Category Archives: Nuance

Dragon Christmas List 2013

By Kimberly Patch

Ten years ago the Boston Voice Users Group (BVUG) constructed a top 10 Christmas list of features and fixes we wanted for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 7. We solicited ideas by email and had a meeting where people brought more ideas and several dozen active Dragon users voted to rank the top 10. A voice users group in New York City got wind of the project and came up with their own version. Each group sent its top 10 list to Dragon maker Nuance, which at the time was still called ScanSoft. We also sent a supplemental list of 45 suggestions, also ranked by importance.

To our great disappointment, we heard nothing back.

I thought it might be interesting to look at those lists 10 years later, and come up with a new, 2013 list aimed at Dragon 12.5. There is no longer a Boston Voice users group.

The first two items of this year’s Christmas list are the #1 and #4 suggestions from the decade-old list. They are at the top again this year because I believe that if they’d been implemented 10 years ago we would be in a very different place with speech now. Better late than never.

#1: An email suggestion box that is separate from tech support (no personal response necessary) This would enable people to send in suggestions without being charged

#2: A ScanSoft [now Nuance] employee whose job description includes using NatSpeak *all the time*

#3: This is a bit of a cheat because it’s more than one suggestion. It’s a small bundle of suggestions from the decades-old list and supplemental list that are all on the same topic. This group of features would’ve helped what was at the time an active group of users writing custom commands to improve Dragon, and helping other users by doing so. I believe that if these suggestions had been implemented a decade ago Dragon would have a much more thriving user community today. Again, better late than never.

  • A link that allows you to open a macro file by clicking on a command in the command history dialog box
  • Commands that make the command browser usable hands-free
  • An easier way to disable built-in commands or at least change their names
  • A way to turn off a single or a set of installed macros
  • A way to assign a set of macros to multiple programs

#4 and #5: A pair of suggestions from a decade ago that address user frustration:
Better recognition logic or an option that will cut down on misrecognitions that are ungrammatical (“he walk”)
A strong correction option in the correction box to learn after 1 correction as if you had corrected 10 times

#6: A fix for the problem of a current window losing focus when there is no reason for it to have lost focus (this must be corrected by clicking the mouse in the window, which only sometimes works, or switching to another program and back). A related problem here is Dragon not realizing it’s in a dictation field. Since this has been so difficult to fix, let me suggest a more modest proposal – a practical workaround. Let the user tell Dragon to act like it’s dictating into a text box.

#7: A fix for the problem in Microsoft Word of periodic loss of connection to the text, which disables the Select and Say commands.

In 2009, shortly after Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 came out I wrote a blog entry suggesting 10 improvements for Dragon 10. The last three items on this year’s list – #8, #9, and #10 – are the top three items from the 2009 blog entry:

  • I’d like a default user option that would let me start the program hands-free.
  • I’d like the ability to check audio settings hands-free.
  • I’d also like the ability to save and switch Check Audio settings — this is useful if you travel a lot. I do an audio check whenever I land someplace new, but there’s no reason I should have to do another audio check rather than go back to a saved once I’m back in the office.

Giving credit where credit is due, I will say that #4 on the 2009 list was fulfilled. We now have separate controls for buttons and menus. I can say whatever’s on a button – like “yes” or “no”, and at the same time set Dragon to require longer names for menu items, so I can say “File Menu” rather than just File because menu items are often active when I’m writing text. Thanks for that.

We still have a ways to go, however. Here’s hoping for a good year in 2014.

Urgent Dragon Alert: automatic check glitch can prevent Dragon from opening

By Kimberly Patch

[2-27-13 Update: We’ve gotten word that the issue with the Dragon update service has been fixed. It’s safe to turn on automatic updates if you wish.

In addition, there is a service pack available for Dragon 12. We strongly recommend downloading and installing this update.

A version of Utter Command that is compatible with this update is scheduled for release next week.]

Dragon Naturallyspeaking maker Nuance is having technical issues with its check for update service.

The bottom line: don’t let Dragon automatically check for updates until this is fixed. The software checks periodically unless the “Check for Product Updates at Startup” feature is turned off. This feature is turned on by default.

Trouble is, if your software checks for updates and runs into this issue, Dragon will then not open, making it difficult to turn off the “Check for Product Updates at Startup” feature.

To protect yourself from this potential problem turn off the “Check for Product Updates at Startup” feature: go to Dragon Options\Tools\Administrative Settings\Miscellaneous and Uncheck “Check for Product Updates at Startup”.

If you’ve already run into this problem and Dragon won’t open, there’s a more elaborate fix posted in the Dragon forum:

It’s fairly obvious from the trouble that Nuance is getting ready to release an update. Once Nuance solves the update issues, you’ll want to download the update. The update is fully compatible with Utter Command.

Check back here periodically – we’ll let you know when you can turn the update service back on.

Heads-up: Dragon Recorder iPhone App

By Kimberly Patch

Nuance has released a free iPhone Recorder application you can use with the “Transcribe Recording” feature of Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the desktop.

Dragon Recorder is a relatively simple recorder with a fairly clean interface that lets you record WAV files and transfer them to your computer via wifi. Once the files are on your computer, you can process them through Dragon’s Transcribe Recording feature, which is designed to transcribe the voice of a person who has trained a profile on Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It does pretty well with a relatively quiet recording of just that person’s voice.

Dragon Recorder gives you some useful, basic abilities:

  • You can pause, then continue recording.
  • You can play back the recording on the iPhone, and you can move the pause/play button to jump to different portions of the recording.
  • You can continue recording at the end of any previous recording. This is a little tricky — drag the play button all the way to the right and the play button will turn into a record button
  • You designate the first portion of the name of your file in settings. The second portion of the name is an automatic date and time stamp.

I can think of a couple of additions I’m hoping to see in updates:

  • The ability to bookmark recordings on-the-fly during recording and playback. I’m picturing several types of bookmarks you can use like hash tags. Bookmarks should also show up in the transcription.
  • Although this is designed to be transcribed automatically, it would also be useful to have slider bars for controlling the speed and pitch of recording on playback so you have a good way to manually transcribe as well.

What do you think? Let me know at Kim at this website address or look me up on Google+. Feel free to + me if you want to be in my Accessibility, Utter Command or Redstart Reports circles.