I started typing when I was 13 years old. My parents bought me a Brother typewriter for Christmas that year, and I would spend hours pecking away at it. By the time I went into the military four years later, I was typing almost 200 words a minute. When I decided to start my career in software development, I knew I was going to be a “natural” – since it requires a lot of typing (or rather, it did). I no longer do low-level development anymore, but I still spend my days typing all day (and sometimes night) long.
Part of my “new” normal lately has been some very severe hand and wrist pain. At any given moment, my fingers will lock up and I won’t be able to move them at all. It has been really hard on me the last month or so, and I actually had to miss a few days of work. I confided in a co-worker about my struggle and he suggested Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I remembered seeing an infomercial on Dragon NaturallySpeaking years ago, but he assured me it had come a long way since then.
It takes a little bit to get used to, but this was the answer to my problems…well, at least, I could go to work even on days when I wanted to cut my hands off at the wrist. You talk, it types – it is that simple. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is just like any other dictation software: you need to “train” it to learn certain phrases and commands. But once you get beyond the awkwardness of speaking into a headset, it really does take the pressure off your hands. Just a tip: when you are installing it, you can likely remove some of the options if no one in your household is going to use them.
Want to try Dragon NaturallySpeaking? You can purchase it by click this link, or any link where it is mentioned in this post. It does come with a headset that has an adapter for laptops/computers with a single headphone jack; however, I also ordered a second USB headset for my personal laptop (I use the one that came with it on my work laptop). The Home edition does pretty much all the functions a basic user would need (Word, Outlook, web browsers, etc.), but it also comes in a Premium version (which has additional support for applications, like Excel).