Dead Dragon

I wasted a couple of hours yesterday installing Parallels on my new iMac because I realised to my horror that it wouldn’t run Dragon Dictate. As you know, voice recognition software is a huge part of my productivity. I thought what I might do is run Dragon for Windows in a virtual machine some way down the back of my beautiful new iMac, where nobody could see it.

But having subscribed to Parallels for 12 months and gasping at the price of the pro version of Dragon on Windows (nearly $800) I then discovered that it wouldn't work anyway. Nuance’s software isn't going to be happy anywhere other than in an old X86 environment. And apparently there is no faking it with a virtual machine. It simply won’t run on the new Apple silicon chips.

Luckily I sussed this out before I dropped nearly a thousand bucks on a set up which was doomed to failure. I was kind of pissed that I wasted a couple of hours that I’d planned to spend productively tweaking the Weapons of Choice screenplay, but on the upside, at least I got to remove Windows from my machine, and I cancelled the Parallels subscription before it bit my credit card.

It did leave me with pretty limited options for dictation, however. There are some emerging online resources, but then I remembered that Microsoft Word got a new dictation function added to it a while ago and I decided to give that a spin instead. There’s no escaping Word in trade publishing, so I’ve got a 365 subscription for the Mac flavour. Might it finally have a use beyond reading that first edit from New York?

Let’s find out!

Hmm. It doesn't feel nearly as fast as Dragon, but it's fast enough and the accuracy seems to be about the same too. I used it to dictate this blog entry with much trouble.

Apple’s native dictation solution, which runs through Siri, on the other hand? Not so much.

Dunno how it will go on a big job like transcribing thousands of words on a crunchy deadline. But I’ll try to make it work.