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Thread: Voice activated software for Apple Mac laptop

  1. #1

    Voice activated software for Apple Mac laptop

    Can anyone recommend any software/hardware for a lady with little use in her hands - has Apple Mac laptop to help her use the laptop?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Dragon naturally speaking is one but I don't know if it is compatible with a Mac. You will have to look at it. Best price I found was on Amazon.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    There's two options I'm aware of - Dragon Dictate is a native application, or you could run Dragon NaturallySpeaking in Windows using software like Parallels.

    I'm not a Mac user, though I do use Dragon NaturallySpeaking on Windows. My understanding is that both systems are excellent for dictating text, but Dragon Dictate does not have the broad software compatibility and facilities to control the computer by voice that Dragon NaturallySpeaking has on Windows.

    You may well be able to get more specific advice in the KnowBrainer forums, where there are several users with extensive experience of speech powered computing for people with disabilities. Those forum users who are disabled tend not to identify their disabilities, but they include some with spinal cord injuries who cannot use a computer other than by voice.

    If any purchases are being contemplated, I recommend PcByVoice - I've had excellent service from the owner, Lindsay Adam (male), who has an excellent understanding of speech based computing for people with a disability.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Interesting question.

    Dragon Naturally Speaking is voice recognition software that enables you to type letters and emails etc.

    You can get that software for the Applemac too. In fact there is a free App in iTunes for the Mac if she used an iPhone or iPad.

    However, even better there is free software on an Apple called Siri and it is 'artificial intelligence'.

    When you engage with Siri it's like talking to a person. Without using your hands you can say - I want to send an email, or I want to play a song / write a memo / find out about the weather / where's the nearest indian eatery . . . . it's only limited by your imagination.

    One thing I'll say is all voice recognition systems get better with use. And you need to think like a computer to get the best result.

    When dictating I can speak at a normal rate

    To write this . . . .

    Dear John,

    Good to see you the other day. I was wondering if you might like to meet up on Friday night for a drink if you're free?

    Well, let me know asap and we'll paint the town red!



    To get voice activation software to write the above message with punctuation and line spaces you'd need to dictate like this . .

    Dear John comma new paragraph good to see you the other day full stop I was wondering if you might like to meet up on Friday night for a drink if you're free question mark new paragraph well comma let me know asap and we'll paint the town red exclamation mark new paragraph cheers new paragraph fred

    I'd go for the Apple in your friends case - perhaps the Appleair tablet as it's light and uses touch screen technology too.
    If you can ask for Educational Discount at an Apple Store.

    I used to be cheeky and buy mine from Ireland and ask for educational discount as I'm disabled and further discount as it hadn't come through a store but was at a warehouse - the good old days.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I'm no fan of Siri and similar, I'm afraid. If the artificial intelligence works, it's great, but it can be a case of trying to second guess the artificial intelligence. When it does the right thing, it's great, but it can be tricky getting it to do what you want sometimes.

    You can run Dragon NaturallySpeaking in auto punctuation mode, but it is then making an educated guess. I run with auto punctuation off. With good dictation style, some customisation of the supplied vocabulary to meet my needs, good audio hardware and practice I can manage 130 words per minute at over 99% accuracy. It's accuracy that is a key determinant of productivity using speech recognition, as corrections are so slow by voice.

    Good dictation style for speech recognition is:
    • speak in phrases, not individual words (the software uses the context of each word to improve recognition accuracy)
    • clear enunciation (pretend you're reading the news)
    • making sure you don't clip off the ends of words
    • leaving a very small pause between words

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