Dragon NaturallySpeaking is an everyday use item for me. It’s the software I selected to buy after a the free trial accounts of various other speech recognition software programs expired. Dragon was a bit of an impulse buy. I was actively looking for a product just as version 10 was released and the price of version 9.5 plummeted. I have never used it for a good few months and still feel conflicted as to whether it’s the right product for me.
Pros and cons then. Starting with the cons (some of which I have already mentioned in previous posts):
- It requires an awful lot of training to have reasonable recognition if your lingo isn’t a standard
- It’s slow despite the fact that my setup exceeds the recommended specifications
- There is no effective way to reliably use voice commands to change between dictation and command mode
- It’s a bit overwhelming to master the command centre, which contains all the various command options in long lists accessed via a substantial drop down menu.
- Customisation is difficult. The project is what it is.
- It doesn’t have a text to speech function at all.
Now let’s move on to the pros:
- It is almost plug and play installation. I found it extremely easy to configure and could start to use it almost immediately.
- It is good value for money. You pay for the simplistic user interface and the ability to start with above zero accuracy in recognition.
- It’s a well polished product.
- It’s somewhat accurate without any training and accuracy does visibly improve after each training session.
- It’s reliable. I can use it to dictate into any dictation box of whatever program I and may be using at the time and it performs consistently the same.
Currently currently I am using Dragon overwhelmingly for dictation within the following applications:
- Mozilla Firefox: I use Dragon to enter a search in Google search box. I also use Dragon to dictate this blog as well as any other browser-based dictations, such as e-mails or forum posts.
- Open office: I use Dragon to dictate all documents.
- World of Warcraft: I use Dragon dictate into the chat. I open a chat ‘ dictation’ box with keys bound to my N52te / joystick / mouse and then just talk as per normal dictation mode. It works similar to vent, the only difference is that it’s also speech-to-text.
- Notepad: I am a note taker and scribbler. it’s a detrimental habit than trying to break by using a notepad that is always open in the background and for warcraft, an in game notepad.
I rarely use command mode. I would love to do so, but at the moment, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth. For dictation, I would give Dragon a 7/10. For command mode, I’ll plead ignorance. Not for a lack of trying, but for a lack of succeeding to utilise it effectively. For more of my thoughts on Dragon, see Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Example: Dragon NaturallySpeaking. and Dragon in World of Warcraft.