Another Victory in the Tech Revolution – Dictation

Two or three years ago when David Duffield of the Duffield Law Firm (including tech whizzes Chad Lovejoy and Jason Stemple) taught his seminar on how his firm weathered a tragic fire without missing a client appointment or a hearing, I learned from him that Dragon Naturally Speaking, of which I had been an unhappy “early adopter”, had become a functional program. He also recommended the Sony (digital) Recorder Model ICD-MX20. How’s that for a catchy name. No iPad or iPhone 4s for Sony, numbers or letters only!

That little device explains to me why Sony is getting its clocked cleaned these days (but I still love my Cybershot DSC-H9! It takes great photos!). No matter how much I practice, I cannot get comfortable with the recorder. The screen is black on gray. It is tiny. It has many “folders”. In only connects by USB cable. Its filing system is proprietary. I could go on. I like the feel, solid and metal, making me wonder if it would travel straight through the glass in my back door if I heaved it hard enough.

Likewise, although I have dictated hundred of memos, motions, orders and letters on Dragon, I remain perplexed that it cannot learn how to spell my paralegal’s name, in spite of endless “training”. Nor do I know why it disables my Windows Outlook from loading when it corrupts an “add in”. I can avoid “J. Burton Hunter Iii” if I say, “cap I, cap I, cap I”. It doesn’t even have a sense of humor the way Apple’s Siri does. And, finally, every two months or so, it loses my carefully created profile and makes me train it all over!

So, what is this big development that will revolutionize dictation? Why my little ol’ iPhone 4s of course!

I had already discovered a feature on the i Phone that allows me to dictate to a Dragon app and produce just one page of iPhone printed text. Out of stubborness, I dictated an order using that app but had to send e-mails in six pint-sized parcels. Why didn’t Dragon allow much more that a tweet’s worth of information per message? Perhaps because they still want to charge $99-$199 per license?

I also discovered that I can simply dictate using the little microphone icon on my iPhone and send an audio message to my staff, even from the road. Unfortunately, since I had not obtained for them a foot pedal for use on their computers, they were having to take handwritten notes, or record the digital message on our micro-cassette recorders. Sounds like pulling your Corvette with a mule.

I had visited Amazon and The WEB a couple years ago and just could not find a foot pedal, but here was one by Infinity with a 4.5 star rating. It appeared to come with software (it doesn’t). I
searched online and found a gaggle of “free dictation software” websites. With luck, we hope to have the software installed and footpad functioning soon.

Then, during another seminar presentation, the 2012 WVAJ Annual Meeting and Seminar, I learned from Paul J. Unger of HMU/Affinity Consulting of a new app called Dictamus for my iPhone 4s. It was $9.95, but I sprung for it. Jason of the Duffield firm happened to be sitting in front of me. During a break he assured me that I can send the digital audio files to my staff via e-mail (Bye bye USB cables!). They can receive and open in Dragon where 90+ of the text will be already typed. By the time I get back to the office, the order or motion or discovery request can be ready for my signature. That’s the kind of thing that really turns on an early adopter!

I will update this post when I get everything running. The trouble being an “early adopter”, you tend to gather a lot of “stuff”, Palm Pilots, handheld photo-copiers, some in the original boxes, looking just like new. But, these items are tend to be dead-ends in the evolution of technology, and even the best will be obsolete soon.

At least my Sony ICD-MX20 should make an excellent paper weight!

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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