All posts in “Siri”

Mother’s Day time saver: Blog post by voice dictation

James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.
Follow @jamescooper

It’s Sunday afternoon and the weather is absolutely beautiful. I might add that it’s not just any Sunday — it’s Mother’s Day. Needless to say, I should be spending time with my mom, not writing this blog post.

But, to all of the mom’s out there, please don’t fret. I will see my mom today. To help me write this post faster, I’m using speech recognition, specifically voice dictation. In fact, not only am I using voice dictation, it’s also the topic of this post.

I’m using the built-in voice dictation on my iPad, since Siri, along with its voice dictation capability, is not available on the iPad (unless, of course, you jailbreak it but that’s a whole other story).

Voice dictation has been around for many years. When I was in university, I can remember trying, getting frustrated with, and giving up on using a primitive version of Dragon Naturally Speaking to write a paper. The technology just wasn’t where it needed to be at that time. (In defense of Dragon by Nuance, it gets great reviews, like this one, nowadays.)

Since then, I’ve merely experimented with voice dictation on a few brief occasions. But, recently, a couple of colleagues and I contemplated how much time we could save getting words on to the screen using the technology. I came away from the conversation inspired to make a serious effort to put it to work for me. Hence, this blog post.

Dragon claims that voice dictation is “up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard”.

I agree that it has the potential to be that fast. But, to be realistic, as I dictate this post, it’s obvious that it will need to be tidied up using a keyboard. That said, I’m still convinced that I’m saving time using voice dictation. I suspect that, as I become more comfortable with the technology, my copy will require fewer and fewer keyboard edits.

Although I plan to make voice dictation a bigger part of my life, I don’t think I’ll move into a keyboard-free existence any time soon. It’s simply not practical. Case in point, at Social Media Group, we work in an open-concept environment, meaning that privacy and noise pollution become important considerations for using the technology. (My colleague, Karly Gaffney, also pointed out that talking to yourself all of the time makes you look like a weirdo.)

At this point, I think the real value of voice dictation lies in how it enables you to quickly and efficiently brain dump your thoughts into digital notes. You can then take those notes and sculpt your prose by conventional methods (i.e., keyboard and mouse).

Aside from drafting blog posts, I plan to use voice dictation to write emails, notes and work documents, to name a few. I also installed the Flex T9 app (by Nuance) on my Android phone, which is coming in very handy for text messaging.

Anyway, it’s time to wrap up this post so that I can be on my merry way to spend time with my mom. To all moms, Happy Mother’s Day (albeit belated at the time that you read this).

What are your thoughts on voice dictation? Are you using it?
Leave your comments below.

Social Media Roundup for October 14th

Apple’s Releases

With the release of iOS 5 to the public on Wednesday and the iPhone 4S hitting stores today, there has definitely been some Apple buzz and excitement around the office. It’s been reported that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have broken the company’s records from previous years, which I find quite interesting after all of the complaints and disappointment expressed last week when the iPhone 4S was unveiled instead of the iPhone 5. Check out this Funny or Die video taking a crack at all the disappointment.

But despite the lack of an iPhone 5, it seems people just cannot help themselves but to upgrade! I have to say, Siri sounds pretty cool and could definitely provide some amusement. Even just going through this blog is a good time-waster. What would you ask your iPhone?

And the phone can’t be too much of a let down if the Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak was first in line at the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California! He tweeted, “The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed.” He’s obviously a long-time Apple fan and I think its great that he wants to join in and stand in line with the rest of the fans!

RIM’s Outages

While things are all happy over at Apple, RIM has taken a hit this week due to their service disruptions and outages worldwide. Many Blackberry users took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to complain and there was even talk about finally being fed up and switching to the iPhone or Android. (Maybe this contributed to Apple’s highest pre-orders record?) Both Maggie Fox and Leona Hobbs were quoted in the press this week, in The Star and Financial Post respectively, commenting about how RIM’s CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie handled the public relations fallout. See what Maggie had to say here and what Leona had to say here.

Wall Street Protests

Also in the news this week has been the Occupy Wall Street protests and the use of social media in its organization. There are many angry people and there are no signs of their confrontation going away, not when almost all of the protesters have a smartphone and are active on social media networks to regularly spread the word as far as they can. More people are engaging in social networks to get people to come out and join them. Some commented that they heard about it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter and that the turnout was so strong due to social media. We can really see the significance of social media and why engaging in it is so important to stay in the know and up-to-date. It really is the strongest tool today to bring people together and connect with others that are feeling the same way as yourself.