I love the TiVo Premier that I have on the HDTV in my living room. I can control recording via my iPhone or iPad apps and it has a great interface compared to my local cable company DVR. Owning a TiVo Premier just got a little sweeter. Now you can take your shows anywhere you [...]
Last week I received my Logitech Clock Radio Dock S400i to replace an old clock radio I’ve had since the 90′s. I am very impressed and quite satisfied. I’m using my iPhone 4 with the dock and for the price tag of $79.99 retail, I’d recommend it for anyone that needs a clock radio, charging [...]
Last year I looked at the SRS iWOW 3D Audio Adaptor. It was an amazing improvement on audio quality for the iPhone, iPod, and the iPad devices. The idea was that it connected to the docking port of the device and used the devices power and their own software application running on the device to [...]
Last week I sang the praises of a new application in development for searching your Mac and your cloud called Found. The problem is that Found is still in a beta stage and to even use the application you have to get on a waiting list. I was contacted by another developer that told me [...]
The holiday season is upon us, and for many that means trying to find the perfect gift for gadget enthusiasts or trying to find the perfect gift to put on our own lists as the tech lover in the family. While many will be asking for new laptops and smartphones this year, iPad and iPad 2 owners will be surely asking for accessories to complement the use they already enjoy with their tablets. Some will request designer iPad bags or cool Etsy cases, but for those serious about having fun on their iPad, they will surely request the ThinkGeek iCade.
Originally the iCade, an arcade cabinet, was an April Fools joke creation. However, as the pitch for the desktop gaming system went viral, ThinkGeek had no option but to create one for sale.
The arcade cabinet was designed so that users can set their iPad on it to visually mimic an old school video arcade machine. The cabinet comes equipped with retro buttons and joystick, and literally looks like a mini Pacman game once your iPad is sitting in it. Once you have the iCade, you can then download several apps that allow you to play classic games.
The best app to use while playing the iCade is Atari’s Greatest Hits as it lets you get adequate playing use out of the joystick. With the Atari Greatest Hits app you are able to “relive the Golden Age of gaming” and enjoy games that we haven’t seen in decades such as Missile Command, Asteroids, and Centipede. The Atari app is also already ready to play with the iCade so you don’t have to worry about syncing anything up. The iPad will immediately connect with the iCade controls through Bluetooth.
For many years I’ve heard friends and colleagues in the Mac community talk in wonder about how far along speech recognition software has come on the Mac. It was years ago since I last tried it and after spending hours of training the software to recognize my voice, it still did a fair job at best. But when I was approached by Nuance software and asked to do a sponsored review of their Dragon Dictate 2.5 for Mac, I decided it was time to give speech recognition software another try.
I’ve been using Nuance’s great iOS apps, Dragon Dictation and Dragon Go! on my iPhone and loved them, so it was not surprising to me that Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 was amazingly simple to install, setup and begin using.
We all know how speech recognition software works, but Dragon Dictate 2.5 had a few tricks up it’s sleeve. First, I found that it came with a USB headset that made it fast and simple to begin using the software, but then I found that Nuance had free iPhone and iPad software that allowed you to dictate into your iOS device instead of being tethered to you Mac. You can also use any Bluetooth wireless mics that you can pair to your Mac. This made the dictation much more natural and convenient to use.
Needless to say, Dragon Dictate impressed me with it’s fast learning curve and besides the voice training, they also allowed me to enter in many of the text documents I’ve authored over the years so that it could learn my vocabulary along with my voice. Very smart. This combination of understanding your voice along with you vocabulary made Dragon Dictate almost perfect with my dictation tests, a huge leap over the last time I tried speech recognition software.
I’ve only played with Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 for a few days, but I am already shocked at the number of commands that this software understands. When you go into command mode, you can open applications on your Mac and work right off their menus to create, save and edit documents. You can use commands to press buttons that appear on your screen, and you can use commands to format you documents. It will take me weeks in order to fully realize the power behind the command mode.
Nuance has a Numbers mode built into Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 also. Entering long strings of numbers, such as inputting figures or product codes into a database can be accomplished more efficiently and more accurately using Numbers Mode. In this recognition mode, Dragon interprets your voice only as numbers or commands. I also have yet to try the Facebook and Twitter commands. This allows you to post status updates to Facebook or Twitter with a simple voice command, no matter what application is currently active on your screen.
There is just a lot to love about this new version of Dragon Dictate for Mac from Nuance. For owners of version 2.0, the update to 2.5 is free. There are also inexpensive update prices from older versions. The retail price of the full package including USB headset is $199, but Nuance is having a fall sale that cuts the price to $149. Between the integration with the iOS devices and the high-end output I’m seeing on my Mac, I can really recommend this software to anyone.
Tekkeon has just released their new external charging solution called the TekCharge MP1860A. It’s been four years since I’ve looked at any of the Tekkeon charging solutions, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the new TekCharge. I’d forgotten how Tekkeon thinks of everything when it comes to accessories you’ll need for [...]
When I went to Macworld Expo last month, I met with several vendors to see their “newly released” products and get some first looks at “soon to be released” products. One of the companies that invited me to visit was SRS Labs to see their newest version of iWOW 3D for the iPhone, iPad and [...]
Hello everyone, Michelle in NY and today I’m gonna talk a little business with all of you. My business, is Crafts. I’m the 3rd generation in a family owned Arts and Crafts shoppe which my grandmother started over 40 years ago. In all that time, we have tried to accept credit card payments but have [...]
Gazmaz from the UK here. I was lucky enough to receive a code to try out an iPhone/iPod touch game from Chillingo called The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River. The game has more than 20 hours of engaging gameplay spread across 4 chapters, with over 60 different kinds of puzzles varying from [...]
While I’ve been waiting for my 3G iPad to arrive and test out all the great iPad gear I have, I took a look at some iPhone/iPod touch accessories from iSkin. iSkin makes tons of iPhone and iPod gear that just makes sense. The two products I looked at were the iSkin Solo FX with [...]
I get a lot of gadgets and gear that cross my desk, my side desk, my drawer cabinet, my office floor, well you get the idea. Anyway, a lot of the stuff is just that, stuff. Then there’s that one gadget that you keep picking up and looking at it and looking at it and [...]
This holiday season I purchased an iPod nano for my daughter. She had an earlier version of the nano, but lost it. If I was going to buy her a replacement iPod, I wanted to get an accessory that not only was functional, but practical. Enter the Danglet from Collins America. Danglet simply plugs into [...]
Living in Spain as a British Expat I am always keen to look at applications that make my limited use of the Spanish language better, so I was excited to take a look at Jibbigo which promised:
Your world just got smaller thanks to a speech-to-speech translation app for your iPhone.
Hmm what is the point of having a application launch on an iPhone with the message that this is the first time you have launched the application and suggesting you watch the introductory video which ……….. doesn’t work on the iPhone!
As first impressions go that was terrible. I mean really bad!!! Now I know that it is a major weakness of the iPhone the lack of flash BUT they know that so why make the first experience of the application such a negative one?
Loading it up for a second time I was faced with three language pairings to select from:
English (International) – Español
Español – English
English (US) – Español
Now not having been able to view the video I was unsure which to choose. As a fully fledged proper English speaker from the United Kingdom, I wanted English. Technically I only recognise that as the English option anyway!!! I have always felt that English (US) should be called American, and I have no idea whatsoever what English (International) means? To me it has always been and always will be English.
But that wasn’t my dilemma! The issue was the direction as I was going to be speaking in English and wanted a translation into Español I wanted the Español – English option, but wasn’t sure if that meant I would be expected to speak in Español and it would be translated to English.
I selected that option anyway and …….. I got a screen that had the Español flag at the top saying Hola, and a American flag at the bottom saying Hello, so:
- It was requiring me to speak in Español with that selection, but
- It was saying that English was actually English (US)
Hmm not good, and as it seemed to be assuming that the world evolved around the English (US) setting I thought I would adopt an American approach of three strikes and you are out.
So I thought I would change the settings, which it seems requires the application to be closed down and restarted.
After much internal debate and with fingers crossed I selected the English (International) – Español option, and wouldn’t you know it I got the Union Jack flag at the top of the screen, and the Español flag at the bottom.
I thought I would give it a quick test, so pressed the red record button and said “knife”. After a bit of whirling the top box came up with the phrase “The Bus” and the Español translation of “El autobús” which was fine, but I can’t cut my steak with an el autobús!!
So on the three strikes and you are out rule I gave up!
24 hours later, and having reflected that I had kindly been given the opportunity to review the application I thought I would try again. As I was hungry I said “dinner”, which somehow ended up as “where”, which was translated to “dónde”. Again accurate translation, but not of the word that I asked for.
I am genuinely sorry BUT this application, for me, was a total waste of time.
The website does carry this ‘warning’:
Version 1.0 contains a bug that affects the audio output on some iPhone/iPod models. Please update Jibbigo via the App store or via iTunes to version 1.01 (released on November 3rd, 2009). If you used the workaround, remember to set your date back to normal.
I thought it prudent to check which version I had – 1.0.1 so that wasn’t the issue.
I also saw on the Support page that:
Q. What if I’m having trouble getting Jibbigo to recognize my voice?
A. Jibbigo has an optional adaptation mode that adapts to your voice and noise environments. The switch is on the backpage.
But as I had tried with this setting both on and off it wasn’t that either.
For the record I did contact the developers about the issues above. As far as the video goes it is a issue with the 3G iPhone as I suspected but that doesn’t deflect from the initial impression it leaves.
As for the application not recognizing any of the words I was advised to try saying phrases not words, and bizarrely that worked! I know weird or what ….. say a phrase and it works, say one word and you get some random word replacing it.
Having got it working though it was fun, but slow! The translations were 100% accurate every time, but they took an eternity to come up. I doubt that anything can be done about that and the technology is pretty amazing, but as far as been able to use the application in a busy food market (where I tried it out) it was just too slow. I can see how it has value as a learning aid but as a day to day assistant I found it far to slow for practical use.
At $24.99 the application isn’t cheap, but it is very clever.
The good news is that you can put all your music and podcasts and audio books on one iPod and take it with you everywhere you go. The bad news is that if you wanted to share that music or those podcasts with anyone else, you’d have to carry an iPod speaker system with you [...]