Ten Mistakes to Avoid in Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Everybody makes mistakes, and some people make really big and entertaining mistakes. I made a ton of mistakes with NaturallySpeaking, and probably you’ll make some, too, from time to time. Here’s all I ask: Don’t make these ten obvious mistakes that I guessed ahead of time. Be original. Be creative. Go out there and make brand-new mistakes that no one else has ever thought of before.

Running a lot of programs simultaneously

NaturallySpeaking assistants will grab lots of memory. It grabs even more when Natural Languages applications run, and then your word processor has its own memory greed. If there’s not enough RAM for everybody, everything slows down.

So shut down programs that you aren’t using. Plan your activities so that you don’t have to run NaturallySpeaking, Word, and Internet Explorer all at the same time.

Telling NaturallySpeaking to shut down the computer

Certainly you can imagine an operating system that gracefully handles a shutdown request from one of its applications. But this is Windows. It isn't always smooth sailing.

Correcting what you ought to edit

Use the Correction process only when your NaturallySpeaking assistant has made a mistake that you don’t want it to make again. If you just said the wrong thing, edit it. Although the program will take the final edit and learn from that, you don’t need to blame your assistant for your mistakes.

Editing what you ought to correct

NaturallySpeaking’s performance will never improve if you don’t tell it when it has made a mistake. Sometimes it seems easier just to say, “Scratch That” and repeat the phrase again, but in the long run it costs you time because you’ll see that same mistake in the future.

Cutting corners on training

You can, if you’re so inclined, skip out on the New User Wizard after the first part of General Training and never fix mistakes. If you do this, NaturallySpeaking will never be more than a toy. If you give training a little bit of time on a continual basis, you will reap great rewards. See Chapter 18 and make a commitment to regular training.

Forgetting to run Audio Setup again

So you get a great new microphone that you expect to improve NaturallySpeaking’s accuracy, and instead it gets worse. Maybe you forgot to tell NaturallySpeaking that anything had changed.

The way to tell NaturallySpeaking that something has changed is to run Audio Setup again. You should also run it again if your voice volume changes or if you move your computer to a new location. Anything that would make you sound different is an occasion to run Audio Setup again.

Using somebody else’s username

You might think, “We sound alike. Why should I bother to train my own user? It won’t make any difference.” It will make a difference. The performance will be poor, and if NaturallySpeaking starts adjusting to your voice, it will start performing badly for the user whose identity you are borrowing.

Speaking into the back side of the microphone

The microphone that comes with NaturallySpeaking is a noise-canceling directional microphone. That means that it has a front side and a back side. It tries to pay attention to what comes in the front side, and tries to cancel out what comes in the back side. The front side has a little mark indicating that it’s the front.

Creating shortcuts or macros that sound like common words

Dictation shortcuts can get you into trouble. Make sure that any command or shorthand that you define consists of at least two words. Trash the Document would still be a dangerous macro to have lying around, but the danger would derive from rash decisions rather than accidental usage.

Forgetting to proofread

NaturallySpeaking doesn’t make spelling mistakes, so spell-checking is useless. But that doesn’t mean that your documents are perfect. They just have correctly spelled mistakes in them. When your document has correct English words that only sound like what you meant to say, your readers may think you are trying to be clever.

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