Typing has never been a great past time, I’ve never studied Pitmans … I’m showing my age now. I started typing on my father’s typewriter; I was impressed with arm at the top of the device that when shoved left would produce a carriage return and line feed all in one swift sweep. I always wondered how it worked if you were left-handed?
I progressed on to a Commodore PET – great keyboard but still didn’t help with the chore of typing. Most of us are getting by with our self-taught typing skills. A dear friend of mine – who I regard as the ‘one finger, tongue out’ typist is, I guess, where most of us started.
Technology has now come on in leaps and bounds, I now sit hear (only at home, I hasten to add) wearing a headset that makes me look either as a flight controller (intelligent) or Madonna (cool) – but realistically I know I look a bit silly, but anything to save all that typing – I dictate ‘a sense of accomplishment’ and end up with ‘a cent of a camp you met’ – I smile thinking it must be my northern accent, following this ‘she works in hackney’ produces ‘she works with acne’.
I’ve been struggling to learn how to type intelligibly with my voice, until now I realise that much of what I type is down to my fingers and not my mind. I say ‘succinct world class service’ it types ‘suck your sink word lass vice’ – my wife walked past and shouted out ‘goin’ to bed?’ to which I nod and say ‘yes love’, unaware of the blog I’m writing – I move from writing about meeting Sophie Ellis Bexter and then appears ‘Are you dead? Yes love’. emmm – what you would of all though if I’d let that through.
Until your replace actual typing with speak-typing (MacSpeech Dicate) you don’t realise how often you go back over sentences dragging and dropping words here and there, punctuating and deleting several words when one would do. This proves quite difficult if you still have the mic on as you end up with ‘arm’ & ‘off’ appearing in the text when you ‘errrm’ & ‘sigh’ throughout – to yourself.
Several weeks ago I cracked it, while trying to get to sleep I started to dream about being at a party, someone in the distance was singing loudly and quite out of tune. I stirred in my sleep and realised the party was outside – a group of party revellers were returning from a night out, quite drunk but sing away, but really out of tune! I couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to invite them into my dream – where the singing was bearable. Following that I wasn’t awoken by their noise.
Reflecting over this in the morning it occurred to me that that the failings of the software were down to it’s internal inability to understand and if I could widen the circle of my compassion and my attitude towards it – I could focus on getting my thoughts ‘on paper’.
While I have no way of influencing the way the software is designed, I’ve found a way in changing the way I use it, although the odd error in dictation does leave me smiling.
Photo credit: Key Foster / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)