Thoughts on Dictation

You've been reading my last week of posts. Does anything seem different? Does my writer's voice seem different? I'm not sure, so I'm asking, but the reason I ask these questions is because I've engaged in little experiment it's been very revealing.

I've been using Dragon Dictate from Nuance. Its dictation software (obviously), and I've been hearing very good things about it. Since I write a lot, of course I figured I should try some dictation software to see if it improves my writing, and my writing speed.

I am incredibly impressed.

But this isn't a review, though that will probably be forthcoming. What I want to talk about is something that we technology geeks can forget–value for money.

Now I'm not talking some Econogeek thing (see well, not necessarily). I'm talking the fact that we geeks are surrounded by so much cool technology and awesome technology we have an opportunity to save a lot of time and money, as long as you do the right calculations.

Think about any gadget, any piece of software, that you might want to use. You might find it very cheap or you might find it appallingly pricey. But the real value in it is what you get for your money–what you save, what you can make, what you can create, and so on.

That cheap piece of software may provide no value, or even negative value is you have to get more features through other programs or find your of incompatible formats. That expensive piece of software could be absolutely worth it. It's not how much something costs–it's what you get out of it.

So me? I blew $200 on dictation software and the headset that came with it (which for some reason required I use USB, but I won't go into that yet). That's pretty expensive to some people – and to me who is a certified cheapskate – but is it worth it?

As you may have guessed, the answer is yess. I wrote this week's posts in 60% to 75% of my normal time. At the same time, I was able to use this to chat on Instant Messenger. For $200, I am going to save myself anywhere from one to four hours a week easily. I estimate if I focused just on writing it'd cut my time in half. As the goblins in World of Warcraft say, time is money.

(Yes, I had to get a World of Warcraft comment in there).

So remember, all that cool geeky technology out there, it's not cost or cheapness. It's what you get out of it.

Me? I'm getting a lot more free time! Of course, I'll probably use it for writing.

Steven Savage