Friday, September 2, 2011

This Is A Test of Dragon NaturallySpeaking

The Dragon NaturallySpeaking program arrived yesterday and I am running it through its paces right now. One of the promises of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the ability to control movement of the mouse, and selecting windows.  So far, I am not impressed. Theoretically, you can tell it to list all windows, and then select a window. That works. When you try to select a folder in my documents and open it, the results are much less certain and much less gratifying.

It seems to do a pretty good job entering ordinary text like this, but even this has required a lot of corrections. You may corrections by saying the word "correct" followed by the word that you would like to correct.  So far, the experience of using Dragon naturally speaking to enter text in blogger, has underwhelmed me. It makes many mistakes, which does not surprise me, because this is intrinsically a difficult thing to do. If the goal is to reduce my use of my hands, to help me get past this problem with carpal tunnel syndrome, this just isn't going to work. The other frustration about this, is that much of the time it sort of works, and other times it just drives me crazy. Frequently I will tell it I want to make a correction of some sort, and it successfully finds the word that was misspelled or mis-capitalized and takes me back there. But very often it fails to find it. Sometimes it takes me to the very beginning of this blog entry without any particular reason for that to happen.

UPDATE: I am increasingly unimpressed with this product. It does a pretty good job of accepting simply text like this. But anything more complicated such as recognizing commands to delete a mail item, seem to be beyond it. It ends up saying "unknown text field" or similar messages. The inability of the program to consistently handle editing in a position prior to the current cursor spot, seems to be a serious deficiency. Nor is it obvious how to improve the accuracy of how the Dragon NaturallySpeaking which program interprets what you say.  I have just spent 5 min. trying to tell it to correct the phrase NaturallySpeaking so I could set the capitalization correct on it, and it would not let me do it. Yet just a few minutes ago it works absolutely perfectly. I made no change to how I spoke and yet sometimes it understands me and sometimes it does not. I am going to make a few more attempts to use this but if there is not substantial improvement in performance I will have to return it; it is utterly useless.

UPDATE 2: I am now using Dragon, in PowerPoint 2010, to make notes for my online lectures. While I am still a little frustrated with a few aspects of this, it is working much better for that, then for blogging. by no means am I free of using the keyboard or the mouse, but is far less intensive than what I was doing before. So perhaps I will be keeping this after all.

UPDATE 3:  I don't know if it is actually learning or if I am getting more patient. But I guess this is what that film Training Your Dragon was all about right?


  1. i believe it has a bayesian function that helps it learn how you speak. so it SHOULD improve, at least some, the more you use it.

  2. Thanks for this review...I am considering buying Dragon..did you buy the home or pro edition?

  3. Thanks for this review..I am considering buying Dragon...did you purchase or home or pro edition?

  4. Clayton,

    I don't know if you continue to use DNS, but I can tell you that it does have issues working with Blogger. I found it was quite a bit more accurate when writing my posts in Word and then copy and pasting into Blogger. Not very efficient though. lol

    Then I came across Windows Live Writer for posting and DNS works very well with it.

    I've been very happy with DNS as it does learn and improve. I will admit, it's a love/hate relationship some days.

  5. I am curious as to why Dragon fails Grammer 101. I dictated:
    "He hired a maid."
    Dragon wrote:
    "He hired a made."
    A noun should follow the pronoun 'a'. 'Made' is a verb?

  6. I see no indication that Dragon knows grammar. It is probably picking the most commonly used words when a homonym appears. I am sure that "made" gets used far more often than "maid."