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Computer vs. typewriter vs. long hand

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Posted by Hugh
Jun 4, 2014 at 08:32 AM

 

Dr Andus wrote:


>There is one more method still: dictation with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
>I did try it many times and have always reverted to typing in the end
>(though with the help of PhraseExpander), as with typing I don’t really
>need to think through the shape of the entire sentence upfront, but
>Dragon requires one to compose a more or less full sentence in one’s
>head, which I’m finding a lot more taxing activity mentally speaking.
>Somehow using the hands frees up the mind to think up the next part of
>the sentence, while dictation requires one to pause to think.
>

I use Dragon Dictate quite a lot for longer pieces of writing - but only having hand-written out, and edited by hand, what I want to say. (My brain can’t cope with composing entire sentences that flow, one following another, in my head.) My impression is that my use of it for longer pieces of writing is faster than (my) typing and editing - and I also have sympathy with the “handwriting makes you think better” school (although perhaps that is generational in origin).

I see it as getting two drafts for the price in effort of one-and-a-half. For shorter pieces of writing, the bother of getting out a microphone and launching Dragon doesn’t seem to be compensated for me for by the speed of dictation.

The latest version of DD (4.0) is a distinct improvement on its predecessors. The only problem I now have with it is dictating dialogue - too much punctuation, and therefore too much room for error. I usually type those sections - but based again on a hand-written draft.

 


Posted by Franz Grieser
Jun 4, 2014 at 10:33 AM

 

Dr Andus wrote:

>There is one more method still: dictation with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
>I did try it many times and have always reverted to typing in the end
>(though with the help of PhraseExpander), as with typing I don’t really
>need to think through the shape of the entire sentence upfront, but
>Dragon requires one to compose a more or less full sentence in one’s
>head, which I’m finding a lot more taxing activity mentally speaking.
>Somehow using the hands frees up the mind to think up the next part of
>the sentence, while dictation requires one to pause to think.

That’s what I used to think.
When last year I couldn’t use my right hand after a dog had bitten me, I gave Dragon Dictate a try - I had urgend deadlines to meet. I found I could mimick my way of writing using DD and my keyboard or mouse: Instead of formulating the entire sentence in my head, I would simply start to dictate half a sentence or so. While waiting for DD to type the words out, I would think about the rest of the sentence. If I noticed that I wanted to make a correction, I would use the mouse or keyboard to jump back and would dictate another 2 or 3 words that should be inserted at the cursor position. So: “patchwork writing” is something you can do with dictation software, too.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Jun 4, 2014 at 11:26 PM

 

Franz Grieser wrote:
>Instead of formulating the entire sentence in my head, I would simply
>start to dictate half a sentence or so. (...)  So: “patchwork writing” is something you can do
>with dictation software, too.

Yes, I also tried that. But even with that scenario I found that words come to me more easily at the tip of my fingers than the tip of my tongue. It might be just what one gets used to over a lifetime or the particular gifts one has (sadly I do not have the gift of the gab).

Obviously, it’s nice to have the choice, and it’s clear that people who don’t have that choice (like Steven Hawking) can still go on and produce great works, even by just blinking with one eye!

 


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