Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dragon Dictate 2.5 – not interested

I won’t be taking advantage of the offer I was emailed today, announcing the opportunity to spend $100 to upgrade from 2.0 to 2.5 of Dragon Dictate.

I like that software, I truly do. In five or ten years it will be awesome, and everyone will use it, or something like it.

But today, using it can still be intrusive and clunky. (See my list of complaints here.)

But the real problem is that the company is simply insane with their pricing. For doctors and legal people, they have specialized products with even crazier pricing. But for ordinary people like me, I’m sorry, I quit. It just costs too much.

Take this release. (Please!) It’s a hundred bucks to upgrade. With the exception of the Microsoft Office Suite, I can’t think of a single product I use that costs over $100, brand new. The idea of an upgrade costing $100 is insane.

But maybe if it’s a really impressive upgrade? Like, from 2.0 to 3.0? No. A hundred bucks is still too much. And, frankly, I never saw that much improvement using Dragon 2.0 over MacSpeech 1.5, so I’m not even sure about major version upgrades. Maybe things improved for them, but for me, none of the changes I did see were improvements.

Besides, this isn’t 2.0 to 3.0. They call it 2.0 to 2.5, but there never was a 2.1, so calling it 2.5 is a feeble attempt to make it seem like a more major upgrade than it is, while admitting it really isn’t much of an upgrade. But Nuance or MacSpeech or whatever they were then pulled the exact same stunt with 1.5 just a couple of years back. “Fool me once…”

But version numbers are just marketeer’s puffery. What new features does it provide?

Supposedly, it gets in your way less than the old version. They now recognize that people use their keyboard and mice even when operating voice recognition software. Good for them. That’s a 2.1 feature if I ever heard of one.

  • Better integration with Microsoft Word 2011? That’s a 2.01 feature.
  • Using an iPhone as a remote microphone? Generously, a 2.1 feature.
  • Social media commands? Puh-lease.
  • Better auto-formatting of dates, numbers, etc.? 2.01.

Ah, but now, at last we come to the real reason they want me to upgrade: it doesn’t support Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion.” Whiskey-tango-hotel? That’s not a reason to buy an upgrade. It’s a reason to flood their tech support lines demanding a fix.

(Note: the ArsTechnica story says it’s a free upgrade to 2.0 users. Not so, according to the email I got from Nuance.)

iTunes playlists, Drag’n’Drop, and Wacom tablets

I noticed that with iTunes 10.4 (80) I can no longer drag songs from one playlist to another. It doesn’t matter whether the source is a smart playlist or a regular dumb one, or even the main music library.

As a workaround, I can copy (cmd-c) and paste (cmd-v), but this is … umm … sub-optimal, because you have to change playlists to do it. Then when you go back to the first folder, any search you might have used before is now gone.

My first thought was that it was a feature that Apple just dropped because that’s how they are, so I posted it to the discussion list on Apple’s site.

But when I made a more serious effort to find the solution, I found it. I found it a lot, in fact, which shows what a lousy job I did searching for an answer the first time. I summarized what I learned there, and I’m repeating the key points below because I’ll find them quicker on my own site.

The problem appears to be using a Wacom tablet. See the discussion here and (same thread) here and here. No idea when that will be fixed. I use a 8 or 9 year old Graphire, and drivers have been a problem for most of those. Sigh.

But this experience also made me learn that you can right click to add selections to a playlist.

I even learned how that first column works, which I never knew before.

Monsoon Panorama

Microsoft has a free iOS app called PhotoSynth that stitches photos together into a panorama. It does a pretty good job. Here’s an example:

Desert Sky

That’s cropped and slightly color-corrected. The original looks like this.

We see clouds like that during the summer monsoons. They rarely turn to rain (or this wouldn’t be a desert) but they bring a fair bit of humidity with them, making it not all that pleasant to be outdoors.