Jan 23 2005, 11:26 PM
I am trying to put a system of Voice Rec together so that my family and I can communicate with our deaf 89 year old father-in-law. At present we try to include him in our conversations by hand writing messages and notes to him on a dry erase chalk board.
I do understand that with voice recognition we will not be able to 'converse' in the sense of multiple family members talking to him at one time but most anything will be better than what we now have and to have one persons' voice transcribed for him to read would make his life much more enjoyable.
I think we would like to use 'Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred', installed on a laptop computer. After reading a lot of forum postings I understand the importance of a fast cpu and adequate ram as well as a USB mike.
The last laptop I bought was a refurbished Compaq Presario 2100 with 512 mb of ram, a AMD 2120 processor and XP sp2. I have read on this forum that in 2001 Compaq was not a computer of choice for at least one knowledgeable contributer. Is this still a brand to shy away from? Is a computer similar to what I bought with an increase in the ram to 1 gig enough or should I look to different parameters? Would I be better advised to go with a different brand?
I don't want to waste money by over buying but I do want to make sure I put a system together that will not disappoint my father-in-law.
Jan 24 2005, 06:04 AM
Yeah they are. The guy is amazing! The pension outfits sure are not making any money off of him - it is only this year that he has even started using a cane and even that is just because he fell and injured his hip. But to answer your question; he is still in full use of all his body other than his hearing.
What we kind of invision with this DNS program is one of us simply using the mike to facilitate carrying on a 'conversation'. I don't see any likelyhood that he will use it for anything else such as email or surfing the web.
Jan 24 2005, 07:09 AM
Thank you for your help and advice: it is much appreciated.
Jan 24 2005, 08:21 AM
Sundowni, I'm interested in what you have in mind for your father-in-law. Do you envision, for example, at a family get-together, that one of the family members will be wearing a headset and will repeat comments made by others, so that the comments will come up on a computer screen?
If so, that is possible, but you will need a very good noise canceling microphone. I would also recommend a laptop with at least one gig of RAM and a 3 GHz chip set. I also think that for a laptop, you're better off with a USB pod instead of using the onboard sound card. You don't need a special USB microphone -- a good noise canceling analog microphone can then plug into the USB pod.
Will one person be using this system? Or will you have several different users? Each user has to train the system. But don't be put off by the training process-- it's pretty fast and easy.
And as you change users during the course of a long conversation, each user would have to log off, and then you would log on a new user. It's not prohibitive, but it takes a few seconds.
It would help if one of the people involved in this project were fairly computer-savvy. Dragon is reasonably user-friendly, but sometimes it helps to have some technological know-how.
It sounds like you don't need to use Dragon for "command-and-control." I would therefore recommend Preferred, rather than the Professional Edition, which is much more expensive.
Although I am very enthusiastic about Dragon, I wonder if you might be better off by just having someone type the commentary during the conversation on a laptop, rather than having to repeat the comments orally. Otherwise, the repetition of the comments might be a little annoying to the other folks involved in the conversation. On the other hand, talking is sure a lot easier than typing.
Jan 24 2005, 08:21 AM
Would it not be simpler to just purchase your father-in-law a hearing aid?
Jan 24 2005, 10:04 PM
Dan: You have accurately described how we hope to use the voice recognition: one family member, wearing a microphone, repeating the relevant conversation details for text display. The point you bring up about the background noise is one which I am concerned about - but I will consult with MMARKOE (or his company) and come up with an answer to the problem.
Because I am working within a budget one of the factors that I have to address before consulting about the mic is "training". The company I initally contacted with regard to DNS is suggesting a training package that retails for $995. Because I do most of the trouble shooting for my own network, and my friends computers, I think I am reasonably computer literate SO if I could duck the 'training fee' I could spend more on the microphone. I am still undecided about which route I will take - the deciding factor as always is which will provide the best results for my father-in-law. I will probably post a 'new topic' and solicite opinions if this 'reply' brings none.
With regard to the suggestion of just manually typing the information I don't want to follow that route for two reasons: 1) Less information would get passed on and 2) In a convoluted way I see the software approach as a step closer to independence.
CB: We have tried mostly every hearing aid they just won't address his problem.
Jan 25 2005, 06:28 AM
Sundowni, you absolutely do not need an expensive training package, especially if you are at all computer literate. [If you were buying several copies for a corporate installation, and you had to get your IT department up to speed, then yes, the training would be cost effective. But not for your application.]
Many of us who use Dragon for home office/small business applications simply buy the software and learn to use it ourselves. It is not that hard, unless you want to write a lot of very complex macros.
The keys are the computer and the microphone: get the best. Some people have had good luck with cheaper components, but why take a chance? With a $1500 computer, a $70 mike/USB pod, and $120 [?] in software for Dragon Preferred, you should be good to go! Plus, there is all this great free advice on the user forums. ;}
Jan 25 2005, 08:38 AM
I agree with Dan about the training package; one good thing about using this software is that there is, for historical reasons, a lot of help around, from "just users" like me and from professionals
Jan 25 2005, 01:37 PM
>>from "just users" like me
You do yourself an injustice.
>>I agree with Dan about the training package
So do I. Put the money into the soundcard or USB pod and a really good mic. If you have problems, we are here!
Jan 25 2005, 02:38 PM
I really appreciate the opinions and advice; I will explain to my family what the options are and then "fly at it".
Thank you very much
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