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Windows Vista Security: Praxisorientierte Sicherheit für Profis by Marcus Nasarek

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Chapter 13: Making the Most of Your Computer’s Accessories
Getting Your Computer to Listen
If you hear someone talking to his computer, odds are he’s not going crazy—he’s
using Windows Vista’s built-in speech recognition software to take his computing
experience to the next level. Speech recognition software allows you to dictate docu-
ments and email messages. It also allows you to browse the Web and navigate pro-
gram menus using voice controls. Not only does this allow you to create documents
quickly and perform common tasks, but it can also reduce the risk of repetitive stress
injuries.
Getting Started with Speech Recognition
You can access Windows Vista’s speech recognition software by clicking Start All
Programs Accessories Ease of Access, and then selecting Windows Speech Rec-
ognition. However, before you do this, you should take a moment to learn more
about this powerful feature.
Speech recognition allows you to control your computer by speaking into a micro-
phone. When you talk, the software uses context-sensitive controls to determine
whether to convert your words to text, as with dictation, or to navigate program
menus, as with control commands. Generally, when you use speech recognition,
Windows Vista enters your dictation text into the current active document and your
control commands are used to navigate the current active program’s menus.
Speech recognition works best when you use a quality microphone, such as a USB
headset microphone or an array microphone. The environment in which you use the
microphone should be relatively quiet. If it isn’t, you may find that background noise
is interpreted as spoken speech. A microphone with noise cancellation technology
may resolve this problem.
Having started with speech recognition software in the early days of Dragon Dictate,
I found the built-in software easy to use and surprisingly reliable. The software pro-
vides enhanced user interfaces that offer a simple yet more efficient way to dictate
text, make changes, and correct mistakes. The software includes an interactive tuto-
rial that teaches you while you are training the computer to understand your voice.
The software also improves in accuracy over time by learning as you use it, and by
prompting for clarification when you give a command that can be interpreted in mul-
tiple ways.
Windows Speech Recognition isn’t designed to handle every type of writing or to
work with every type of application. Rather, it is intended for those who frequently
use word processing applications, email applications, and web browsers. By using
speech recognition with these programs, you can use your voice to enter text and
perform commands, thereby significantly reducing the use of the keyboard and
mouse.

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