Monday, August 30, 2010

Should I Upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 11?

A DNS user recently asked me whether he should upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 11 and if so, which version. The latter question is easiest to answer so I'll tackle that first. If you have the Preferred edition, the equivalent for version 11 is called Premium. The Professional edition is much more expensive and mainly targeted at corporate users. The cheapest edition, Home (formerly called Standard), doesn't allow you to transcribe from a digital voice recorder (among other things). For more information, review the feature matrix and product edition comparison.
Note that in order to qualify for the upgrade (versus full) version, you need to be running DNS 9 or 10. Also, you need to purchase the equivalent edition e.g. Premium 11 if you have Preferred 10.
Now let's return to the question of whether you should upgrade in the first place. In his NY Times article, David Pogue says, "It’s probably not worth the $100 to upgrade to Dragon 11 if you already have 10 (and maybe even 9)." Based upon what I've read, I like where Nuance is going with DNS and I'm looking forward to using version 11 someday. As for releases of most mature software products, there are many minor improvements that really aren't worth upgrading for, especially if you are on a budget! However, there are several major improvements -- though depending on how you use the product, they also may not warrant an upgrade. In the table below, I've listed what I think the 7 major improvements are, along with the circumstances under which you'll likely benefit from them.
Major ImprovementYou will benefit from improvement if...
Improved and more responsive recognition accuracy (Note: the recognition accuracy is said to be 15% higher than DNS 10 but that version already claimed to have up to 99% accuracy)
  • You are a heavy DNS user e.g. several hours per day, several days per week
  • You have an atypical voice
Easier to control Windows applications: more commands, better implementation of some existing commandsYou use DNS to interact with Windows applications instead of using the mouse and/or keyboard
Automatically detects audio quality issues ("because a significant percentage of misrecognitions can be caused by simple audio quality issues such as incorrect microphone connection or placement, background noise, and Bluetooth microphone out of range or low on battery")
  • You use DNS in different locations
  • You use a battery-powered headset
  • You use different headsets
  • You change your computer's audio settings frequently
Sidebar (replaces Sample Commands window): displays context-sensitive commands and tips
  • You use DNS to control applications which requires learning a lot more commands
  • You aren't inclined to run the Tutorial, read the User Guide, read and complete the End-User Workbook exercises or use the Help system
Configures itself based upon your computer's hardware
  • You want to run DNS on your NetBook (which is lower-powered) realizing that recognition will be slower, you'll be using a smaller vocabulary and Natural Language commands will be turned off
  • You want to take advantage of your advanced hardware e.g. multiple processors
Compatible with Office 2010 and OpenOffice WriterYou use these applications
Detects corrections of misrecognitions when the revisions are typedYou don't use the dictate method to correct misrecognitions i.e. say "Select <misrecognized word>", "Correct That" to display the  Corrections dialog box

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