IBM Via Voice and/or Scanning Pen - advice anyone

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rhrussel, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. rhrussel macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2007
    Student here with one of the first Macbooks (hopelessly slow, upgrading to 1GB ram v. soon), and I'm dealing with a lot of text for research. Have any of you had any luck with:

    1) Scanning pens. I see some on amazon, they get mixed reviews and are old. Has anyone had any good experiences? Are there any more recent and newer devices that can scan in text from books and articles in libraries?

    2) Voice recognition. All the reviews say that Dragon Naturally Speaking is superior to Via Voice. Does that mean that Via Voice is bad, or it just can't perform all of the functions? I just need to dictate text.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. forrestmc4 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2007
    Washington, DC
    As a fellow student I have had the same urges to simplify large research projects using dictation (though voice recognition software is a pain for me for some reason) and selective text scanning.

    I look forward to any answers that others have.
  3. hogmog macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Thames Valley, UK
    Voice recognition software is useful for:
    1) transcribing research interviews (listen to audio recording and speaking back what you hear)
    2) transcribing dictations (either direct to computer or via a digital audio recorder)
    3) controlling you machine

    I use Dragon NS 9 on a Windows box (2 Ghz Pentium 4, 1 gig, nearly 5 yrs old) for 1) and 2) because:

    a) Via Voice does not appear to have been updated for years (perhaps suffering from IBM's 'buy and let the software wither' syndrome)
    b) I was well impressed by the Dragon demo at an education show
    c) at the time I hadn't decided to move completely to the Mac

    There is another Mac only native package, iListen - see - but I don't know how this compares to Dragon. If it is as good as Dragon would go for it as you would not need to have/run Windows. Dragon works fine on the machine I have so would think you would have no problem with running it on a more modern machine.

    Have also used a pen scanner in the past - can't remember the make - which had onboard memory and you downloaded the results, via USB cable, when full. Have not used it for a while as the bulk of journal papers I use are now available as PDFs (so easy to copy quotations). With books I just type up what I want to quote - helps to keep it in the memory. Not totally convinced it is worth having one these days.
  4. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    this scanner is amazing

    I use the IrisPen II scanner in my book research and swear by it. I've had it for at least 3 years. It's a line-by-line scanner, which is great for working with books, articles, and other printed materials. Once you learn how to use it (not too fast, not too slow, the right angle, etc.) you'll get very accurate text from most sources; then you do a little cleanup proofing and you're set. It plugs into your USB port and has a long cord.

    What else can I say? I consider it indispensable to my work. Downside is that it might encourage me to take more notes than I'd take otherwise, but the flip of that is that I have the accurate source material at hand for future reference.

    it seems moderately priced to me for its quality (about $100+).

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