Software

Vista can you hear me?


Windows expert Deb Shinder has been chatting with Vista lately--and Vista has been listening.

Kinda.

Once she got past the desktop microphone fiasco and opted for a headset, and once Vista learned to interpret her Texas accent, Deb had good success piloting the OS and various programs--as well as dictating text--using Vista's built-in speech recognition capabilities.

In "Speech recognition in Windows Vista," she describes how to configure speech options, set up your microphone, and train the speech engine to recognize your pronunciations. Then, she explains how to issue voice commands ("Sit!" "Stay!" "Tab!"), access help, and dictate (and correct) text.

Her assessment: "I was impressed with the ease of use and accuracy of the Vista speech recognition engine after half an hour of training time. I've tried dictation programs before and never found them at all usable; I could always type much faster than I could dictate and correct text. Now I finally feel that if I should ever lose the use of my hands, there would still be a way for me to continue to get my work done."

She concludes with a caution, though: Speech recognition brings with it a security concern involving unauthorized speech commands coming from malicious sound files. It's a stretch, but the risk does exist. Still, you should be able to avoid any potential exploits by making sure the feature doesn't start automatically and by turning it off when you aren't using it (as opposed to letting it hum along in Sleep mode until it hears the words "Start listening"--sort of like a 9:00 AM art history class).

About

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

13 comments
JTrox
JTrox

Most of my experience with Vista Enterprise has been good - including the Speech Recognition program. However, I haven't yet figured out how to use the text to speech program. I can bring it up and hear the sample text but I can't see any way to have it read text. I'm sure it is simple once you know it, but it isn't obvious and I haven't figured it out.

bkapelas
bkapelas

No one has been able to get anywhere on this problem including ACER On an existing wireless home network with a XP Pro desktop and a XP Home Laptop I have been unable to add a new Vista premium Laptop. All internet access is OK on all PCS. Workgroup names are the same and discovery is on. Vista diagnose claims firewall should allow connection. I look for workgroup PCs in the XP machines and see the new PC. In Vista I can't even figure out how to look for PCs in the workgroup. (Why has this become more difficult) I try to set a folder in the new PC to share it. After going thru its "This will take a few minutes" it tells me This folder could not be shared. Repeated attempts on different folders. I've gone thru basic trouble shooting on the Vista which said check the connection. Thats obviously OK. Then discovery. That is on. It gives no clues after that. The old laptop uses Symantec Anti virus. The new Laptop has the Symantec Internet Security. All on default settings. The desktop is F-Secure anti virus. No other third party firewalls. Linksys wireless router and a cable modem. Frankly as a hobbiest I need to ask why this has become more difficult? I am finding Vista quite cumbersome. Things changed unnecessarily. Makes no sense. :thumbsdown: Please point me in a fruitful direction. Thanks. Mfr: Home Built Type: Desktop CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2700 Installed RAM: 1 g OS: XP Pro SP2 Disk Drives: 2 HD 1 CD 1 CD/DVD RW 3.5 floppy

tedc
tedc

I had a similar problem, that was solved by turning off norton's firewall. In my case my old PC would respond to pings, but the new vista PC (an acer desktop) would not. There is a dos program called ping that tests if your cabling and cards and even basic software will respond to LAN (or internet) messages. You need to know the IP adresses of both your PCs, which can be found out by running another dos program called ipConfig. When you know their ip addresses, you can use ping to see if the other PC responds. In my case the new vista PC would not respond, but the old PC would - this meant the cabling and hardware was ok in both directions but some software on the new pc was preventing its response. that software turned out to be norton firewall. On the other hand, I also have the same problem with sharing that you mentioned, and norton firewall aint involved. So my above cure may not help you.

carlsf
carlsf

Sorry MS I have afrer trying VISTA Ulyimate and Office 2007 wiped reformatted and reloaded XP PRO SR2 and Office 2003. I have wasted $1800.00 on a top line system, I purchased F/P. MS has just lost myself 6 systems and my clients around 30 systems that I suport.

jah_1
jah_1

When XP came out I felt that MS had just put all the parts in different places. I still don't understand why the networking keeps getting more difficult when MS has had networking interfaces working well in NT 4.

brike
brike

Why did they have to make computing so difficult. You can't find sh*t in this OS. Or it takes a dozen steps to get to where you want to go. I changed back to Win98 look so it becomes operational, but still hard once you get into the folders. Same goes to Office 2007. How ugly can the interface be? And why so many steps to get what you want???

verd
verd

Maybe you are just stuck in one spot What other things in your life are you stuck in a rut about? Where is your challenge to learn something new at? I say you are boring not to roll with the changes and learn something new or maybe change your outlook on life

bkapelas
bkapelas

The debate is a waste of time when we need to get something fixed. Being called "cranky" is mindless. I did see some things on the Microsoft KB. start here: http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/e20e6875-7210-47bb-bf19-5c60e6ae86151033.mspx I haven't tried it yet but somehwere it refers to manually configuring ports if Vista has any third party firewall. In my case the Notebook came with Norton Internet Security Apparently Vista doesn't work with these. More MS arrogance. Mainly because they do not make that fact obvious.

mistyibuki
mistyibuki

As much as I love this fight about trying something new I am also having this problem and would love it if anyone has any answers. I have all xp machines (pro) and one laptop that is vista. The XP machines can see the laptop on the network but can not access it and the laptop shows nothing but the pc name. I do agree that I do not like the network settings on this new vista, and not because its new but because after spending an hour and a half messing with it I could not get it to work. If you ask me any OS that comes from Microsoft should in some way or form work with each other.

bkapelas
bkapelas

Maybe the rest of us have work to do. We'd prefer not to waste time unnecesarily. Vista is not our life.