you to define this as the default profile, and there’s nothing here that allows you to say load this profile as soon as Dragon NaturallySpeaking starts. I would like to see Nuance add the function to the application because for individuals with multiple profiles having to switch users can be a hassle.

 

Tools Menu…

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Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s DragonPad and the dictation box are classic functions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking and are available under the tools menu as usual. There’s actually fascinated by voice-recognition I think the recognition history that they offer, as an option, is kind of cool to look at if you been doing a lot of voice-recognition with Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the day.

Administrative settings is a new option for Dragon NaturallySpeaking; I haven’t seen it with previous versions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but as security requirements grow more intensive on client stations, it’s an obvious choice to include with the application.

What you find under mistreated settings is the ability to change the default location of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking files, set the schedule for the audio tuning, and whether or not you want to participate in data collection for Nuance.

 

Vocabulary Menu…

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I really like what they’ve done with the vocabulary menu. It puts the options for increasing your voice-recognition library without having to jump to a whole bunch of hoops and clicks to get there. One of the things that I really thought was surprising was the fact they included a option for adding just one word.

I found this funny because I wrote an application just a few weeks ago that does basically the same thing, but the problem with the execution of this function is that you have to utilize the mouse to get to that point. This type of function should be based upon either a mouseclick or a hotkey; neither one of these options are available. It’s something that Nuance really needs to put into a small update later on this year.

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If you’re interested in my application that allows you to add words quickly to the library for Dragon NaturallySpeaking with hotkey, you can find the article here:

http://www.lehsys.com/2011/02/fast-add-for-dragon-naturallyspeaking-free/

 

Modes Menu…

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Not much has changed in the way of the recognition modes that Dragon NaturallySpeaking offers. Dragon NaturallySpeaking continues to be the definitive answer for individuals who require voice-recognition.

 

Audio Menu…

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Microphone Settings…

Nuance made some slight adjustments with the latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking so that messing with microphone settings are not as cumbersome. If your previous user of Dragon NaturallySpeaking you going to be used to seeing the microphone setup; this version is a little bit more friendly and the wording has been changed ever so slightly.

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One of the things that kept bothering me with previous versions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking was the detection of the microphones. More current PCs now will detect whether or not a microphone is plugged in, and based upon that, will report back to the application whether or not an input device is installed.

For individuals who kept their microphones always plugged in to their PC or had a wireless, Bluetooth, headset this was a problem, but for individuals who were constantly plugging and unplugging their headsets and to do the voice recognition with Dragon NaturallySpeaking; this was a problem.

Every time you unplug your microphone, Dragon NaturallySpeaking would recognize that the microphone is no longer installed and you have to restart the application in order to use the voice recognition again. This version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (11) seems to handle the issue a little bit better. Keeping you from having to go through the microphone set up each time. Now, you can simply reload the profile and get back to work…

Other versions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking will allow you to have multiple input devices; I think this is a very good addition.

 

Help Menu & Feedback to Nuance…

Considering the position and the visibility of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and what it provides to the thousands and thousands of people who utilize it, I was very surprised to see that Nuance has worked so hard on updating their help file and one of the things that I noticed with their updated help file is the fact that you can submit feedback to Nuance; they include a link at the bottom of every help document so that you can quickly submit your feedback directly to Nuance.

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While I love the fact that nuance clearly seems to want to get feedback from their users, I think the execution of this feature has been blundered. The reason I say that is because when you click on the link to send feedback to Nuance, it takes you to this page:

http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/contact/

This is their general contact page for Nuance. The blunder comes in when you get to the point where you want to send feedback… in order to utilize Dragon NaturallySpeaking you have to register the application. This means that Nuance should already have your name, e-mail address and your activation license.

Nothing makes the customer feel more overlooked, and less personal, then the company who doesn’t take advantage of information that’s already available. The following page is for sending feedback to Nuance.

http://www.nuance.com/dragon/feature-request/index.htm

This page seems to be like a never ending questionnaire about the specifications of your system, you and the software you’re using. I think Nuance needs to take a step backand rethink how they engage their customer base. I love the fact that Nuance is trying to engage their customers, but I think it could be done more intelligently and more intuitively.

 

The voice recognition…

I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for approximately the last six years. The level of voice recognition that Dragon NaturallySpeaking offers is unmatched. Microsoft does offer voice recognition with the Windows operating system, and it does fairly well, but the problem that Microsoft has is the interface and Nuance has spent a lot of time and effort into not only their voice recognition, but how people actually utilize the voice-recognition.

It’s not so much about the accuracy, but how the voice-recognition is actually used. And I believe that Nuance has the best execution of voice-recognition accuracy and GUI development.

The latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, version 11, continues Nuances striding efforts to be the best at voice-recognition. nuance now offers Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android. With IPhone and Android the processing is done off-site in their data centers.

For the PC and the MAC the stations do all the number crunching. one of the strongest features to Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the ability for word prediction. In conjunction to the words that your speaking Dragon NaturallySpeaking cross-references common phrases and words that are used in everyday language; this helps the recognition of the software immensely.

Utilizing voice-recognition can really make the difference between a project that gets done and the project that stays stagnant. Sometimes getting information from your brain into a format that people can read can be very difficult. But with voice-recognition you can simply start talking in the computer can do the rest. People can sometimes be intimidated by the fact that they can’t clearly transfer information in their head to a written form; maybe because of typing skills aren’t up to par, or they just  feel like it’s too much work for them— Dragon NaturallySpeaking can really help those individuals.

Honestly, I feel like I should’ve had Dragon NaturallySpeaking when I was in high school.

 

Performance…

If you’re thinking about purchasing Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, you most likely want to be looking at current system, with 1.8 GHz dual core processor and about 4 GB of memory— this is pretty much standard now for 64-bit systems. but what I think you’ll find is that Dragon NaturallySpeaking is much more responsive than previous versions.

Version 11 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking actually has a section on improving the performance. Certain aspects of the application can be turned off if you know you’re not going to be using them. Under the options menu, there’s a listing of commands, and those commands to be turned off to increase performance; basically if you don’t need those functions then Dragon NaturallySpeaking doesn’t have to try to figure out what you’re trying to do if those functions are turned off.

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I find that the dictation for Dragon NaturallySpeaking is pretty good, from the time I speak the words, to the time that the words appear on the screen, it takes about one second. Incidentally, I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to do this article and him having to do very little as far as making a bunch of corrections.

Compatibility…

One of the things that I wanted to test with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 was the ability to use it in other applications; all kinds of applications. Not just Microsoft products. I was able to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate into Firefox, Thunderbird, Open Office 3 [no commands], Notepad++ and many others. I was able to clearly dictate what I wanted into those applications.
 
But to be clear, not all of those applications supported commands, but this is still better than Microsoft‘s option, which doesn’t allow voice recognition into applications that aren’t supported without doing a lot of cut-and-pasting. Having Microsoft argue that it’s the application’s fault that the application does support it’s voice recognition is just silly.

And having the ability to dictate into just about every application that I want is very valuable to me, even if I can’t dictate commands into those applications, I can still get the bulk of the text into the application.

 

If you’ve never tried Dragon NaturallySpeaking before, this would be a very good version to start with. The utilization of voice-recognition for dictation or transcription of  the spoken word/phrases is the future of computing. I believe this version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the best yet and well worth the money. While Microsoft does offer voice-recognition out-of-the-box with their operating system; Nuance has perfected the user interface that’s required to use voice recognition. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the industrial version of voice-recognition for people who use it and expect results.

For the link to nuances website:
     http://shop.nuance.com/store/nuanceus/DisplayDragonProductsHomePage/

 

Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.
LEHSYS.com

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 — I hope this helps… 

 Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11


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 Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11

Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11

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1 comment

2 pings

  1. Mark

    Thanks for the review Larry, how does dragon integrate with Omnipage 18 when reviewing the ocr for errors?

  1. Techie Review: OmniPage 18 Pro | LEHSYS

    [...] Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 (lehsys.com) [...]

  2. The Battle for voice recognition with Smartphones | LEHSYS

    [...] Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 (lehsys.com) [...]

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