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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Yosemite Edition by David Pogue

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Dictation

Dictation is built into the Mac, just as it is on iPhones and iPads (and Windows). You can speak to type text anywhere, into any program. (Behind the scenes, it’s using the same Nuance recognition technology that powers Dragon Dictate.) You can blather away into an email, fire off a text message, or draft a memo without ever looking at the screen.

Now, before you get all excited, here are the necessary footnotes:

  • Voice typing works best if there’s not a lot of background noise. It works even better on Macs that have dual microphones, like MacBooks with Retina Displays; those two mikes create a “beam array”—a directional alignment that helps them differentiate your voice from the background noise.

  • Voice typing isn’t always practical, since everybody around you can hear what you’re doing.

  • Voice typing isn’t 100 percent accurate. Very often, you’ll have to correct an error or two. (Your accuracy is much, much better when you wear a headset.)

On the other hand, how’s this for some good news? You don’t need an Internet connection to use voice typing; an option called Enhanced Dictation downloads the conversion software right to your Mac. And with Enhanced Dictation, you’re not limited in how long your dictations can be. You can keep on blabbing away until you’ve dictated your entire dissertation or letter to Congress. And the words appear on the screen as you speak.

Unfortunately, Enhanced Dictation is not quite as accurate as non-Enhanced. So the following pages describe both the ...

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