I get a lot of inquiries about how I carry out particular computer tasks by speech.
Here are the gory details on what I do to write a blog item and post it to WordPress:
Getting ready to write
When I think of an idea for a Patch on Speech blog post I say
- “Blog Pending Site” to bring up the Google document I write the blog in. Then I say
- “Find Mark 1″, then “Another Graph” to position the cursor. I have “MARK 1″ written at the top of my working section. The first command selects “MARK 1”, and the second one positions the cursor two lines below it at the top of the section. Then I say
- “Today Short Enter” to add the current date and move the cursor to the next line
I either jot down an idea, or write a whole post.
When I’m writing I make heavy use of “1-20 Befores” to select the last few words I said and change them. A key point about this technique is I don’t count how many words I want to select back. I just make sure to select more words than I need to change, then look to see what is selected and resay what I need to.
I also make use of the Dragon inline commands, which allow you to say punctuation like “Open Quote” and “New Paragraph” without pausing. I use “Another Graph” to start a new paragraph when I’m not at the very end of a line. I occasionally find myself speaking keyboard to fix something, for instance “Left Backspace Right” to correct “two” to “to”.
We’ve just been testing a series of commands that lets you use a mouse without clicking, and I’ve been experimenting with commands like “Touch Word” and “Touch 3 Words” to select text.
After I’ve written and edited a piece, I say
- “Find Mark 1”, then “2 Down Home” to put the cursor at the beginning of the headline
Then I use several “1-100 Up\Downs” commands combined with a copy command to select the story, e.g. “50 Downs”, “20 Downs”, “5 Ups Copy”
Then I open the page where I post by saying
- “WordPress Site”
If I’m not already logged on it prompts me for my username. I have my username in the UC Enter list so I can say it and hit the Enter key in one utterance. Since my password is stored I can login in a single utterance:
Once I’m in I say
- “31 Go” to click the “New Post” link
- “Tab Paste” to tab to the body field and paste the text
- “Go Top” to move the cursor to the top of the file
- “Line Cut” to cut the headline
- “2 Delete” to remove the extra lines
- “49 Go” to move to the headline field
- “This Paste” to paste the headline
Categories and Publish
I add categories using the Go numbers, one or two at a time , e.g. “31 Go” to add one category and “38 Go 41 Go” to add two categories in a single utterance, and use a Go number to hit the “Preview” button.
Then I look over the post, say “Doc Close” to close the preview, and use a Go number to hit “Publish”.
Avoid having to remember commands
I think the key to enabling a program for efficient speech control is to take the time to look at what you want to do in detail and plot it out — take the time to write out the steps. Make a game of figuring out just how efficient you can be. Then take the steps and put them in one of the UC Custom Guides, so you can call it up instantly, e.g. “Custom 3 Guide”, and read the set of commands to carry out the task.
This way you don’t have to remember commands. Eventually, after using the guide a bunch of times, you’ll have the sequence memorized without having to consciously memorize it.
If you have a way of carrying out a task by speech that you’re particularly proud of — or if there’s something you’re struggling with — drop me a line at kim @ this web address.