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Archive for January, 2011

We’re here in San Francisco this week for Macworld 2011! The show floor opens tomorrow, but everyone has been working hard since yesterday getting their booths set up and ready to go. It’s pretty incredible to see how much goes into getting the show floor ready, and how quickly things are pulled together.  

We’ll be busy today attending some of the Industry Forum sessions, meeting with press and gearing up for what promises to be a busy show. If you’re attending Macworld this week, come on by and see us at Booth #636. We’re talking about Dragon Dictate, Scribe and our Dragon Mobile Apps as well, (including our recently-introduced Nuance Mobile Developer Platform).

Stay tuned for more updates from the show this week!

-Erica Hill, Corporate Communications, Dragon

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This week in our Ask the Dictator segment, Peter provides some great advice for how to get the most out of Dragon.  These are helpful tips not only for new Dragoneers, but also for anyone using Dragon who wants to kick it up a notch! 

Check out the video here:

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We’re thrilled this week to share a post with you from Reid Rosenthal, published author and Dragon user.  Reid has been using Dragon for years to write and create, and his new book “Threads West” was just recently published and has already become quite a hot item.  Check out what Reid has to say about how he writes with Dragon. -Erica Hill, Corporate Communications, Dragon

 

It was, a Friday, about six years ago. My staff had left for the weekend and there was an important letter pertaining to a pond project on one of the ranches that simply had to go out over the weekend.

I go to great lengths to avoid typing.  I can pound out eighty or so words per minute but unfortunately that’s with a dozen (or more) typos per line.  Also, I am not fond of bleeding nubs for fingertips!  There was no time to employ my usual steps to get this correspondence out the door.  My typical protocol back then was to dictate on micro cassette and have the tape transcribed, followed by several rounds of editing. Tedious.

I finished typing the letter which was just about a page long. I hit spell check and literally the whole page lit up red. While my key pounding inconsistencies were well known, this was above and beyond the normal gloomy pale. I cursed the “big paw-little keyboard” syndrome. In addition to having to edit the letter, it would take half an hour just to correct the typing atrocities. I had no choice. The correspondence had to reach its destination, and my ranch office staff would not be in until Monday.

As I struggled through the spell check half of my mind wandered. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just speak and the words would appear? I wondered dreamily.  Maybe I even said it out loud, I don’t remember.

But I do recall at the conclusion of the laborious process of finalizing that letter that I went online and did some searching. At that time I had never heard of “Dragon” or “voice recognition.”.  I hit key search words which were something like “talk, talking and typing.” Perhaps they were even more inane.

By some mysterious quirk of fate the server guided me to the Dragon site. The more I read about this technology and the company the more intrigued I became. On Monday morning I had my administrative assistant order Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

That first version of Dragon was not perfect. For whatever reason some of things I dictated came out with more typos and problems than if I had typed myself, and trust me, that was not a good thing! During that period I used a combination of Dragon and the old tried-and-true micro cassette dictation, transcribe, edit. Then Dragon came out with an upgraded product.

I eagerly snatched the new Dragon software and was delighted with the improvement, increase in the quality of voice recognition and other bells and whistles. Then came Dragon 10 a few years ago.  Better still! As my confidence level increased so did my use of Dragon until finally it supplanted entirely my micro cassette habit of years prior. Dragon became my everything!  Okay—maybe not my “everything,” but certainly the key mechanical application for all of my writing.

In fact, I used Dragon to write the entirety of Threads West, the first novel and namesake of my new multiple #1 best-selling, multiple award winning six book series, Threads West, An American Saga.  It is the story of uncommon life threads which weave together to form the tapestry of an emerging country and American West. It is the adventure and romance of the West wrapped in a silver bolo of the American spirit.

The book was first released in print a bit more than three months ago. It has captured number one paperback bestseller in four genres, and achieved number one mover and shaker (most active book) on Amazon, October 12 and 13 of 2010.  Threads West won Best Western, and Finalist (runner-up), Best Romance of 2010 from the prestigious National USA Book Review.  On November 16, the novel took ten #1 best-seller positions including western romance, historical fiction, and the huge overall categories of Fiction, Romance, and Western (over 370,000 titles aggregate). It also rose to the #2 best-selling paperback of 812,000 titles on Barnes & Noble for almost three days and then again repeated those rankings over Christmas and New Years! It continues to maintain best seller status (top 100) in all BN categories, and #1 best seller status in a number of genres! The book is already in its fourth printing. Without a doubt my use of Dragon to write Book One of the series shortened delivery time for final printed product by six to nine months over any other method of “writing.”  Thank you Dragon!

Dragon will likewise be my medium for the stream of consciousness that will evolve into the next five books and my upcoming narrative nonfiction book, Land for Love and Money. Even in very remote locations, without power, where I spend much of my time, I dictate into Dragon, plug it into the computer, which is in turn wired to the truck and voice-recognition types while I go off to do chores!  When I return to more civilized parts I print, edit, then send an e-mail with the original Dragon attachment, and fax my edits. My staff, 400+ miles away, then has the base document and my atrocious scribbled changes and refinements.  The result is a good rough draft I can really begin to polish.

And yes, this very blog itself comes to you courtesy of the Dragon product! Thank you again, Dragon!

Reid Lance Rosenthal, multiple #1 best-selling/multiple award-winning Dragon-lovin’ author.

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This week’s Ask the Dictator episode focuses on how to improve Dragon’s accuracy by allowing it to learn from your own documents. This is a great tip to help you get the most out of Dragon.

Check out the video:

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This Monday, the Boston Herald posted a positive review of the Dragon Gaming Speech Pack by Paul Restuccia.  Have a look and see what Paul had to say about this recent addition to the Dragon family.  The full article can be found here.

Dragon Gaming Speech Pack

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Head over to the Crave blog on CNET for a chance to win Dragon!  The giveaway is open through Monday, January 17th.

Just go here to find out more…Good luck!

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It’s interesting to think about how Dragon fits in with the writing process.  In many ways, it brings us back to the old school teachings that many of us learned in high school and college.  “Get it all out of your head, let the thoughts flow freely, then go back and edit and move things around later,” is an approach that many professors used to recommend.  Dragon certainly helps to keep the thoughts flowing, as they move straight from brain to PC through your voice. 

This week, I’m excited to feature a post from Larry Blumsack.  A speaker, trainer and coach, (among other things), Larry is also the author of a new book entitled “Face-to-Face is The Ultimate Social Media” which was drafted by voice with Dragon!  Thanks to Larry for sharing his thoughts with us about Dragon and his writing process.  –-Erica Hill, Corporate Communications, Dragon

 

To write, or not to write – that is never a question:

whether it is nobler to suffer

the hand pain from continuous scribbling

or to take arms against carpal tunnel

and by typing to end it.

To IBM Selectric, to computer keyboard, no more.

To buy a Dragon to say we end the heartache

and the thousand natural shocks

from typing away. T’is a consummation

devoutly to be wished. To buy a Dragon –

perchance to dream: ay, there’s the solution.

For in that sleep of voice activation software

who knows what dreams may come true

when we have shuffled off the mortal coil,

of scribbling, typing, typing and typing,

must give us pause. There’s a Dragon

that reduces the calamity of a writer’s life.

A Dragon who can bear the whips and scorns

of verbal dialogue. A Dragon

who can overcome the speaker’s wrong

and the proud man’s mumbling diction.

Why grunt and sweat with your fingers unable

to keep up with the thoughts

flying in the writer’s mind. Thus Dragon

does make writers of us all. Soft you now,

the great Dragon! – Software in thy horizons

be all my typing sins forgotten.

When I first started to write, I had to turn my column in to the paper in typewritten format. A major handicap for me because I couldn’t type, let alone read my own writing. My wife at the time, could type and was a writer. Not a solution. Because she not only typed my column, she rewrote it to my dissatisfaction and consternation. This forced me to learn to type. Since that time, I graduated from a Royal portable, to an IBM Selectric, and then onto the computer keyboard. However, my creative thoughts kept coming faster than my fingers could move.

Twenty plus years ago I was introduced to Dragon voice recognition software. I used it sporadically because the accuracy wasn’t that good. I left Dragon for a while until a friend and mentor of mine recommended I purchase an expensive Parrot microphone headset. He said the quality of the headset makes a huge difference in the accuracy of the dictation. That was about 15 years ago. I purchased the Parrot headset and ever since use Dragon in almost all my software programs.

My most recent accomplishment with Dragon was writing the draft of my book “Face-To-Face Is the Ultimate Social Media” in a half of a day. That’s right, in one half of a day by dictating it with Dragon 11, and using twin monitors with a book outline on one monitor and my word document on the other monitor. It’s only fair to say that my book is based on all of the teaching, training, coaching, speaking and seminar leading that I have been doing for decades which made it easy to dictate it so quickly. The editing process, both manually and with Dragon was a much longer journey.

 To write, or not to write with Dragon – that is never a question.

Larry Blumsack

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