Monthly Archives: May 2008

Friday Tip: Quick definitions

The second fastest way to look up a word in a dictionary using Utter Command is to select the word, then say “This Dictionary Search”. This command looks up the selection in and returns the results in a browser page.

The fastest way is to combine selecting the word and searching. For instance, “Word Dictionary Search”.

You can use these commands whether or not a browser is open.

Happy searching.

Solving the page down problem

Whenever I talk to people who use speech commands to control a computer I encourage them to complain. Something that frequently comes up is it’s a drag having to say “page down” so much.

We’ve come up with several ways to diminish the drag:

1. Several screens at once

First, “Page” is a back-of the-mouth word, which is more difficult to say than words that only use sounds that originate in the front of the mouth. This isn’t a problem for commands you don’t use frequently, but looms large when you have to repeat something over and over again.

And when you say “Page Down”, you’re really moving by screen, not by page. This is fortunate, because “Screen” is easier to say than “page”.

Using Utter Command you can say “Page Down” and “Page Up” to hit the page up and page down keys, but you can also say “Screen Down” and “Screen Up”. And you can move multiple screens: “2 Screen Down”, “5 Screen Up”

2. Right to the point

You can also go to a given screen. “Screen 3”, for instance, jumps you right to the third screen of information in a document.

And in programs whose Find facilities recognize page numbers, including pdf’s, you can go right to a given page by saying, for instance, “Find Page 22”. You can try this out on a UC lesson document: “UC Lesson 1”.

3. Wait

It’s still tedious to say “Screen Down” every couple of seconds when you want to glance quickly at subsequent pages. Try this: “3 Screen Down Wait 5”. This moves down a screen, waits 5 seconds, moves down another screen, waits 5 seconds, then moves down another screen.

4. The right tool for the job

It’s also important to look at exactly why you’re going through a document screen by screen. Often you’re looking through pages for a certain section. In this case the screen-by-screen facility isn’t the right tool for the job, but you may be using it because usually it’s the best tool available.

If you’re looking through a document that has numbers, letters or symbols to differentiate sections you can use the UC Keywords facility go directly to any of these. To see what I mean say “Find 1 Period”, “Find 3 Period” in this document. Now picture a longer document with more and longer sections, and a section outline along these lines:

1. Speech Command Problems
1.1 Page Down
1.2 Page Down Solution

2. Speech Command

You could say, for example “Find 1 Period”, “Find 1 Point 1”, “Find 1 Point 2” and “Find 2 period” to jump among these sections.

Using the UC Keyword list you can use any section organization scheme you want — numbers, letters, numbers and letters (1a., 1b….) or heading words themselves (“Find Introduction”, “Find Summary”). Sometimes I put tildas (~) at key points in a document so I can jump to those points (“Find Tilde”). I also use the word “PLACEHOLDER” this way (“Find Placeholder”).

You can also use “Wait” with keywords. I use this one to scan a document for placeholders: “Find Placeholder Wait 2 Repeat 5”.