Sunday, August 01, 2010

I'm annoyed at Nuance.com (Dragon Naturally Speaking 11):

Nuance's new version of Dragon Naturally Speaking ("NatSpeak") is out. I want to upgrade to it, if it will support the ability to edit by voice in Open Office Writer, version 3. How do I find out if it does?

Well perhaps I'll have to buy it to find out. The company is woefully unprepared to help me. I started by going to their support page, which referred me to one of those "knowledge base" pages. It's nearly impossible for a knowledge base, built up on people's current questions and problems, to tell me what a new version can do.

I looked for specifications for version 11. There is a spec page, and it is too vague.

I found a way to call their support line and talk to an actual human. She assured me that NatSpeak 11 has dropped support for both MS Word 97 and Open Office 3.

So that's it, I said, I won't buy it.

But David Pogue reviewed the product in the New York Times. He flatly says it supports Open Office 3. Now maybe he made a mistake, but he did whet my appetite. I went back to the Nuance website. I found a product matrix that tells me exactly which features are in each of the version of the product (home, professional, etc.). That matrix has NO VERSION NUMBER attached to it. I can't tell whether it refers to version 10 or 11.

I kept looking at the Nuance web site. I found a form where I can submit a question to sales support. Just the thing! I filled in 11 fields of personal information and typed my question. When I clicked "Submit," the form took me to this webpage: http://now.eloqua.com/f.asp, which (as of 7/30/10) was broken, down or unimplemented. (Actually, www.eloqua.com is okay, so the particular link I got is probably just incorrect. Nuance, if this is your fault and not Eloqua's, then I am really upset with you.)

I can't tell you what a downer it is to submit a question on a filled out form and go to a non-webpage. Nuance, can you hear me? I want to find out about NatSpeak 11. Your web pages are not helping me! Please try harder.

3 comments:

pazmanpro said...

The Nuance website specifically says that Office 2007 and OO3 are supported.

> Word 2003, 2007 and 2010; WordPad XP, Vista, Windows 7; and DragonPad (word processor included in Dragon): Full Text Control, Menu Tracking, and Natural Language Commands ***
> OpenOffice Writer 3.1, 3.2: Full Text Control
> WordPerfect X3, X4, X5 (English and French only): Full Text Control, Menu Tracking, and English Natural Language Commands


I believe you don't get the level of support from OO3 that you will get from MS Office though, such as menu options (save, open, etc). Can't say if formatting options work (not sure what Full Text Control means).

The Precision Blogger said...

Pazmanpro,
Thanks. The natspeak 11 matrix you quoted is here:
http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/products/product-matrix_11.asp

A note at the bottom of the page kind of says what "full text control" is, and clearly that's not as good as the addition of Natural Language commands. Now I can decide whether to upgrade.
- PB

Anonymous said...

I'm dictating this comment here with DNS 11 and have just upgraded from DNS 9 which I've used extensively in OOo 2.x thru 3.2. DNS 9 really didn't support OOo so you were left to do a lot workarounds but still it was faster than typing. So far DNS 11 seems worse - now adding text to existing text that's in an outline causes DNS to inserted two lines below where you had placed the cursor. The help menu also helpfully says "Dictation in tables or form fields is not supported in this release." which is too bad because you used be able to type in tables in OOo in the prior release(s). Bottom line - it looks like it's their intent to have the product support OOo but it's not soup yet.