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Hi Jeff, I have pretty strong opinions about this (I guess a lot of people do, but I normally don't have strong opinions about many things). 1. Not nearly enough attention is paid to the argument for people with disabilities. With an estimated 75% of the population having some sort of disability (I don't have the stats on me, but check out the whole chapter in "Don't Make Me Think V2"), it's not so much about whether YOU "...would I want to extend the creaky, rickety old bridge of voice communication..." to anything, but whether or not it would benefit the world as a whole. 75% of the population is lots of people - the potential majority. Look no further than your own brainchild, SO - For developers, it's not perfect, but people need it and "it works": http://stackoverflow.com/questions/87999/voice-recognition-software-for-developers 2. Most reviews of this type of software are full of... it. How is it that anyone who 'reviews' voice recognition or hand writing recognition spends a whole 5-10 minutes training/using it and calls it crap. I get that some people have the attention span of a goldfish but this software isn't magic (yet). As a result, the reports of voice and hand writing recognition being crap are highly exaggerated. - I write software that relies on Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and the hand writing recognition works - given that you don't write like a slob. It's not perfect and it doesn't have built in learning yet, but when it does, it'll only be better. - Dragon Naturally Speaking, once trained works VERY well. The CEO of my company is functionally blind. He uses a screen reader with MS Mike and Mary as well as Dragon to great success. He dictates about 30-40 e-mails a day in between everything else he does. I've found errors in maybe 5% of his e-mails to me. Take a look at your inbox: that's likely better than most people's typing. It's worrying that, given your public voice, people might take what you say here as a truthful indication that these technologies don't work, and aren't worthwhile. They do, and they are.
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Feb 17, 2010