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Be careful when you curse at your computer, because now it understands what you're saying. It's not quite HAL, but with Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-recognition software installed, your computer can translate your words into screen text. While speaking at a normal pace without pausing between words, you can dictate entire paragraphs, compose e-mail messages, create reports, draft letters and edit proposals as sentences appear on your screen.
The program's 30,000-word dictionary contains commonly used words and names and also provides a 230,000-word backup dictionary of less frequently used words. Use dictation shorthand (voice macros) to train the program to recognize spoken acronyms or abbreviations while the full text appears on screen. The Select-And-Say feature can correct and edit your text as you go using voice commands. For example, by saying "select," followed by the text you want to change, you can replace it with a new word or phrase. The package includes a microphone.
Personal Edition, $695; Professional Edition, $995. Dragon Systems, 800-TALKTYP, 617-965-5200. Circle #812
Give your keyboard and mouse a rest with the Kurzweil VoicePad. The word processing application lets you use voice commands to create, format, preview and print documents, change program options, and navigate through menus and dialog boxes.
You can dictate numbers into your documents as fast as you can say them. Copy dictated text to the clipboard for use in other Windows applications, such as spreadsheets, databases and e-mail programs.
VoicePad includes a 200,000-word dictionary, from which it creates a 17,000-word active vocabulary. Customize the vocabulary by adding up to 3,000 additional words. Alpha Software claims VoicePad learns and adapts to your speech patterns at up to a 97 percent accuracy rate. A headset and microphone are included.
$69.95. Alpha Software, 800-451-1018, 416-544-9000. Circle #813
VoiceType Connection for Netscape 3.0
IBM's VoiceType Connection for Netscape 3.0 allows you to enjoy voice surfing on the Internet or intranet with the help of a 22,000-word dictionary (expandable to 64,000 words). This speech-enabled Web browser permits you to choose from 20 commands, including Go To, Open Location or Page Up/Down, to navigate the Web. The program's Add Voicemark command uses your own spoken keyword or phrase to bookmark your favorite sites. When combined with IBM's VoiceType 3.0 or Simply Speaking programs, VoiceType Connection supports direct dictation of e-mail into the Netscape Navigator message-composition editor and text into Web-page edit fields. A microphone is included.
$14.95. IBM Corp., Sold through Web orders only: http://www.software.net.