Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Is there a problem for which voice recognition is the solution?

I have had Siri, the Apple voice recognition program, on my iPhone for some time now and with the upgrade to Mac OS Sierra, I now have Siri on my iMac. From time to time I try to figure out some question or command that might help me speed up my work or solve some problem by using Siri. So far, I haven't been successful. Almost everything I can think of that might help, gets the same or similar response from Siri that you can read in the image above. When I do think of something the Siri recognizes, it turns out that I could do the same thing faster by not having to activate Siri, speak my command and wait for the response to happen.

As I have written periodically in reporting my progress or the lack thereof with voice recognition, even though the concept has been around for over 50 years now, the execution of the concept still seems to be in the developmental stage. Granted, the voice recognition systems we have available today are tremendously more accurate and responsive than they were just a few years ago, but over all, there are still a lot of unresolved issues.

The star of the voice recognition show is the Nuance Software program, Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows and the Mac version of the same program called Dragon Dictate. The problem I have run into with the program is the cost of upgrades. When the last Mac operating system came out, my version of Dragon Dictate effectively stopped working. The upgrade was very pricey. Now, I am two operating system upgrades past where the program stopped working and I considered upgrading my Dragon Dictate program again. I quickly discovered that the upgrade had almost doubled in price.

As a result of the high price of the program and its constant expensive upgrades, I seriously investigated the Apple Voice Recognition program built into the Mac OS. It seemed to work extremely well, until I discovered that the software designers had unfortunately omitted to include some vital editing tools like correcting a wrong word or sentence. They expect the users to do the corrections manually. Perhaps there is a work around, but I haven't discovered it yet. What is the purpose of using a voice recognition program that can't correct mistakes?

So I looked to the voice recognition program built into the Google Docs program. It had a lot of the features omitted by Apple, but lacked some of the other features that made it a completely useful program. It appears that if I want to have a viable voice recognition program I will have to cough up the high price for Dragon Dictate. Unfortunately, presently, the specifications for the program do not indicate that it is compatible with the new Sierra OS.

If I were unable to use a keyboard or trackpad effectively, I would be forced to pay the high price for an upgrade that might not work at all. But since I can still type very fast and use the computer trackpad faster than I can give voice commands, I am taking a hiatus from voice recognition for a while until the technology starts to work for me again. Oh, by the way, it doesn't matter to me, but the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking 13 Home, does not list Windows 10 as one of the systems it supports.

Who knows? Maybe I will find a use for Siri.

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