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A Small Contribution for Nonexpert Speech Recognition Users

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

via A Small Contribution for Nonexpert Speech Recognition Users | Speech Computing73384.

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!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11igSgg23TKOunwB7MilWdyUmazJlrbgT6cdq9JwjS2s/pub385

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.

it is all done hands-free

“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.

I want to be able to use my Dragon tools to allow me to build the coding behind web sites, HTML and JavaScript for example. I am very happy to hear this person say that it is possible, it was a task that was worrying me if I had to do it by hand that would be a course I would have to avoid.

The text comes from a thread at KnowBrainer.com, a Speech Recognition provider and support base.

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 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

http://qh.antenna.nl/unimacro/features/unimacroand…

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 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.

OpenSource Speech Recognition

Two of the OpenSource Speech Recognition systems that I am aware of are XVoice and CMU Sphinx.

Xvoice is a project using the old software and codings of IBM’s ViaVoice. I was part of this mailing list for quite a few years but the project is essentially dead as they cannot find a current voice engine to power their software. The last update to their software was in 2007.

CMU Sphinx is a project under the auspices of the Carnegie Mellon University but is still a long way from being considered an adequate speech recognition system.

Linux users have another means of running speech recognition and that is to run Wine which emulates Windows then they can install a version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Not really effective but it is a possible alternative.

There are other OpenSource speech recognition projects out there such as the Julias system which works in Japanese. There are other speech models for Julias including English but basically you need to build your own model which reduces the usability of this system to developers and very experienced coders. Julias is the most up to date of the Open Source systems having the latest software released on August 1, 2012.

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