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Dragon Naturally Speeking Speech Recognition Software


Brilliant Timesaver, September 12, 2006

I am currently writing this review using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software. It has taken less than half an hour to learn the initial process. What is most fascinating is the rate at which you can type with your voice. It is truly as if you have a secretary typing for you.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking was incredibly easy to install. During the installation process, you'll be asked to plug in the microphone and participate in a training session. This allows you to track your audio settings. When you are prompted to check your microphone volume and sound quality, you may want to do this twice if you do not receive a positive result. You soon learn the value of speaking more professionally.

This program requires full attention and a focused intention. You not only have to think about what you're saying, you also need to format what you are saying as you are speaking. Once you learn all the formatting commands, you can insert them as you talk and format quickly and efficiently.

While you are speaking a DragonPad appears and this is where you type all your text with your voice. At the top of your screen, you will see a DragonBar. This includes a small microphone that you turn on or off. The microphone will not turn on unless you click on the icon. The microphone may be turned off with your voice by saying microphone off with a pause after you speak. You can also tell the program to "go to sleep" and then to "wake up."

I found the "auto format on" does not give you as much control as simply stating which punctuation marks you require. While you are talking you may decide that the last sentence you said is not what you really wanted to say. In order to erase your last sentence, all you do is say: "scratch that."

The initial installation and training went very smoothly. You simply read the words on the screen and the computer learns to recognize how you speak. There is definitely a learning curve to this program and patience is needed at the start. The small training manual includes an introduction, installation and training, starting to dictate, working on your desktop, correcting and editing, formatting, dictating names, numbers, punctuation and special characters.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking frees you from your keyboard and allows you to communicate effectively with your computer through your voice. This will allow you to compose memos and letters. The Professional Edition also allows you to enter data into forms or spreadsheets. Since most people can dictate faster than they can type this will give you great freedom. Simply typing your thoughts is only the beginning of a huge adventure which will lead you to even more exciting options like working on the Web searching for websites and navigating website pages (say a link and it goes to the next page, say a word and it finds all those words on the page).

If you enjoy using a hand-held recorder to dictate while you are away from the computer, this program can transcribe what you said. Although you may wish to use you voice most of the time, there are still some things are easier to do with your mouse and keyboard. If you say "select all," then it selects the entire text. So, this might not work when you are trying to change the word "all" to "I'll." Also if you try to say command words within your sentences, this can present a challenge.

Proofreading your text will be essential because now and then when you pause in a sentence, it will add a period automatically. You can add in quotation marks with your voice. I find it easier to do this when you visualize the sentence. If I misspell a word, I simply select the word and then choose a new word from a list or spell the word for the computer. Instead of using your mouse to move around the page there are page up and page down commands. All you say is "go to top" or "go to bottom."

The true beauty of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the speed at which you can now type with your voice. This not only allows greater freedom and imagination, you can close your eyes sit back, be in complete control of your mind, all while accessing your computer and working without back and neck strain, not to mention avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome.

This program is easy as 1, 2, 3. First you learn how to enunciate your words correctly, then you will learn special commands, and finally you continue to build upon the skills learned. For the writer and poet this program could become invaluable as many times you can think up ideas quicker than you can type them. It would seem that the next step in this program's evolution would be to allow the user access to a thesaurus directly instead of having to save the document in Word first. When I loaded up the program the second time today, there was a "tip of the day" at the start. I also found a dictation box that automatically transferred extra text into a Word document. You can also type directly into the Amazon review text box, speak a search word or speak a URL to get to any website.

I'm listening to my secretary read this back to me...how fun! All you do is highlight the entire text and select "sound" in the DragonBar and "read this." This program has interesting possibilities for business executives and for writers, not to mention anyone in publicity. If you want to "hear" reviews instead of just reading them...well, wait until you see what this program can do! All you do is copy/paste a review into the DragonPad and highlight the text. Then, select "sound" and "read this." You can finally listen to reviews. In the future, I imagine we will be able to record reviews and listen to recorded reviews, but until then...

More than highly recommended! Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the ultimate in Speech Recognition Software.

~The Rebecca Review


Feeding the Media Beast: An Easy Recipe...



5 out of 5 stars=    Mysterious Media or Predictable Publicity
Reviewer: The Rebecca Review.com

Mark Mathis has a wicked sense of wit and connects immediately with the reader by first building up your self-confidence and then taking you deep into the mind of the Media Beast. He dispels the myth of unpredictability and guides you through the publicity process.

Feeding the Media Beast is a extremely well organized book. First the author tells you what he is going to present to you and the proceeds to deliver a delicious array of pithy comments, witty remarks, insightful solutions, examples you can relate to, concise descriptions and snappy quotes. This book is well researched and to the point.

The text is snappy and fresh and the author often displays an uncommon perspective. He presents unique ideas on conveying information and shows you how to use this highly potent marketing machine to promote your product or idea.

I was rather impressed with how succinctly and honestly Mark Mathis describes the Media Beast and its voracious appetites. He shows you exactly how to serve up a story the beast won’t be able to resist. In fact, he says it is quite predictable.

“When a Media Leader latches onto your story, big things are bound to happen.”

So, how exactly do you get the Media Beast to pay attention and hunger for your
information? It seems that once you understand the nature of the beast, you can follow twelve simple rules to success.

Mark Mathis has worked as a television reporter, columnist and talk radio host. In the past few years, he has been teaching the Media Rules. These rules include the Rule of Difference, Emotion, Simplicity, Preparation, Easy, Repetition, Resource, Invention, Timing, Ego, Balance, Ambush.

You might be especially intrigued by how he answers the following questions:

1. Why do reporters seem to have a worldview that differs from the general population?
2. Why do reporters tend to support liberal positions?
3. Where do journalists come from?
4. Why is the most popular news often irrelevant to your community?
5. How do you make a reporter care about your story?
6. Are you prepared to give an interview?
7. Do you know what the Media Beast wants for dinner?
8. Is bad publicity avoidable?
9. How can you get reporters to call you for your expert opinions?
10. How do you avoid the traps even PR professionals fall into?

Mark Mathis explores all angles, highlights simple truth and elaborates with anecdotes that will often make you laugh. You will learn how to make a difference in the world, create a compelling message and utilize DES (difference, emotion and simplicity).

Feeding the Media Beast is for anyone who views the news, produces the news, wants to be in the news or has been burned by the news.

Fear the Beast no more!
Even if he is knocking at your door.



In the Line of Fire

Analyzing and Addressing Pertinent Questions of Interest, May 26, 2006

Being able to analyze questions and find out what the interviewer is truly asking is perhaps one of the first steps towards a more peaceful interview. Not only do you then remain in control of your answers, you are able to steer the conversation in the direction of what you are trying to promote.

Whether you are answering business questions or questions about your own life, In the Line of Fire teaches you how to present yourself or your company in an honest and forthright way, while avoiding the pitfalls that could cause you to become evasive and defensive. Active listening is also discusses as are methods for self-defense, self-control and concentration.

I loved the ideas on the "Key Word Buffer" because they instantly promote and change the direction of a negative question to produce a positive result. Turning negatives into positives is what this book is all about. Throughout the book there are real-life conversations and famous situations where questions threw even the most experienced political figures into a tailspin of evasion.

"Never react to tough questions with anger; instead always respond with firm, but calm resolve." ~ pg. 126

If you love this book, you may also want to look for: Feeding the Media Beast by Mark Mathis which I found to be very helpful for my first few interviews.

~The Rebecca Review



Media Presentation Packet/Folder

Perfect Author Presentation Packet, June 7, 2006

The Avery six-pocket organizer is perfect for organizing marketing materials. This has enough room for a book (200 pages) at the front, a CD or DVD (on the last page), business card and clippings from newspapers. The author biography, interviews and even a bookmark can be placed in the back of the folder.

The two inner pages are translucent and have pockets on both sides. Perfect for organizing your presentation when mailing out a book to a reviewer, especially if you have a lot of material to send.

The author who sent me this folder also attached a little Velcro fastener to the right side to keep the entire folder sealed during shipping. I thought it was most ingenious and will definitely use this type of folder when sending out my own books. It survives shipping much better than other folders and maintains the beauty of your book.

~The Rebecca Review


Putting it on Paper - Book Promotion

Stylish and Effective Book Promotion , June 10, 2006

"If I had more time, I would have written less." ~Mark Twain

Dawn Josephson interviewed book reviewers and buyers from major distribution houses to find out which press kits get a positive response. The promotional pieces you use help to get your book noticed and create an inviting space where the reviewer can view comments, interviews, extra details and maybe even customized bookmarks with a matching business card.

If you have written your book and it is being published, media kits may then be created for The Media, Book Distributors and Individual Bookstores. Dawn Joesephson encourages authors to create customized professional pieces.

You can choose from a cover letter, press release, mock book review, author bio, sell sheet, catalog sheet, a chachki (give-away) item and article. By dividing the seemingly daunting job of putting a press kit together into easy-to-follow steps, the process is much less complicated.

Should you send a book out with every media kit?
How many articles should I include?
Why does personalization impress?

Authors will especially enjoy the Frequently Asked Questions and Key Points that help to keep the project at hand on focus. A Day in the Life of an Editor (or reviewer) gives insight into how much time editors really have to read books and write reviews. Reviewers might enjoy reading about the Basic Anatomy of a Book Review.

A well-thought out media packet can truly impress a book reviewer and give them the needed all-encompassing impression of your work. This gives a reviewer a good first impression of who the author is, what their mission is in life and how they want their work presented.

~The Rebecca Review


Writing Nonfiction - Author Guide

Streamline the Writing Process, May 29, 2006

Historically, a book had to be published in hardcover to be taken seriously by the media. In a few years, a book will have to be in paper form, as well as digital, to be considered successful. ~Dan Poynter

Dan Poynter is an expert on publishing and his books are especially helpful as you begin your book-writing journey. Writing Nonfiction will take you from the initial idea stage to the birthing of your new book. There is no feeling like publishing your first book and this only leads to the desire to publish again and again.

I've been recommending Dan Poynter's books and site to authors for years because he truly has this entire publishing world organized into books that make a difference in author's lives. I know I could not have published my first book without information I found by reading his work. His books are all so well researched they are inspiring and practical. This book contains information on how to:

Select Your Subject
Select a Book Title and Subtitle
Choose a Book Cover
Set up a Manuscript Binder
Create a Writing System
Speak or Write Your Book
Choose a Publisher
Find an Agent

As you put together your new ideas, this book will help you organize them, decide what to keep, toss and think about. This book explains the publishing industry, explores the possibilities in small and large publishing companies and explains why self-publishing may save you time in the long run.

Also highly recommended:

The Self-Publishing Manual
Successful Nonfiction

~The Rebecca Review


Tips for Getting Published

Writing Secrets from a Master Publisher, May 29, 2006

I have never met an author who was sorry he or she wrote a book. They are only sorry they did not write it sooner. ~Sam Horn

Dan Poynter is famous for "The Self-Publishing Manual" and the way he coaches authors towards publishing success. His website and books are especially helpful for authors who are tired of waiting to get their work out into the world. With online publishing and opportunities to make your work available, there is no time like the present to find out how you can publish your next nonfiction book.

Each and every page of Successful Nonfiction is filled with tips and secrets you will want to read sooner than later. This book opens up an entire field of knowledge gained through years and years of experience.

Ideas about how to make your book longer than 100 pages to command the best price and how to get the first draft started make this book very practical as are ideas about how to rewrite to make your book even better or when it is best to hire a proofreader.

Should you use a pseudonym?
Will you be treated differently as a published author?
Where is your potential customer?
Can you truly plan your future by the books you write today?
Will the cover you choose sell the book?
Can you sell more copies self-publishing?

"My object in living is to unite my avocation and my vocation." ~Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Successful Nonfiction is filled with ideas you can put into action today. I only wish I had read this book sooner!

~The Rebecca Review
Trying to follow page 80...testing recipes...





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