Listen to me Write!

Twitter Updates


Natlink – what is it to Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

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

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.

via Natlink, Python, etc. please outline the features of these addons-they sound useful | Speech Computing.


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.

The Power of Restarting Your Computer and the effects on Dragon NaturallySpeaking | Speakeasy Solutions Blog.



The Dragon gets new teeth

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:

  1. Natlink (old pages)
  2. Unimacro & Natlink (new pages)

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.

mouseless-browsingIf 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.

My next trick is trying to get Zotero to work responding to Dragon NaturallySpeaking within Microsoft Word. All I’m getting for my effort is frustration up to DEFCON 2.

Accessible Games Websites

7-128 Software Simply Entertainment games7-128 Software has just published the winners of their Top Web Sites for Gamers who are Blind, Motion-impaired, or Deaf – 2012 competitions. They surveyed over 100 Web sites relevant to the accessible gaming community. Each entry notes what FREE and commercial games are offered, what game reviews, information and help are offered, what forums, blogs, and other community features are offered, how current that content is, and how popular that Web site is. The Web sites are ranked accordingly so you can quickly find the best of the best. This information is totally FREE. No registration is required. You can find it at

via Accessible Games Websites.

Google’s map of North Korea stirs social media passion and tensions

Google’s map of North Korea stirs social media passion and tensions.

“Open-access publishing researcher Gunther Eysenbach explains that collaborative Web 2.0 sites such as wikis, social media and social networks maintain standards of accuracy through the activities of “apomediaries”, a term derived from the Latin prefix “apo” which means “stand by” or “alongside”, rather than “in” a process, as occurs with “intermediaries”.

Wikipedia, the Mars Clickworkers project, Google’s map of North Korea and many other social media sites achieve a surprising-to-some level of accuracy and quality because of volunteer “apomediaries” who question, correct, add to, qualify and confirm information online.”

Not a good day :(

Facebook asks for a Status update saying, “How’s it going Ian?”
Well if you must ask its all going to garbage the moment. Seems that lugging my suitcase around on Saturday after my arrival back from the Linux Conference in Canberra has really upset my arms to the point I’m going to see the quack this afternoon to try and find some sort of relief other than painkillers that make me sleep or take my brain away for a holiday.
I’m having trouble doing the lightest of keyboard tasks and so relying on Dragon to type for me and may be even do some navigation of the browser.

I have 1000 word essay due on Friday and still have not been able to get the system working for me to get it started, to even find the rest of the research that I want to do on it, because when the pain comes my brain goes away. I’m already into a week’s extension that needs this to go away before I can start to concentrate and do some research, some study, some writing, hell even do some work, that would have been nice!

Sorry for not posting much but I’m just not up to it at this time.

Copying Dragon to another computer

Last night I copied over the User Profile from my home PC to this laptop. Then installed Dragon here. This morning I ran Dragon and tried to install my Profile but it spat the Dummy and wouldn’t recognise it. Back to the drawing board and see if I can find another way to get this copied system working the same as my home PC.

Always such fun working with programs isn’t it. Sigh.

Linux Conference – Canberra: Arrival

Hi blog readers, coming to you from the muggy jungle of the ACT. Hopefully I can bring you some updates so you don’t feel completely left out because of all the fun of LCA (Linux Conference Australia) and you couldn’t make it 😉

Good morning world. OMG 3-4-5 AM something and I have woken up and cant sleep!
I am in the dorm at the Australian National University, Canberra and it has been a warm muggy night and we don’t have fans or any air moving.

Flights were great. We traveled QANTAS and folks, the service I got was nothing short of excellent! For domestic travel it was great! David Lloyd, Geoffrey Bennett where were you? Nobody to do any impromptu LAN cabling across the seats and down the rows. Just miss you guys around these halls of Geekiness 😉

Leaving home at OMG-it’s-too-early-time I caught buses and trains into the Airport. Met a really nice young man who explained in his limited English that he had recently arrived from Iran as a refugee and was heading to Womens and Childrens hospital where a few days earlier his wife had given birth to their new daughter. He had a son 5 who they had to leave with relatives when they fled the persecution in that war torn country. Such a nice young man, I wish them all the best in their adopted country.

Adelaide Airport. What can I say? One day it will look really nice but at this time with all the construction going on it is shambles! The bus stop is miles away from the terminal, well it seems that way when lugging gear! Met up with Daniel Sobey and we had a fun time for the trip. You should have seen the going over he went through when the Melbourne guys checked out his backpack and the IT gear he has stuffed in there LOL

Melbourne was nice but I didn’t get to meet up with my good friend as we had planned. Hi Bernadette Dimitrov! Hope all is OK with you.

Canberra. A lot has changed since we lived here in 80-85. A lot has stayed the same. They have a lot of construction going on in the CBD. Even getting what might be called some hi-rise buildings. Well compared to what we see in Adelaide they might be sort of hi-rise 😉

The LCA crew are awesome! Shuttle buses waiting for us and those bright blue shirts! Outstanding! Checking was smooth and some nice goodies in the welcome pack. A nice touch is the goodies kit was on our beds waiting for us when we found our allocated rooms. Good one Canberra!

Uni campus is nice and quite extensive. We worked out how to get LAN and it is screaming so that’s a big bonus. Can you believe it, a linux.conf and we have Internet in our rooms before Monday. Wow <giggles>
Such a nice bunch of geeks, met up with some good friends, Hi Kylie Willison! Very helpful local crew. Romana, your Serval guys are next door. Last night they were hacking away for the presentation due later today. Not sure if they pulled an all-nighter but it looked like it was going to be a long night for them. Miss your smiling face around here. Take care. Hugs.

The dorms are … well dorms but the Kitchen facilities, wow, you would think it was a commercial catering centre but NO tools, utensils, post, pans, nuttin!

UPDATE 29/01: The lovely folks at have kindly provided pots/pans/utensils for our part of the Kitchen. Way to go folks, awesome support!

I had typical student fare last night, 3 minute noodles. Jam the noodles in the plastic KeepCup and fill with water. Zap for 2 minutes, drain and stir. Eat, rinse and make Milo in it without any milk because store is 20 or so minutes walk away and too far. Talking with several others and I think we will be putting some cash in a hat and buying some cheap stuff to last us the week.

Oh yeah. You know what it’s like. You get to your destination and think of what you left home. I sure did. How about these classics, Credit card still at home, went through the wash! Loaded up a USB key last night, left it in the PC. Now hacking into the home PC through Team Viewer. Lifesaver!
At least all the power cords and connectors made the journey LOL

So, today is Monday. I managed to get flights to be in enough time to get all registered so that is all taken care of, now on with the Show!

New blog on the future of speech applications | Speech Computing

New blog on the future of speech applications | Speech Computing.

New Blog on the Future of Speech Applications

AVIOS announces a new blog devoted to the future of applications using speech technologies.

The Advanced Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) announces a new blog devoted to the future of applications using speech technologies. Each week a new article will be written and posted by a speech technology expert. The public is invited to submit questions, comments, observations, and additional predictions on each weekly topic. The blog can be viewed by setting your browser to

What will the world of speech technology be in the next five years? Weekly articles will include:

· Accessing In-depth information by voice: City Companion by Deborah Dahl

· Multimodal User Interfaces by Matt Yuschik, CitiBank CTO R&D

· Speech-enabled owner’s manual for the car by Tom Schalk

· Language learning by Bill Scholz, President, AVIOS

· “Do-it-yourself” apps by James A. Larson, Co-Program Chair, SpeechTEK

· Stress detection using speech analysis by Nava A. Shaked, CEO, BBT Ltd.

· Speech analytical tools by Loren Wilde, CTO, Wilder Communications, Inc.

· The dream of a personal assistant by Roberto Pieracine, Director and CEO, The International Computer Science Institute (ICSI)

· The future of spoken language interaction with computers by Alexander Rudnicky, Carnegie Mellon University

· Making speech-based interaction truly natural by Sara H. Basson, Worldwide Program Director – Services Innovation Lab IBM – TJ Watson Research Center

Visit the blog each week to read about and participate in discussions about future applications of speech technology.

The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) is a not-for-profit private foundation founded in 1981. AVIOS provides a forum for promoting practical applications of advanced speech technology, such as speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, and speaker authentication, along with supporting technologies such as natural language interpretation and knowledge representation.

Chasing the Tale of the Dragon

The theme of today was very similar to yesterday, plenty of pain, not much of work.

Earlier today I rang the Disability office at Curtin University to seek help with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I have been getting all sorts of bad responses when trying to use Dragon to navigate the Internet through my Firefox browser and I asked if they had somebody that could assist me sort it out. Thankfully there was somebody able to help me, he rang me later that day and we set a time whereby he would work with me to take over my machine (using Team Viewer 8) and correct the default settings of Dragon back to something that was more usable and user-friendly. We worked together for almost an hour and now I can use Dragon inside a browser with a great deal more success.

Certainly the time spent mousing has been cut down considerably and there has been a similar reduction in the frustration rate that I had been going through. He also had me go through a training exercise where I read the text on the screen presented by Dragon so that it can process the way that I speak and improve the accuracy of its responses. I’m still getting some silly answers but most of the time it is picking up what I want to say.

I also managed to get some interesting works from the Elizabeth Branch of the Playford City Library today, they’ve been on hold through the Salisbury library, but because all of the South Australian libraries are linked. Now I was able to arrange to pick them up at the Elizabeth library or officially the Playford City Library.

As I’m doing Assignment 2 on wikis and Wikipedia. I found these to be an interesting reference source:
“Good Faith Collaboration the Culture of Wikipedia” by Joseph Michael Reagle, Jr. ISBN 978-0-262-01447-2
“wiki – Web collaboration” by Anja Ebersbach, Markus Glaser, Richard Heigl, Alexander Warta. ISBN 978-3-540-35150-4

This will give me something to read while I’m on the plane on Sunday heading to Canberra for the – LCA 2013. I am proud to say I have been selected as a representative under the Regional Development Program which means they’re paying to get me there and to look after me while I’m at the place. There isn’t any way I could have afforded to go 🙂
Monday and Tuesday are what they call Miniconfs with a wide range of speakers and topics ranging from Programming your Arduino to getting government and local authorities to use open source software. Wednesday to Friday will be the main Conference. One of the highlights for me will be at listening to Tim Berners-Lee present the Keynote speech on the Friday morning. For those of you not aware Tim Berners-Lee was the inventor of the World Wide Web you are currently using back in the early 90s.
I will be flying back to Adelaide on Saturday the 2nd.

Dear Reader, if you are attending the conference or you live in Canberra I would love to catch up with you to say G’day. Just drop me a line to set up a meeting place.

Flickr Photos

%d bloggers like this: