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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

  Naturally Speaking Professional
This is the most recent "update" by Dragon. I say update because the same problems continue on and on. You still can’t save your selected font in the Dragon window. Text macros – for boilerplate text – still suck.
The install is smoother and will allow you to install over previous versions, picking up all your previous work. It won’t give you all the "new" features unless you re-train it to your voice. This is understandable. I went through the training again and found it to be much easier and better laid out than the previous versions. You can therefore keep your old settings and vocabulary as a USER and create a new USER with all the new features. In fact you can have multiple USERS. This allows you to train the program in various recording environments or with different users.

The voice recognition is much improved but you must have a powerful computer with lots of ram for the best results. They recommend a minimum of a Pentium 133 but suggest a Pentium II 233 or higher. They also recommend a minimum of 32 Megs of ram but suggest up to 80 Megs for best performance.

The vocabulary is larger – up to 55 thousand active words (depending on your computer hardware – detected by the setup program). There are 230,000 words in the total vocabulary.

It now includes NaturallyMobile software that allows you to transcribe dictation that you have recorded and saved with a handheld recorder directly to your PC.

I am using a Pentium II 300 with 128 Megs of ram and find that the program performed better than previous versions both in recognition and speed (running in it’s own word processor).

It comes with a add-on program called NaturalWord – this allows the main Dragon program to run from within Word 97. It shows up as a new menu bar icon. This is if it works properly. I tried for two weeks to get it to work (previous versions worked). I tried reinstalling Office 97 – reinstalling Dragon - reinstalling NaturalWord. I even built a new hard drive – same result – Word 97 locks up upon startup and requires a power off reboot to get Windows to restart. From then on Word 97 won’t start up. The only way to get it to work again was to reinstall my backup of the registry (yes I do believe in backups).

I spent over 1 hour on the phone with Dragon tech support (most of it on hold) with no results. Lately we have been playing telephone tag. I tried emailing them over 1-½ weeks ago – no response yet.

I think the program is "getting better" but if you have a previous version that works – stay with it for now. I am dictating into it’s own word processor and cutting and pasting. I also read on the Internet that there were problems with Windows 98 – I will give an update report next month.

Review ID Number: 382
  Product Details
Dragon Systems
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: John Mitchell
Rating: 6 out of 10
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