11 September 2010

Posted by DMC on 11 September 2010 in Diary |

I wonder how many of my readers noticed the nonsense included in yesterday’s entry?  One young man, Tony, in China did and sent me a rather cryptic, if slightly cheeky, message ‘Happy Teachers Day !!!’ which, at first, foxed me but then led me to review the latest entry.  What had happened was that the telephone had rung whilst I was dictating it.  I failed to notice that the microphone was still alive and accordingly it picked up snippets of conversation and inserted them into the entry.  What one has to do is to instruct the microphone either ‘to go to sleepor ‘to stop listening’.  Most of the time it obeys and the little phallic like icon will move from erect, to 45°.  On the other hand, sometimes seems to have a mind of its own and takes no notice.  Anyway the nonsense, or gobbledy-gook as I call it, was only there for four hours, thanks to Tony, so hopefully not too many people noticed it, or if they did see it they might have thought it was my rather eccentric style!  Who knows? I therefore plead in advance, forgiveness and understanding for any errors or omissions in my entries.  I’m sometimes too lazy to check them carefully.

I suppose I should reiterate what a lifesaver the voice activation system is for me.  My hands are practically useless now and certainly I cannot hold down more than one key at a time, which is necessary in giving the computer a command.  For example, to bring up the Task Manager it is necessary to press  three keys at the same time, Control, Alt & Delete. I can do this through by means of Sticky Keys, which enables me to press one after the other in sequence.  My problem is that as I still have one rigid finger on my now, almost dead, right hand, I am too lazy to attempt to correct the inevitable errors in the dictation by voice — I still prod at the keyboard.  Although, Dragon Naturally Preferred 10, is a wonderful programme and can give you around 98% accuracy, speaking at your normal rate, occasionally it does misunderstand what you say and requires correction.  Although in theory one just has to say correct, whatever word it is that is wrong and you are offered a choice of five alternatives and can select one by saying ‘choose…’, the word you want is not always there.  No problem, you just say ‘spell that’ and having spelt it, say OK and the word is replaced.  This works most of the time but, as was the case today, the system totally misunderstands what you were saying and might, for example, insert a table, or something similar.  In trying to delete the unwanted insertion by voice can be a bit of a nightmare, thus my  resorting to the finger.  However, I have been assured by AbilityNet, the Computer  Aid arm of the MND Association, that I can be fitted with a prodder, either from my chin or forehead, once my arms or hands have given up the ghost for good.  To this end I have asked for another training session to prepare for that eventuality rather than waiting for the day I wake up and find I can no longer manage.  Better to practice whilst I still can use my finger if I get frustrated.

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