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  1.    #1  
    How many people use the speech recognition software available today instead of typing? I bought Via Voice for the Mac when it came out. After spending many hours reading stories to it, I finally got some decent speeds, but then I miss corrected a word and every time that I had said "period" at the end of a sentence the computer returned: <word>. And. This made the program virtually useless. Not wanting to read the stories over again I stopped using the program.

    The other problem with Via Voice what is that it could only dictate into a certain application, and then transfer the text to where you wanted it. While at MWNY I picked up a free copy of iListen beta. Unlike ViaVoice, iListen lets you talk into any application. In fact, I am using it right now in Netscape. The words seem to appear relatively fast, but the errors are still numerous (though this may be do to the fact that it is still in a beta state, and I have only read a few of the stories). I assume that this program compares to others on the PC side, such as Dragon Naturally speaking. Does anyone out there use these programs in a productive way? I think the idea of it is great but I'm not sure that the technology is quite ready to replace the keyboard.
  2. #2  
    Voice recognition still seems too cumbersome to me as well. However, I'll bet that many folks with disabilities will tolerate the deficiencies because they really have no other choice. For them this is already a killer application. Voice recognition reminds me of networking in the 1980s. Every year the pundits would predict that this would be the year of the network. Year after year it failed to happen. However, eventually it was clear that networking had indeed "happened" without it ever being the year of the network.

    My guess is that Microsoft will add some voice recognition to one of their next OS upgrades; and slowly, over the subsequent 3 or 4 upgrades, it will get better and better until we are all using it. However, I'll go so far as to suggest that voice recognition will never completely replace the GUI. We'll use voice recognition for those tasks to which it seems best suited (e.g. dictation and menu navigation), but we'll still be using a cursor for other tasks (e.g. working in spreadsheets or editing text).

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