Reliance on the Digital World: Voice Recognition Software

To be honest with you, there were days that I want to go back to a rotary phone and a typewriter. Things seemed so much more straightforward then. That is, until I broke my finger. REALLY broke my finger, to where my neighbor came over to assist and SHE nearly passed out. I wish I had a good story like snowboarding, skydiving, but I simply tried to open the back door at an odd angle, and voila–emergency surgery.

The point is, that when I woke up with a full arm cast on Monday, I realized that I had 9 days ahead of me of complete uselessness. You see, I have to admit that I am right handed, completely and utterly addicted to my digital life, and had no right hand to facilitate any of this. Of course, when in a crisis in my neck of the woods, you call Tristan who usually has the answer and is kind enough to make that answer happen. Tuesday morning he showed up with MacSpeech Dictate. I ensured him I could set it up–I do teach Photoshop so that should guarantee I have SOME technological skills.

I went through the install, and had to spend about 15 minutes speaking paragraphs so that it could get to know me and my speech patterns, then I was on my way. Similar to the automated voice at United or American Airlines, I found that when I spoke too slowly, it was confused. I had to entrust that the software actually did listen to me, and I didn’t have to speak as if I were talking to a 2 year old.

  Amazingly, it did interact quite well with Photoshop, Mail, Word, and iChat among other things.  As the week went by, there were absolutely many times I had to go back and “Hunt and Peck” on the keyboard so I didn’t come across as a lunatic in email correspondence. The end result was that yes–as an alternative to not being able to communicate, it was an essential, wonderful tool. Does it replace the quickness of my typing–no, but I certainly am grateful that this kind of technology exists.

- Jori Curry