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This week we shine the spotlight on Duncan, our customer of the week! As a member of Massachusetts’ Historical Society of Old Yarmouth (HSOY), Duncan Oliver was faced with a challenge when trying to put together a book chronicling the city’s historical events. It was his daughter’s suggestion to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking that ultimately helped him to complete the task in a fraction of the time.

Because old newspaper articles were not archived digitally at the HSOY, compiling stories from years past meant that each one would have to retyped, or scanned through optical character reader (OCR) software – something that resulted in a success rate of only about 70%. With limited resources and unable to hire an expensive transcriptionist, Duncan began using Dragon NaturallySpeaking and found that he was able to work twice as fast as the fastest typist at the HSOY.

Today, several other people at the HSOY besides Duncan have started to regularly use Dragon and the book has been completed. Duncan reflects, “All of this came about because a retired father told his daughter about a proposed project and the impossibility of transcribing these newspaper articles, and then he found Dragon NaturallySpeaking under the Christmas tree.”

Read more of Duncan’s story here. (*note: defaults to open a .pdf)

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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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