Monthly Archives: June 2009

Tip: Link phrases and website paths

You’re using the Utter Command Site list utility to go directly to websites, e.g. “Twitter Site”. And you’re comfortable saying the numbers that appear next to links to get around websites, e.g. “11 Go”. What’s next?

Is there a place where you find yourself constantly using two link numbers in a row? Try speeding things up by saying them as one phrase. For instance, in Google documents, I say “7 Go” to drop-down the Insert menu and “84 Go” to choose Horizontal Line. After a few times you don’t have to look: say “7 Go 84 Go” to do it all at once.

Here’s another tip that starts with a riddle: how are the following two tasks connected?

1. Going directly to a website but not in your default browser

2. Emailing a website link to a friend

Answer: you can use the same command to do either one.

Say you’re in a browser that’s not your default browser, and you want to go to the Twitter website. Put the cursor in the address bar (“Go Address”). Then paste the path of any website that’s on your Site list by adding “Path” to whatever you’d normally say to go to the site, e.g. “Twitter Site Path”.

Same goes for when you want to drop a link into an e-mail message. If the site in question is on your Site list, there’s no need to go to the site and cut and paste — use the Path command to paste the Web address into your message.

Have you found a good application for double Link numbers? Tell me about them – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

Tip: Help on the NaturallySpeaking utilities

A few weeks ago the folks at Nuance posted a Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 user workbook. It’s an excellent resource. It includes detailed instructions on NaturallySpeaking speech engine utilities that will make your speech experience better.

Here are my favorite parts:

The instructions for creating a user profile (page 1) explain important concepts like choosing the right dictation source. If you accidentally choose the wrong dictation source, your accuracy will not be as good.

The Vocabulary dialog box (page 8) allows you to add custom vocabulary including phrases, and import custom vocabulary from existing documents. I make sure my users have “Utter Command” and “Redstart Systems” as phrases. I have a usability complaint about the Vocabulary dialog box, however. It’s difficult to find in the menus because the menu name doesn’t match the dialog box name: NaturallySpeaking/Words/View-Edit. I think the label should be Vocabulary Editor instead.

The Formatting dialog box (page 23) allows you to control automatic formatting of special text like numbers. This section explains what you can control and how to control it.

The My Commands dialog box (page 44) allows you to create Text and Graphics commands. These boilerplate commands are relatively easy to create and can save you a lot of time. You can assign a command like “My Address” to a larger block of text, complete with line breaks and formatting.

The improving accuracy section (page 50) includes instructions for the Train Words, Acoustic Settings and Acoustic and Language Model Optimizer dialog boxes.

Here are some resources that have to do with using NatSpeak utilities with Utter Command:

In the Utter Command manual we touch on how Utter Command dovetails with NatSpeak Correction, Vocabulary, Recognition and Train Words utilities in UC Lesson 1 (1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.11). Also see the “Dragon NaturallySpeaking” section on UC Exchange.

Tip: Taking the named Touch commands to the next level

Once you get used to naming a mouse click, you might want a little more. Take a look at UC Lesson 10.24 and you’ll find you can combine named mouse touches with other keys in a couple of useful ways.

Here’s a good use of combining a named mouse touch with a letter key. When you’re in an e-mail message in Thunderbird*, you can click on the Sender’s address to drop down a menu that includes Copy e-mail Address and Add to Address Book.

To enable copying the sender e-mail address or adding it to the address book in a single speech step, name a mouse Touch to click on the sender address:

1. Position the mouse on the Sender’s address using a command like “20 By 11”

2. say “Add Touch” to bring up the Touch dialog box

3. name the touch something like “Sender”

4. say “Enter” to put the touch on your Touch list

5. say “Window Close · Yes” to close the UC List dialog box and save changes

6. If necessary, say “Restart NatSpeak” to restart the speech engine.

Now try the command and some combinations.

With an open email in Thunderbird you can say “Sender Touch” and it will click the Sender address to drop down the menu.

Better yet, you can say “Sender Touch c” (or “Sender Touch Charlie”) to copy the address to your clipboard, or “Sender Touch b” (or “Sender Touch Bravo”) to bring up the New Card dialog box with the address entered into it.

Have you found a good application for advanced Touch commands? Tell me about them – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

*Thunderbird is a free, open-source, full-featured e-mail program from Mozilla. It’s included in the UsefulFreeSoftware list on the UC Exchange Wiki (say “UC Exchange”).

RSIs, Christina Abbott and Utter Command

I get a lot of questions about why I started using speech recognition and how Utter Command came about. The gory details of my experience with RSIs are here: Greetings from planet RSI: what it’s like to have hands that hurt all the time.

I attribute my recovery from Repetitive Strain Injuries to four main factors: massage therapy and stretching (getting the knots out of my muscles), Alexander Therapy and Tai Chi (body awareness and efficiency of movement), keeping hydrated (creating a better environment for muscles and tendons), and staying away from the keyboard and mouse (avoiding major strain-producing activities). There are more details here: Advice from planet RSI: how to get better

The massage therapist who contributed greatly to my recovery is Christina Abbott. She’s an excellent neuromuscular therapist. She thinks and reads a lot about muscles and pain, makes great connections, and explains well. She’s started putting the information she’s discovered, gathered and thought about in a blog. It’s great stuff. Christina’s Pain Therapy Blog

Utter Command came about because I needed to use a computer hands-free without being tempted to cheat.