Where science and tech meet creativity.

I’m playing with a bit of new technology. I’ve been doing so much typing lately that my wrists started to hurt. I love to write. I needed to find a solution, so I googled. Eventually I landed on some dictation software, MacSpeech. I’m attempting to write this blog post using that new software. I’ve been playing all day and I have to admit my friends have been very patient – More patient than I deserved. I accidentally rang up Chris on Skype, and while IMing to Fraser mass chaos ensued in a text window. Of course there is a certain irony in me talking to my Skype text message when I could just as easily ring him in Skype. And eventually we did just talk. And now I’m just talking to you. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t just podcast this, but then I know I’d be spending my time trying to edit the audio. Editing text is so much faster.

There is a certain intimacy to writing my blog. It’s me and the words in my head spilling out across the screen. I work in silence, no one knowing what I’m saying, until I hit the publish button. And then it all goes live at once. As I sit here talking to my computer, talking to Firefox, I feel this terrible urge to pace and rant and use my arms to talk. I’m not giving in to my desires, I’m sitting quite still at the kitchen table, speaking softly to my computer while my husband plays Wii in the living room. I’m not sure what will happen to my writing style – I’m not sure how my language will change as I speak to you rather than letting the words spill across my fingertips. I’m going to take a risk, I’m going to try and figure it out.

I’m not sure how I feel about the software, but after using computers almost every day since I was in the fifth grade, I a realized who is running up against maximum number of uses numbers. My joints only had so many tries left in them. I needed to find a new way to communicate to my software before my parts demanded replacement. This is a compromise. There are some things I can’t speak to my computer, at least not easily, like when I’m coding, when I’m drawing, when I’m creating things for the Web. But at least this is a partial solution. I want to keep working online for another 40 years. It’s a good fantasy at least.

I have to admit, mostly I like the software. Nevertheless, I have to reprogram my brain. I can think, I can speak, I can do many things faster than I can type. This software spells better than I do – I don’t have to keep going back to figure out what I’ve done that has caused little red lines under my every fifth word! It’s odd though, my internal wetware is struggling with this new device more then the software is struggling with my voice. As I speak I feel my brain pausing in ways it doesn’t do when I’m speaking in front of an audience. It’s an interesting challenge, changing how I do this thing have been doing so naturally for so many years.

I am really impressed with MacSpeech. While there are certain things I just can’t get it to do consistently, it’s not too bad except when I’m using Mail. For instance, deleting an e-mail message just doesn’t seem to work. There is something about how I say deleting, that causes it to hear “leading” most of the time. I think I’ve crashed mail 20 times today. There are other interesting errors it makes occasionally. But than there are no more errors than I make myself. I’m guessing most of you have read my posts that weren’t correctly proofread. This seems to be doing a better job than I do when I try and type. I’m going to try and work through this, and see if I can adapt. So far so good.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to try and see what its astronomy vocabulary looks like. Tomorrow I need to think, and write about something that challenges my brain. Write about something that challenges your brain, maybe? And that will definitely challenge the software.