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.
By Ed Winstead, Ed from Virginia here with a long overdue review of Optimal Layout 2 from independent developer, Benedict Lowndes and available at http://most-advantageous.com. In the summer of 2010 I looked at the original Optimal Layout with the intent of preparing a review. However, I just didn’t feel it was ready and I hated [...]
The MacReviewCast Episode 265 This week we look at Toast 11, Griffin Technology Survivor, Kuboku, Freeware and more. I want to thank you for downloading and listening to the podcast. We have the best in Mac hardware, software and websites reviews. We have a lot of great folks on today’s episode with their reviews and [...]
By Bastian Woelfle: I’d like to tell you about a flickr app, but to be honest right from the beginning, I never was a big flickr user. I uploaded a pic once in a while and sometimes browsed special groups. Last year, I decided to take my photography a bit further and I wanted to [...]
Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast here, hosted at podfeet.com. I’m really excited about the product I’m reviewing today, because I’ve wanted to play with it for ages and for some reason I just never got around to it. The software is iStopMotion from boinx.com. iStopMotion is software that lets you create stop motion movies [...]
Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast here, hosted at podfeet.com. I’m a big fan of efficiency, so I use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. I can’t stand to let go of they keyboard and reach over to the mouse and slooowwwly drag across the screen to pick an item. When I see someone move their mouse [...]
Every so often I hear from the developer of a Freeware/Donationware/Opensource application we talk about on the podcast. I love it when they write and keep me informed about updates or changes to their app. I decided to pass the information along to you via the blog in addition to the podcast. This update was [...]
Hi everyone Gazmaz from the UK here. This week Iâ€™m looking at Sketch a Vector based drawing tool. So what are Vector based drawings? Very basically Vector drawings are mathematically based and will give you an indefinitely scaleable image without losing any quality. A bitmap image which is based on pixels, also known as a [...]
Hi Tim, and all the lovely Mac Reviewcast Listeners! Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast here, hosted at podfeet.com. Today I’d like to tell you about the newest version of Parallels Desktop, the virtual machine software for the Mac. I’ve got a special place in my heart for Parallels as I was involved in the [...]
MacXDVD software is giving away their application, MacX DVD Ripper Pro now till the end of the month. Visit their Web site, http://www.macxdvd.com/mac-dvd-ripper-pro , and download the app then use the license code “BD-TGTXUVYO-OONQRP” to register it.
MACXDVD Software is mainly focus on multimedia software for Mac users. MacX DVD Ripper Pro is the best selling products which is able to access all types of DVD protection and rip DVDs to AVI, MP4, MPEG, FLV, AVI, iPhone 4, iPad, iPod touch 4, PSP, Apple TV, etc. The software is
able to access all types of DVD protection technology including CSS encryption, Sony ARccOS encryption, RCE Region protection, Disney X-project DRM, etc. And we constantly update this software to support any new released protected DVDs. With support for Multi-core CPU and Hyper Threading, MacX DVD Ripper Pro gives the choice to flexibly set CPU Utilization for DVD ripping.
This is a non upgradeable version and there is no technical support for the free version. They also have a paid version which will convert files and HD to different formats along with ripping DVD’s. I have not personally used the software, so if anyone downloads and tries it out, I’d love to get a written or recorded review for the blog or podcast. Thank you!
I’m Buster and I’ve got a quick review of Open Source and freeware . This week’s Open Source pick is Clonezilla. Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partclone and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for [...]
By Chris Marshall: It has been a while since I have done a review of an application for the Mac. Correction, it has been a really long time. There is only one reason for this, and that’s simply that I had all the applications I needed, I just didn’t have a need or desire to [...]
I’m Buster and I’ve got a quick review of Open Source and freeware that I’ve dug up to save money. Just about everything I look for is cross-platform and I’m a big believer in the open-source community but I’ll do some freeware too if it meets a need. For my first review I chose to [...]
Jeff Powell has a review of an application he really liked called MacKeeper: Everything for your Mac in one app. We missed this podcast’s deadline, but it will be in the MacReviewCast #248. But, there is a discount code that only good until July 11th, 2010. 33% Discount can be yours if you use the code “Happy4July” when purchasing it. Head over to their Web site and check it out today!
Allison Sheridan here of the NosillaCast Podcast, hosted over at podfeet.com. Long time no chat! This week I’d like to take a look at an interesting little application from our old friends over at Ecamm. These people create genius products that are just wonderful to use. Probably the most well known among them is the application Call Recorder that gives you a simple and easy way to record your Skype conversations. It’s so seamless that people frequently believe that Skype had it built in because they forgot they bought and installed Call Recorder. I adore their BT-1 Wireless Bluetooth HD camera, played with that one just last week. If you saw my live show when Rose was in town from Australia, the only way I could do the two camera shoot was using the BT-1 added to my iSite. I know the MacMommy can’t do without her Huckleberry from Ecamm, which is a curious little contraptions you pop on the lid of your MacBook that uses mirrors to make the camera point away from you instead of towards you – great fun with a child you’re trying to get into iChat.
I could go on and on with all the great products of theirs I’ve used and enjoyed over the years, but the one we’re here to talk about today is PadSync. You know the rules, we must start with a problem to be solved. The iPad is a terrific device, but the operating system was designed so that you don’t have access to the file system. As a result, if you create a document in Pages or Omnigraffle, you have to mail that document from your iPad to your Mac if you want to work on it there, and then you end up with different versions, extra versions, and confusion is sure to ensue.
Ecamm’s PadSync comes to the rescue – giving you two way sync, not copy, from your iPad to your Mac and back. So let’s take Padsync for a spin and see how it works. Here’s the tricky steps, pay attention now, it’s tough to follow: Connect your Mac, open Padsync. That’s it. No step 3 as they say on their website.
When I tried this out, I was a little bit confused at first because it didn’t work exactly as advertised, because I happened to test out the iWork applications first. Let me explain how it works with other apps first and I’ll come back to iWork.
I have OmniGraffle on both the Mac and iPad so when I plugged in the iPad and launched PadSync, I saw a list of applications down the left side of the window, and in the main area there were a bunch of Omnigraffle files sitting there. Cool beans, these are the files on the iPad! I can double click on the files and they open from the iPad right into OmniGraffle. OmniGraffle whined a bit about the versions being different because I don’t have the latest version of OmniGraffle on the Mac but other than that the files opened just fine.
Next I tried dragging an OmniGraffle file from my Mac desktop to PadSync and a tiny little “syncing” thing came up next to OmniGraffle and in the blink of an eye it stopped and when I looked at the iPad it was there! Worked perfectly.
I kinda wish you could set a folder to sync to the iPad, that would be more true syncing in my opinion. Let’s do a workflow to explain what I mean. I create an OmniGraffle document on the Mac. Drag it to the iPad through PadSync, edit it on the iPad, sync with PadSync, but now I still have to drag it out to the Mac again and I’ll have to make sure I know which one is the latest version. You could still end up in a mess if you didn’t pay attention and edited the Mac version too. So be careful and pay attention!
Now let’s flip over to the iWork apps now that we know how PadSync should work. When I first plugged in the iPad and launched PadSync, I saw Numbers, Keynote and Pages in the application set along with OmniGraffle, but even though they said syncing for a split second too, nothing showed up in the main window when I clicked on each of their icons. A quick email over to Glenn at Ecamm and he explained that the iWork apps require you to export the files first from within the iPad app.
I opened Pages on the iPad, slid my document of choice front and center, and clicked on the little arrow button at the bottom that lets you email your documents or share to iWork.com. the third choice is “Export”. If you didn’t have PadSync, I’m not sure what you’d think that button does – it must go somewhere for some reason? Anyway, once you choose Export you have to choose the file format, which is good actually because you can choose from Pages, PDF, or Word (which is really just a .doc file). That’s terrific, I can see a scenario where you might not have Pages on your Mac, but you could open a .doc file in the most excellent free word processor Bean.
Any-who, the INSTANT I chose a format to export on the iPad, it showed up on my Mac in PadSync. This is soooo cool. I can really see using this as a quick way to move files back and forth, almost as good as if Apple had given us access to the darn file system in the first place! They probably didn’t want to take a chance we’d start rearranging the folders and make the iPad stop working, but they could have let us have access to say the documents folder!
Now PadSync doesn’t work on all applications, but they have a list over on the ecamm.com website and of course that link is in the shownotes. Many of the applications are unfamiliar to me, other than iwork, GoodReader, and OmniGraffle, but reading the other names I’ve not got some apps to go investigate. I discovered Office2 (squared) HD in that list, which says it can let you open and edit Word and Excel files on the iPad. That’s something I need to check out too!
Ok, before I get too entranced with learning about other applications I should finish up with PadSync. PadSync for Mac that Turbocharges iPad File Sharing will only run you $9.95. To have access to the file system for some of the content creation apps on your iPad I think this is a great product. Glenn said this was a rev 1 product, but I think they hit their famous simplicity of use motto right off the bat. Check out PadSync at ecamm.com.