Sometimes Dragon NaturallySpeaking works so well that you become overconfidence capabilities.  I get a ton of use of this product now, however on occasion the program seems to take a nap or maybe a daydream is a better descriptor.

Sometimes I think the program does live up to its claims of 99% accuracy.  However there seems to be a few circumstances where it falls far short of this claim.

  1. If you hibernate a PC or don’t shut down and restart on a regular basis, over time the program will definitely become less accurate.  I’m sure this has a lot to do with RAM utilization and number of other aspects, but as a user that doesn’t matter to me all I know is that the program stops working as well as it used to work.  This is problematic because you build up trust in the program and expect it to work, and when it starts to make substitutions for words you don’t catch it is easily as you might have if you didn’t trust the program.
  2. Another problem occurs when you run it with many other programs that are RAM hogs.  You get the same result of slow down performance, and the same problem of potentially not catching a mistake as your expectations have risen.
  3. Another problem is that on occasion when you start to speak after you haven’t use the tool for a few minutes or after you’ve just turned on the microphone, there is sometimes a delay.  Now the weird part is that DeLay sometimes results in the words actually been transcribed, only say 40-60 seconds after the fact, and sometimes it doesn’t transcribe it all.  So when you first start talking you need to make sure that the transcription has started with you and that the program is actually ready to write.  You turn the program on and it’s almost like you have to ask your computer, “Are you really paying attention to me?”
  4. you also have to be very careful in two circumstances that seem to come up with often enough for me to note them.  One of those is the situation where you’re composing an e-mail, and a strange noise in the background (my dog barking at home for example) apparently sounds to the computer just like the command to send an e-mail.  This results in the unfortunate sending of e-mail before it’s really ready to go.  Another problem that occurs, happens during the use of several different WYSIWYG HTML editors (DNS nine actually got those last three words correct on the first try!).  In some HTML editors something goes a little screwy with DNS nine sometimes.  What I’m trying to write text with the transcription program it sometimes rates it and it HTML portion without the appropriate tags and sometimes it doesn’t.  I see this happen on a regular basis in Windows live writer and on an occasional basis in Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. 
  5. Finally DNS nine also sometimes forgets to make the appropriate distinction between simple words like ‘in’ and ‘and’ making what appears to be random substitutions of those words throughout a given discourse.  This is definitely problematic and not something that pops up on spellcheck, and due to the nature of some training that I’ve received in speed-reading I don’t always catch it when I approve the document.  It’s important to note all of these issues and try and remain cognizant of them so that you don’t develop and overconfidence in the software.

 

At the end of the day it’s a great tool and say the significant amount of time.  You have to be wary of becoming overconfident, picture that guy in the cheesy Viagra commercials who has just received a new boost of confidence.  You need to be aware of these limitations such that you can look out for them and avoid them.  If you can maintain that the tool will definitely increase your productivity and improve your computing experience.

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