I debated for a long time whether or not I could use Dragon speech recognition. I tried it once back in the 70s or 80s and it was awful. You had to talk like a robot to make it understand you. I also hate their run-on commercials.

But I also know that using your hands as I do 24 seven and having a family history of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, it would be a really good thing not to stress my hands any worse than I need to. S I decided to bite the bullet now that the software has come down in price and get myself a copy.

I read the reviews. I determined that very likely I would be happier with version 11 and 12, explanation being that version 12 gets too helpful.

So I got it and a real nice USB mike. and indeed it is a vastly improved software from the 1980 version. I managed to screw up the USB mic within about 30 minutes of use. Jane tells me it’ll work just fine if I just reboot my computer. I don’t know what I did.

The software is particularly useful for editing. I can send send the cursor through a patch of text and add and subtract words. Unfortunately it doesn’t understand commands like back up and italicize, or even just italicize. Still, it has some virtues.

I’m not sure I’m ready to let it help me voice control my computer. The problems that could generate are too scary. But a day off from typing is not a bad thing.

When editing I use my hands to position the cursor. I highlight what I want taken out. I insert what I want put in. And I handle the bolds and italics.

You control the mic on off by saying or go to sleep. I might want to change that since I write fiction. Also WordPerfect has helps for straightening out spaces between words and capitalizations at beginnings of sentences that make the program work a lot more efficiently.

Anyway, the first trial is a moderate success. Last time, I trained the program for a week and it still couldn’t work adequately for fiction and wouldn’t let me think ‘story’ because I was too busy trying to communicate with the software. It is important to have a microphone that is intended for voice recognition–fewer mistakes.

It’s not quite like having Robbie the robot at your elbow to understand what you meant rather than what you said, but this sure is an improvement on 1980.