DragonAndHerEggNightAC4x5For those of you who followed the old “Ink blots and Tea Stains” blog, you know that I have been experimenting with the use of speech recognition software instead of the keyboard to write my stories. I wanted to give you all an update on the progress of my experiment. Over the past few months, I have used Microsoft’s E-speaking software and Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 12.0 software. I paid $14.00 for the E-speaking software and $49.99 for the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software (it was on sale; it is regularly priced at $99.99 for the home edition and $199.99 for the premium edition, although sales seem frequent depending on where you shop). All I can say with this particular purchase, is you get what you pay for.

The E-speaking software might be less expensive, but it is also limited in its features and its actual ability to understand the human voice. During the many times that I worked with program, I came close to pulling my hair out by the roots in frustration because of the constant misunderstanding and consequential mistyping that occurred when E-speaking and I worked together. In the end, it was more work and more time for me to use the E-speaking software and have to correct all of its mistakes that it took to simply type out the stories.

I finally took pity on myself after two months and purchased the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software about which I had heard such good reviews. It was one of the best software decisions I’ve ever made. Dragon is very adaptable. It can understand and interpret an extremely soft-spoken person like myself with relative ease and, while I still have to use the keyboard at regular intervals to speed up my output, the software has cut my output time roughly in half. That is a huge advantage for me since I have always been such a slow typist and while I realize that mileage may vary, I highly recommend this software when used with the PC version of Microsoft Word.

Case in point, it is taken me about 30 minutes to write this morning’s blog with Dragon, while the same amount of verbiage would’ve taken me an hour with keyboard or 1.25 hours with E-speaking. The claim of 99% speech recognition accuracy is, of course, bogus, but I will say that the software achieves an average accuracy rating of 92-95% for me personally. That is pretty good for a soft-spoken fantasy fiction writer who spouts weirdly-spelled and pronounced name once every five minutes.

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist-Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the desk of Alycia Christine Sears and/or Alycia C. Cooke with love and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts on this particular topic and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, email it to me. Thanks!