OK, as a less than speedy typist, I’ve yearned for voice recognition. I’ve tried it before and the results were impressive, but not enough to incorporate it into my daily life. A local lawyer demonstrated Dragon Dictate NaturallySpeaking Preferred version 8 for me and I purchased it to try this product once again.  But before I could do so, the new version of Dragon Dictate NaturallySpeaking Preferred (Version 9) was released. So, of course, I upgraded. After using the software for only one day, I can tell this is going to be a major part of my professional life.

Here’s my formula for success in case anyone is interested:

  1. I purchased the Preferred Edition because of the price ($199).  I am told that the more expensive Legal Edition is not particularly worth the extra cost.  I have had those I respect say that the Professional Edition is worth the extra cost, but frankly I can’t see how at this moment.
  2. A lot of memory is very important.  Before I took this step I upgraded my computer’s memory to 1.25 GB.  One of my colleagues tells me that 2 GB would be better.
  3. Get a good USB microphone, not one that plugs into the computer’s soundcard.  I was unable to find the quality of microphone that I desired shopping in Oklahoma City yesterday.  So I ended up buying a $29.95 microphone from Staples.  It seems to work quite well. But I’ll probably want to get a wireless headset at some point.
  4. Do the training even though it says you don’t have to train.  Then go to the trouble of using the software to make any corrections so that it learns about your voice and your dictation style.

I recognize that this is not for everyone. If you are a speedy typist is probably not worth the effort.  However, for many lawyers who are already dictating lots of material or for lawyers who are typing at a less than adequate speed, this may be the most important software application of 2006.

You don’t just have to rely on me for the recommendation.  It was featured on National Public Radio this morning and profiled by David Pogue in the New York Times last week.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, I dictated this blog post using the software with a very few corrections.