Taming The Dragon

Posted by Jonathan David / on 01/05/2010 / 4 Comments


I cheated...in typing class. Oceanside High School, New York 1970.  The administration felt that every student passing  through high school should be competent in typing.  Being a know- it- all teenager and photographer at heart...destined for National Geographic, I though typing was a waste of time. I so cheated.

How do you cheat in typing class?  You look at the keys!

Thus began the habit of pecking at keys. Little did I know that a decade later, when my father  bought my first computer, an Atari ST, (which by the way was the fastest computer available at the time with 1 MB of memory!) that I was cheating myself

Over the years there have been many programs, including Mavis Beacon teaches typing and several which my son showed me on the Internet ,that trained you to type better.  I thought for quite some time that this is something that I should pursue....

About 10 years ago, a program was offered through AOL called Dragon Naturally Speaking 4.0.  I bought it.  It did not work very well, I didn't use it.

One of my goals over Christmas break was to learn to master the Dragon.  My dad who is now 84 years old just bought a computer, intent upon writing his memoirs. He probably types at five words a minute.  I'm about 40 with my individual pecking, the problem is that I have to look at the keys. We invested in two copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking preferred edition 10.0, and spent the better part of the end of 2009 learning and teaching myself and my father how to use Dragon by Nuance.

Warning,... there is in fact, a large learning curve to master Dragon.  I would be lying if I told you that I have mastered Dragon.  I haven't.  I spend a dozen hours with my father learning the program. 

This blog post is being dictated completely via Dragon.

It's really quite remarkable. The way it works is that you train the program to your intonation, speed at which you read, how you speak and the cadence of your words. Soon it becomes very, very good at recognizing your speech.  I believe using Dragon will save me hundreds and hundreds of hours every year.  Even if you're an expert typist, you probably cannot type 120 words per minute, which is the rate most people speak at.  Go ahead and take the time to learn to become proficient with Nuance Dragon.


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  • Patricia says:

    Dragon sounds marvelous. For me, I get a kinesthetic rush of sorts with the words in my head going through my heart and out my hands! And besides, I talk enough. Thanks so much for letting us know this technology is advancing.

    January 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

  • Bonnie says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jonathan. January is about getting technology up one notch - Dragon, video on my digital camera, putting a picture into a blog post or on a web page. Especially, Dragon - I talk so fluidly and in a more spontaneous manner and have lots to say, so I'm ready to invest the time to train the Dragon. Life is good!

    January 7, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

  • Stewart says:

    When I taught business writing one of the mantra's was to "write like you speak." I was waiting for voice recogInition years ago and was terribly disappointed - maybe time to revisit. I began working in 1972 and was amazed when dictated letters made great sense on the first draft.

    Shifting gears Jonathan - I am Valley Stream Central calss of 64...spent much time at Nathan's in Oceanside!

    January 7, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

  • Jim says:

    I am impressed. Dragon is on my list of tools to put into my toolbox. I really appreciate the sharing of this technology here.

    Q: What does a blond make best for dinner? A: Reservations. #humor

    Now we are all in that category... just say what you want and out it comes... from a word processor not an oven, but is that far behind.

    January 10, 2010 at 8:16 PM | Permalink


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