Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's Hoping

In my effort to discover hand writing recognition software I learned that no such thing exists. Or at least there is no software available that does the job I'm looking for. Most OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software works wonders provided that what you are scanning in is already printed text. Meaning if I printed something out of my computer I could scan it back in and the software could read it and then process it in a word document. Then I could edit it. This of course is completely useless. If I already have it in text form it would stand to reason that it is already on my computer, or could easily be transferred to it. Now granted if your dealing with people that are handing you a ton a printed material that you need to edit this software would be ideal for you.

I was told that OCR programs might, just might, be able to read handwriting. As long as it was nearly identical to print. Also if the document I was scanning in was arranged as a form chances for the OCR program to successfully read it would increase. The IRS uses software like this to process taxes, but it wouldn't be very helpful to me. I tried to find out if the powerful "Programmers That Be" were anywhere close to a program that could do what I wanted. The vague "don't hold us to it" answer that I got was ten years. Ten years away from hand writing recognition. My heart sank.

But then I stumbled upon this.

Speech recognition software. If it works all I would have to do is read my stories into the computer.

I have been writing stories since before I knew my alphabet. (First story I ever wrote was about a presidential election between Fire and Water.) So I have literal heaps (I call them heaps even though they are trying to be stacks, but lets face it, they're heaps.) of paper scattered throughout my domicile. I have accumulated them over several decades. The prospect of waiting yet another decade before I could get them onto a computer was not an appealing one. Sure I could type them out. But that might take anther decade, or more, in and of itself. It takes me about twice as long to transcribe my hand written work onto the computer as it does to write them.

So this Dragon program (and as I fantasy writer I can't help but love the name regardless of how little sense it makes) promises to cut my work in half, maybe more. The promo claims that the average person types at 40 words per minute. I'm probably slower. I know other people have said to me that while them may like writing by hand they just can't do it that way because it's too slow. I marvel at that as I have a hard time typing because I can write by hand faster than I can type. The Dragon promo says that people on average talk at about 120 words a minute. That's three times faster than typing, and in my case it might be four times faster. I'm really a lousy typist. I utilize a odd alchemical mesh of home key position and the good old hunt and peck technique.

I am really excited about this and have already ordered myself the program. I am a bit worried as the product has gotten mixed reviews. Yet it does seem to be the best speech recognition software out there. I'll let you know how it goes. here is a link to the promo

and a link to the amazon product page

I think it can be inferred from my admittedly bad typing skills I am not terribly tec savvy so please forgive the messiness of the links.


  1. Cool! That's a great solution! Even if you have to go back and add punctuation, it would so be worth it! Good luck. I hope it works out.

  2. I'm horrible for not getting chapter 1 to you before now, but thanks for understanding. I don't think I have your email address. Will you please email me at Lbardwell at gmail dot com, and I'll send you chapter one A.S.A.P. Thanks again.

  3. Don't worry about it. I know that your busy, and that your helping me out of the kindness of your heart. So don't worry. It's all good. And once again thank you for all that you do. I'll send off a email to you shortly.