Archive for December, 2009

Gift Wrapped Software

December 12, 2009  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

This year’s MacUpdate Promo Winter Bundle is here. I highly recommend this bundle to anyone who is a new Mac user. I regularly use Path Finder, Speed Download, DragThing, iRip, and GarageSale. The latter being much better than the very similar iSale. I also occasionally use Yep. I actually bought this bundle for the Socialite license and…because…well, you can never have too many Speed Download licenses.

The aforementioned five apps (plus Socialite) are really top notch applications. Most Mac users are going to find at least three of them very useful.

Disclaimer: I get absolutely no money if you click on the above link and buy the bundle. But I probably should, now that I think about it. Maybe next year.

The Dragon Roller Coaster

December 11, 2009  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I am a big fan of dictation. Why writing long documents I generally type. I am pretty fast with a keyboard and I can just cover more ground typing than speaking. But sometimes I need to write something that comes across as more casual…conversational. At those times, I find dictation to be a useful tool.

I have used the iPhone’s built-in Voice Memos application quite a bit. I’ll record some thoughts or dictate part of a document and transcribe it by hand later.

Of course, hand transcription is a fairly slow process. So I was quite delighted to hear about Dragon Dictation for the iPhone. My wife uses Mac Speech Dictate and really likes it (or should I say used? we lost the headset during an office reorganization). I figured that applying the same technology to the iPhone would be a sure winner.

But having used it, I am a little underwhelmed. Perhaps the microphone just isn’t up to the task. Or maybe it’s that – unlike Mac Speech Dictate – there doesn’t seem to be any learning going on. But, whatever the reason, the errors are plentiful. And strange enough that if you look at an email transcript a few hours later, you might not be able to figure it out.

And then there’s the time limit. You can only record for about 20-30 seconds in one go. That’s enough time for a few sentences, but not something as long as a letter.

Right now I place Dragon Dictation in the “novelty” category. I’d gladly pay for a good transcription app for the iPhone. But what I don’t want to do is pay per word. Hopefully someone will come out with a reliable dictation iPhone app that I can use for a one-time fee. If you know of such an app, I’d love to hear your recommendations.