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An experiment in Dragon writing

I just finished dictating several of my letters home from Thailand into Dragon. I had version 11 on the machine, but it was several years old so I figured has been updated I also wanted to get a better microphone than the cheap one that I had, so I went over to Fry's and bought version 13, complete with a headset, and took it home. $99.

After I installed it the surprise was that the newest version is 15, which they wanted to sell me for $149. And another surprise - it was the same crappy headset that I already had, and the problem really wasn't the headset it was that the front panel microphone input on my PC is not amplified enough.

So I am talking through a really nice expensive Tascam microphone which is an electret condenser mic powered by a AA battery and the battery was dead so I had to figure out how to change it - it is not intuitive, I had to go online and look up the manual for the microphone and then I had to plug it into the back of the PC to the microphone input that's on the built-in audio card and now it works okay sort of.

One thing about typing is you can do it while you're eating, one thing about dictating is you can't do it while you're eating. So the halvah sitting next to me is going to be untouched until I finish this.

Alright, so looking at the files there are 7 files that I created which means 8 letters because one of the envelopes contained a letter that started on one day hand-written and then continued the next day typewritten so I call that 2 letters. One of the interesting things is that my writing style is still about the same - very conversational and flip, and iconoclastic, and also rebellious. Something that has changed significantly is back then I was seriously trying to observe the Jewish holidays, it turns out that Passover had been during one of those early letters and I had no matzos, I had completely forgotten about that, and I also had completely forgotten that the new Peace Corps Thailand director had gotten some for me.

And this was before I knew who the Peace Corps director is in relationship to my family. At the time he was calling himself Mick but his last name, Zenick,  should have rung a bell***. okay this isn't working so well with the microphone so I'm switching the mic off and going back to fingers.

It works a lot better if I have a script in front of me. And even then, Dragon Naturally Speaking is only about 80% accurate, especially with foreign words & place names, even after I have trained it.

This morning started out lazy, but then I decided to devote as much of it as possible to entering the letters. No breakfast, no real lunch, just some slices of turkey baloney. And a couple of cookies.

But first, I shoved the contents of compost tower 2 into the green waste bin, folded up the tower and set it against the sound wall, and wheeled the bin out the the curb. It filled the whole bin, tower 1 will be next week. 

4 pm I was off to MV, met Janice for coffee, it took a while to get a table inside. Even though it was still hot outside, the side of that building is a wind tunnel and in the shade all day, so very chilly.

After about an hour we went next door and checked out the new Safeway. She had a coupon for a $50 cash card if she bought $50 of groceries. She wanted me to help (I would pay her back later for my stuff). She said she was expecting a lot more high-end items than her usual Safeway has, which seemed very wrong to me because the new one is half the size of her usual one, which is only a couple of years old, and is in the middle of a neighborhood of high-end condos. This one is in a neighborhood of mostly Hispanic cars-on-blocks, dubious legal status people. There are some high-end houses which share the neighborhood's name, but those folks are closer to the big store.

Bottom line, we bought nothing. The only high end items were an expanded deli, and expensive pre-made items of questionable appeal. Bacon-wrapped asparagus. Vegan kabobs. Curried mac&cheese.

Home, it was cool enough to have an oven-heated dinner (Shrimp egg rolls & popcorn shrimp. Cole slaw. Ice cream) and also to do laundry. And emptied the dishwasher.  Watched 3/4 of an episode of Travelers because it starts to get soap-ish. Not sure I want to see the rest of it.

The Thailand letters called...made myself stop at 10 so I have time to journal.

***His real name is Manuel. I knew him as Manny. He was one of my Dad's friends from high school, his older brother Joe had introduced my parents and was their Best Man.
Plans for tomorrow:
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