Dec 14

One of my favourite Apps is Dragon Dictate - it takes what I say and dictates it to the computer. The problem is that it costs $200. Last week Nuance released a new app called Dragon Express in the App store. A cut-down version of Dragon Dictate. I’ve never seen an app with worse reviews! Check this out:

I’m hesitant to fork out the $49.99 to try it out but I was wondering if anyone else had tried it?

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Jul 26

Yesterday Nuance released to Dragon dictate 2.5.

So what’s it like?

STOP PRESS: Even though initially I wrote this great review, after using version 2.5 for a week I find that  it often crashes when I try to use the correction window. There are a lot of complaints about this in the Dragon Dictate forums. I’d hold off  till the next update comes along . Dragon Dictate 2.5 is quite unstable.

 24th August 2011: Dragon Dictate 2.5.1 was released this week and  all the stability problems seem to be fixed. 

Continue reading »

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Jul 01

If you buy Dragon Dictate it comes with a built-in Microphone that will do the job, but if you buy the download version you’ll need to buy your own microphone.

Here are some of the options you have. Continue reading »

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Sep 21

This month Macspeech have released a major upgrade of Macspeech Dictate and they have also renamed it to include the Dragon branding – Dragon Dictate.

I’ve only been using it for a couple of hours, but I can say it’s definitely an improvement on MacSpeech Dictate. Dragon have put their name on the product, which I assume means they’ve put out something that they’re finally happy with.
I was happy with the last version, but this one is even better. Continue reading »

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Sep 20

Nuance have just launched  Dragon Dictate voice recognition software for the Mac. Anyone tried it out yet? It’s an upgrade of Macspeech Dictate but they have changed the name from Macspeech Dictate to Dragon Dictate. It’s powered by the dragon v11 engine.

Dictate 2.0 “learns” better than any previous version via training in the Recognition window, as well as through the Vocabulary Training feature.

Hopefully this means the problems I describe here regarding learning as you dictate have been addressed. It will be nice if it boots up straight away without having to manually select a profile… Let’s see – I’m just downloading an upgrade now (1.2 GB – 1 hour to go!) so I’ll keep you updated after I install it… It requires OS X  Snow Leopard or later. The full version at $199 is still dearer than Dragon Naturally Speaking for windows, but the upgrade from Macspeech Dictate was only $49 – quite reasonably priced.

I’m hoping the fact that they now have put their ‘Dragon’ name onto it means they have a Speech recognition product that rivals the PC version in all aspects.

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Jul 28

I’ve been waiting for almost 10 years for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh!  And finally it’s here –  Dragon Dictate.

Despite being a long time Apple user user, in 1999 I purchased a PC (yes that’s right!) just to run Dragon Naturally Speaking. I would dictate to the PC and then copy files to my Mac on a thumb drive!
Dragon Naturally Speaking was by far the best voice recognition software – but sadly it was not available for the Apple platform.

Not long after that, IBM releasedViavoice for the Mac. Viavoice wasn’t as good as Dragon Naturally Speaking but it did the job (and meant I could get rid of the PC!)  I used ViaVoice for the next 6 years.

So personally it’s been a 10 year wait  for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh – but finally it’s here! After using Macspeech Dictate since it’s release 2 years ago,  I can say Macspeech Dictate is far and away the best dictation software for the Mac. It is now up to version 2.0 which has been renamed ‘Dragon Dictate’.

‘At the core of MacSpeech Dictate is the world-renowned speech recognition engine, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.’

For those who have been limping along with iListen or Via Voice – you won’t believe the difference! The latest version – Dragon Dictate 2.0 – achieves almost full accuracy with just 5-6 minutes of training.

There are a few (small) weaknesses, the main one being that the correction and editing is not quite as good as with the PC version.  With Dragon Naturally Speaking  if I retrained a word it would never mistake it again.  Not so with Dragon Dictate.  There must be some difference between the way Dragon Naturally Speaking and Macspeech Dictate handle the retraining of words. Dragon Dictate is in my opinion still slightly behind the PC version.

That said,  it’s a fantastic product. I use it every day,  and I’d totally recommend that you try it out if you do a lot of typing or transcription work.  At the very least find a friend who has a copy and give it a trial! That’s what I did and I was hooked.

If you live in the USA it is available directly from Nuance (Macspeech):

Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0

Click here to go to the Official Dragon site.

There is a ‘download only’ option which is great for international customers but you’ll need to find your own microphone.

Note to Australian Customers: you don’t need to select the ‘international language version’,  just the normal US version comes with Australian and UK speech files.

STOP PRESS:  I’ve made some videos here.

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Aug 05

Screen shot 2010-09-21 at 11.24.57 PM

With Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the only option was to purchase it in Australia because there was a special Australian edition which was made using the Australian accent.

With Macspeech Dictate however, the US version comes with Australian accent,  so you can buy the normal version of MacSpeech Dictate from the US for about $200 ($100 less than Australia) and it will still work here.

It comes with USA, UK and Australian versions built-in.

You can read my full review here.

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Nov 18

I have  previously reviewed MacSpeech Dictate but here are some tips on how to use it well. Continue reading »

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Apr 28

EARLIER REVIEWS on MACINTOSH HOW TO

When Macspeech Dictate was first released I gave  it a negative review. I have left the reviews of earlier versions here as a reference – you can read them below….

The most up to date review is here.

28th April, 2008 Macspeech Version 1.0

Ever since I first used Dragon Naturally Speaking Version 4 in 2000, I have been waiting for it to be released on the Macintosh.  Well  it’s finally arrived, it’s called “MacSpeech Dictate”, and it’s powered by Dragon. Unfortunately there are still a few hiccups. My advice is if you have been using voice recognition already – Viavoice or iListen, then make the switch – it’s an improvement. But if you are not currently using speech recognition, wait a little longer. It’s not quite there yet, and the adjustment to speech recognition combined with some bugs makes for a steep learning curve.

Now in terms of dictation and recognition, MacSpeech 1.0 Dictate is fantastic. The accuracy is very impressive  and it does not take much training.  In fact I think I was reading stories for about five  minutes and then I was ready to Dictate. It’s also a very stable application,  unlike IBM ViaVoice which was frequently crashing.

It integrates very easily so that you can dictate into any Macintosh program. IBM ViaVoice was meant to do this but in reality whenever you were dictating into anything other than the ViaVoice speakpad it was tediously slow.

So what are the problems in 1.0?

Firstly there is a bug in it so that if you correct anything with your mouse and keyboard, it gets out of sync and loses it’s place, and you can’t keep dictating.

Secondly, it doesn’t train itself from your mistakes.

One of my favourite features of Dragon NaturallySpeaking was the correction window where the program automatically learnt from your mistakes. When it mis-recognised a word, all you had to say was  ”correct that” and type in the  correct word, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking would automatically train itself so that whenever you spoke that word again it would get it right.

When Macspeech Dictate makes a mistake it just keeps misrecognizing the word, and you can’t re-train it. The manual promises that this correction feature will come in an update – let’s hope it’s soon.

Conclusion – Macspeech Dictate Version 1.0

If you have been using ViaVoice or iListen, then you will be blown away by the accuracy of Macspeech Dictate – it’s simply the best voice recognition software for the Mac.

On the other hand, if you have come across from the PC using Dragon NaturallySpeaking you will be taking a step backwards due to the lack of automatic correction, and the buginess of the software.

It’s a very nice piece of software, but with its current lack of features and bugs, it should be a beta version. In my opinion, it’s worth $100, $200 if you really need it, but at $300, it’s way overpriced given it’s problems.

NOTE: All these features that I mentioned needing improving have been fixed in version 1.3 and even more features have been added to 1.5  Macspeech now automatically learns from it’s mistakes so it trains itself as you use it. Also editing your text after you have dictated is much easier. And it’s much more stable.

 
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