REVIEW OF RELEASE 11
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 is announced and being released over the next few weeks. Note that Dragon Medical is NOT affected by these changes, there is no Dragon Medical 11.
The following generally applies to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Legal, Professional and what is now named Premium (formerly Preferred). Most will apply to the Home and Basics Editions, which Softnet Systems is not selling at this time.
There are short-term upgrade offers, particularly for Legal and Professional, which encourage current licensees to upgrade before the end of September. To a lesser degree, Preferred and Standard customers are encouraged to upgrade before then too.
From information on what is new in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, following are comments on the new features:
From improved accuracy and faster performance, to an intuitive user interface with a rich Help system, powerful new voice commands and an enhanced correction and adaptation process, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 has been redesigned to be FASTER, BETTER and SMARTER.
The Dragon user interface now offers better usability, and includes a new Sidebar showing tips as well as many commands. It’s now easier to discover, remember and access important Dragon features and options. New Recognition Analytics continuously monitor audio quality and alert users when there is an audio issue, to help them achieve their best accuracy. More than ever, Dragon 11 enables users to focus on their thoughts and ideas rather than the mouse, keyboard or computer screen..
If prone to keep microphone on when not using Dragon, you'll be goaded into proper microphone usage. That will yield better results!
Dragon 11 is more accurate out of the box than version 10, and uses state-of-the-art technology. Thanks to improvements at various levels, corrections are faster to make, and quickly become less necessary. Version 11 “learns” better than any previous version, including from existing documents and dictations as well as from corrections made via the keyboard. Dragon 11 responds faster to voice commands and also introduces new time-saving commands that consolidate multiple mouse clicks and keystrokes.
This is more significant than it may seem, particularly for those doing a mixture of dictation and typing.
It’s faster and easier to open applications, get to a particular window, move within a window, send email, create appointments, search the Web, and more – all by voice. So now users can get even more done faster on their computers.
Reduced Word Recognition Errors: Dragon 11 significantly improved recognition accuracy and can reduce recognition errors up to 15% compared with Dragon 10. This means Dragon 11 recognises speech more accurately right out of the box so users will spend less time correcting recognition errors.
"Up to 15%" does not mean that YOU will achieve better accuracy. We think this number will vary significantly based on both user and microphones (see below for microphone comments), just as it has for other releases. Some of you will reduce errors 25%, others only 10%. .
Smart Configuration: Dragon 11 runs on a variety of hardware, from small netbooks to high-powered servers. Dragon automatically detects hardware resources and sets up the recommended configuration. Dragon’s state-of-the-art technology takes advantage of advances in hardware and runs in multiple-threads automatically when multi-core hardware is detected to achieve better recognition performance.
I've got limited experience with this. But there was evidence of multiple threads in use while monitoring resource usage. We'll update this point after getting feedback from people with a variety of systems.
Easy Scheduling of Accuracy Tuning: This automatic process plays a large role in improving a user’s accuracy from his or her own usage, since it adapts the profile based on what dictations and corrections have already been done. It must run at a time when the computer is on, but the user is not dictating. In version 11, scheduling Accuracy Tuning no longer requires a Windows password, so the user can easily choose a time and frequency that fit his or her schedule. Similarly, no password is required to schedule the Data Collection process (which periodically sends to Nuance anonymous usage data to improve the accuracy of future updates of Dragon).
Nice improvement... like many other undocumented little improvements scattered throughout Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.
Recognition Analytics: Because a significant percentage of misrecognitions can be caused by simple audio quality issues such as incorrect microphone connection or placement, background noise and Bluetooth microphone out of range or low on battery, Dragon now automatically detects poor audio input; it then alerts the user (in various ways depending on the issue), offering advice to remedy the situation. This lets Dragon use the best audio possible -- an important factor for accuracy.
Dragon 11 seems to use 22kHz audio signals instead of 11kHz. Most of you won't notice the difference. For some, this will make accuracy much better.
Faster Recognition Response for Commands and Dictation
Faster Response Times: Dragon 11 improved recognition response time significantly. It is also faster than previous editions when selecting application menu items by voice or executing voice commands that perform actions within applications (e.g., "insert page break," "make that red," etc.)
I'll be interested in feedback from others to see their experiences.
New User Interface
Dictate faster and more efficiently: Dragon quickly processes the recognition of speech in the background, and instead of the Results box of previous versions, displays only a discreet indicator that recognition is in progress; this encourages continuous speech, an important factor for accuracy. Novice users are no longer distracted by watching the preliminary recognition results pooling and changing within the Results box before text is inserted into the document. (The traditional Results box is still available as an option.)
As one who has used Dragon for 13+ years, I'm a poor judge of how a novice will view the product. Nuance clearly spent time and effort to get people off to a better start!
New Dragon Sidebar: A major enhancement over Version 10’s Sample Commands window, this new desktop assistant allows users to discover and remember many commands and tips; at any time, it lets you glance at or explore global commands (including mouse commands), application-specific commands and custom-created commands, as well as tips. The Dragon Sidebar is a thin, resizable and dockable window that can be placed anywhere on the Windows desktop. Its contents change depending on what window is currently active. In addition, the Sidebar lets users print its content.
This will help with learning Dragon, particularly when using supported applications such as Word, Outlook, etc. Persons using proprietary software may not get as much benefit except for quicker learning of basic commands. This can be turned off if you don't want it.
Richer Help system: The redesigned Accuracy Center (accessible from the Help menu) now gathers all important tools and options, with brief descriptions of key items to help discovery. The Help system also incorporates new tips and illustrations, a redesigned Tutorial, short videos and easy access to related details such as a glossary of key terms. Finding relevant information is faster and easier thanks also to icon links on the Dragon Sidebar and contextual links on dialog boxes – as well as new voice shortcuts you can speak at any time (“Search Dragon Help for…&rdquo&.
The voice help is nice. The basic information is similar to what we've had on the last two releases, essentially on-line help. I'd bet on a downloadable PDF user guide too.
More usable toolbar (the DragonBar): The naming and organisation of items on the DragonBar now allow users to discover and quickly access important but often-overlooked Dragon features, such as the Vocabulary Editor, the analysis of specific documents, scheduled tasks, and recognition modes (Dictation Mode, Numbers Mode, etc.). Now docked to the top of the screen by default, the DragonBar gathers in one area all its indicators: icons and written messages.
For new users, no big deal. For long-time users, you'll make a few mistakes hunting menu items. Watch out for old documentation, some of it becomes incorrect with the new menu organization. But the changes put more options where you would expect them instead of where they have been for several years.
A few users with keystroke shortcuts in macros need to make changes so the macros reflect the new shortcut keystrokes.
Text Control Indicator on the DragonBar: This checkmark icon on the DragonBar indicates whether Dragon currently has "Full Text Control" for the active text field. Formerly called “Select-and-Say”, “Full Text Control” enables capabilities such as the use of commands that quote words from the text (“Select…”, “Correct…”, “Delete…”, “Insert Before…". When the insertion point is in a field for which Dragon does not have “Full Text Control”, Dragon dims this checkmark icon and writes a message in the DragonBar; this informs the user that he or she may wish to dictate via Dragon’s Dictation Box which gives access to Dragon’s full capabilities to edit and correct text (as in previous versions).
Better communication with the user always helps!
Improved Correcting and Editing
Handling multiple matches in text: Now when users issue voice commands to select, correct, edit or format a word or phrase and there are multiple matches for what they said in their document, Dragon displays a number next to each match. Users can then choose whether to apply the command to one or all of the numbered items, so they save time by directly addressing a specific spot or addressing multiple spots all at once. This also applies to the commands “delete…”, “copy…”, “insert before…”, and more.
A significant time-saver for those making corrections of lots of text by voice.. Several times I thought I'd go right to a spot using my "correct" commands but found I had more than one instance of the same word(s).
Dragon Learns from all Corrections: In the past, corrections entered using the keyboard were not incorporated into the user profile. Now when a user dictates something and retypes it to correct a misrecognition, Dragon identifies this as a correction and uses it to adapt the user’s profile, improving its accuracy over time.
This works! Yes, I still make some corrections by keyboard as I've not lost all my keyboard skills.
Enhanced Correction Menu: The Correction Menu now suggests more alternate recognitions by default and enables users to quickly add phrases to the vocabulary, or to prevent an undesired word from being recognised. (Words that have been deleted from the Vocabulary can be restored if desired, and can now be seen from the Vocabulary Editor’s Display list.)
More usable Spelling Window: Formerly named “Spell Dialog”, this window (allowing users to type or spell out something Dragon was not able to transcribe) is now more intuitive. If one of the alternatives in its list is almost correct, the user can now say “modify n” -- the number of the desired alternative. (As before, users can also double-click a desired alternative, or say “choose n”.)
Good to have this a built-in feature now. The concept has been proven over the years with roughly-equivalent features in several macro/command packages.
Time-Saving Voice Commands
More Dragon Voice Shortcuts: Dragon 11 includes more commands than ever to consolidate multiple mouse clicks and keystrokes into a direct voice command that can be spoken anytime -- no matter what is active on the screen. Users can now use the "search [website] for [XYZ]" commands to make precise searches in Facebook.com, Twitter and Bing. Dragon 11 also lets users voice keyword searches in its Help topics (“Search Dragon Help for [XYZ]&rdquo&, and includes new voice shortcuts that make it faster and easier to manage email, tasks and meetings.
This in my opinion finally makes this type of search useful by voice.
Navigating the Computer Desktop: Dragon now supports more voice commands to show common Windows elements including the desktop and Control Panel, or folders such as My Documents and My Pictures. New commands enable users to effortlessly switch to a specific window (Dragon displays a numbered list so the user can just say the number of the desired window.) In addition, Dragon 11 allows shorter names for starting popular applications (e.g., "start Microsoft Word" instead of “start Microsoft Office Word 2007&rdquo&.
little, incremental improvements that add up.
Navigating Documents: Dragon 11 allows users to scroll up or down pages within programs including Word, Outlook, Excel, and more, with the same command wordings such as “Start scrolling down,” “Speed up” and “Stop scrolling.”
nice change for less use of mouse.
More Precise Keyword Searching: For its search shortcut commands, Dragon 11 now applies its autoformatting rules to the dictated search keywords (the XYZ in “Search … for XYZ". In addition, it gives the user the option to edit or augment the search string before launching the search (without this option, the user must say the entire search command in one utterance: Dragon will launch the search as soon as it hears a pause). These enhancements can save a lot of time, since the more precise your search string, the faster you find exactly what you need.
Getting Started with Dragon is Faster and Easier
Faster and Easier to Create a User Profile: User profile creation has been redesigned to be simple and conversational. The process now offers information about why each step is needed and helps users make optimal choices. Setting up a microphone or new audio source is more clear and straightforward.
Basically you go through the same steps with the same choices. But there is better guidance, particularly beneficial for the do-it-yourself learner.
Local Settings: During user profile creation, users can now select their region of the world so that Dragon can automatically use regional formatting for dates, currency, etc.
Good idea, but it can be tricky. Some people live one place but work in a different environment. A few users (including translators) may choose to create multiple users with different options to take advantage of this feature.
New Text Options to “Train” Dragon: Dragon 11 provides simplified training texts designed to make the reading experience easier and more informative.
If you are reading this, your reading level is good enough that simplified training texts don't help you much. But for poor readers, easier is better.
Easier than Ever to Use Dragon with a Digital Voice Recorder(not available for Dragon Home)
Initial Training Time Reduced for Recorders: Creating a new user profile for a digital recorder, or adding a digital recorder as a new audio source for an existing user profile, is now much faster: the minimum reading time required to train Dragon with a recorder has been reduced from 15 to 4 minutes.
This eliminates a major headache!
Ability to Use .DSS and .DS2 Files: Dragon 11 can now accept .dss and .ds2 formats directly. Files recorded using these digital speech recording formats (found on recorders from Olympus, Grundig and Philips) previously required conversion prior to transcription.
in theory, this should improve recorder recognition. I've not measured results yet.
Improved Playback (not available for Dragon Home)
Smoother fast-forward and rewind behaviours are now available and users now have options to control speed and volume.
Enhanced Hardware and Software Support
Netbook Computers: Users can now comfortably view the Dragon user interface and tutorials on netbook (mini notebook) computers.
Office 2010: Dragon 11 is compatible with Microsoft Office 2010 applications. Full Text Control, Menu Tracking and Natural Language Commands are supported for Word 2010, Outlook 2010 and Excel 2010 allowing users to take full advantage of Dragon dictation and commands in these new applications.
This is particularly welcome for 64-bit Office 2010 users. There is a new command to learn to get to the Office-2010 file menu.
OpenOffice Writer: Support includes dictation, correction, selection and playback.
Very helpful to some. My customers that use Word and the macro capabilities of Word won't be able to switch to OpenOffice easily, but some with simpler requirements might choose to do so.
Additional Usability Enhancements
Require “Click” to Select Hyperlinks: This option is now enabled by default so that, while in a Web page, users don’t experience unexpected actions upon saying a short phrase which is also the name of a hyperlink on the page.
Good change, it is what is says and that is a change in a default. A few will have to reverse the change, or learn to say "click" more often.
Enhanced Open User Dialog for Large Sites (Pro +): Displays profiles in a tree structure for faster access to multiple profiles"
Nice change for sites with over 10 profiles visible on a system
UNDER THE HOOD
Not advertised is a major change in microphone usage. Dragon now samples using 22kHz instead of 11kHz. This may help a few high-pitched users, and will change which microphones work best. Some microphone/speaker combinations that previously worked poorly may now work well. A few persons may find that their microphone should change.
More RAM is used, and I think the CPU usage is about the same as in Release 10.
Macros that use accelerator keys (keystrokes) to access functions on the DragonBar need to be reviewed and in many cases changed. This is due to the changes in menus for the DragonBar, so some of the letters used in such macros have changed. The changes shouldn't be difficult for most, but may be a temporary inconvenience.
Some macros that involve capitalization and spacing commands that used the "\" need changes. Specifically constructs such as "\All-Caps", "\New-line", etc. have changed in some instances and will need to be changed within macros. Generally-speaking, these have been changed to be lower-case.
WHO SHOULD DEFINITELY UPGRADE NOW:
Persons who use or plan to use Office-2010 or OpenOffice
Persons with Professional 9 or Legal 9 -- Nuance only lets you upgrade 2 releases, so no use waiting for Release 12 so that you can pay full price. Buy the promotional upgrade and save $100, even if it sits on the shelf a few weeks until you actually do the upgrade.
WHO MIGHT NOT UPGRADE
Persons using Windows-2000, which doesn't appear to be supported. (Or perhaps that support was dropped in Release 10?
Doctors planning to move to an EMR within the next 2-3 years where an upgrade to Dragon Medical would be a better path than upgrading Dragon Professional or Dragon Preferred.
This is an early review, intended to be updated as we experience Release 11 over a wider range of applications, users, and systems. Expect updates about every two weeks through September 2010.
||Upgrade from NaturallySpeaking Professional Release 9/10 to Professional 11--Includes PDF copy of Scripting for DragonNaturally Speaking 11!
||Upgrade from NaturallySpeaking Legal Release 9/10 to Legal 11--Includes PDF copy of Scripting for DragonNaturally Speaking 11!