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MacSpeech Dictate: I say it here, it comes out there

Three ways for your computer to get it "WRITE" By Ko Maruyama
MacSpeech Dictate version 1.2 is the latest software build that allows you to dictate directly into your Mac with impressive accuracy. So, with limited editorial, I will attempt to write this entire article using only MacSpeech Dictate, using the keyboard as little as possible.

To start out with, the software came with a microphone from Plantronics. It's important that you have a good microphone when you're using MacSpeech Dictate because the quality of your voice and the way you read determines how well the software will interpret your words.

The Plantronics microphone that comes with the software is really nice because it does stick to your head well it's one of those headset microphones. (I may forget to include proper punctuation because I have to say "." In order to punctuate my dictation). The headset ensures that whether I'm looking at the screen were looking at my microphone or wherever my head is oriented the microphone stays relatively close to my mouth and not to close.

Computer, is there a replacement beryllium sphere on board?

Talking to your Mac might be a little bit like talking to a computer on a spaceship. And it takes a little bit of time to get acquainted with the way a computer understands your voice. After installing software you have a little bit of a learning curve, or actually the computer has a little bit of a learning curve. The software takes you through some steps so that the computer can learn the intonation in the pauses of your voice or you also can learn how the computer will accurately and decipher your words as you read a list of words from some printed text.

(How cool is this I just found out about the sleep mode which will house you to toggle between active and nonactive or "asleep" modes for your dictation there is also a command mode as well as a spelling mode.

As was true with the earlier applications, dictate works we at other applications that you have on your Mac -- I should say on your Intel Mac. There is a nice little notepad that comes with dictate that you can use within the software itself.

But the new software in this version 1.2 does have some new features and more importantly, some new enhancements. Probably the most important enhancement days phrase training. We all speak differently. And because we all speak differently, the software needs to adapt so that it can recognize our individual speaking traits. In the new software you can train the application to recognize phrases that it doesn't understand  correctly. The more you use the software, and the more opportunity you have to correct the way it hears you and interprets the words you're saying.

Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!

There are a bunch of new tips and tricks as well is more available commands in the help guide that comes with software, but when I open the help application, I couldn't get the dictation to work within the search field. But I'm sure with a little bit of practice I won't need to use the help or the search field, and I'll just be able to turn this on and start dictating into my favorite text application.

At $199 (price includes headset), this software isn't necessarily for hobbyists, but for anyone who needs to transcribe dictation, or for anyone who needs to type for a living, this might work very well given the little practice. I do a lot of typing about technical work, and it may not be able to keep up with a different type of technical terminology that I write about. Here are a few words that I think you might stumble over: Adobe After Effects, Boolean, busy a curve  (ha ha bezier curve). I suppose that's a phrase I will have to teach dictation. This also holds great application for anyone who needs to type in any kind of online chat, but doesn't necessarily want type. With the ability to import new commands and even write scripts for the application there is even greater potential in other textbased markets. Rather than typing out a script for a presentation, it might be just as easy to practice the presentation in a normal speaking voice, then print out the resulting text document as the notes for your presentation.

It'll probably take me a couple of weeks to really figure out how to use this software well, without having to use the command "delete the word", but it's obvious that even for someone who has never use the software before (me), using MacSpeech Dictate to get the text into the computer is amazingly simple and accurate. If you're dictating letters all day this is one piece of software you don't want to miss. Check out the system requirements and more by visiting their website: http://www. MacSpeech.Com.

Wow, this is cool!  :)

*this article was written five minutes after installing MacSpeech Dictate. Unfortunately, I didn't read any of the extensive help or online support documentation before dictating. However, after reviewing even a simple common voice command list, it's obvious that dictate has plenty of tools to ensure that everything you say gets transcribed correctly. -- -- and it's fun.

Typed: I can type at about 80wpm, so it's not necessarily about having software that changes the speed at which articles get written(okay sometimes).  It does change the way my wrists drape over my keyboard - or rather - don't.  No more slices in my forearms from the edge of my Macbook.  No more accidental cursor movements made by resting thumbs.  I have a lot to learn, but I'll let you know how it goes.

Find out more about the software at

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:product review, tutorial, Mac, Mac speech, dictate, voice recognition, Apple, text document, automatic writing, speech to text


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