, I started out ages ago with something like version 4 and wound up abandoning it.
I got a copy of version 9 (on sale @50%-off) when it first came out and was much more impressed. I guess the hardware finally caught up to what voice recognition required by that time.
I'm currently using version 10 Preferred, and I'm generally happy with it. But like crainioscopical
I mostly use it for draft dictation. How well it would work as my primary interface to a PC is anybody's guess since I never had the patience (or necessity, as in your case) to learn how to use it that way. I'm guessing if it's smart enough to get most of what I dictate correctly the first time, it should work quite well.
Some things I learned using the Dragon:
1. Quieter environments are better for it. Dragon is very tolerant of background noise and has noise filtration capabilities. But only up to a point. Continuous "droney" sounds in the vocal frequency range (like my neighbor's bloody leaf blower!) will cause it the most problems. Sporadic, sharp sounds, like fireworks or dog barks, are more easily ignored.
2. This is speaking purely from my own experiences so your milage may vary: Stay as digital as possible
. A DSP-type "signal" generated by a USB microphone or headset works a whole lot better than an analogue device put through a soundcard's mic input. Especially if it's the built-in "sound system" found on most PCs.
3. Use one of the recommended input devices whenever possible. They do seem to work better. I use a (now discontinued) Logitech USB headset who's microphone was (allegedly) designed specifically for voice dictation and gaming command use. Not much to say other than it works better than anything else I've ever tried.
4. Read the instructions, do the complete
setup, and do all
the tutorials. Contrary to what some people say, Dragon requires training. Both of you and it. Dragon's marketing tends to downplay this for obvious reasons. They get away with it because Dragon is 80-85% accurate (for most people) right out of the box. This leads to a false sense of security. Don't fall for it! To get the most out of this product you need to put some (not a huge amount, but still some
) effort into getting it working up to its full capabilities. Most everyone I know who gave up on voice dictation software did so because they got impatient and never bothered to train their app - or learn how to use it correctly .
5. Try to speak "naturally" in a clear voice. I discovered that any time I tried to "help things along" by altering my voice, my speaking cadence, or by slowing way down, it only caused the app to become more confused. So speak naturally and avoid adopting a 'staccato' speaking style. The Dragon really seems to hate it when you do a lot of 'choppy talk'. (One side benefit is that you'll discover you're soon speaking more slowly and clearly - and with better diction - if you use Dragon regularly. Almost like having a voice coach!)
6. Being real-time and software based, The Dragon likes it's resources. A fast CPU, plenty of RAM, and a "clean" OS setup works wonders for its recognition accuracy.
And that's my
for Dragon Preferred.
P.S. Alexis and I hope for all the best with your upcoming ordeal. Our prayers and best wishes follow you.