Guess what I got for Valentine’s Day? A Dragon!
(Although I wouldn’t have minded a Night Fury…)
Dragon Dictate for Mac is a speech recognition program. It transcribes whatever I say into whatever program I have open — Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, etc. See, after just a few days of writing full-time, my wrists were killing me! Not for the first time, but given how quickly the flare-up came on, it could easily have become the worst time.
I mentioned this to Andy, and he agreed that I needed to fix my workstation pronto. Now, we could have solved this in a few different ways (ergonomic keyboard, taller chair, laptop stand) but I think Andy purposely chose a solution that would wear my voice out.
Setting up Dragon took about 15 minutes, and right away it was about 95% accurate. Unfortunately, one of the words it couldn’t get right was my name. You see, “Kristin” and “Kristen” were pre-programmed into the software, so overwriting them with my “Kristan” wasn’t easy. (This may have been the first time EVER that I almost wished for a normally spelled name…)
I tried several suggestions that I found in the software’s forums, but none of them worked. For a while I gave up and just started signing my emails as “K.” But I hated the idea of giving in to a computer. Ken Jennings may have lost to Watson, but I was determined to triumph over my Dragon!
Long story short, I think I found a solution. (I created a Command so that “Kristan” would get higher priority over mere Vocabulary words “Kristin”/”Kristen.”) Let’s do a little test:
Looks good to me!
Anyway, my name doesn’t appear in my stories anywhere, so I’ve been using Dragon to dictate my writing for the past week. I actually use it in combination with typing, because corrections are easier to do by hand. But for quickly writing e-mails, or drafting a scene, it flies. In fact, my last two blog posts have been dictated to Dragon as well. And my wrists are a lot happier.
Now, I can’t take my Dragon everywhere. I mean, can you imagine talking to him in the middle of a Panera or a library? So my hands will still be expected to carry some of the load. But my half-sister Trisha called to give me her tips on how to minimize wrist pain, since she and our oldest sister had typing-intensive jobs for years. I think between her advice and my Dragon, my long-term health is in good hands. Pun intended.