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Running Dragon Dictate and Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro on my iMac

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  • Running Dragon Dictate and Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro on my iMac

    I bought my first Mac in 1984. It cost $2500, had a 9 inch black and white screen (no grayscale), 128K RAM, 1.44 MB floppy drive, and no hard drive. Now that was a screaming machine! I went through many different models and upgrades through the next 17 years until I had my accident in 2001. After rehab, I had to switch to Windows in order to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I had been following the Macintosh market for the last nine years, wishing for some decent speech recognition software so that I could switch back to Mac.

    When MacSpeech Dictate was released in January, I decided to jump in and I purchased a 27" iMac. I upgraded the memory to 8GB and installed MacSpeech Dictate. I also installed Parallels Desktop so I could run Windows 7 alongside Mac OS X. In Windows, I installed Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro 10. MacSpeech Dictate turned out to be a frustrating experience. Although recognition was good, for best results you had to use MacSpeech's text editor and then copy and paste into other applications. I was able to set up some simple macros and use it to fill out forms on webpages, but for serious work I switched over to Windows 7. Dragon worked fairly well in this setup, but performance was just a little bit sluggish.

    I recently upgraded Parallels Desktop to version 6, and it has really made a big difference. NaturallySpeaking is now just as snappy as I would like to see it. And, I upgraded DNS to version 11 and that's even faster.

    MacSpeech was purchased by Nuance (the company that publishes Dragon NaturallySpeaking) and recently upgraded MacSpeech to version 2 and renamed it DragonDictate. I purchased and downloaded the upgrade a few days ago and they've made great progress. One big improvement is that they have added mouse movement and mouseclick commands that are the same as what is offered in Dragon. They have also renamed many of the commands so that is not such a daunting task to memorize the command sets of two different programs. It's still not Dragon, but it has come a long way. One thing I have done to make the commands easier to remember in Dictate is to duplicate the command I want to change, and then to trigger the duplicate command I use whatever word that is used in Dragon for that command.

    Version 11 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been a little unstable lately and I think it's because I have to exit DragonDictate while I am using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I've been using DNS to dictate this message, and so far it has worked well. I still need to do a little testing to make sure I've isolated the problem. I also may have to upgrade my microphone setup - according to KnowBrainer, a high-quality microphone is a requirement for version 11.

    Well, DNS just crashed! I'm finishing this in Dragon Dictate. I think I'm done for the night and when I find out more I will write another post.

  • #2
    A couple of other things I wanted to mention…

    if you are running Dragon Dictate do not select the option in preferences to open in sleep mode. It will crash every time until you delete the preferences file. This is a known bug that I hope will be fixed soon.

    I installed the beta version of Internet Explorer 9 just recently and I wonder if that may be causing a problem with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.


    • #3
      Question from Brian regarding DragonDictate 2.0


      I would love to be a Mac user, however I am forced to use Windows because of quadriplegia. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on Windows is simply too good of a product to turn your back on and with no suitable solution for the Mac my options are limited.

      Alas, DragonDictate 2.0 for Mac! I have a MacBook Pro laptop that I can use to test the new program but all the reviews I'm reading on the Internet are telling me that it is truly not a completely hands-free solution especially when it comes to browsing the web in Safari or Firefox.

      I have two problems right now. First, I am running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on and HP envy 17 with an Intel I7 processor and 8 gig of RAM. DNS 11 is not performing to my expectations. It seems to be slow when processing my commands and, in some case seems to be dragging other computer functions down with it. I can't even listen to my iTunes without song skipping and outright stoppage. While researching a solution to these problems I found that Nuance has released DragonDictate 2.0 for Mac. At first I was very excited to be able to go Back to My Mac, but as I said above, the reviews are not that promising. Here comes my second problem. I have a lot of questions that I cannot seem to find the answer for regarding the new DragonDictate 2.0 for Mac. Specifically, about web browsing. I spend about 90% of my time on my computer browsing the web. Does DragonDictate 2.0 for Mac have hands-free browsing? If not is there a correctable solution? Is it worth going down $200 to actually try the program? Is there a trial version? How was your experience with the new program?

      What type of hardware do you use to run Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on a PC? I have a pretty extensive background as far as IT goes and I think my hardware specifications should be more than adequate to run DNS 11. HP cannot find any problems with my system.

      Frustrated as hell!


      • #4
        Did you upgrade your user profile from an earlier version? This can create problems. You should create a new user profile for version 11. I'll get back to your other questions this evening.


        • #5
          Originally posted by grpj View Post
          Does DragonDictate 2.0 for Mac have hands-free browsing?
          Well, sort of. It is not as good as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. You can navigate from one link to the next on a webpage and open a selected link. You can also use mouse commands to click on links. There are a lot of commands specific to Safari to make surfing easier. The feature that is lacking is the ability to click on a specific link by using a voice command. I'm also a quadriplegic, but I have enough hand and arm function on my right side to use a mouse on a lap tray.
          Originally posted by grpj View Post
          Is it worth going down $200 to actually try the program?
          That's debatable. I still have to use Windows for work, so I have to stay with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I bought an iMac because I wanted a quiet machine with a large high quality monitor and also because I just like the Mac!
          Originally posted by grpj View Post
          Is there a trial version?
          Originally posted by grpj View Post
          How was your experience with the new program?
          It's a big improvement over MacSpeech Dictate and I hope that Nuance continues to improve the program.
          Originally posted by grpj View Post
          What type of hardware do you use to run Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on a PC?
          I'm running DNS Pro on my Mac which is a 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. I have 4 GB of RAM allotted to Parallels Desktop which allows me to run Windows 7 alongside Mac OS X.


          • #6
            I uninstalled Internet Explorer 9 Beta and so far no more crashes with Dragon. Let's see how it works over the next couple of days.


            • #7

              Many thanks for the in-depth response. I think I would really miss the speakable links. I think Mozilla Firefox has an add-on that will number each link on a page. I question how accurate some of the newer webpages will act under this add-on but I guess I could try it.

              What was going on with the interaction between Internet Explorer 9 and NaturallySpeaking? Before I read your post I was really close to installing it on my machine.

              Thanks again for the response. Keep in touch.



              • #8
                I uninstalled Internet Explorer 9 and so far no crashes. I used it for about three hours yesterday evening.


                • #9
                  IE 9 question

                  If I'm not too much bother, can I ask what was wrong with Internet Explorer 9? Specifically? I know it's still in beta, but I'm interested to see how it will work with DNS 11.


                  • #10
                    It seemed to make DNS unstable. I could be wrong, because on occasion I'm still having problems with DNS freezing. It just seemed to happen more often when IE 9 was installed. There are many times when I have five or six programs open with multiple windows, so that also may be an issue. If I were you, I'd give it a try. You can always uninstall it. The user interface has changed quite a bit from 8 to 9, so be prepared for a little adjustment.


                    • #11
                      Is IE 9 even supported by Dragon 11? Does it have a set of commands designated toward IE 9? I'm a little weary of beta versions.


                      • #12
                        I think I've isolated the problem. While using Windows, I often switch back to the Mac and change my audio output from my headset to the external speakers. I often do this to watch Netflix or Hulu while my wife is in the office.

                        If I quit DNS before switching, I don't seem to have any problems. Before going back to Windows, I change my audio output back to my headset and then relaunch Dragon in Windows. A little inconvenient, but it seems to work.

                        I haven't yet reinstalled IE 9, so I'm not sure about any compatibility issues with DNS..


                        • #13
                          Well, I had tried everything and I still ended up with problems, until the last Parallels update. Now everything's rock solid, finally! The problems started earlier this year and I just didn't know whether it came from the DNS version 11 upgrade or the Parallels version 6 upgrade. Guess I found the answer.

                          I can run DragonDictate and Dragon NaturallySpeaking simultaneously without any problems. I realize that not many people are crazy enough to do this, but at least it's finally working for me.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the report. I'm an old-timer as far as quads go, but still use a mouth stick for everything, especially typing and mouse use on my MacBook. When the day comes that I need to switch to voice use, at least options are available.

                            My current, limited experience with voice software is that it's annoying. Glad to see it's not the case for all though.
                            C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.