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Speech to Text

 
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Anon E Mouse
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Speech to Text Reply with quote

I'm considering the purchase of a speech recognition package and can go with either Mac or PC. Dragon's Naturally Speaking is available for both Mac and PC, although the Mac version is $100 more. Does anyone use this software or something similar? Can someone provide any guidance?

Thanks,

Anon
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ReliantLion
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Google came up with http://www.macspeech.com/ which is a tad cheaper. Don't forget to shop around for the best deal on w/e you end up going with. Try Amazon, Newegg, and many others.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a confession, Anon E Mouse; I've got a copy of this sitting on the shelf next to me... http://www.macspeech.com/pages.php?pID=143 ...and I haven't even opened the box yet... Embarassed Rolling Eyes

I'll give it a go over the weekend and tell you how I get on! Wink
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried using speech recognition software about 10 years ago and it was awful. I was building a PC for my boss at work and he bought all the software for me to install. One of them was the latest Lotus Smartsuite which had just come out, I remember it was Smartsuite Millennium so it must have been around 1998-99. He also wanted to try speech recognition and I think it was an early version of Dragon Naturally Speaking which we bought. I spent days reading passages of text to it so it could learn my voice and even after that it still did a terrible job.

I never touched it again until I bought the mac and I stumbled across a "dodgy" copy of MacSpeech Dictate and gave it a quick try. this was probably 3 years ago now I didn't keep it on my system and I only tried it to see how speech recognition had advanced over the years but I have to say I was pretty impressed with it. I bet it's even better now three years on.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I thought that the best way to demonstrate how clever this software was, was to just dictate into text edit and then copy and paste the results into a post on 123 mac mini.com. I haven't used the microphone that was boxed with Mac speech dictate. It seemed flimsy when compared with my Sennheiser headset.

I have to admit that this feels spooky. I installed the software around 10 minutes ago, and yet, it already has the ability to turn my speech into text. To create the text that you are reading now, I haven't touched a keyboard at all. I didn't even touch a keyboard to open the text edit program. In theory, the post that you are reading now should have taken less than one minute to input into the computer. I am so thrilled of what this software can do, that I keep pausing between sentences to shake my head in amazement.

Okay, now I'm going to stop dictating and see whether I can copy and paste this text across to Safari without touching the keyboard or the mouse.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is me back on the keyboard. As you can see, the software got almost everything right apart from putting spaces in 123MM's domain name and confusing "at" with "of" when I said "I am so thrilled at what this software can do". However, it understood "spooky", "flimsy" and "Sennheiser", spelling it with a capital letter!

As for copying and pasting, Dictate understood "Select All" and highlighted the entire passage of text, but I couldn't get it to invoke the "Copy" command. It did swap from TextEdit to Safari when I said "Press the key combo command tab", but I'm not sure about navigating around a website's hyperlinks by speech alone. So my mouse still has a job.

It sounds like a bad pun to say that I've been struck dumb by dictation software, but the feeling that you get when you watch it perform is indescribable. It feels as though you're watching witchcraft! Smile

I installed the software, put the supplied headset back in the box and clicked to create a new voice profile. The software automatically recognized the Griffin iMic as my chosen input source so I put on the Sennheiser headset. Then I had to talk while it automatically adjusted the its input volume to suit my voice, headset and the distance between the mic and my mouth. After this, I had to read out the text on the screen for about 5 minutes while a profile was created for my voice. And that was it!

I clicked the microphone icon to turn on speech recognition and said "Open Curio". The HDD rattled for a second or two and then Curio popped up on the desktop! Shocked So I tried again: "Open Safari". And up came Safari! Shocked

"Open TextEdit"...

"Dictation mode"...

"Well I thought that the best way to demonstrate how clever this software was....." Very Happy
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which version of MacSpeech Dictate did you install ?
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Version 1.5.8.

I'm still trying to work out how to enter my registration code as it's telling me that it's "unregistered"... Confused
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Anon E Mouse
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, and especially for the "hands-off" review. It turns out that MacSpeech is the software I'm talking about. Dragon offers both Mac and PC versions of this software. MacSpeech is $199, but there's a PC version available for $99. Since both seem to use the same basic engine, and my primary purpose is to write without having to type, I'm wondering why I should pay an additional $100 to use my Mac? Better yet, why doen't they offer a $99 version for the mac as they do for the PC?

Anon
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're a Windows user, you might not have to pay anything at all...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306901

http://computersight.com/operating-systems/windows/how-to-convert-speech-to-text-windows-users-only/
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Anon E Mouse
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
If you're a Windows user, you might not have to pay anything at all...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306901

http://computersight.com/operating-systems/windows/how-to-convert-speech-to-text-windows-users-only/


Thanks for the information. At first I couldn't find it in any of my PC's. Then I realized that it's a component of Office. I slipped the disc back in and added it and am beginning the training process. I'll see how this works and if I'm on the right track. I may still go with the Dragon software if this works for me but requires something more substantial than what I have. Thanks!

Anon.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're very welcome, Anon. I'm curious to know how effective the bundled speech recognition software is, so perhaps you could come back to this thread and tell us how you're getting on? Wink
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Anon E Mouse
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
You're very welcome, Anon. I'm curious to know how effective the bundled speech recognition software is, so perhaps you could come back to this thread and tell us how you're getting on? Wink


That's a good idea. At first blush it appears to be basically functional. It has to learn your voice, diction, and use of vocabulary to be very accurate. However, it does show promise at this point.

There are a few things to keep in mind as I go through this. My copy of Office is 2003, which makes the speech recognition engine 7-years old, at least. Further, not only is Dragon's engine newer, but Dragon actually has it's company focus on speech recognition whereas MS doesn't. Therefore, I consider what I have now to be something mainly to prove the viability of speech recognition for my purposes. I would be seriously amazed and impressed if the MS offering were to prove itself sufficient.

I do still find it puzzling that Dragon has a version for PC at $99, while the entry version for Mac is $199. Rolling Eyes

Anon
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