Dragon 12 is coming!

Nuance Communications will once again show you the great power of science! Be happy, you!

And by Dragon, I mean Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the speech recognition software that not only takes dictation but lets you control pretty much any aspect of your personal computer. Well, as long as you use the most common software, at least. It lets you say things like “Search the web for Princess Bride” (which will, in all likelihood, be interpreted by any nearby humans as “Search the web for Russian brides”) and your favorite search engine will appear in your favorite browser with the requested information, at the speed of thought. Well, unless you have the newest computer like I have, it may be at the speed of very slow thought, but I never said otherwise, did I? ^_^

Dragon 12 is not actually out yet, it won’t be ready for download until August 9, but I have already pre-ordered it at half price as an existing customer. (And in Euro, even, which is already ridiculously cheap compared to my native currency, the Norwegian krone.) I would not take the chance of forgetting to order it while it is still cheap. Although it does not feel as I am going to forget it in less than two weeks, I probably will. The power of Now is strong in this one. Or it may be the first shadow of Alzheimer’s, the two are hard to tell apart.

In the meantime, I have Dragon 11, which is also pretty good. But while people who work at BBC may get 99% accuracy out of it, that is not the case for a foreigner to the English language such as I. So the 20% increased accuracy of Dragon 12 could be helpful. Other reviews of Dragon 11 indicate that the accuracy is more like 96% right out of the box and 98% a couple weeks later, improving rather slowly after that. Still not bad. I mean, 50 words is like a modest paragraph. Only getting one error in a paragraph is pretty good. If version 12 can improve on that with 20%, so much the better.

Of course, the errors you get with speech recognition are different from the classic typo. Typos usually consist of transposing two characters, or getting a character too much or too little. Speech recognition errors tend to replace one word or phrase with another, and with today’s highly advanced artificial intelligence, the replacement phrase will probably be grammatically correct. Mine likes to swap “they” for “I”, and is also particularly fond of the phrase “naked English speaker” (which I am not – I am not even a native English speaker).

By coincidence (if such a thing exists), I recently gave in and installed my version 11 on the portable computer. (I still don’t know when I’m going to fix the big desktop – probably not until the summer heat is over.) It works surprisingly well, considering that I no longer run it from a SSD. Hopefully the new version will be able to continue to use whatever data accumulates in the meantime. (Remember, the program gets better and better the more you use it.)

And hopefully I will still be around in August so I can give you an actual review of Dragon 12. Or you may want to buy it yourself. I don’t know how well it fares if children are screaming in the background, though.

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