Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Live Earth Concerts for a Climate in Crisis - July 7!, and DNS9 Headphone Microphone Comments

We're having a Live Earth Concert Viewing Party on the 7th and you should too!

Back on topic, this post is a continuation of my pre-purchase research of voice recognition software posts from 6/14/07 and 6/25/07.

Jenni, The ChronicBabe herself, has just started using DNS Preferred 9. I was asking her about the headset microphone.

I said:

Hi Jenni, Thanks for responding to my email and blog on VR software. I posted another on this subject today. Obviously, I'm at the very beginning of educating myself on the subject. Baby steps. While I'm not able to work and I'm waiting for my disability application to be approved I can't afford to waste a single penny so I've got to get this down before I purchase. Not that I ever could or will be able to afford to waste a single penny. ;-)

I'm just starting to research the headset microphone part of it. So the one that comes with the software, that they say is Nuance-approved and noise canceling, is not as good as one would want and need? I've been wondering about this, and wondering how to tackle it in the blog. Any enlightenment from you would be appreciated.

Jenni said:
well, i just found the headset that came with the software to be
uncomfortable - it gave me a headache. so i've tried a few different kinds before settling on one. you just need to try the one that came with it, and if you don't like it, then be willing to try a few options to find the best
match for you.

So I will take Jenni's advice, but I am already researching headset microphones because if anybody is going to be uncomfortable it's usually me. The whole fibro "Irritable Everything Syndrome" y'know ...

Discussion of headset microphones and Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software to be continued...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Speech Recognition Software, continued from 6/14/07

The box with the lady on it is the standard version.

The site from Nuance is way better than the one I used in the 6/14/post, for viewing info about the software. Ahhh... Nuance is the official OFFICIAL site of DNS 9. No, this stuff's not confusing, it's me. Not.

NY Times review of the software that comes bundled with Windows Vista:
As far as I'm concerned,the Windows Vista software is for people who are getting new computers. I still have a knot in my stomach from that time I tried to upgrade from Windows 95 to 98 on the computer I purchased with Win95 from the factory. MicroSoft is going to have to do something I can't even imagine to convince me that it's possible to upgrade the operating system on the same computer. Back to the point, I just got a new computer and it's not even paid for yet so I'm sure not getting another one any time soon. So the VR software that comes bundled with Windows Vista is not an option for me.

And check out the video on noise canceling headphones on the same NY Times site above. This video is about HEADPHONES. You need a HEADSET MICROPHONE to use with your VR software. But I think the video is good for illustrating what a difference the noise canceling option can make. The Latin cha-cha music is almost reason enough to watch the video! And that Pogue guy is starting to grow on me.

The box with the man on it is the preferred version. I don't know what the difference between the standard and preferred versions are, yet. But never fear, I will find out and report back!

Uh oh. Trouble in paradise? This is Comment #9 on Pogue's NYT site above:

March 1st, 2007
1:20 pm

After all your praise on Dragonspeak 9 in previous articles, I got it as a prompted gift for the past holidays. How ironic that its functions should be integrated, appropriated, and poorly re-created in the latest Windows release. Because you need a Vista-capable computer to run Naturally unspeakable with any sane results. Which you don’t find out ’til seals are broken. 2 Gig ram and a 1.2 G processor at least. Not all of us wipe with gold leaf y’know? Maybe next holday I can afford to pawn enough to run it. Try and remember you are riding the crest of the ridiculously over-compensated when writing this stuff.

— Posted by loadster"

So here are the software requirements for the standard version as specified on the Nuance site:

"System Requirements

* Intel® Pentium® / 1 GHz processor (for example, Pentium® M, Pentium® 4), or equivalent AMD® processor - Faster processors will yield faster performance
* 512 MB RAM or 1 GB RAM for Windows Vista™
* 1 GB free hard disk space
* Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP1 or higher) Home and Professional, 2000 (SP4 or higher), Vista
* Creative® Labs Sound Blaster® 16 or equivalent sound card supporting 16-bit recording
* Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5 or higher (free download available at www.microsoft.com)
* CD-ROM drive (required for installation)
* Nuance-approved noise-canceling headset microphone (included)
* A web connection is required for activation

During the install process the software checks to make sure your system meets these minimum requirements. If you do not meet the requirements, the software will not be installed."

Those of you who already have Dragon: how was the headset microphone that came with? Do YOU think you have to have Vista to run this software?

Enough for now. Next posts on this subject I will be getting into the whole headset microphone thing, and I will be bringing you other Blogs on VR that I think are worthwhile. To Be Continued...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Do you live with an invisible illness? You aren't alone. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 10-16, 2007 gives you a chance to feel "normal."

The statistics about illness are staggering:
+ Nearly 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic condition
+ 96% of illness is invisible. 60% of the ill are ages 18-60
+ The divorce rate is over 75% for the chronically ill
+ 70% of suicides have uncontrollable physical pain as a factor

Sponsored by HopeKeepers Magazine, This week's theme is "Living with invisible illness is a roller coaster. Help a friend hold on!" It's a designated time in which people who live with chronic illness, those that love them, and organizations are encouraged to educate the general public, churches, healthcare professionals and government officials about the impact of living with a chronic illness that is not visually apparent. Join us for this grassroots campaign to help spread the word that those with illness may look great, but are hurting and need compassion. http://www.invisibleillness.com

RE: the banner below: I left this here for a couple of weeks for Lisa to see what the banner code is doing on an outside website, but the code is still the same. So I'm trying to figure out how to fix it myself. I suppose I'm going to have to break out that book on html. Bah. Reminds me of the only course I ever failed in my life, CS 102, on assembly language. The weed out course for CS majors at UT Austin. It weeded me out. That's for darn sure! Anyone know html and want to save me from this nit picky language? The code is at NICIAW.
Most of the banners there seem to have the same problem...

alt="National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, Sept 10-16, 2007 www.invisibleillness.com" width="216" height="197" align="bottom" naturalsizeflag="3"

Monday, June 18, 2007

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week Site Updated

Let's face it... chronic illness can have its humorous moments if we look for them.

You know you have a chronic illness when...

* You understand all the medical terminology discussed on the T.V. show Grey's Anatomy.

* When you hear the term "Club Med" you automatically think of the hospital.

* You ask your child to open the "child-proof" bottles of medicine because your hands are too sore.

* Your medical records have to be transported on a cart.

* To entertain people at parties you recite the side effects of medications as if you are the voice over on a commercial.

* Your favorite Oprah program is when Dr. Oz is on.

* To get rid of boredom on road trips, your whole family can go through the alphabet and name a drug that starts with each letter of the alphabet.

* When you're unable to sleep because of pain, you watch "The Jerry Springer Show" and feel like you actually have a life.

* Your spelling has improved dramatically, especially on words like "fibromyalgia" and "osteoporosis."

* Or you've been "Around the World in Thirty Minutes" with CNN's Headline News 57 times in one sitting.

* You have a panic attack in public and say, "Praise God this is only the fourth one today!"

* You're invited to the wedding of the gal who works at the hospital lab.

* You're child thinks watching you do injections of medication is "cool."

* You have a flashback and don't know what happened and can honestly say, "I don't know where I was or what I was doing but I'll make something up if you'd like."

Reprinted with permission of Lisa Copen, Copyright 2007, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, http://www.invisibleillness.com

Top 10 things NOT to say to a chronically ill person--Get the Rest Ministries/HopeKeepers T-shirt with this saying on the back!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Voice Recognition Software: Dragon Naturally Speaking

So. I've been kind of dancing around the point of this blog, which is the invisible chronic illness experience.

I think the main reason for this is the difficulty I'm having typing. The neck/shoulder arthritis pain I'm having just won't let up, and I'm trying to avoid doing things to aggravate it while I'm waiting to find out exactly what the problem is (MRI scheduled for next week) so I can start doing what needs to be done to alleviate it.

I'm going to get some voice recognition software. That should help. Dragon seems to be the preferred choice. I have some links below to ratings and reviews kind of stuff. I think the microphone is very important. It needs to be a good one with noise reduction.

This is probably what I'll go with:

OOOOOOUUUUU! They have a link at amazon to a rebate from Dragon for $50.00. Those people at amazon are really helpful!

At the bottom of this amazon.com page, 85 real people have reviewed the V. 8 product, and it has four of five stars. Hundreds of people have then rated the reviews.

These reviews are from consumersearch.com, "a leading online publusher of meta-reviews".

This one's from Voice Wizard "the speech resource for executives and other adventurers exploring voice technology miracles".

And from epinions.com, they don't have any reviews of version 9 yet, but it looks like there was marked improvement from V. 7 to V. 8. And they have links to places to buy. As I'm writing this there is one new V. 9 Preferred Solutions up for bid on ebay. So far the highest bid is about half the lowest retail price I've seen. Too bad I'm not ready to buy yet.

This one is a very good VIDEO review and example of how to use the version 8 software. They kind of make like it's a review from the New York Times, but I think it's more like a commercial from Nuance (the official seller of V.9 Preferred), in partnership with the NYT.

More on this topic on 6/25/07

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alexander Technique - F.M's inscription.

FM Alexander

FM Alexander, originally uploaded by Anroo.

Thanks to Andrew for allowing me to post this from www.flickr.com.

One of the few remaining copies of 'Conscious Control in Relation to Human Evolution in Civilization', by F.M Alexander. It was one of a small number of draft copies published around 1912. The copies include some detailed 'before and after' photographs. This particular copy was signed by F.M Alexander himself.

Per the photographer, the book is "in the hands of Richard Brennan, the Director of the Alexander Technique teacher training course in Ireland."


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday June 10, 2007: ICIE Goes Live!

Please be patient with me, everyone. I'm still tinkering with this blog and making everything work and the external sites easy to get to, etc. Thank you for looking!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Funny kitties

My niece Kayla found this. Makes me lol. I think you have to subscribe to hi5 to get it. Hi5 seems like a MySpace knock off, although I don't know which was created first...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Alexander Technique...?

Frederick Matthias Alexander as a young man

Just started to read about AT and FM on the BeatFibroAndFatigue blog and it sounds interesting. Very interesting. I want to learn more. One of the many things that I want to learn more about and don't have time for right now. It's so easy to stick it in my blog here, where I know I'll stumble over it again (and again) and will follow up on studying it. So although I know some about yoga and some about meditation and some about therapeutic dance, I know nothing whatsoever about the Alexander Technique. But Dr. Mark Shaw, the author of the aforementioned blog, apparently does know quite a bit about it. The link to his site is Part 1. There at least 3 other parts to his article on FM and the AT. So if you want to go ahead and get started studying up on it, be my guest. Maybe you can teach me.

I just goggled AT on ask.com (yeah, we don't all always use google) and it's looking even more interesting for me as the Complete Guide to the AT mentions one of my other major chronic probs, neck/shoulder pain, as a reason to look into the AT.

Of course there are lots of books on the subject. Here's one by the man himself:

Mr. Alexander, circa 1920

Sunday, June 3, 2007

ICI Jewelry

silverconfetti.com butterfly charm: from Silver Confetti Jewelry to Celebrate! http://www.silverconfetti.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=578

Butterflies are symbols of metamorphosis and the mascot of those of us with chronic illness. Because we are just living every day striving to be able to morph into something at least as good as what we would have been save for the blankety blank chronic condition we got stuck with in the luck of the celestial draw.

Toilet of Greivances?

Chronic Pain Visual Arts Project: http://painexhibit.com/

I need/want to do some of that art as pain stuff!

I Trust the Thesaurus

I named this blog The Invisible Chronic Illness Experience at first. Then I looked up invisible in the thesaurus and I didn't like what I saw. One of the three major adjectives is "imaginary". As in nonexistent, impalpable, intangible, shadowy, and insubstantial. Definitely not the image we want to project. So then the best words I could come up with were unseen or concealed. "Concealed" is already being used (See www.writefaceforward.com or the book "Just Fine".) Unseen is simple and simple is beautiful. But I've already set up a website on "theiciexperience", In addition to this blog, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I guess for now I'm going to do nothing. The name of the website can't be changed. And I definitely feel they must match. So I'll wait and see what happens.


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