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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fighting the Dragon Part 2

Previously, I posted about Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) refusing to learn the F word no matter how many times I trained it. It was a frustrating experience that solidified my belief that this wouldn't be a good tool for writing actual books. There are other reasons, too, of course, but this kind of put the idea to rest permanently. I did think, though, that this would be a great tool for transcribing my writing notes since I don't swear in those. :-)

I was wrong.

I have one full notebook and I've started another. I probably have notes on five or six ideas all mixed together. Some are ideas I plan to work on soon, some are for proposals I've finished, but haven't sold yet, and some are for ideas that I won't be looking at in the near future. This actually works for me, especially when I Post-it flagged each story in different colors so I can flip right to it.

But I thought it would be awesome to transcribe them and add the information to Liquid Story Binder, writing software that I use/like. I figured I'd open multiple Word windows, and flip between them as I hit notes for different stories. Simple and much quicker than typing it myself. Or so I believed. At first.

Things got off on the wrong foot right from the start. I opened DNS and it told me I didn't have privileges for the user "Patti." Um, there is no other user on this laptop and I'm set up as the Admin, why can't I use the original training I did?

I ended up needing to create a new user ID. It refused to accept "Patti" because there was already a profile with that name. This also meant that I had to redo training again (basically reading an excerpt from a book into the system.) It's not hard, but it is time consuming. ::banging head against the wall::

Then my frustration reached new limits. DNS did not recognize my heroes' names. It didn't matter how many times I attempted to train the program. Tane = tame or Taine. Mick = Nick (always) and Royce = Roy's. Sigh.

And then it got worse. Heroine. It's a word I use a lot in my notes. DNS refused to type this. I tried everything, but it still insisted that on heroin. What? Do users really need to reference an illegal drug more than they would a character? Really?

I finally went into the program's dictionary and deleted the word heroin. There was no other way to get DNS to stop using it.

I didn't make it too much farther than this. The name issue continued to be a huge problem to the point that I was dropping the F bomb (and Dragon would type folk, which frustrated me even more!).

When I realized it would be faster for me to type in my notes rather than speak them into DNS, I surrendered. I've heard that there are writers who like this damn program, but I don't know why. I heard them say it's easy to train Dragon, and that once through that process, it's smooth. My experience has been different. As far as I've seen, DNS is unable to be trained to get any word even slightly out of the ordinary correct.

I fought the Dragon and it won. Again.

Addition: I commented on Twitter about how frustrated this program has left me and someone from Dragon replied. I sent an email with my issues to the rep. I haven't heard back yet, but I'm hoping she can help me get this program to play nice.