[Ifeffit] Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Athena/Artemis

Adam Webb adamwebb at alpha.asi.ualberta.com
Sun Oct 19 15:13:47 CDT 2003

Dear Ifeffit users,

I have begun using Dragon NaturallySpeaking with programs such as Ifeffit and 
specifically Athena and Artemis.  Due to strain/decay of the tendons of my 
wrists I have been trying to type less.  I have had mixed success with Dragon 
NaturallySpeaking.  I am using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional which has 
a large vocabulary and allows for scripting.  There are times when the 
dictation works very well, and times when it does not work at all.  I assume 
that as I train at it it will get better.  One of the key things is that you 
have to know what you want to type before you type.  And it works much better 
if you can simply talk and say a complete sentence without any pauses.  My 
problem is that I don't always know what I'm saying even as I am saying it :-) 
Using the program is as much self training how to talk to a machine as it is 
training the machine how to understand you.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking has two basic modes.  Dictation mode, which I'm using 
to dictate this letter, simply writes whatever you say directly into the 
application.  In this mode the program is replacing the keyboard.  Command 
mode on the other hand, sends particular keystrokes with a verbal command.  
For example if I say the command "file", the file menu will be activated.  I 
can then select the desired option.  In this case Dragon NaturallySpeaking is 
simply sending the keys "alt+f" to the application.  By writing scripts I can 
create commands to send whatever key combination I wish.  These can be quite 
simple as above or complex.

Athena and Artemis are quite mouse intensive.  But I have begun making scripts 
for some of the most common commands that I use.  For example, open and close 
project.  I have also created scripts to click on the graphing keys.  I don't 
think there are shortcut keys for these functions (?) so I had to be more 
creative.  By using a mouse capture function to get mouse position, I could 
create a script to move the mouse over a button and click it.  For example the 
command "current E" moves the mouse over the button E under the 'plot current 
group in' section and clicks it.  So far scripting this way seems to work 
quite well.

The difficulty arises with correction.  As you dictate mistakes are made.  
This may be because Dragon NaturallySpeaking misunderstands you, or you have 
spoken word that is not in its vocabulary.  It is important to correct Dragon 
NaturallySpeaking in order for it to learn how you speak and learn new words.  
This is typically done by using the "correct that" command.  This brings up a 
dialog window which you can then use to enter the word that you meant.  Once 
you select the word that you want then the program corrects the word in the 
application.  However, this does not work very well with many applications 
including Athena and Artemis.  This appears to be a failing of Dragon 
NaturallySpeaking.  Its correction feature works very well with the included 
DragonPad application and mostly well with Microsoft Word but other 
applications are hit or miss.  One of the difficulties is non-standard 
shortcut keys.  For example, if in the application control-c does something 
other than copy.  In this case it is necessary to write a script specifically 
for that application which overrides what the "copy that" function does.

If anyone has any interest in using Dragon with Athena and Artemis or any 
other application, I would be happy to help them as I can.  Or just to talk 
about program. I'm just learning the program myself and there is very little 
official support for scripting.


M Adam Webb
Alberta Synchrotron Institute (http://www.asi-cls.ca/)
8308 - 114 Street, Suite 2080
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E1, Canada
Phone: (780)492-5464  Fax: (780)492-6160
Email: adam.webb at asi-cls.ca

More information about the Ifeffit mailing list