Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dragon Dictate and Computer Malfunctions

 The 1st time my computer hard drive failed, we wrote it off  and said it was because the computer was  two–years–old. When the hard drive failed again six–months later, we decided we had gotten a dud hard drive the 2nd time around and replaced  it again. I am now on my 4th hard drive in a 4-year-old computer.
Because of the nature of my major in the profession and chosen to go into, I am always on the 2 computer. I have to type lesson plans, research papers, e-mails, IEPs, and a multitude of other assignments for all of my classes. If I had unlimited time to complete assignments, it might be a different story. However, when I am under pressure to complete a lesson plan or a paper by a certain time, I cannot always rely on my hands to cooperate with what I need them to do. It is not an uncommon occurrence for me while working to lose control of my hands and begin to pound on the laptop. According to the tech guys who always fix my computer, if the computer is on and you bump it, you risk damaging the hard drive. What I do is way more damaging than a simple bump to the computer. In addition to pounding on the laptop and damaging the inner workings of the computer, the computer has fallen from the couch or floor on multiple occasions when I have full–body tics and I am unable to put the computer in a safe place.
After replacing the hard drive for the 3rd time, I got Dragon dictate software. This allows me to use my computer with only my voice and not my hands, hypothetically. While it is relatively easy to type, it is a lot more difficult to attempt to edit the passage of text once I have dictated relying only on my voice. I am attempting to write this blog post completely using DragonDictate, and it is proving most frustrating. Dragon is recognizing the about 98% of the words I speak, confusing only very short words like “and” and “in”, however fixing these small words is very time-consuming with only Dragon.
Using Dragon also requires that I remember all of the available commands. As I write this, I am sitting with my cheat sheet of voice commands that came with the software; however, this is only a handful of commands and I know that there are many many more that I haven't figured out yet. I am hoping that with more practice, and when I am back home in my quiet apartment, I will be more accurate using Dragon.
Dragon does pick up the all my tics, and continually attempts to give meaning to my throat clearing and squeaks. While I find this amusing now, one of the 1st times I am using the software, I am not sure how amusing this will remain for long. I am also going to research once I finish this post getting a microphone that uses Bluetooth and doesn't need to be plugged into my laptop. This is for a couple of reasons, and for one while the microphone that came with software has a very long corridors that connect to the computer it still connected. If I were to have a full tic attack I could very easily tangle myself up in the cord, damaging either the microphone or my computer in the process. In addition to that possibility, I have a kitten who is very fond of chewing on cords and who has destroyed multiple phone chargers and computer chargers. Having a wireless microphone is probably in everybody's best interest.

1 comment:

  1. Great post-- I can see how liberating yet frustrating the Dragon Dictate can/will be for you.