[f_minor] idea of north scripts

Timothy Conway timcon at comswest.net.au
Sun Aug 15 02:49:08 EDT 2010

Hello All,

There was some discussion recently about whether MacSpeech Dictate could translate to a .doc or other word-processor-readable file the words in Gould's 'Idea of North' and other word-essays of his. The answer is no. MacSpeech Dictate can work only when you speak into a microphone. It's pretty picky, but once you've got it going, it works really well, as long as you speak consistently and not too fast. But you can't ask it to interpret  a recording.

However, Nuance, the publishers, also sell MacSpeech Scribe, which can actually transfer recorded words into an ASCII or similar file. But the big caveat is that you still have to 'train' the app to recognise a 'voice', meaning not only the timbre but also the accent and possibly other aspects of speech and sound. So having a multitude of voices/accents/timbres hitting MacSpeech Scribe would send it into a death-spin and you'd end up with rubbish on the printed page. MacSpeech Scribe is intended only for the occasions when you need to record your glowing phrases onto a tape or whatever and later play it back to MacSpeech Scribe to get it into your computer as a readable/editable file.

Sorry to disappoint you all, but computer software still isn't as 'magic' as Arthur C Clarke hoped it would be. Nonetheless, things are improving and I'm sure we'll get 'magic' results in another century or two. So keep looking for those Gouldian transcriptions that must exist somewhere. Maybe.

-- Tim Conway
Geraldton, Western Australia

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