Review: MacSpeech Dictate 1.5

Today I’m trying out MacSpeech Dictate, a voice recognition applications for OSx. I can type pretty quickly, but I’m interested in seeing how useful this application is for quickly generating content such as blog posts and e-mails. I’m actually writing this blog post using MacSpeech Dictate. I also think that dictating blog posts will allow me to write in a more conversational and natural tone. You’ll have to excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this article as I’m new to using MacSpeech and haven’t learned how to use all the programs features.

So far it seems to be recognizing almost everything I say. One thing that’s really interesting is that it doesn’t seem to matter how fast I talk in fact the faster I talk the more accurate it seems to transcribe.

To set up MacSpeech Dictate, you have to read several paragraphs into your MacBook so the application can recognize your voice. It asks you to read into natural even tone as you talk to a person. You don’t have to adjust your voice and try to sound like a robot. Once it has enough data to recognize your voice, you can start dictating into any application with a text entry field.

So far, MacSpeech Dictate seems incredibly accurate and there have only been a few spelling errors. This isn’t bad for a voice application and I’m getting similar performance to Dragon naturally speaking, which I use on my tablet PC. That’s not too surprising considering that MacSpeech licenses Nuance’s technology. This is the company that powers voice-recognition, text-to-speech and other voice applications in a wide variety of devices, including numerous smart phones and in car navigation systems.
I don’t think MacSpeech Dictate is necessarily a good application for all users. It would be incredibly annoying to have an office mate speaking into a computer microphone all day long. I’m also not sure how MacSpeech Dictate will perform once I start using a lot of technology jargon.

I’m also not sure how MacSpeech Dictate will I’m also not sure how MacSpeech Dictatel will actually, let’s try doing just that. I’m going to list off a few technology headlines from notebooks.com and got a B. mobile.com to see what happens. As you can see, MacSpeech Dictate nailed the spelling of one of our websites names, but not the second.

Here are some headlines from yesterday from the two websites:

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— maximize your phone subsidy in savings

— get your own Q0 model 02 while supplies last

— zip car iPhone at makes renting cars by the hour even cooler

— Apple WWDC keynote video

— what was announced by Apple today: a tablet/notebook space

— three reasons for the iPhone 3GS is not for you

— Apple WWDC keynote video

— Apple iPhone 3G versus iPhone 3GS versus palm tree versus HTC G1

— what happens to all that are pre-buzz

As you can see, MacSpeech Dictate successfully transcribed most of our headlines. I was really surprised that MacSpeech was able to understand
— Apple WWDC keynote video

— Apple iPhone 3G versus iPhone 3GS versus palm tree versus HTC G1

— what happens to all that are pre-buzz

As you can see, MacSpeech Dictate successfully transcribed most of our headlines. I was really surprised that MacSpeech was able to understand most of the acronyms that throughout it such as WWDC and iPhone 3GS.

Now when you try to read a press release from Apple I was sent to us yesterday to see how well MacSpeech Dictate can transcribe technical and trademarked terms.

Here is me dictating:
— — —
“Apple releases Safari four — the world’s fastest and most innovative browser”

“San Francisco, June 8/PR newswire — first call/– Apple today released Safari four, the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser. Available for Mac and Windows PCs and introduced as a beta in February of this year, Safari for features that make your engine which runs JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Safari three. Safari four makes browsing more intuitive and enjoyable than with innovative features, such as top sites, full history search and Cover Flow, and support for modern web standards like HTML 5 and advanced CSS effects.

“The successful beta release help us find to Safari for them to even better, faster version that customers are going to love,””says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.. “Safari is enjoyed by 17 million users worldwide with its blazing fast speed, innovative features and sport or modern web standards, it’s the best browser on any platform.”

Safari for is built on the world’s most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript nearly 8 times faster than IE and more than four times faster than Firefox.. Safari quickly learns HTML webpages more than three times faster than IE and three times faster than Firefox three.-s

-source Web browser, Apple has been leading the industry in defining and implementing innovative web standards. Safari four includes HTML 5 support for oflline technologies and support for advanced CSS effects, enabling an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts periodrif

Starting with the and fonts. Safari for his is the first browser to pass the Web standards Project acid three test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG standards that are specifically designed for dynamic Web applications.

— — —
and here is the Original text from Apple:

Apple Releases Safari 4 – The World’s Fastest & Most Innovative Browser
SAN FRANCISCO, June 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple(R) today released Safari(R) 4, the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser. Available for Mac(R) and Windows PCs and introduced as a beta in February of this year, Safari 4 features the Nitro engine which runs JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Safari 3.* Safari 4 makes browsing more intuitive and enjoyable with innovative features, such as Top Sites, Full History Search and Cover Flow(R), and support for modern web standards like HTML 5 and advanced CSS Effects.

““The successful beta release helped us fine tune Safari 4 into an even better, faster version that customers are going to love,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. ““Safari is enjoyed by 70 million users worldwide and with its blazing fast speed, innovative features and support for modern web standards, it’s the best browser on any platform.”

Safari 4 is built on the world’s most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript nearly eight times faster than IE 8 and more than four times faster than Firefox 3. Safari quickly loads HTML web pages more than three times faster than IE 8 and three times faster than Firefox 3.*
Starting with the development of the open source WebKit browser engine, Apple has been leading the industry in defining and implementing innovative web standards. Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies and support for advanced CSS Effects, enabling an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts. Safari 4 is the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid3 test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG standards that are specifically designed for dynamic web applications. .
— — —

As you can see, my text dictation is nearly identical to the Apple press release. You can see that in about one or two places per paragraph, MacSpeech Dictate had trouble understanding what I was saying in all have to go back and edit those words. I was really impressed by how accurately a transcribed all the technical terms and acronyms. One thing that seems particularly difficult to control, his number recognition. As you can see sometimes it gives the numerical value of digits and sometimes it spells them out. I assume it’s taking its best guess at the context of each number and whether or not it’s grammatically correct to spell it out. I haven’t been using MacSpeech long enough to find out if there is granular controls to customize numerical transcription.

Now I’m going to try to list off some names of components, manufacturers, and other terms to see if it’s feasible for me to use MacSpeech to blog about notebooks, tablet PCs and other gadgets.

Here we go:

— Apple, HP, Dell, Toshiba, let no go, NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, Fujitsu, Blackberry, Amazon, ATI, Sprint, Novotel,

— ink show, shortcut, GBM, slate device, tablet PC, rugged tablet PC, notebook computer

— HP elite book 2730 P. Dell latitude XT to, ThinkPad X. 200 T., Dell Inspiron mini 10, HP Pavilion DBQ, Nikon D. 300. As you can see MacSpeech Dictate doesn’t recognize all of these product names out of the box.

— 4 GB of memory, 500 gig hard drive, 128 GB SSD, GPU, Blu-Ray, CF card, XD card, memory stick, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, express card slot, infrared port, nine cell battery, docking station, LED, three megapixel camera, Microsoft Office, one note, DVD, CMOS sensor, RGB, serial ATA, 13.3 inch, 12.1 inch,
— let’s try reading the spec sheet off the back of my tablet PC: CPU Intel low-voltage 1.86 GHz 1066 front side bus, LCD outdoor high brightness, adapter: smart RC 65 W, battery: six cell Sanyo, hard disk drive: 1.8 inch 120 GB 5400 RPM, memory 2 GB, 802.11 a/B./G./N. Bluetooth

After reading off the above few lines I’m even more impressed. I didn’t apply any formatting, I just read exactly the what is written on the back of this tablet. When I save 1.86 GHz, MacSpeech Dictate automatically formats the numbers and knows how to format gigahertz when paired with a number. As you can see when I use the word gigahertz in a sentence, it doesn’t use 8 GHz abbreviation that you might see I’ve say something like 2.0 GHz.
Over time MacSpeech Dictate is supposed to become more accurate as it learns your voice patterns and grows and It doesn’t feel like I’ve written as much is on this page. ustomed to your vocabulary. I’ve only had MacSpeech Dictate how the box for about 45 minutes, but I can already tell this will be a very valuable tool when I’m using my MacBook Pro. As you can read here, what started out as a quick test has turned into a pretty lengthy initial review.

MacSpeech Dictate comes with a headset and USB adapter. You can try your own headset or microphone/headphone combo, but your results must and may vary. I don’t like the headset it came with and it feels a bit cheap. you have to use an adapter that digitizes analog signals into digital with a headphone set that comes in the box. I’m testing MacSpeech Dictate using a $10 USB headset so I don’t have to deal with the adapter. I look forward to trying out MacSpeech Dictate with my jawbone headset once I charge it up.

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MacSpeech Dictate costs $199 and is available on MacSpeech.com. PC users should check out Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is more robust than MacSpeech dictate and more extensible.

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