blogging without using a keyboard (using windows built in speech recognition)

307-speechrecognitionmicrophone.pngI’ve been looking at buying dragon naturally speaking from an IT supplier for typing on to the computer. It is software I heard of many years ago that converts speech into type as you speak. I had an mail offering it for only 30.00 which is less than I remember. However I like to test things before I buy them especially when it comes to software. I searched the Internet but couldn’t find a trial version to download. Just as I was about to give up I discovered a webpage that mentioned windows built in speech recognition.

So I’m sitting at home to blog for the first time ever without typing a word. I’ve been through the tutorial and so far I’m finding it very accurate. In the first paragraph I Can Count Three mistakes, I’m sure that as I continue to use it accuracy will improve over time.

It isn’t quite plain sailing, I’m having a little trouble remembering all the commands but that’s no different to when I first learned to use a computer. (quick note, I was brought up with a local dialect where I use the word learnt, but the computer heard learned. I’m sure there’s a blog Post about observations of my local dialect somewhere here). One thing I am glad of is that my headset microphone has a microphone mute button. The software does it by saying stop listening to stop listening, but sometimes while I’ve been thinking of what to say and start speaking it thinks it misheard my silence as a word and asks me to repeat.

As a beginner with speech recognition the other problem I’ve been having is getting the cursor mixed up with an action. For example, a moment ago I managed to select a whole section of text inadvertently and then change the format by telling the computer to use a button on the webpage.

I think I’m a long way off using this is a regular way of inputting text. I just tested my typing speed on the website and got a result of 72 words per minute. I think my current speaking speed is actually slower than 72 words per minute as I’m waiting for the computer to display each sentence as I’ve spoken. Those of my friends who have seen one of my presentations may know that one of my biggest floors (and there are many I know) is speaking too fast. Maybe I should record all of my presentation through speech recognition as a way of slowing myself down!

Now to see if I can publish this blog post without touching the keyboard …

Root Nicknames

We all have nicknames. Some we know of, some we don’t. Some we find fun, some we don’t.

A friend just emailed me on a Rotary topic using “Rootlebaumeisterstuck”. I have no idea how that came to be made up! Within the club I’m often named Rooty simply because there are 4 members called Steve.

A very lucky week for Steve!

Do you remember the saying that things always come in threes? Well, I really should buy a lottery ticket. Instead the numbers I would have picked had I bought a ticket for Saturday will be 7,11,32, 40,48,49.

Why do I tell you this? Well I believe the odds of me winning the lottery are so far stacked against me I’m not going to spend the money on a ticket. However, I have just won TWO competition prizes. Yes, TWO! Maybe the lottery could be the third…. Oh, hang on, I’ve had THREE prizes this year now, I never got round to blogging about the first.


So, here they are in order. I won an iPod Touch back in May. This is the second iPod I’ve won, the iPod shuffle came from Ford in 2006. The iPod Touch was won in April after I replied to a survey on 16Gb of music player worth around 200 promptly borrowed on a long term basis by my wife. Well, I wouldn’t use a music player much but it did reveal to me the clever touches an iPhone would have. I can’t have an iPhone because it isn’t as flexible as I need it to be as a PDA organiser and phone – the touch cruise is still a better option for me. However the safari web browser it has built in outperforms Internet Explorer mobile version and Opera mobile so if it weren’t for the application flexibility I like I’d probably be on an iPhone already. is an online legal magazine that reviews ongoing, erm, legal things. I find it well written, informative, impartial and it’s one of the few RSS feeds I have set on my phone.

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Last week a ‘signed for’ package arrived in the post. In it was a prize courtesy MXR Digital. There was a competition in a trade magazine which, for some reason, I decided to enter. I must have had a lucky feeling because I won a Pure Highway DAB Digital Radio for the car. Looking at the prices online, they’re around 70. I wouldn’t choose to buy one though on long journeys I do occasionally wish for some different radio entertainment. However, now I have it I can’t wait to find time to put it together and play with it. It transmits to the car through an FM transmitter built in or through a cable you can plug it into. Hopefully I’ll have some free time in the next week or two to try it out and report back.


The third prize is a lot more special than this little picture shows. I’ll be telling you all the amazing technical features later when I get to play with it, once it arrives. Today, I got a phone call from the magazine and email from the supplying company to say I’ve won a flat screen, 23″ TV. This, however, is no ordinary flat screen TV. It’s a Bath-o-vision 23″ wall mounted, mirror fronted flat screen TV worth around 1,800. Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor. How on earth can you justify that for a TV? Well, this TV is designed to go in a bathroom, or swimming pool. When turned off it looks like a normal mirror. When turned on, you get to have a decent size TV with a wide viewing angle (178 degrees!), HD Resolution and a built in digital TV tuner. This is not the kind of TV you’ll buy in the supermarket! It’ll be a month or so before this prize arrives, the company are organising for the magazine to visit for photos of them presenting the screen to me.