Talking to Your Computer

Album Cover: Crash

"You wear nothing, but you wear it so well."
Dave Matthews Band / Crash Into Me

Posted on March 09, 2004 7:21 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Working for a company that specializes in voice recognition and its many applications, I often scour the web looking for articles, discussions or blog entries related to voice. I think it's funny how often I find posts from people who are just getting their feet wet with voice interaction and feel uncomfortable with the idea of speaking to their computer. Just tonight I ran across the website of a self-proclaimed Mac geek who, while playing around with Mac OS X 1.3's speech capabilities achieved "a new level of dorkdom."

I remember the first time I put on a headset and began speaking to my computer. I became so quickly aware of the fact that anyone within 20 feet of me could hear me talking, and that it wouldn't take much for them to deduce that I was speaking to my computer. However, luckily for me, I was surrounded by people who had already taken the plunge, so to speak, and understood that talking to your computer can actually be, dare I say it, cool.

Nowadays, talking to my computer makes just as much sense as laying my index fingers down on the F and J keys or clicking the buttons on my mouse, and it is a fun feeling to know that I'm already comfortable with something that will doubtless become a part of every computer user's routine in the very near future.

Imagine being able to keep up with the syndicated content (e.g. RSS or Atom feeds) you're interested in completely by voice, without having to skim through titles or content. All you ask is, "Have any of my feeds been updated?" and your computer speaks back something like this. This kind of interactivity is already possible – it just hasn't hit the mainstream yet. When it does, though, be prepared for the awkward but rewarding experience of speaking to your computer for the first time.

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