iListen — An A.P.P.L.E. Review

Product:    iListen (with USB Headset/Microphone)
Cost:        $149.00
Publisher:    Mac Speech

Over the years, there have been many speech recognition packages come and go.  Unfortunately none of them have been very good.  Until Now.

iListen came on a single CD, installed in 10 minutes on out iBook 1.33  and went off without a hitch.  Upon installing it, attaching our  headset which came with the package, we started to configure the system to prepare it for speech recognition.

While the system that comes with the Mac OS X systems for command control works well enough to get by, it doesn’t always do the job that we want.  This led us to the belief that we would be about the same with the iListen package.

We ran through the first training session with iListen which was 27 paragraps of stuff and then the first training session after that.  Another 31 paragraphs.  After that the test that we ran produced the following results when we read the ad for iListen Wach and Learn.

You:ll learn how did get up and running quickly, tips and techniques for accurate dictation, creating text macros, using a portable divisional recorder and much more. It:s like having a friend that your side to guide you in learning iListen. Includes 97 minutes of many lessons.

While this is not too bad, there are a couple of glaring items that we were less than pleased with.  First is the colon instead of the apostrophe in you’ll.  This is not a huge deal but is definitely unexpected even at this low of training level on the system.

Several words were also not what we read but again, this is only after two training sessions.  We then set out to train more of the system and get it to the point where it should recognize almost everything associated with general speech.  Then we tried it again and got the following results:

You learn how to get up than running quickly, tips and techniques for at Credit dictation, creating text macros, using a portable additional recorder and much more. It:s like having a friend at your side to guide you in learning iListen. Includes 97 minutes of video lessons.

One thing that was confusing was when we went back to train the system further, it appeared that it was starting over.  This scared us for a minute but we soon got it right and went on training the system.  The only thing about training the system is that is a bit time consuming, but it is  definitely better then typing.

Each training module takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast you speak.  Obviously, we spoke very quickly in order to get the job done but the application soon was catching us when we missed a word.  We misspoke several words over the application but were soon presented with possibilities for correcting them. Our next goal  would be to train the system completely using our own documents so that we no longer have  to retype things.

Keep in mind, that this system while, relatively inexpensive, is actually quite powerful we get it is still not perfect as can be seen in the results that we received when testing the system. However, we were able to type this document using the system for the most part. Unfortunately, the system is a quite away from being perfect when it only has 6 modules trained, but it does save the on the typing. In this have to keep in our eye on the actual spelling of the words that the system is  typing.   For example, when  we said the word “typing”,  we got “tightening.” Banana and an

They seem said about one out of every 10 words needs to be replaced at this point. But that still is much better then systems of the past.

Overall we would make this program a definite buy, but keep in mind that if you want perfection, then we suggest you keep on typing. If you are looking for simultaneous input, then this is definitely a good program to have. We managed to type this entire document within about five minutes using the program.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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About the Author

Bill Martens

A.P.P.L.E. Chairman of the Board and Club president -- Bill worked for the founder, Val J. Golding and A.P.P.L.E. from 1981 to 1982. In 1999, he began archiving the materials which were distributed and sold by A.P.P.L.E.. That project led to the group that remained of A.P.P.L.E. Bill was involved in the financial industry in Tokyo and has over 20 major office infrastructure projects to his name. In March 2001, he retired to write books and to spend more time pursuing personal interests. As the president of the users group, Bill is in charge of distribution of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine as well as the organization of this web site. Bill currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and Shelton, Wa splitting time between the places.