Technology Products: 1965 versus 2017!

By Iris L. Kitching

Well, I admit it. I’ve been living in the dark ages way too long. Everywhere I turn nowadays there are newfangled apps, games, or some software that’s fun or functional. I still operate like I’m still back in the mid 60s when it took a day or longer to type a 10 –15 page exam for a class (on a slow computer with not much memory). Then, it took even longer to print, collate, and staple 30 copies, a week maybe! Technology has changed so much in the last 50+ years. It’s about time for me to take advantage of what’s available!

A product that has transformed the home, school, and work environment is voice to text software. Originally it sounded like a robot you could hardly stand to listen to for 10 seconds. And the transcription to what was actually said was horrific. I tried it out of curiosity and gave up. The time spent making corrections wasn’t worth it!

Today’s apps are versatile, quite functional, and range from: “text to speech”, “speech recognition”, “text to voice”, “voice or text transcribing”, and “translation to text files”. There are multiple pleasing voices to select on many that will read text from documents, eBooks, books out loud, websites, and more. And get this, a child can read a book, running a finger under each word at his/her pace and listen to the story. I sure needed that in the 70s and 80s when my kids were growing up!! For those who are fast readers, you can use a speedreading app. Some apps are free with upgrade to a paid version if desirable. Other apps cost a reasonable price and some are in the hundreds. Various languages can be utilized too! There are many other features in these apps that would just blow your mind!

These products have made life easier for lots of people: multitaskers (that run, drive, walk, cook, and who knows what else?). Mothers who want their children to “read” or listen to books; presenters in meetings where the ‘voice’ could read important information to participants (and no computer generated sounds — unless, of course, they are wanted. The ways to use these software applications are endless, almost.

Apps are available for Mac or for PC use. A few Apple 2017 versions are Natural Reader Text to Speech, Voice Dream Reader, and Dragon for Mac . PC versions are Speechnotes and Speechlogger, LilySpeech, Braina, and Dragon. It would be wise to go online and google these and others to determine the suitable type you. And FYI, I have no connection with any of them. I’m just a consumer ready to make better use of my time by letting my iPad or iPhone read for me now and then. My iMac can even read, using Siri of course, after a recent upgrade! I’ll need to check at work to see what may already be available on my PC.

How valuable is your time? Can you think of great ways you could save time by letting your apps work for you? Think of how much you could really accomplish and then you decide!

This is my Day 10 post for the 30 Day Writing Challenge in the Speak and Write Now Community.

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