The future has arrived:
Talking to the computer
is now on your desktop
Here is my MacBook Pro. It is a marvelous machine, and it still has a keyboard, which I am using less and less. © SGE. Inc.
FOR THIS POST I’m doing something you all will soon be doing. It represents a true revolution in how we interface with our computing machines.
The only keys I have hit to get this far are the function TMB in Turkey ….oops. That’s not what I said. It did. I said: function key and enter key.
Recent advances in voice recognition software have finally made it something we can hold you (sic) … within limits. What I said in the previous sentence is: something we can all use. Ah! Got it right the second time.
It’s certainly not flawless.
But it has arrived at the point where it is much faster to do it this way and make the minor corrections than to type every letter on the keyboard.
Here is another look at my MacBook Pro with my new desktop image. It was shot by Scott, who was holding his iPhone a few inches away from our noses. © SGE. Inc.
I COULD NEVER have put out the volume of material that I have in the past seven weeks – blog posts, emails, documents of all sorts – without it.
For this WORD program on my Mac book Pro, one has to speak slowly, distinctly and directly at the built-in microphone.
It’s not great at punctuation yet. One has to manually insert all periods, commas, dashes and similar. But it knows how to spell those last four words.
But it’s almost there.
In the panel at the bottom of the window, I can see that I have now written 217 words. It’s taken less than 10 minutes.
I’ll leave it up to those more skilled at math to figure out how many words a minute that is. But surely it would qualify me for the steno pool?
For those of us in Apple’s vise-like grip – oh! don’t misunderstand; I’m here voluntarily – the future has arrived. Not only can one compose WORD documents, it works just as well with email.
I CANNOT OVERSTATE what a boon this has been for me. For the first time in my life I am writing for publication without an editor.
That’s not my training or my inclination. I am well aware that the editing process cannot be skipped if one is to publish ones writing.
The principle is one called “fresh eyes.” The writer can stare at the same mistake for three hours and not notice it; the minute somebody with fresh eyes looks at it they will see the error.
What this voice recognition technology allows me to do, is become just the editor. I’m not really writing this; I’m speaking it.
Then, it appears on my screen and, with “fresh eyes” I check it for errors.
This post is now over 430 words long and it has taken less than 20 minutes.
Of course, it does require logically organized thoughts. One can’t just say random words and hope they appear in a grammatically correct sentence.
Not that smart!
But my MO (sure it did not recognize the Latin shorthand for “modus operandi) has always been to organize my thoughts before writing.
Actually I have been thinking about this post for days.
At first I forgot to use the voice recognition and was typing furiously. Then, I got comfortable with it in WORD but as soon as I switched to email, forgot about it.
My iPhone and my iPad also have vastly improved voice recognition capability. The phone is particularly smart.
I RECENTLY DOWNLOADED the free app Dragon Dictate after reading a recommendation for it in The New York Times. At the touch of a button, you speak everything into the iPhone; then touch a couple more buttons and it emails it to your inbox.
On May 12, while having a beer in a bar in Long Beach, I demonstrated it to my friend Scott Pickard by composing the first two paragraphs of my Monday morning blog post about the Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride – which was not yet even over. Check out “Be here now – or die”
When I arrived home, it was in my inbox.
It certainly won’t be too long before we will all virtually dispense with the keyboard.
No need to pound away at the keys anymore.
This used to be merely a gleam someone’s eyes. Today, it is reality, and there is nothing virtual about it.