This is the second release of the VoiceComputer microphone feature. It fixes some of the initial problems. This release also improves the VoiceComputer utility.
I am a bit cloudy about this new “microphone” feature. For some reason, I’m not seeing any response at all when I use the commands that you enumerated. In addition, when I say, “show microphone commands” nothing happens. But more importantly, I have read and reread your email and still don’t understand what its function is. Is it taking the place of me saying, “go to sleep” and" wake up"? I’m just not sure what exactly it’s supposed to do so I am not 100% sure what it’s not doing.
Let me preface the explanation below, along with the screen capture, with the following:
When Nuance released DNS 11, it changes the sampling rate for microphones from 11.025 kHz 16-bit Mono to 22.05 kHz 16-bit. Unfortunately, one of the negative byproducts of this is that when you have the microphone on but asleep, Dragon is constantly listening to wake-up commands. The result has been, even up to DNS 12-12.5-12.5.1, that when the microphone is in sleep mode, it is still listening and can spontaneously turn itself on if it hears anything close to “wake up” or “listen to me”. This has created a lot of frustration for users and that they can put the microphone to sleep and walk away from their computer, but any inadvertent noise or speech in the background can spontaneously turn the microphone on. The only effective way of preventing this is turning the microphone completely off (red). Unfortunately, when the microphone is turned completely off it can only be turned on again manually by using either the hotkey or by clicking on the microphone icon in the DragonBar or the systray (icon only mode).
Many users need to work hands-free, or want to. With VoiceComputer we also encourage even those were able to use their hands to stay away from the mouse and keyboard as much as possible. After all, we talking about speech recognition and controlling your computer entirely by voice command/dictation. Lindsay Adams (PCByVoice) created a utility called SpeechStart+â„¢. However, SpeechStart+â„¢ is more complex than necessary and takes time to set up and use properly. Even his original SpeechStartâ„¢ required manipulation and set up procedures. We found over time that neither of these is suitable, particularly SpeechStart+â„¢, for use with VoiceComputer, because many of the features are unnecessary.
Therefore, we have decided to include a very simple microphone on and off command in VoiceComputer that requires no user intervention to set it up, except to configure VoiceComputer to place it in the Windows Startup folder and ensure that it is in the system tray. By creating our own, it isn’t necessary to use the mouse to open VoiceComputer. Once the VC Microphone is set up and loaded in the system tray (systray) it’s ready to go and active. All you have to do is to say “open VoiceComputer” even with Dragon unloaded, and it will automatically pull up the VoiceComputer Startup/Shutdown utility, launch Dragon, and open your user profile as well as launching VoiceComputer. Everyone that uses VoiceComputer is familiar with this utility, to which we have added a couple of extra features. However, you would have to wrap your leg around your neck to automatically start Dragon and VoiceComputer with SpeechStart+â„¢, or even, and especially, with SpeechStartâ„¢. In essence, we have eliminated the necessity for putting the VoiceComputer shortcut in the Windows Startup folder by introducing our VC Microphone feature. Also, you do not have to configure anything because once running, it’s ready to use out-of-the-box. You don’t have to train it or configure it.
No doubt users will have to get used to ensuring that the VC Microphone is loaded in the system tray (or systray as is technically termed). However, as with any new feature, it’s just a matter of getting used to it. Nonetheless, take a look at the screen capture below. You will notice that the VC Microphone icon is the one that has the red box around. I put the red box around it just to emphasize what the icon looks like and where it needs to be in ordered for the VC Microphone to be enabled and work.
- When you first install VoiceComputer 12.81 that contains this feature there are a couple of things that you need to do:
(a) Make sure that you select option #3 in the VoiceComputer configuration dialog. VoiceComputer will configure the microphone and then prompt you as to whether or not you want to add it to the Windows Startup folder, or, if it’s already installed in the Windows Startup folder, if you want to remove it from that location. This is helpful in identifying whether or not the VC Microphone is configured to automatically start on Windows boot up.
(b) However, even though VoiceComputer puts the VC Microphone in the Startup folder for the next time that you reboot Windows, it does not automatically load it in the system tray (systray). Therefore, the first time you configure VoiceComputer with this feature and have configured it correctly, we provide you with an icon on the desktop (shortcut link) so that you can load it into the system tray (systray). You only have to do this once because (1) it stays there during your current session, and (2) automatically loads thereafter every time you restart Windows.
The best way to test this is once the VC Microphone icon is displayed in the system tray (systray), try saying “open VoiceComputer”. If VoiceComputer launches without Dragon loaded, then the VC Microphone is working properly.
Once you have set up the VC microphone and configured it properly, you should be able to use Dragon’s command to turn the microphone off, say “microphone off”. And then turn the microphone back on by using either “microphone on” or “toggle microphone”. The latter command generally works better on older and slower systems, who are using Windows 7/8/8.1 32-bit vs. 64-bit, or who have “too many” utilities running in the background. When you issue the VC Microphone commands, be sure to be consistent, patient, and that your microphone/soundcard is functioning properly (i.e., run the Audio Setup Wizard (Check Microphone) to ensure that your microphone is functioning optimally. Don’t yell! We have configured the VoiceComputer microphone to ignore certain types of command words in order to prevent inadvertent turning on the microphone. Getting frustrated and yelling at your computer in order to turn the microphone on using our VC Microphone capability won’t work period. Works consistently well enough when you dictate at a normal volume, don’t pause between words in the command, and you issue the command at a normal pace.
If you have problems getting it to work properly, please be detailed, ensuring that you have configured and set up the VC Microphone properly, and give us a step-by-step description.
Lastly, in ordered for the VC Microphone to work properly, you must have the Dragon Options | Miscellaneous tab, “Have the microphone on but asleep” option enabled. If that is not set up in this manner in the Dragon Options dialog, then the VC Microphone will not work, or will not work properly.
I hope this is helpful in getting you to understand the VC Microphone feature.
It works great. Thanks for the explanation. It’s my stupidity as I went by Ron’s first note where he said the command was, “open microphone”. I did not read the command in his second email which evidently was updated to, “open voice computer”. ( and it just opened that utility by me dictating The previous words in quotes).
Yes, just right click on the VC Microphone in the system tray, then select Close.
We have a list of ‘Ignore’ commands for this feature. If you see that the feature is incorrectly recognizing certain words or phrases, let me know what they are and I’ll add them to the list of commands to be ignored. We’ll probably have to tweak this feature for a month or two before we get the reliability we need.