Experimenting with Dictation Software

Decided I can’t go that long without writing, so I’m trying out some dictation software. It’s been interesting so far; I didn’t realize that voice command or dictation software had gotten as advanced as they have. They’re pretty snazzy.

It’s throwing me off to be talking to type rather than using a keyboard — my thoughts aren’t coming out as smoothly as they usually do. That said, I’m really glad to be able to be writing at all, even if it is in an unfamiliar medium that’s throwing me off. Strangely, so far, think it might actually be improving my writing a little, because it’s forcing me to think about my wording and punctuation more deliberately.

The past few weeks have been deeply frustrating for me. I’m now officially finished with school, fucking finally, and have time to focus on work and personal projects, and just as soon as I’ve gotten to that point I’ve had a recurrence of the repetitive stress issues that prevent me from being able to do those things. It feels like life is determined to dangle good things in front of me, and then snatch them away at the last minute possible.

So that I can go on coding for my job, I’ve been trying out some ergonomic alternatives to normal mice and keyboards. Not sure how well they’re working yet, but here’s hoping. The idea of not being able to complete a normal workday of coding is kind of frightening, given that I don’t have a lot of other options for income right now.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve really got for now. I wanted to give people an update and get a chance to do some actual writing now that I have some means to do so. If this software works well enough for me, I may be able to get back on a regular posting schedule without adding any additional strain to my wrists or forearms. Here’s hoping.

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5 comments on “Experimenting with Dictation Software

  1. I have found that using two different trackballs, at least one of which does not use the thumb for movement (seems rare these days), has allowed me to occasionally play video games. Only for a few days at a time, but so much more than I could before. Swapping them out is a little hard to keep straight at first, but has really helped me. I’ve been considering adding a third, to replace the semi-pen like one that never really worked out for usage, but had good hand position.

    Between my smoker’s cough and my cat meowing, dictation software didn’t really work out for me. I can only deal with select all, backspace, and end being triggered accidentally so many times before cursing. Which it would then type out for me. And then more cursing. And so on.

    • I haven’t tried trackballs yet. For some reason, touchpads have always seemed to exacerbate my symptoms, which makes me a little wary of trackballs, since I think the movements you use in each case are similar.

      I know what you mean about the accidental triggering. I’ve been leaving the Mac voice command listener on all the time over the last few days. In theory it’s only supposed to activate when someone says the key phrase that starts it listening for a command. In practice, in spite of the fact that the keyword I’ve chosen (sudo) isn’t ever used by anyone in any of the Netflix shows I watch, every now and then Capt. Picard manages to open Evernote. True story.

      • To me, touchpads never let my hand rest. A good trackball will let you rest between usages without triggering anything. My uncle got me a kensington expert mouse with the giant ball, my every day mouse. It is very forgiving of twitching because the ball sits so snugly. My other one is 2.0 Trackball USB Dual Scrolling Wheels by a4tech. If you email me, I can send links.

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