Hi2u 4 people with hidden impairments
Attempting to open doors for people with hidden voices.


IBM ViaVoice for Windows Release 9 
Pro USB Edition 


I have often tried IBM voice recognition software and while I have found their software fairly accurate I normally find that it's too much like hard work to be a practical tool for my dyslexia. One of the first IBM voice recognition software, products I used was "Simply Speaking Gold" at the time this was extremely accurate software. However didn't seem to have the versatility that Dragon Dictate had with its capability of working in virtually any Window application. However with Dragon Dictate not keeping up with the advantages of its classic version 3 and IBM continuing to improve with each new release! Is now offering a real alternative if not better alternative to Dragon Dictate for the work I do. 

ViaVoice release 9 is certainly very impressive software and is certainly going to be used regularly by myself. The only really annoying thing about this version is that the text to speech facility seems pretty much the same as earlier releases in my mind this is clumsy and slow to put to use. So if IBM is reading this please put some effort into making the text to speech facility more efficient to provide better support for people with dyslexia. 

Now let's start telling you about ViaVoice release 9. First I'm using the Pro USB Edition this includes headset/microphone and USB adaptor. This is a very valuable adaptor for using on notebooks or computers with poor quality sound cards. Basically it allows you to attach the headset with microphone to the adaptor that plugs straight into a USB port that is pretty standard on most computers (PC's) sold today however may not be available on older computers. 

Once you have the software loaded in and your headset with microphone set up ViaVoice will automatically take you through an enrolment procedure this is extremely impressive! Because of my dyslexia I just did the first part of this. You have to complete some of the enrolment procedure before you can start using this software that's pretty much the same for all voice recognition software packages. But to my surprise this was extremely easy although the text it provides you to read his virtually the same or the same as previous versions! It seemed to be much easier to do and I certainly found this much easier than Dragon Dictate enrolment procedure. 

Once you have completed the enrolment procedure or part of the enrolment procedure you can start using ViaVoice to compose your letters and other things you may wish to use this dictating facility. I certainly found this extremely accurate and was very impressed however I am use to using voice recognition software and have learnt ways of talking clearly and pronouncing words well in order to get better accuracy with this type of software. I can imagine this could seem impossible or just very difficult for many who our unuse to using voice recognition software or computers. 

Although this software provides its own dictating pad called "speech pad" just like most other voice recognition software current packages do. I personally rather dictate straight in to document I'm working on. However you need to be careful with nearly all the voice recognition products on the market today the company's provide several editions some jest seem to offer dictating facilities into a dedicated dictating pad. With the more money you spend the more facilities you get like dictating into other applications. 

The ViaVoice Pro USP Edition has the capability of dictating into other applications and this is extremely impressive it seems to work quite efficient they in many different applications like Word documents, organisers and other software that you are needing to use text facilities. This is certainly something that I find very valuable. ViaVoice release 9 allows the use of text correction facility while working in other applications. This is much more limited with Dragon Dictate. 

There are a few annoying features about ViaVoice 9 however I think we are a long way off the four companies can produce voice recognition software that will be ideal for everyone's needs. While there are some annoying bits for me there is much more that is impressive. 


Advantages this software has: 


Difficulties I have experienced with this software: 


Like I have found with earlier versions of IBM voice recognition software. This software can be unpredictable when used on a computer with many other applications running at the same time. Yesterday while dictating this I brought up a correction window and had another correction window already open on a different applications. Resulting in my computer cutting out and when starting Windows again found the ViaVoice software not working very well so I reinstalled this software. I have certainly experience many difficulties with running IBM voice recognition software in the past with other applications like anti-virus and have needed to disabled some functions to insure difficulties doesn't occur. However I do push my computer equipment to the limit and perhaps this isn't wise with ViaVoice! Probably works much better keeping to one or two applications running while ViaVoice is loaded! 


My conclusions. 

This is certainly extremely impressive software and for dictating purposes seems to compare much better than Dragon Dictate Naturally Speaking Version 5. However Dragon Dictate certainly wins on its more versatile text to speech facilities. While taking this into account I certainly think ViaVoice will be more practical for myself to use. Providing that I have a clear head and can think of the sentences I'm wanting to say. However if I don't have a clear head or if I'm needing to run many other applications on my computer at the same time I will choose to use my favourite voice recognition software. Which is Dragon Dictate Classic Version 3. 

I'm sure for many people this software will be a really useful resource. At the same time I would imagine many people would find it very difficult to work with. I certainly think with the ViaVoice software you need to learn how to dictate and work in a procedure that will provide the best results. If you are capable of doing this you will gain a very valuable dictating solutions for your needs. I think people will either get on with it well or hate it! I love it! Most of the time! Or until something better comes along anyway!

The above article was completed on 31st March 2002 by Andy Hayes



Computer specifications needed that IBM claim.

"Windows 98 SE
Intel Pentium 300MHz w/256K L2 Cache or
AMD-K6 w/256K L2 Cache

64MB of RAM

Windows Me
Intel Pentium 600MHz w/256K L2 Cache or
AMD Athlon w/256K L2 Cache 

64MB of RAM

Windows 2000 Professional
Intel Pentium 300MHz w/256K L2 Cache or 
AMD-K6 w/256K L2 Cache 

96 MB of RAM 

Windows XP Home
Intel Pentium 300MHz w/256K L2 Cache or 
AMD-K6 w/256K L2 Cache

192 MB of RAM

Windows XP Professional
Intel Pentium 300MHz w/256K L2 Cache or
AMD-K6 w/256K L2 Cache

192 MB of RAM 

Hard Drive space needed 510+MB Non-Compressed 
Windows compatible 16-bit sound card with a microphone input jack or USB port for USB adapter input 
Quad speed CD-Rom Drive or faster 
Internet Explorer 4.01 w/Service Pack 2 or higher installed 
You must have administrator privileges to install ViaVoice on Windows 2000 and on Windows XP"


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