Watch Me Text, Ma! No Hands!

I adore my iPhone.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.  And I’m always on the lookout for cool apps to put on it.  My latest discovery that I stumbled upon is a voice-to-text application called Dragon Dictation and even better, it is free.  Now I’ve never been a particularly fast typist on the iPhone.  I miss the correct letters more often than not and usually have to go back and correct my mistakes.  On the other hand, the Commander can text/type with ease, his substantially bigger thumbs flying over that little keyboard.  I don’t understand how he does it.  So when I saw that this program was free and read the reviews on it up in the iTunes store, I decided to give it a try.

Wow, it is pretty amazing.  I didn’t have to do any of the “training” that you sometimes have to do with other “voice-to-text” programs.  Right from the first try, it was uncanny how it got most of what I said right.  We did have a good laugh over the first text message I dictated, however.  What I said was “Hi, Rose.  Thank you for the gift.  I appreciate it.  Call me. Love, Dee”  Well, what the Dragon program “thought” I said was …….”Hi, Rose.  Thank you for the gas.  I appreciate it.  Call me.  Love, Dee.”   I guess that is something you wouldn’t want to text to your sister-in-law if you’d just come back from a dinner at her house.

My next attempt was much better.  I dictated an email to my brother and then one to my son.  You can see the one to my son on the right.  Except for the absence of some punctuation marks, it did great.  I wouldn’t hesitate to send that off to him……and that’s just what I did.

There isn’t really a learning curve to the application.  You punch it up on your iPhone and you see a little red dot on your screen which represents your microphone.  It tells you to “Tap here and dictate.”  When you do that, you are in the recording mode and you just talk until you are done and then you press “Done.”  It takes you to the next screen where it shows you what it thinks you said.  At that point you can either tap the icon on the left which brings up a keyboard for you to correct a particular word or you can tap the middle icon to record more, or you can click on the right icon to send it off.  You’ll have the option of sending it to email, to a text message, or to your clipboard at that point.  You can also cancel and just back out of the whole program.

I’m thinking that this is an app that I’ll be using quite a bit.  Oh, I should mention that when you first open it up and read the standard licensing agreement, it asks you if it can upload the names in your Contacts list.  You can opt-out at this point or let it do so.  The rationale for letting the names be uploaded is that you are most apt to be emailing or texting folks in your contacts and this way the program will have a better chance of recognizing and spelling the names you say.  It doesn’t upload any other information for any of your contacts other than their names.  If you are very concerned with doing this, just opt-out.

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