Windows and Dragon One More Time

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I had a serious and scary flareup of RSI this weekend, so I decided to give Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows one more chance. If Dragon craps out on me again, I’ve discovered that I may actually be able to get in touch with Nuance technical support by posting nasty comments about them on their Amazon product pages. You’d think it would be more efficient to just answer customer e-mails in the first place, but apparently Nuance doesn’t agree.

One other thing I’m trying, is to run Dragon NaturallySpeaking in Parallels 5 on my Mac. Parallels 5 is a little faster than VMWare Fusion was, and is actually usable on my MacBook for basic web surfing and other simple operations. However, I’m skeptical of its ability to run CPU intensive applications like Dragon NaturallySpeaking and FPS games. I am considering upgrading my Mac to either one of the new MacBook Pros or perhaps a Mac Pro if Apple ever gets around to releasing new models.

Microsoft is Leaving Money on the Table

Friday, February 5th, 2010

If Windows were priced similarly to Mac OS X, I would have by now bought at least one full copy each of XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Instead the last non-bundled Windows I bought was Windows 2000 right before XP came out. It’s too damned expensive, and the DRM is too annoying. In fact, I can buy a full computer with Windows for roughly the cost of one Windows 7 license; but I can’t reuse the software on my Mac in Parallels or Bootcamp so I won’t even do that.

Windows Vista Network Printer Offline

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Here’s a troubleshooting tips it took me a few days to figure out. If Windows Vista reports your network printer as off-line and won’t print anything, but the printer will print just fine from other computers on the network, especially Macs, check to see if the printer picked up a new IP address from the DHCP server. Macs are smart enough to still recognize and find the printer even when its IP address has changed. Windows Vista PCs aren’t, and get seriously confused when a printer moves from one IP to another.

If this is indeed what happened, you’ll need to delete the old printer from the printer control panel and add the printer as if it’s a completely new printer. I don’t happen to know how to retrieve or reassign any jobs still pending for the off-line printer.

Vista Slow to recognize the Belkin Flip

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I have a couple of Belkin Flip KVM switches, one I use to switch between a MacBook Pro and a Linux desktop (Ubuntu Dapper) and another I use to switch between a MacBook and a Vista Dell. Switching to the Macs or to Linux is almost instantaneous. However, the PC takes maybe 30 seconds before it will recognize the keyboard and mouse. (The monitor is usually asleep until it the keyboard or mouse wakes it up.) Any ideas?


Thursday, February 5th, 2009


Reviews Matter

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

So I’ve decided this time William Morrow isn’t going to send me a free copy of the latest Neal Stephenson tome, so I hop on over to Amazon to order it. It’s only $16.47, so I open up my wish list to see what else I should add to make the supersaver shipping threshold. I’m almost ready to pop down $299.99 for Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred Wireless when I notice the review:

1.0 out of 5 stars
Beware the Bluetooth, and the treacherous Tenth Dragon., August 28, 2008
Paul Tynegate (New Smyrna, FL)

I have just upgraded from Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 to 10. I am happy to report that so far, after a couple of days trial, this upgrade seems to have been well worth it in terms of increased accuracy. (BUT SEE LATER!) At the same time I was tempted into purchasing the alleged integrated Calisto Bluetooth microphone, attracted by the special price, the convenience of a wireless headset, and the promise of increased accuracy.

However, I have run into two problems, either of which makes the Calisto currently useless. In the first place, the Bluetooth insert device for the USB port cuts out after an hour or two of usage. Its function is only restored after completely rebooting the computer.

The second problem is far more serious. Once the Plantronics Calisto is activated, Dragon Naturally Speaking demands that you ” prepare this user for dictation”. You would probably be encouraged to note that the accuracy level of the new Calisto is rated very high. You are then required to read a passage from a selected text. When Dragon is satisfied with your reading, it will present you with a dialogue box telling you to wait while your user files are being adjusted for your reading. In my case my computer then simply hung up, and could not be started up again without a complete reboot. Two different Dragon phone techs attempted to solve the problem unavailingly, the second one promising I would get a call back from a top expert capable of solving the problem. No reply over the last two days, and similarly no reply yet to an email I sent them yesterday informing them of the Bluetooth insert failure.

I started dictating this review with DNS 10, but, sadly it first began reverting to a habit Id seen before with DNS 9, that is, starting up a new sentence or phase one letter too early. Finally, it gave up altogether and refused to accept any dictation from my old and otherwise commendable Plantronic DSP 400 mic.

So I can hardly recommend purchase of any of this Nuance equipment right now unless you’re willing to pay good money for what amounts to a rather unpromising Beta version. But if they had waited to get the bugs out first, they might well have something really to get excited about. Maybe wait six months, a year?

Lesson: I should have paid attention to earlier negative Amazon reviews. (I trusted Nuance on the basis of good experience with earlier versions.)