As part of the process of getting back into blogging more frequently, more regularly, I’m giving some consideration to dictating my blog posts, or at least the first drafts, rather than typing them up from scratch.

To that end I’ve just re-installed a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) (version 7), which I purchased a few years ago, tried for a while and gave up on because I found I could get my thoughts down faster by typing.

So if it didn’t work before, why am I going down that path again?

It’s a combination of reasons. I’ve identified five for starters.

  • I’ve found lately that sometimes I seem to be able to get moving on a train of thought when I speak into a recorder than when I sit down to type on the computer.
  • Last year I read a very positive review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 9 and in fact toyed with the idea of upgrading at that time.
  • I read some time ago a column in a local newspaper where the columnist, who has it seems a large readership, declared that he never wrote/typed his columns: all were dictated.
  • I recall that the computer I was using when I first tried DNS was perhaps not up to the task, in terms of system configuration. I now have a better-equipped machine, which seems to have specs up to the challenge. At least for the version of DNS I’m testing at the moment.

And the fifth reason is the conversations I’ve had with business owners who were interested in blogging, were diffident about writing but when I asked could they talk about their business and/or their industry for ten minutes or so, three to four times a week, all said they could.

So if this experiment works, it could be helpful not only for me but for others who like blogging but are inhibited, to a greater or lesser degree, by the writing/typing aspect.

I have to say the experiment almost did not get off the ground. The re-install of DNS 7.0 was not a straightforward matter. It got to a certain point and then there was a window with a blue background but no text. I tried to uninstall so I could re-install but the uninstall process stalled also! So I initiated the install process again and when the blue window came up just closed it, hoping for the best. In fact I was able to then start the program and do the hardware and reading tests and the tutorials without further incident. Not a perfect solution, perhaps, but nothing seems to have blown up or melted down yet.

So now I feel I’m ready to start.

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred model Yes, I know DNS is now up to Version 10, but before I lash out on an upgrade I want to test the version I have to see if that works for me and on my computer.  Then if I decide to upgrade, I have worked out, based on my research on the subject last year (when DNS 9 was the latest version), that the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred model (vs Standard or Professional) is the most appropriate for my requirements

In all of this I am mindful of the advice of a colleague who is very knowledgeable about speech recognition software and the need to have system requirements adequate to the task. I certainly don’t want to put something on the computer that is not only not going to work properly but create a risk of the whole system coming unstuck.

From what I can read on the Dragon site, the computer I use on my desk, a notebook which I use as a desktop machine most of the time, which has Windows XP installed, will work for Version 10, but experience tells me to go cautiously.

For now, I will see how I get along with Version 7 and provide some progress (I hope!) reports here as I go.

Advice and helpful hints will be received with gratitude!

Update: May 12, 2009 I tried to use DNS 7 but got a bit frustrated, then, encouraged by the comments here decided to go for the latest version.  Bid for one on ebay but clearly someone wanted to pay more. Then took the suggestion of
Derek from Nuance (see comment below) and ordered the upgrade, which is at an excellent price and is now, according to Nuance, winging its way to me. I will report further, probably in a separate post, once I have installed and started using it. Thanks to everyone for the helpful comments!

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