Aug 12 2012

Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12

image_thumb7 Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12Nuance has released their latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, version 12. With each new release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking I continue to be impressed at the level of integration and recognition the application can provide.

By far, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is my favorite application because it provides such an advantage over anyone else that’s not using voice-recognition to complete emails and documents, or virtually anything else that can accept text input; like data entry.

In my techie reviews, I like to dig into the applications and look at the functions, and use the options that are available in the new versions. The reviews are intended as an inside look to the products. Most websites are comfortable regurgitating the marketing information over and over. Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll be more educated about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 and be able to make a more informed decision about in investing in the software.


The marketing release for Dragon NaturallySpeaking states that it has over 100 new features and enhancements in the latest version, including features for Gmail, Hotmail and using your Android smartphone as a portable microphone (with a free application).

Since the release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9,  users have been able to enjoy the benefits of being able to install the software and immediately start using voice-recognition; with no training required.  Version 12 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking reports that there’s a 20% improvement in accuracy over version 11.

Nuance offers Dragon NaturallySpeaking  as a download from their website or by physical purchase, shipped to you.  My copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking was a physical copy, it came with a headset, instructions and a quick reference card for available commands.

My installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking was an upgrade. I was upgrading from version 11.5, so I had an existing profile, therefore I wasn’t required to create a new user profile.

Here’s some screenshots from the installation process…

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Before you can install the new version, Nuance wants to make sure that you uninstall the previous version.

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During the installation process, I noticed that the installer was focusing on making sure the installation process went in without any problems. This means checking for previous versions and any services or applications from the previous version; making sure those have closed.

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For me, installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 only took about five or six minutes. As with each installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, since version 10, there’s been a Visual C++ runtime installed with the main application.

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With version 11, the Visual C++ was installed separately from the main application, but it looks as though this is now being wrapped into the direct and the formal installation of Dragon NaturallySpeaking; there wasn’t an option not to install it [not to my experience]. I am sure this is being done as a solution to some people thinking they know better than Nuance or Dragon NaturallySpeaking… a way to avoid potential problems.

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Immediately after the main installation of the software, it’s a good idea to let the software check for product updates. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 has just been released, but it’s still a good idea to let the software check with Nuance to see if there’s any hot fixes.

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By completing the online registration for the product, this officially wraps up the installation portion. The one thing I didn’t see the installation process, actually at the end, I would expect the application installer to ask me if I want to go ahead and start Dragon NaturallySpeaking; I didn’t see that option.

But it’s easy enough to go to the start menu, type in Dragon, and press ENTER.


Starting Dragon NaturallySpeaking …

One of the continuing nice features of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is how the software handles upgrading. Since version 8 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I’ve never had a problem with migrating from one version to the next with my profile. On each installation, on each upgrade, the software has successfully detected the previous version profile and upgraded it to the current version with absolutely no issues.

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According to the information that was provided, right before the upgrade started, my profile information was about 600 MB. The upgrading of my profile took about 15 minutes…

I did notice as the application was starting up, that the loading of my profile seemed to go just a little bit faster. According to the release information for Dragon 12, the software identifies your unique speech model that will give you the fastest performance.

I have also noticed that when I go to do my corrections that Dragon NaturallySpeaking is more responsive. So I’m going to have to officially say that; yes, improvements in Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s dictation and corrections performance have been made.


Interactive Tutorial…

In my opinion, I think Nuance has really started to understand the value of education for voice-recognition. Starting with version 11, Nuance included the Dragon Sidebar. The Dragon Sidebar would appear on the right side of the screen, and as the users would use specific applications, the Dragon Sidebar would refresh with instructions and specific commands that Dragon NaturallySpeaking can use with those software packages.

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With Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, Nuance has continued with their product education with an interactive tutorial; getting new users the ability to experience how Dragon NaturallySpeaking works, and what options are available to them as the dictating.

Obviously, education and proper usage of their voice-recognition is the best way to get the most out of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Their seeming focus on education is to make sure that people understand all the options available to them how software works. There’s been improvements to the help file, the addition of the Dragon Sidebar and now the new interactive tutorial, which literally walks the new users through the process of dictation and punctuation usage, using strictly voice-recognition.



Ability to Turn Off Twitter and Facebook…

In the new version, there’s the ability to control whether or not you’d like to be able to post to Facebook or Twitter.

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Wideband Bluetooth Support…

mzYA809K9XT5WxC7lZwRGJg Techie Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12I can’t imagine what person wouldn’t want to get up and walk around while they are doing dictation; writing an article or an email, and being freely available to roam around and do other things.

Version 12 adds the ability to use wideband Bluetooth wireless headsets with Nuance’s voice-recognition; increasing the input quality; and it doesn’t require a script reading to get started.

If you don’t think this feature would apply to you because you don’t have Bluetooth on your PC or your laptop; you’d be wrong. Purchasing a Bluetooth dongle for your PC or your laptop is relatively cheap. And the purchase of a Bluetooth headset, the cost of those have come down quite a bit as well. If you’re looking for freedom to be able to walk around and do dictation for documents and emails, I would suggest doing just a little bit of research.



Dragon Remote Mic Application…

This is an example of Dragon NaturallySpeaking using the android application. With this section of the article, I’m actually using my smart phone to dictate this small paragraph about the android application. The application allows me to dictate to Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my PC, without having to use a headset, but having the benefits of using a high-quality microphone.

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The application from Nuance is very simple to set up. You go to the android application market, you download the dragon remote mic application, install it, and then on Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 there’s option under profiles that allows you to choose another source for input.

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The dragon remote mic application can be configured manually, but the best way is to allow Dragon NaturallySpeaking to create a square barcode, that your smart phone can scan and the information is sent over and apply directly to your smart phone. You can enter the settings and then from that point, you’re able to dictate directly from your smart phone, through your existing Wi-Fi over to your PC.

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This function is also available to the iPhone, the iPod fourth-generation and iPad.

As I mentioned earlier in this section, I’m using my Motorola Razor Android phone to dictate this section of my blog post. Thus far, I think that the results for using the smart phone have been extremely positive.




If you’re a user of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and you’ve been experiencing the problem with this error…

COM returned an unexpected error code: Details are HOOKERR_NOTIFYWINDOW

… The good news is that I think Nuance has taken some steps to try to address this problem, although the problem isn’t caused by Nuance, or Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It rests with Adobe..

A default change in the behavior of Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been introduced so that if Dragon NaturallySpeaking cannot correctly identify the window in which dictation is being made, the Dictation Box from Dragon will pop up and allow the user to dictate into the Dictation Box. Once all the information has been dictated, there’s a option at the bottom of the Dictation Box to transfer all the information to the parent application window.

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For example, the Dictation Box settings allows the user to dictate information directly into any application as long as the parent application accepts information as being pasted. I think Nuance is doing this to address this problem as a workaround.

Since I’ve installed Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, I have not run into the problem with this particular error; which is great because the error itself is very irritating.

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Although this is a new default action for Dragon NaturallySpeaking, this function can be turned off in the tools, option menu.

I’ve done testing in several applications and in my testing so far, I haven’t had any issues. For example, I use Windows Live Writer to compose all of my blog posts, including this review, and I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 to dictate all the content that you’re reading, but for the basis of performance and accuracy, I used the Dragon Dictation Box to dictate a large majority of the content.

The performance problem was not with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the problem was with Windows Live Writer. It’s been reported in the support forums for Windows Live Writer, but never addressed. So the best solution was to allow Dragon to use the dictation box and then paste the content later; which provided for much easier flow and avoided performance problems that were associated with Windows Live Writer.


Vocabulary Options…

One of the new menu items that I noticed, actually two, was listed under vocabulary options. Those options included being able to import a list of words or phrases, and being able to export a list of words or phrases. I found this function to be exceptionally useful, especially in situations where companies are wanting to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking on a wide scale, or by using it in terminal services environments.

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This allows the administrators of Dragon NaturallySpeaking to directly import a list of products or services, or groups and departments, directly into the application so that they can be formatted correctly from the very beginning. I verified this function was not listed in the menu the previous version…



Smart Formatting…

With Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, the application now tries to learn how you like to have certain pieces of information formatted. Information such as abbreviations, numbers and conversions, and more.

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As your dictating, and you happen to say something about, “I need 12 ounces of gasoline”. But what you said and what appeared on the screen, are two different things. You need the measurement of 12 ounces to be formatted differently. As you go through the correction process, by either saying correct that or choosing your hotkey for the correction; once you made the correction, Dragon recognizes that this change in format has occurred and then asks the user if this is how you would like to have this type of information formatted.

All the user has to do is confirm how they would like to have the information formatted and Dragon will remember that format in the future.


Proofreading the Dictation…

Having the ability to do voice-recognition, to be able to dictate and then have the words appear on the screen as your speaking is kind of a magical thing. But as everyone knows, that uses voice-recognition, it’s also very important to have a routine to proofread the information that has been dictated.

Although Dragon NaturallySpeaking is very accurate, it’s very important to have a routine to go back and just double check what has actually been [injured] entered. Included in this version is a much more natural sounding text-to-speech voice that makes the process of proofreading much easier/nicer.

The proofreading option that Dragon NaturallySpeaking uses must be able to recognize the window formally/officially. If the window can’t be properly recognized, the proofreading option is not going to be available, but you can copy the text into DragonPad or the Dictation Box, select all the text from the box, and then choose the option from audio, to play the dictated information back; it’s very simple and very useful.

I like using the British accent because, for some reason, I think it just sounds better.



There’s lots of other features that have been added to Dragon NaturallySpeaking that have not been covered in this blog post; I can’t cover them all, but to be sure, I have tried some of the new functions within several different browsers and found the experience to be positive.


Let’s wrap this up…

As an user of voice recognition for several years, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is one of those products that you really don’t know how useful it is until you’ve tried it. Nuance’s efforts to educate their customers on the power of voice-recognition is obvious with the last two versions, and with voice-recognition heating up to be the key points of the future; now is the time to embrace and use voice-recognition to your advantage.

If you’re still wrestling with the idea that dictation is something that’s awkward and you don’t want to look silly talking to a computer, you really need to try to think about how much productivity your losing by not being able to speak to your computer and have the words translated to text, saving you tons of time.

From a brand new PC stand point; it’s recommended that you load a good anti-virus software package, and right after that, you should load Dragon NaturallySpeaking; that’s how seriously productive Dragon NaturallySpeaking can be for you or your company.

There’s several tiers of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software; including medical and legal versions. You can pick one that fits your needs, and Nuance offers a 30 day money back guarantee on the software— you’re free to try it yourself without risk.

You can get more information here, from Nuance:


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12

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