Thursday, May 19, 2011

wine and aging-sleepless at Logan

well, one of the few good things about missing your connection at Logan from Nantucket due to fog (normal for flights off the Rock) and having a solid 12 hours of quality time to spend at the aiport is that I finally get to catch up on my blog.

My brother kindly got me the newest version of Dragon Speaking Naturally as a Christmas present. Each year he asks me what I'd like (typical family ingrained practicality trait) and I've always wanted to try speech recongition software in order to speed up my writing and spare my wrists from a second set of carpal tunnel surgery.

During the spring, summer and fall, I write a weekly column (1500-2000 words) for Yesterday's Island which is published online and in print on island. Last week's article on wine and aging was my first attempt to use Dragon and I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use. I was able to speak/type the first 650 words in about 5-10 minutes. I can type about 40-45 words per minute, but I'm not very accurate, so I'll take any help I can get. I haven't had the chance to see how well it works with a lot of noise like a TV program in the background, but I am hoping that I can use it in a variety of ways each week. Like most people, I have my "best" ideas for columns or research or education or whatever in inverse proportion to my distance from a pen and paper, so lately I've taken to carrying around an ancient voice recorder to speak into when the muse strikes. Dragon has a button for transcribing, so my next experiment will be to see how well my static-y recorded voice is transcribed.

This past month, we've been doing twice daily horseshoe crab surveys in the marsh and along the beachfront on the full and new moon cycles and 48 hours before and after each anticipated high tide. Here's an article I wrote two years and many crabs ago. I'll update it soon with some information gleaned from late night surreal surveys.

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