Tag Archives: voice recognition program

The verdict is still out on Nuance Dragon voice recognition program

Greetings, readers. I have tried the brand-newest version of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition program, which the creators call a solution. So far I like it. It’s obviously the same product only better. A couple of months ago, The Nuance company sent me a notice that they are discontinuing my version of the solution, and gave me a choice about what I wanted to do. I could continue to use my current version, number 13, without tech support and updates or I could actually purchase the newest version, number 15, at a big discount. I chose the latter. For a hundred six dollars and some cents I could own a three hundred-dollar product. I said yes, please.

I’ve tried it out a few times already and there are a few improvements I’ve noticed right off the bat. For starters, it did not have to relearn my voice. I believe when I was installing 15, it learned from the previous version before replacing it. That is awesome. I just wish when I am creating a new blog entry in the new post screen on my WordPress dashboard, that I could dictate with the voice recognition program. I still have to dictate in a word program then cut and paste it if Rebecca is not here. That is not that hard to do, but it is an extra step.

The one thing that I did that I actually regret – and it goes to show how impatient I can be – I downloaded the digital copy instead of ordering a disk through the mail. Somewhere in the downloaded content, I’m sure, is the instruction booklet with all the commands and other information about what’s new in the product. I’m quite certain I’ll find it somewhere.

The following paragraph has spoilers for the novel Four’s a Crowd, the book Darren Taylor wrote based on my play Kimberly. If you haven’t read the book yet but want to, you can skip the next paragraph. It is a fantastic novel.

Yesterday Rebecca and I were doing some research on a major health issue for the elderly. My new writing project very well could be either a brand new play or TV pilot script, Five’s a Family, based on Four’s a Crowd. The timeline would be approximately five to eight years from the end of the novel where Kimberly gave birth to Emily Alice. I would want the child to be old enough to interact and be an integral part of the family instead of just sitting there and being cute. The issue is can Alice still have the health to be living in the house as one of the main characters, or would she have to be in a nursing home, only seen once in a while. After a little more research, I will know what I can and cannot do plausibly.

And welcome back to anyone who didn’t read the previous paragraph. Both Rebecca and I seem to be unusually distracted today. Distraction number one is the multitude of construction noises from next door. Number two is my rather naughty kitty cat, Princess Josie. And number three is stopping to find the right words for the blog entry, which are not coming as easily as usual, so we have to keep stopping to find the right words and phrases for a clear meaning. But, we trudge through. Yes, we did have a moment there where we had to re-word almost the whole previous paragraph. We were almost finished with it, when Rebecca pointed out what a major spoiler it was. Oops, can’t do that. That is why she makes the big bucks. She catches things way before I do. Could I edit my own blog? Sure. Would it be edited as well? I don’t think so.

As I begin to wind this blog post down, Josie has finally located a comfy spot. Now she settles down. Haha. I guess it is a comedy of errors today. As I’m trying to dictate the next sentence, the jack hammer outside is wreaking havoc with my concentration. The construction progress of said seven-story building will take at least a year or more. When it is completed, I fear I will have no pretty view left. I took this eighth story apartment for the view. Dang it.

There is today’s entry. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more written goodies. Take care, have a wonderful weekend, give someone you love a hug, and happy reading.

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We’ve got some local help for book promotion

Greetings, readers. A major step forward was taken yesterday in the attempt to get Four’s a Crowd selling like hotcakes. I talked to my friend from the building, Joel Solkoff, who is also a blogger here on WordPress, and he has agreed to help us out by promoting it on his blog and website. Joel gets tons more hits per day than I do. I have a very good feeling about this work relationship.

Speaking of Four’s a Crowd, the two copies I ordered for local sales to people in this building should be arriving any day. Both sales will be priced for friends and family. Darren and I will each receive $5 from each sale. Also, the money from the one Amazon.com sale last month arrived in my bank account the other day. Each of us are now $2.25 richer … I’m not joking. When I say that Amazon sales won’t pay the rent, you can see what I mean. With Joel’s help, however, this is likely to change in the near future.

We had to let kitty cat Josie out of her time-out cage so she could use the litter box. Now she is exploring and saying hi to Rebecca. She can stay out as long as she doesn’t get near the computer. That is a no-no. I hear her, as we are typing, using her cat box. Rebecca’s assumption was indeed correct.

On a side note, I was very happy that a heavy rain came through last night with a lot of lightning with a little thunder. Even though I sat in the dark with lights and modem off, the hard rain and heavy wind broke the humidity this morning. I actually needed my hoodie for my walk to Panera. It was quite refreshing.

At the restaurant, I saw my friend Ron, who had been visiting home in Vermont, and is now back. Apparently, to stay. He had previously visited Massachusetts, but that visit was cut short. When I asked him how long he was staying here this time, he used the word indefinitely. I am very happy to see him. We always swap tales and jokes. He is a very kind fellow.

Okay, there is today’s blog. I’m taking tomorrow off for personal reasons, but I am going to dictate a blog entry for Rebecca to edit and post. A: Because I need practice doing that and B: Because the more I use my voice recognition program the better it gets.

So until soonest, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

I’ve been keeping to a Bear Spring Camps schedule

Greetings, readers. As I tend to do every late August, I desire to still be at Bear Spring Camps, my favorite place in the whole world. Although we got no relief from the heat this year, seeing all my family and friends made the temperature a moot point. Camp is centered around the three meals served in the dining room at specific times. When I come home, I like to keep that routine going as long as I can.

I’ll have my morning coffee and muffin either at home or at Panera at 7:30. During the lunch meal I am usually busy but if I can I’ll grab a quick something at 12:30. Camp’s evening meal has always been at 6:00 and at the very least I’ll grab a cup of coffee or a soda at that time. That might sound silly to some of you, but I love to reminisce about the wonderful times I have at camp and the wonderful food they serve.

Last year I got up at 3:45 in the morning … every morning. This year so far I have been averaging 5:00 or 6:00. Why the change you might ask? The truthful answer is I don’t know. Before, I would go to bed very early, get up early and play video games or write, until Rebecca would come at 9:30. Now I am a little bit more squeezed for time, but it is not bad.

I am getting into one very bad habit that I used to have, which is watching re-runs on TV in the evening. Last night, before I knew it, it was ten minutes until 11:00. I quickly stopped the episode of The X-Files I was watching (that show can be addicting) and hurried off to sleep. No 3:35am for me this morning. By wintertime I will have thrown away all the desires to keep a camp schedule and do what my Aunt Marilyn does; she eats her meals when she is hungry, and she told me that could be any time of day. One time I visited her in California and she mentioned that I was too tied down to a clock.

This morning I am feeling sorry for myself as I dictate this blog and here’s the reason why: If I was to put all my energy that I use in creating these fantasy worlds that I sometimes use to escape my real life and put them towards creative writing, imagine the stories I could come up with. I have a writing project idea for a man and woman to be the main characters set in a camp-like atmosphere, but every time I try to start it, I hit a brick wall with concrete behind it. It is extremely frustrating.

Sometimes my brain works overtime when I am trying to get to sleep at night. Perhaps I should invest in a digital recorder. I would have it by my bed and if my creative brain starts working overtime, I would begin dictating notes, character names, etc. I wonder if anyone knows how much a good digital recorder costs? Hint, hint.

There’s today’s blog. I know I rambled a little bit but I tend to do that from time to time. Next Wednesday I plan on dictating the blog via the soon-to-be-out-of-date voice recognition program, and Thursday is still up in the air. I think we will be here in the office but I’m not certain. Until then, have a wonderful weekend, please stay cool if you are in the heat wave, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Time alone in the apartment

Joe is writing alone today while I write this post from home, and my husband Darren had an appointment this morning, so I had a few hours by myself in the apartment. Because of our schedules, this is an unusual luxury for me. The whole place is mine!

I got up, took a shower, made coffee, and ate cereal as normal. Then I spent the rest of the time watching shows that Darren doesn’t like. First I enjoyed Father Brown on Netflix streaming and then I watched The View on ABC. I haven’t been able to watch The View much in a decade or so, though I have watched it off and on since it began in 1997. Where we live, it is broadcast opposite The Price is Right, which both Daren and I love, so that is what we usually watch together – with the exception of a segment or so when he is in the shower.

It is a little embarrassing that my ideal plan for time alone is watching television, but there you go. Darren and I have shows that we both like and watch together, but we also have shows that one of us likes and the other one doesn’t. I go to bed a couple of hours after Darren, and that is when I usually watch stuff that he absolutely doesn’t like. Darren gets up a couple of hours before me and he can watch stuff I really don’t like, though he has time alone in the apartment when I am at work or on Sunday afternoons. It is a system that works for us, for the most part.

On another subject, I met Joe’s new cat Princess Josie yesterday. She is bigger than I thought she’d be for some reason, though obviously still a kitten. She took a great interest in my shoes, and in my armpit – in a way that reminded me of Keekee because she did the same thing. PJ also tried to get on the work table we set up with the laptop on it, but we had to stop her; that is a habit we don’t want her to get into, in case she accidently erases a day’s work with one paw on the keyboard.

Joe left me a voicemail message earlier, saying that he has written a lot today with the voice recognition program. He also remembered that he might have promised a short story for his blog readers as yesterday’s entry, did I remember that too? I looked up last Thursday’s post, and sure enough he did promise that. Joe does like to finish a post with a promise for next week’s content, and then by the time the next week is here he has another topic in mind. Oh, well. The short story, based on a dream Joe once had, is written and might need one edit, so it will be posted here one day soon. Stay tuned.

Next Wednesday Joe will be back with a blog post. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Things happening today during the snowstorm

Greetings, readers. Even though it is officially spring, old mother nature has decided to play a trick on us in the form of 3 to 5 inches of snow! Ha-ha-ha. I’m not laughing at the joke. As most of you know, I suffer from a mild case of cerebral palsy, and good balance is not one of my strong points. I do have errands that must be taken care of after work hours with Rebecca. If we really get 5 inches of snow, it’s going to be a challenge walking down slippery sidewalks.

Today and tomorrow are two days off for my fast food job, and that is good for my feet. The day off I had to take last Monday for my doctor appointment and stress test is not going to be good for my wallet. Maybe in a week or two, I’ll be able to pick up an extra hour here or there. In the end, I think it will all even out.

On to other news, my new writing project is coming along slowly, yet splendidly. This voice recognition program is outstanding, and it allows me to act out the dialogue between my characters. Yes … I am writing at least the first drafts of this project in script form. Whether or not I will change it into a novel has yet to be determined. I know I’ve been working on this for two weeks, and I’m only on the bottom of page three, but I do have many other things going on in my life. If I was loaded with money, I could stock the refrigerator with food, snacks and beverages, and type, type, type. I am not loaded with money. I have to go to work four days a week (part-time), and I work with Rebecca two days a week. That is plenty to keep me busy.

My gaming channel will have an updated game added to it. Out of the Park Baseball 19 has arrived in beta form. The full version, which I’ve already paid for, comes out tomorrow. The game developers have improved the graphics tenfold. Now the players actually look like little baseball players, not like little stick figures or Weebles. Yes, I remember those commercials: “Weeble’s wobble, but they don’t fall down.”

Finally, thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families of the senseless violence that has gone on in the last few days, including the Texas bombings and the Maryland school shooting, and also for the victims and families of the bridge collapse in Florida. All are so tragic.

Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with another blog entry, but I already know that next Thursday will be a personal day for me. I have a doctor follow-up appointment. Please keep your fingers crossed that I get good news during that appointment.

Until tomorrow, please do take care if you’re in the snowstorm, stay warm, enjoy your day and as always, happy reading.

On schedule for me today

Greetings, readers. I believe this is the second blog entry I have dictated via the speech recognition program. I’m on a slightly different schedule this morning, so I asked Rebecca to meet me at Panera Café and a little later than usual. Earlier on, I did some splendid work on my major writing project, also using said voice recognition program. I love it! It’s almost like acting; so fun.

I was up at 3:45 this morning, as usual, and began my day by making coffee, looking at Facebook, and doing a little virtual fishing on Steam’s Fishing Planet. With the new patch that came in yesterday via an update – a major update – the game plays so much better. The creators bettered the physics, I think improved the graphics, and added a Photoshop feature where you can take a picture with your humongous prize catch. It’s about three notches below Star Trek’s hollow deck.

This afternoon, I have an appointment at 3:30. It should not take more than an hour. After that, I’m planning on a light supper followed by more work on my writing project. I am really getting into the story now. As you all know, dear readers, it’s been forever since I’ve been in creation mode. If I am to take time off from my fast food job this summer to rest my feet, I must find some way to perhaps generate income through my writing. I don’t wish to just sit around for three or four months and just do nothing. Yes, one does get very used to that paycheck every two weeks, doesn’t one?

I still have an early bedtime this evening for tomorrow is a work day at the fast food job. I need to get plenty of sleep and rest my feet. When, or if, I am going to tell my manager I would like the summer off is still up in the air. My swollen feet are saying, “Go for it!” My wallet is saying, “Don’t you dare.” Right now, I’d say my decision is 50-50. I will know by early May.

Well, there you have it. I know this wasn’t the longest entry in the world, but it is what’s current in my life today. I bid all of you a great weekend, stay safe, take care and as always, happy reading.

I need to get back to reality… now!

Greetings, readers. For a very long time now I have found myself caught in a half-world of virtual reality. I don’t know whether it’s my depression or whether I just love being a big kid, but my favorite thing to do is to play video games … and eat ice cream. I know I’ve talked about self-improvement before, but I’m going to take steps starting today to make those improvements happen. I saw on an episode of One Day at a Time last evening where the main character was told by her therapist to use her cell phone and describe all that was going on in her day and then play it back. When she did, she heard just how bad she sounded and that she needed to go back on her antidepressants.

Now, I’m not off my antidepressants, but I’m going to use the same tactic of recording and listening to hear just how my typical day transpires. I can already tell you it’s not going to be pretty. I am dictating this blog entry with my voice recognition program which has a feature to play back what I have dictated in my own voice. Yes, dear readers, I am going to play it back and listen to it. Ready? Here we go.

My typical work day is as follows: my alarm will go off at 3:45 AM. First thing I will do is stride slowly to the kitchen and make coffee. I am nothing before my morning coffee. Once my morning beverage is next to me at my desk, I’ll turn on the computer and get ready to play the morning baseball video game. My fictitious Winnipeg Bluebirds are in second place but fading fast. For those two hours, I am so engrossed in that game, and if I’m not careful I could find myself late for work. Out of the Park Baseball ‘18 has everything; it is by far the best baseball simulation out there. That brings us to approximately 6 AM.

Next, I will close down my computer and take my medication. Lord help me if I forget that. Between 6:15 and 7:45, I will enjoy my second cup of coffee and either listen to music or play Fishing Planet, a remarkably lifelike fishing simulator. You start at level 1 with only one rod, one reel and light tackle and bait. I’m up to level 5 now. I’ve watched YouTube videos of people in the higher levels angling for big bass. This is another game that I can lose track of time playing and I must be cautious. Can’t be late for real life, you know.

At 9:38, I catch the morning bus to my fast food job. Between the hours of 10 and 3 PM, I feel like a normal person. I’m out in the world, interacting with others, making coffee, telling jokes to my coworkers and having a great time. What do you know? I’m a normal person … but just until 3 o’clock.

When I get home at 4 PM, I figuratively crash. I will plop myself down on my recliner chair, watch TV, and most times, fall asleep. Oh, I feel so old. When I come to, an hour or so later, I won’t notice the emptiness of the apartment without Keekee and need to go grab some ice cream. Yes, even with a therapist and antidepressants I still need my comfort food. It makes me feel better and it makes my dentist rich. If I have to go to my fast food job the next morning I will turn in for the night no later than 9 PM. Years ago, the evening was only just getting going at 9 PM. I set my alarm for 3:45 AM, and do it all again the next day.
I’m going to take a break now and make this contraption read back to me what I just typed, then in the final paragraph I shall summarize. Be right back.

After listening to the 667 words I just dictated, it is painfully obvious to me that except for a five hour span during a few afternoons a week, I am completely not in reality. I am in virtual reality. It is comfortable there, but I must leave soon. If I don’t, I feel I will be completely devoured and unable to get back to what I would consider a ‘normal life’. I will keep you all up to date on my progress.

Next week, I will blog on Wednesday about the Canadian football league. Until then, have a great weekend, to take care and as always, happy reading.

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

Until next week, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v