Dragon Dictate 2.0 Review
I've been using Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac for about two weeks along with Growl. Overall, I'm glad I upgraded although there are still some problems with the system.
Installing the upgrade was very easy. In fact, I still have MacSpeech Dictate 1.5.9 on my computer because while I paid for an upgrade what I got was a new copy of [dd] 2.0. When you go to upgrade one of your profiles from a MacSpeech Dictate profile you will have to redo the training but it doesn't take long.
Once you have Dragon Dictate 2.0 installed you will notice minor cosmetic changes in the interface. Overall, you should be able to dictate just as you did before. Most of the changes seem to be additions rather than changes or subtractions. Also, Growl version 1.2 can be used to notify recognised text rather than having a window always visible on the screen. Later versions of Growl do not work as well at this time.
I primarily access my computer using Zoom and was hoping that the new Mouse Grid feature would enable me to use my mouse less. While Mouse Grid is fairly easy to use, even for someone with low vision, it depends on there being "clicks" of the mouse. So, I haven't been able to use it to look around my screen.
Dragon Dictate is much more stable than MacSpeech Dictate. I can now use websites that involve Flash, such as YouTube, with Dragon Dictate running. It is still a good idea to save your profile regularly but crashes seem more infrequent.
The Available Commands Window has had some changes. More choices are now listed. Some of the commands seem shorter. This makes it easier for someone like me whose disability affects their voice and breathing. Most of the commands work beautifully. The only one I've had trouble with is "reply to this message" in Mail.
One thing that has not been fixed is that I'm still experiencing small words like "the" and "A" being recognized when I am not speaking. Admittedly, part of this may be caused by my use of a Plantronics 995 headset, which is not approved. Clearing those words with "scratch that" can cause glitches with what I'm doing. Oddly, muting the microphone with the headset doesn't always stop this problem so I strongly recommend putting Dragon Dictate to sleep when you won't be using it for a few minutes.
Overall, I would recommend Dragon Dictate 2.0. The increased stability alone makes dictation easier. Plus, with the increased number of available commands and Mouse Grid I think that Dragon Dictate will be more useful for those who have trouble using their hands rather than just preferring to speak.
- Lisa Connor