I guess it’s about time that I updated the site and clarified what’s been going on with me and around me.
The work I was doing for that University course never got completed and got recorded as a Fail. I went through several weeks of on-again off-again pain and the Tramadol taken with the Lyrica blew my concentration out the window. At times the sedation was affecting me so much that I would fall asleep every 30 minutes or so and if I was reading I’d forget what was the last sentence that I had read.
Even though I was given extra time, by July I had told the school and Open Universities that it simply wasn’t working out and to take me off their lists.
Since then I’ve focused on just getting through the day and doing as little as possible that might upset my arms and caused me to hit the painkillers again. Every now and then I find that I’ve been unsuccessful, the pain comes, I take the painkillers, I lose a day in a haze.
I’m still a little active, I still do chores around the house, at least the chores that I can do without causing the problems to exacerbate. At present I’m volunteering each weekend at the local hospital where I act as a patient guide providing information and physical guidance to help visitors get around the hospital. It is a lot of fun and the physical activity, I walk miles during a shift, it is very good for me and I feel better inside and out for doing the work.
So back to this site. I intend to keep it going. It will cover the kinds of things that I’m doing or things I might want to add a comment about or events and activities that I get involved in.It will expand to cover other aspects of my life such as my Model Railway hobbies.
I hope I am able to keep a regular posting schedule but that depends on too many factors for me to say it’s going to happen like that.
I thank you for hanging around while all of this circus was taking place in my life and I hope in the future I can find more interesting things to share with you.
This site has been submitted for marking as an Assignment in my Web Communications Unit with Curtin University. As part of the Course Requirements the site is now locked down so that it can be marked. I am not allowed to make any updates or other changes to the site until the marks have all been confirmed. That might take 2 or 3 weeks so until then hang in there and check back from time to time. Soon as I get clearance I will update the site.
Until then, cheers for now.
As I have been so off the planet with the changeover of painkillers I have not been able to complete and submit my final assignments. All Assignments are to be marked together as a special arrangement for me so if you are waiting for more news from me, sorry. Oh, the new drugs are called Lyrica and they seem to offer a pretty good life for me once they stabilise. So, just waiting for a day when I am coherent and the screen looks recognisable to me so that I can try to complete the other Assignments. Stay cool. See you later.
Another update: Because of the relapse and continuing side effects of the injury and the painkillers, I was given extra time to complete the other required elements but have not been able to do so. I have therefore requested that this Unit be marked at Unfinished and whatever marks gained be locked in. I have also requested evaluation of this site and the supporting elements to give me some idea of the marks that I have achieved for the work that I have done. Until that marking is done and the information is provided I will still remain hands off from here to allow the marking to cover the work done within the Unit timeframe.
I have not forgotten this site and I fully intend to fire it up as soon as that becomes possible.
Until then, thanks for looking by and take care of your selves till we meet again.
Sleep, new research reveals, is a master regulator of health. A sleep deficit or disruption can create wide-ranging havoc, compromising our immune system, causing inflammation, and damaging our genes. Losing just an hour of sleep a night increases risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep can also lead to memory loss, negatively affect people’s reflexes and decision-making skills, cause hearing loss and psychiatric disease, and impede sexual function.
And it’s not just people who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea who have to worry, says James Maas, PhD, a recently retired Cornell scientist and one of the world’s foremost sleep researchers. He says at least seven out of 10 Americans aren’t getting enough sleep and they’re at risk for serious health problems, as well.
“People devalue sleep and are completely unaware of what happens to them when they have a deficit,” Maas says. “As a society we are so habituated to low levels of sleep that most of us don’t know what it feels like to be fully alert and awake.”Read the full article: The Healing Power of Sleep
Often getting to bed well after midnight, 1AM, 2AM even 3AM and now-and-then 4AM I would have to be a prime candidate for sleep deprivation. Combine that with usually waking around 4 to water the horse and see my wife off when she drives my son to work. Then I’m usually up before 7:30 to get our daughter up and running for School. That adds up to a whole lot of missed sleep. Working into the late hours on Research and Assignments which add to the already high stress levels and it may not be such a surprise that my body has crashed.
Sorry that I have not been posting any updates. I have been having a horrible time due to a flare-up of my RSI Injury and the subsequent medication and adjustment. At present I’m on indeterminate leave from my University studies and I just don’t know when I will be able to continue them. The combination of pain and sedation really doesn’t give me much chance of study and research.
I have just found a very interesting post in the Forums of SpeechComputing.com
Let me share the full post from this contributor as he has quite a story to tell which in many respects is similar to my situation and where I’m headed…
A Small Contribution for Nonexpert Speech Recognition Users
Below you will find my personal survival guide for navigating personal computers through speech recognition. I have compiled it over years as some sort of personal blog, taking note of useful software and tricks as they came along.
I am posting it in the hope that other folks who are suddenly forced to abandon using keyboard and mouse will realize that there is hope, and so others may benefit from little tricks that took me forever to figure out. A lot of these are available elsewhere online, but I thought it might be useful to collect them together so that they are easily available for new or less experienced users. Some of these I came up myself, although I would not be surprised this others before me have also documented them.
Wherever possible I have tried to link to the original source of the helpful material. I am grateful to the speech recognition user community for their active and useful presence online. The various topics are presented in order of importance in my opinion. I will not be able to maintain and update this regularly, but I do plan to continue collecting interesting hints and tips, and if these additions reach critical mass I will try my best to repost.
My personal story is that as a result of round-the-clock coding since a very young age I am no longer able to use my hands to control a keyboard, mouse, iPhone/iPad, etc. So, I am forced to rely on speech recognition exclusively. The positive message that I would like to convey is that if you invest in conquering the admittedly very steep learning curve, you will be able to do the vast majority of the things that you need on a desktop, and even be faster at some of them. A top-of-the-line machine with all the necessary software should cost you less than $3000 and if your employer will not cover this cost you might be able to get financial assistance elsewhere.
I have no commercial interests of any kind in any of the programs or suggestions mentioned below.
You will note that some of the useful tricks below rely on free third-party software. To the extent that you can, please donate to the authors of the software.
Good luck to everyone!
Update: I did ask the author for permission to post this here and his response was;
that’s no problem at all. I hope you find it helpful, and good luck.
Submitted by DragonSpeechRookie on Tue, 03/19/2013 – 02:27.
“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.”
“The Spoon Theory” describes what it is like to live each day making choices on what you can and can’t do with your day that the “normal” people just don’t think another thing about. Some days I have to make choices about ‘Do I brush my hair or not’ or a few times it has even been as base and elemental as, ‘what will it cost me in pain if I wipe my bum’.
I have had those days and there isn’t any joy there but you just prioritise on the things you have to do and other things get left by the wayside, family, chores, studies. Doesn’t matter. If they’re going to bring you more hurt then you drop them hoping that next day you might actually be able to get things done, that you will “have more spoons”.
In trying to get Zotero working within my Word 2003 I’ve been researching what others have said and done about it. Here is a long, and at times rambling, thread relating to Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Zotero. Note that this thread originally started in 2009 so it is discussing older versions of both software programs.
“it is all done hands-free with Dragon”
I do most of my programming these days in C# and it is all done hands-free with Dragon with some added voice commands (scripts) for automation purposes.
Basically using Visual Studio and even DNS Premium you can quite happily program completely hands-free in either C# or Visual Basic .net simply by using the already available tools that come with the Premium version.
So the question I had was just what is this Natlink? I have installed it and it seems to work well but just what is it?
I found this amongst the messages on SpeechComputing.com:
NatLink is an platform built on top of DNS that allows writing extremely powerful voice commands (more powerful than what you can do with Advanced Scripting) by writing entire Python programs. Pretty much unusable directly unless you’re a programmer.
Building on top of NatLink are:
Vocola 2: implements a very simple and concise language for writing voice commands that handles 95% of the commands you might want.
Unimacro: a series of ready to use powerful grammars for things like switching tasks, opening folders, and editing lines.
Dragonfly: a higher level, more object-oriented interface for NatLink. Somewhat usable by nonprogrammers using cut-and-paste programming.
Both Vocola and dragonfly can be used with Windows speech recognition as well. There is a somewhat dated comparison between Vocola 2 and Unimacro at
that you may find useful. Note that you can call Unimacro actions from Vocola 2 if you have both installed.
The Power of Restarting Your Computer and the effects on Dragon NaturallySpeaking | Speakeasy Solutions Blog
Just found this useful little article. Nice site too.
One of the most frequent tech support calls that we receive pertains to “Dragon is not functioning well” or “at all”. And while it’s not always Dragon that suffers; other applications and PC operability are stifled in some way. Why?
Windows does not manage its memory very well. It doesn’t matter what the OS is, but Windows quite simply does not fully restore memory when programs are closed. Theoretically this is supposed to occur, but let’s face it, when do computers and software function as advertised? If you think I’m being cynical, please understand I am a hard core computer user with very stringent demands, but I’m also a realist. I do not expect computers to work as advertised because they seldom do. I find it less stressful to not expect computers to work perfectly and be pleasantly surprised when something does work well. But I digress…
Things happen. Usually when Windows is not functioning well.
- Simple. Restart your computer once per day! Yes, it’s that simple.
Either shut down your computer every night or restart it in the morning while you are obtaining your coffee. This does not include logging off and then logging on. Logging is not restarting the computer itself. This will not help. Restart or shut down and start. If your needs exceed your computer’s abilities, you may need to even restart the computer twice per day (i.e. at lunch time).
Obviously it’s wise to ensure that the RAM is suitable for the system, and there is no malware present. However, if by restarting your computer the usual symptoms vanish, then it is likely that such can be attributed to Windows not managing its memory well. If symptoms persist despite restarting daily, then further investigation definitely has merit and should be pursued.
The bottom line? Restart your computer daily. This trick will not only salvage your sanity when using a computer, but it will minimize “problems” with Dragon and other applications.
An update to my problems trying to get Dragon NaturallySpeaking to navigate the Internet through the Firefox browser. Earlier this week there was an update to a tool called NatLink / Unimacro which you can find at:
This tool does many things using scripts that plugs straight into Dragon NaturallySpeaking but the one that is really helping me at the moment makes the Firefox add-on that I had talked about before, Mouseless Browsing work under the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 which is what I’m running. Until this latest update of NatLink / Unimacro, Mouseless Browsing would not respond to voice commands, it would only operate from the number pad of my keyboard. Now when I have Dragon NaturallySpeaking running and Firefox running with Mouseless Browsing turned on. Then I give the voice command to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, “Numbers on” and the numbers appear alongside every link. Then I just tell Dragon NaturallySpeaking to ‘Press 6′ or else ‘Press 107′ and that link will be slected and activated.
If you click on my screen grab (see alongside) it shows you how these programs put numbers onto the screen for every link, the goal of course is to minimise use of the mouse. Some things on the browser still have to be “mouse’d” but nowhere near the same amount had I not installed those tools.