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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.

Zotero Forums – accessibility: voice-recognition

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.

Zotero Forums – accessibility: voice-recognition124.

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.

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 http://www.7128.com/top25/topsiteslists.html

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.”

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 http://www.avios.org.

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 linux.conf.au – 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.

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