Need some help

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 15
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May 28, 2012
2:31 PM EDT
So I have a problem..I don't write enough, or at all it feels like sometimes. I think of a great article to write or start working on one and then lose what was in my head to say because I cannot get it out fast enough. I know that it is all my fault and will gladly take any and all grief from others for not applying myself but I think I have a way to finally get past this..

I was recently at a Fry's Electronics in Phoenix and happened to see that they had an incredible discount on this speaking into your computer software called Dragonspeak, or just Dragon and I bought it knowing it was not compatible with Linux.

I got it home and then went through installing WINE on my computer because I did not already have it installed and then tried to see how far I could get into installing Dragon...I didn't get very all. Ugh.

It said I needed ASP or some such and I am sure that is just the first of things it is going to say I need in order to install it successfully. I really want to use it and see if it makes a positive impact on my writing (or lack thereof) but I am needless to sat VERY unwilling to have to get a Windows machine in order to do it. I have happily not had M$ in my house for going on 6-7 years now and really do not want to have too in order to run this one non-Linux program on my computer.

I am running LinuxMint 9.

I thought I would ask the severely wrinkled brains that LXer readers have for their help..;-)

Any and all advice, info or help I can get is most welcome.


May 28, 2012
2:44 PM EDT
Mint9 is ancient; try 12 or 13 and see if that does any better. The version of WINE in the Mint 9 repositories is likely very old, and a newer version is more likely to work. If that doesn't work, I'd say it's a lost cause at this time, though filing a bug report with WINE would probably be helpful so maybe they can figure out what the problem is.

May 28, 2012
3:29 PM EDT
A couple of years ago I saw someone install Dragon on WINE for some new Linux user, at a FreeGeek help night, so I know it can be done (though I'm not sure about the latest Dragon).

And not only was it installed, it was tested before sending the lady on her way.

Here's the relevant page from WineHQ

May 28, 2012
3:39 PM EDT
There was an issue of PCLinuxOS magazine recently (May or April issue I think) in which the author installed Dragon... may be worth a look.

May 28, 2012
4:29 PM EDT
If digitally recording works for you (for me it doesn't, I never want to transcribe it), I'd say bite the bullet and transcribe later. I've experimented with computer-aided transcription before, but usually the copy is so rough, it's not worth it.

Maybe you can consider doing a podcast instead of written articles. Taking the audio and cutting it, or just recording live to tape, might be what works in your case.

Experiment with how you write -- shorter, in multiple parts, outlining first, handwritten, using index cards, starting with a draft and going through revisions ...

May 28, 2012
4:33 PM EDT
I suggest, to quote Ward Cunningham, the "simplest thing that will possibly work". In this case, quit trying to disintermediate yourself from the typing by substituting technological clutter. Instead:

1. Record a podcast to yourself: plug-in mike straight to an audio file or cassette recorder. If mike fright gets in your way, or you're having trouble establishing a writing voice for the piece, set it in your mind that you're explaining it to a friend.

2. Then play it back to yourself while taking notes in an editor. Maybe repeat steps 1 and 2 if you're more comfortable with verbal notes and substantial new ideas need recording, appended to the earlier recording. Don't erase or overwrite anything until the project's done.

3. Shuffle those notes into an outline. Expand the outline until all the points you keep thinking up get covered. This is when you apply all your journalism rules, or something as simple as W2NSD Wayne Green's "tell them what you're going to show them, then show them, then tell them what you've shown them". Keep coming back to the outline night after night until it no longer feels incomplete.

4. That becomes the backbone and foundation of your article.


May 28, 2012
4:55 PM EDT
Here's another FWIW: a close friend (from Phoenix, no less) told me he bought, installed, and eventually scrapped Dragon (on W7) because every time he read the text it produced he burst out laughing at the curious interpretations it generated. His vocabulary is both extensive and sophisticated, and Dragon consistently broke up multisyllabic words into bizarre little phrases.

I agree with the "dictate now, write later" school of thought.

May 28, 2012
9:27 PM EDT
Hmm, the current version appears to be 11.5, which only has a bronze rating on WineHQ.

It looks like it does install and work with Wine 1.4, but not everything works and it has a bunch of requirements. Wine 1.3 doesn't work.

Version 10, on the other hand, has a gold rating, and works with 1.3. Unfortunately, this is fairly normal in my experience. :(

A quick search for Linux voice recognition software doesn't turn up any ready to use programs. The only thing I know of out there that was every working for Linux was IBM's Viavoice, which used to be freely available. However, IBM sold Viavoice (to Nuance, the makers of Dragon), and as far as I know it's no longer available. Obviously, Nuance has no interest in supplying it. A Google search reveals that it may still be available from more uhm, questionable, sources, but I"m not certain they're really there.

Voxforge and Sphinx appear to be the two big open source projects, but AFAICT neither are end user ready and there's no real sign they ever will be.

May 28, 2012
9:27 PM EDT
Scott, maybe you can look into doing interviews. That's a nice way to change it up.

May 28, 2012
9:40 PM EDT
Lots of IBM Viavoice software on eBay. Some as low as a few U.S. dollars. I also see Dragon 10.

May 28, 2012
9:41 PM EDT
If you really want to dictate to your computer then you have to figure out a way to make Dragon work, because it is by far the best dictation program. If you can't get it to work well with WINE you just might need to hold your nose and use a Win or Mac machine. I won't hold it against you-- this is something that Linux doesn't have, and if it helps you then you must use it.

Dragon needs some "training", but once you have a good vocabulary built up it's fast.

May 28, 2012
10:08 PM EDT
> Lots of IBM Viavoice software on eBay.

How much of it includes the Linux versions? That's the key question. I think I even have a Windows version lying around here somewhere.

May 28, 2012
10:13 PM EDT
> How much of it includes the Linux versions?

I was looking for versions that are known to work well with Wine. I'm sure the Linux version would be harder to come by.

May 29, 2012
2:38 PM EDT
We've had several instances where Dragon was needed for some of our special needs kids. We could never get it to work under Wine or Crossover. I contacted the folks that make crossover and it isn't on their radar to do just because of the complexity of getting it done.

We've simply wrangled a copy of Windows XP and installed it under VB. The RAM requirements are pretty extensive (two gigs just to get it to load right) but it does work. I know that defeats the purpose of what Scott wants but in my experience, it's the only way of getting it to function on a Linux machine. Da**ed shame that.

May 29, 2012
3:15 PM EDT
I'll second or third the call for installing the latest WINE for recent Windows software versions.

Wizard101 is the last Windows program I install, for my kiddies. It runs just fine with WINE 1.4 and 1.5, but objects to things earlier.

Good luck with speech recognition. I participated with Apple's "Wreck A Nice Beach" project. Say it fast while thinking "Recognize Speech". Exactly as Scott says, finding the borders between words can be just too darned hard for a computer program to determine.

May 30, 2012
1:52 PM EDT
Thank you all very much for your responses. I am going to take it all in an figure out my next best step. Which I will post here for sure. :-)

I love you guys, Scott

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