In several previous posts, I've mentioned that I like to compose while walking on the treadmill. The problem, I had noted, is trying to cache several hundred words until I have an opportunity later to commit them to disk. In one of those posts, I opined (or pined) that it would be nice to have the Dragon speech recognition software, so that I could speak into a portable recorder (or the PC itself, I suppose) and have the recorder and the program do the rest of the work.
My wife, lovely soul that she is, read my blog and got me the software for Christmas. I installed it on my PC, and "taught" it about my voice the other day. Friday night, I decided to try it out.
Over the course of 15 minutes, I recorded just over four minutes. Saturday, after setting up Dragon to accept input from the recorder, I plugged it in (it's got a built-in USB port), copied the file over, and hit "Transcribe the recording."
The (often humorous) results are below. A few things I want to point out:
1. This is first draft. So go easy on me.
2. Without the context of the rest of the story, this snippet won't make much sense. But I'll give you a hint: the story is called "Running With The Beetles," and it's a take on the famous Pamplona event with a similar name.
3. When I'm writing, I frequently employ what I call "digital post-its." If I can't think of the right word, so as to not lose momentum I just type SOMETHING and keep going. So the capital SOMETHING you see in the cleaned-up version is an example of that.
4. At one point I say "10 to 12, maybe even 16, but definitely not 18." Earlier in the day, I had looked up the duodecuple, tredecuple, sexdecuple, and octodecuple. While walking, I couldn't remember those exact words, which are the equivalent of saying "duplicate" or "triplicate," but for 12, 13, 16, and 18, respectively. And I didn't want to make Dragon's head explode. So I just said the numbers.
5. In listening to the recording, a lot of the miscues were due to my breathy tone. And in one case, I doubled back. I can't "be mad" at the program for that.
So without further ado...
Training paid off I found I was leaving the panic both of men and arthropods as and when I looked down I was distracted for the insects talking to him except unfortunately my glasses when skidding off my face planted on him and him very blind without them I quickly saw the room for the Flickr find him because I heard the sound of approaching feet of my fellow racers as well as the first person I had to get out of the way I know, devices that could involve looking for something we had to move through the unfocused cause I thought I could see an alleyway sounded to us in a way and not a curve in the racecourse defeats the footage of getting closer I had to try for chromatin and continued calling until the sound of the race something to later approved the five released separately the right choice I was safe in her the sound of things was like a long crop duster plane flying into this mess but got louder soon was doing but other self clicking chirping things in the house thousands of tiny feet, walking toward me what was going on for set up stillborn Elizabeth. She something for nothing just a something Hayes seven louder and then stop after perhaps a minute of uncomfortable silence experienced fornication which is a great 11 letter word for the sensation of doing it on your skin. Apply for shipwreck on my left ankle it was nothing to jam scarcely more noticeable the slight splinter from picks open the social worker project offender to dismiss it completely when I had to Lucy suddenly my face was on the ground and the like without him when I awoke my vision problems worsen for. Not only for times 10 to 12 and 60 Atlantic Coast definitely not able to see anything for something was wrong and wasn't sure what it is definitely something that was not right-my wife I had the effect of the hotel ACC insider swear herself with a person becomes a dozen needles so she decided to stay at the hotel and sleep for socialist you would worry about me to be there I had to get to pick myself up and brushed off my legs and began going in the direction of the hotel even though my subdivision was definitely out of whack for a pretty good idea of where to find the hotel I made a mental map has had left the course several times over the previous few days I
had to massage my wife used for Lavender skin cream effective salivary distinctly
What it is supposed to say is
My training paid off. I found I was leading the pack, both of men and arthropods.
(exiting text will be added here)
When I looked down, I was distracted. By the side I saw insects (existing text)
I tripped. Unfortunately, my glasses went skidding off my face when I hit the ground. And I'm very blind without them. I quickly felt around for them. I couldn't find them. But then I heard the sound of approaching feet, both of my fellow racers as well as the pursuers. I had to get out of the way. I know the common advice is to curl up in a ball and let them pass. But something told me I had to move. Through the unfocused fuzz, I thought I could see an alleyway. I hoped it was an alleyway, and not a curve in the racecourse. The footsteps were getting closer. I had to try. I crawled in and continued crawling until the sound of the race grew fainter and fainter. I breathed a sig of relief. Apparently, I had made the right choice. I was safe. And then I heard a sound: a faint buzz, like a long crop duster plane flying in the distance. Soon it was joined by other sounds. Clicking, chirping, and the sound of perhaps thousands of tiny feet, walking toward me. I wondered what was going on. I stood up, still blind as a bat, hoping I could see something. But there was nothing. Just a SOMETHING haze. The sound grew louder and then stopped. After perhaps a minute of uncomfortable silence, I experienced formication, which is a great 11-letter word for the sensation of tingling on your skin. It was followed by a sharp prick on my left ankle. It was not a painful jab, scarcely more noticeable the slight splinter that one picks up in a simple woodworking project. I was prepared to dismiss it completely, when my head felt woozy. Suddenly my face was on the ground, and the lights went out. When I awoke, my vision problems were worse than before. They had not only times 10 to 12, maybe even 16, but definitely not 18. I was definitely not able to see anything. Something was wrong. I wasn't sure what. But there was something definitely that was not right.
I had to find my wife. I had to get back to the hotel. My wife, you see, had decided to spare herself the pain of seeing me trampled by a dozen beetles, so she decided to stay at the hotel and sleep so that she wouldn't worry about me. She would be there. I had to get to her. I picked myself up and brushed off my hind legs, and began going in the direction of the hotel. Even though my sense of vision was definitely out of whack, I had a pretty good idea of where to find the hotel. I had made a mental map as I had walked the course several times over the previous few days. I knew which was to head. And besides, my wife used a lavender skin cream, and I could smell it very distinctly.
Overall, I'm pretty pleased. I did learn a few lessons:
- I need to remember to say "period" and "new line" to (no surprise) end a sentence and start a new line.
- As I said in one of the previous posts, I seem to be better at writing dialog on the treadmill. This clearly was not dialog, and I really did find the actual creation process to be harder.
- Speaking of harder, I'm surprised I found it so hard to dictate while walking. Sure I was going 4.3 miles per hour on an incline of 4.0. But I'm in pretty good shape.
Based on the latter, I may have to work my way up to walking and talking for 25 minutes (my usual treadmill time). Of course, folding laundry isn't nearly so aerobically challenging. So that's another option.
In fact, if I may whet your appetite for tomorrow's post, I tried a record / transcribe session today, with much better results.
So until tomorrow...